Wednesday Briefing: Trump’s Momentum after Iowa

Wednesday Briefing: Trump’s Momentum after Iowa

Donald Trump swept the Iowa caucuses, the first Republican primary of the 2024 election. He got 51 percent of the vote — a clear sign of his enduring command of the Republican Party. Here are takeaways.

His 30-point margin of victory set a record for a contested Iowa Republican caucus. But he still faces 91 felony counts, and has a busy year of court dates ahead of him. Yesterday, he appeared in a New York courthouse for the opening day of his defamation trial. The writer E. Jean Carroll is suing the former president for defaming her after she had accused him of rape.

Then, Trump headed to New Hampshire for a rally. The small, northeastern state is next on the Republican primary list; voters will cast their ballots next week.

Here’s the latest.

Looking ahead: Trump’s main challengers — Ron DeSantis, Florida’s governor, and Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor and U.N. ambassador under Trump — have a tough fight ahead. They lost by a wide margin in Iowa, but DeSantis pulled ahead of Haley, with 21 percent of the vote to her 19 percent.

Haley may have an advantage in New Hampshire — she holds greater appeal among the more educated, moderate voters who live there. But both she and DeSantis plan to continue to campaign, which could ultimately benefit Trump. They split the anti-Trump Republican vote in Iowa, and will likely do so again.

Vivek Ramaswamy: The entrepreneur and political newcomer suspended his campaign and endorsed Trump after finishing fourth.


Israeli officials and soldiers who have recently been in Hamas’s tunnels say the scope, depth and quality of the system built by Hamas has astonished them. They now believe there are far more tunnels under Gaza.

One tunnel was wide enough inside for a top Hamas official to drive a car. Another stretched about 300 meters, and was hidden beneath a hospital.

Details: A December assessment suggested that the network extended about 250 miles. Now senior Israeli defense officials put that number at between 350 and 450, an extraordinary estimate for a territory that at its longest point is only 25 miles.

Rockets: Hamas launched a barrage of at least 25 rockets into southern Israel yesterday. The attack prompted criticism in Israel of the government’s announcement that it would scale back some military operations.

An agreement: Qatar said it had brokered a deal between Israel and Hamas to allow medicine to be delivered to Israeli hostages and Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip.

Other updates from the region:

  • Houthis: The U.S. carried out a third round of strikes against the Iran-backed fighters in Yemen, which officials said were intended to take out anti-ship missiles. The fighters also fired a missile that hit a Greek-owned bulk carrier.

  • Iran: The Revolutionary Guard Corps launched missile attacks in Iraq and Syria against what it said were “anti-Iranian terrorist groups” and Islamic State targets.


North Korea has formally abandoned reunifying with South Korea as a key policy goal, state news reported. Instead, Kim Jong-un, its leader, said that the North now sees South Korea as an enemy that must be subjugated — through a nuclear war, if necessary.

Reunification has become increasingly unlikely as the economic gap between the two countries has widened and mutual enmity has deepened. Kim has been building toward this current stance for months, and has criticized South Korea’s deepening military alliance with the U.S.

Colombia created its latest, and possibly last, national park after cooperating with traditional ranchers in the area. The park is full of wildlife and has strategic value to conservation — it protects a crucial link between a tropical savanna and the Amazon.

Here are photos from the area.

Lives lived: Zvi Zamir, who as the director of Israel’s Mossad spy agency led a violent campaign against Palestinian terror groups after 11 Israelis were killed at the 1972 Munich Summer Olympics, has died at 98.

Fifty years ago, the Nakagin Capsule Tower in Tokyo was hailed as a marvel of organic architecture. The futuristic tower was composed of 140 detachable capsules, each suitable for a single resident and with a porthole looking out — like a pile of eyes fixed on the city.

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