Wednesday Briefing

Donald Trump’s campaign intends to appeal the Colorado decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.Credit…Doug Mills/The New York Times

Trump ineligible to hold office, court rules

Colorado’s top court ruled that Donald Trump was disqualified from holding office again because he engaged in insurrection ahead of the Jan. 6, 2021, storming of the Capitol. It was an explosive ruling that injected more legal uncertainty into the 2024 presidential race, in which the former president is the Republican front-runner, and that could now head to the highest court in the land.

The decision found that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment — which disqualifies from office those who engage in insurrection against the Constitution after taking an oath to support it — applies to Trump, making him ineligible to be listed on the state’s presidential primary ballot. Trump’s campaign intends to appeal the decision to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, includes three justices nominated by Trump. If the justices take up the case, they could determine Trump’s eligibility in all 50 states.

What to know about the ruling:

  • The high court justices have already agreed to decide on a pile of other Trump-related matters, including whether he is immune from prosecution for actions he took in office and the scope of an obstruction charge that is central to his federal Jan. 6 case.

  • Trump, speaking at a planned campaign event in Waterloo, Iowa, last night, did not address the decision. Other Republicans have reacted with fury.

Houthi rebels seized the Galaxy Leader cargo ship off the coast of Yemen in November.Credit…Yahya Arhab/EPA, via Shutterstock

A U.S. naval effort to confront the Houthis

The U.S. will organize a new naval task force to confront the threat from the Houthi militia in Yemen who are marauding against global shipping in the Red Sea. Despite the threat to local economies, only Bahrain is participating in the effort with the U.S., as other Arab nations sit out the military venture, given the anger toward America’s vocal support for Israel’s war in the Gaza Strip.

Iran — a key supporter of the Houthis — has been the most outspoken critic of the U.S. effort, at once blasting any joining of the coalition as “direct participation in the crimes of the Zionist entity.” At the same time, Iran has also sought to downplay any role in the missile, rocket or drone attacks carried out against Israel or shipping in the Red Sea, claiming that the Houthis acted alone.

Even the countries most affected are standing back. Egypt earned a record $9.4 billion from ships transiting the Suez Canal either to or from the Red Sea last year, representing about 2 percent of its G.D.P. But the only official reaction has been a statement from the Suez Canal Authority saying that it was monitoring the situation.

Oil prices: Energy and shipping companies have stopped sending some tankers through the Red Sea to avoid the threat of attacks. Rerouting the vessels adds delays and extra costs to journeys, and the price of brent crude, the international oil benchmark, has risen about 8 percent since mid-December.

In other news: U.S. voters broadly disapprove of the way President Biden is handling the war in Gaza, as the conflict grinds into its third month.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine during a news conference in Kyiv yesterday.Credit…Sergey Dolzhenko/EPA, via Shutterstock

Ukraine will prevail, Zelensky insists

President Volodymyr Zelensky pushed back against doubts about Ukraine’s battlefield prospects and about the support of its allies. He told reporters that his country was not losing the war, despite having fallen far short of its goals for its counteroffensive, and was prepared to negotiate with Russia, but only on Ukraine’s terms.

The first year of war produced a remarkable unity within Ukraine and among its backers. But the second year has exacted enormous human and financial costs without much movement on the ground, leaving Ukraine in a state of uncertainty in battle, in relations with its allies and in internal politics.

In Russia: After two weeks without word from Aleksei Navalny, Russia’s most prominent opposition figure, his lawyers and allies are running a frantic campaign to find him.


Around the World

Credit…Kristin Elisabet Gunnarsdottir/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images
  • Icelanders had been girding for an eruption. When it happened, they wanted to see it.

  • France’s Parliament approved an immigration overhaul that creates temporary permits for some skilled workers but tightens rules for foreigners living there.

  • The tropical disease “leishmaniasis,” which is contracted by two million people a year, is deeply unpleasant to have and agonizing to treat. With new drugs, that is changing.

  • Five African countries are battling outbreaks of anthrax. Confusion with the test results has raised the possibility that a second disease is circulating.

From the U.S.

Credit…Mark Wallheiser for The New York Times
  • A shortage of key cancer drugs in the U.S. has left many patients without access to chemotherapy.

  • New York State will establish a task force to examine whether reparations can be made to confront the effects of slavery and its legacy of racial injustice.

  • Five wolves have been reintroduced to the wild in Colorado, nearly a century after government-sponsored programs eliminated them from the state.

  • A day after the pope’s announcement that Catholic priests may bless same-sex couples, one New York couple received theirs.

What Else Is Happening

  • An evening dress belonging to Diana, Princess of Wales, sold at auction for nearly $1.15 million — a record amount for one of her gowns.

  • A seal called Neal has charmed locals in Tasmania, Australia. But experts worry that he is spending too much time around humans.

A Morning Read

Every December, Times editors celebrate the best of our photojournalism in one presentation. The project is a way to commemorate the big news events: the ones that traumatized us, mixed in with some moments of bliss. Take a look.


Wrexham’s fiercest rival: Game day against Chester Football Club.

Ipswich Town vs. Norwich City: The East Anglia derby.

Two drivers with divergent paths: Looking back on Red Bull’s peerless Formula 1 season.


Credit…Lila Barth for The New York Times

Don’t call it a ‘book club’

Reading Rhythms, in Brooklyn, bills itself as a series of “reading parties,” where guests read silently for an hour, then chat with strangers about the books they brought. At $10 per person, it’s a hot ticket, with 270 people on the waiting list for one recent event.

Last month, a TikTok video about the series went viral. Predictably, skeptical commenters chimed in: “Hipsters recreated the library and think it’s profound 😂” and “sooooooooooooo … a glorified library?” In fact, our reporter writes, a “glorified library” actually described the cozy ambience well.


Credit…David Malosh for The New York Times

Cook: This wine-braised chicken is perfect for a festive dinner.

Read: Three new picture books capture the unique power of light and darkness.

Recover: This massage tool is a runner’s dream.

Listen: Podcasts about scams and con artists.

Wrap: Trussgifts like a pro.

Play the Spelling Bee. And here are today’s Mini Crossword and Wordle. You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Natasha

P.S. Share your holiday memories with us by filling out this form.

You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].

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