CBS News correspondents predict the big stories of 2024

▶ Watch Video: A look at Trump’s possible trial schedules and delay requests

From former President Donald Trump’s four criminal trials to the Republican presidential primaries and the crisis in the Middle East, 2024 promises to be a packed — if not chaotic — year both domestically and abroad.

CBS News correspondents sat down with “Face the Nation” moderator and chief foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan to discuss their predictions for the big stories of 2024.

Will Trump be kept off the ballot over the 14th Amendment?

The Colorado Supreme Court has determined Trump is barred from the state’s ballot under the 14th Amendment, which prohibits anyone who pledged an oath to support the Constitution then “engaged in insurrection” from holding office. Voters in other states are trying to keep Trump off the ballot, too.

Trump’s legal team has urged the Supreme Court to take up the Colorado decision.

CBS News chief legal affairs correspondent Jan Crawford said the court “is going to be front and center and the presidential campaign.”

“Now, the Colorado Supreme Court was sharply divided on this, 4 to 3,” Crawford said. “And that’s a decision it reached, saying he wasn’t qualified under this provision that other state supreme courts have seen differently. There are a lot of problems with the arguments that they adopted, that they kind of just blow right by, and the Supreme Court, I don’t think is going to kind of give it that kind of gloss. I mean, some of the questions that I think the court will look very closely at if they take this up, and I think they have to take this case up, is how Trump can be considered an insurrectionists if he was not charged or convicted of insurrection, and whether or not the 14th Amendment and this section specifically would even apply to him at all, as someone who’s a former president or running for president.”

Crawford predicted the Supreme Court will weigh in on the Colorado decision. The highest court is “not going to say Donald Trump is disqualified from running for president” in Colorado, she said.

Trump could pick a female running mate

CBS News congressional correspondent Nikole Killion predicts Trump will pick a female running mate, if he is the GOP nominee.

“Well, if former President Trump ends up being the Republican nominee, I predict that he will pick a female running mate,” Killion said. “And there are a number of females that are being talked about, female lawmakers, whether that’s [Rep.] Elise Stefanik, who was just recently in Florida, I might add, for a fundraiser, and who got a lot of attention, of course, towards the end of the year with those hearings on college antisemitism. And so I think she’s certainly a one to watch, she’s been a strong backer of the former president, but you also have a number of other lawmakers, whether that’s [Rep.] Nancy Mace, for instance, you have Governor Sarah Huckabee Sanders. These are names that Steve Bannon recently threw out in a recent interview suggesting that the former president may select a female running mate.”

There’s a good chance the Supreme Court rules Trump isn’t immune from prosecution

Trump’s attorneys are arguing he is immune from prosecution for any actions he took while in the Oval Office, including actions around the 2020 presidential election and Jan. 6, 2021. That case is making its way through the federal court system right now. The Supreme Court has declined to immediately take up the question, but it’s one they likely will. Crawford predicted the Supreme Court “won’t save Trump” from a trial.

“I predict that the Supreme Court is not going to save Donald Trump from the criminal trial,” Crawford said. “He- they are not going to rule that he is immune from criminal prosecution. And I don’t think it’s even going to be close. It could be 9-0, with the chief justice writing the opinion that a former president does not have absolute immunity from criminal prosecutions for actions they took while in office.”

Whether Trump is convicted of conspiring against the United States in the Jan. 6 case will be key among court decisions, CBS News correspondents agreed.

The feds are on the lookout for domestic terrorism incidents

Federal authorities are on high alert, particularly if Trump is convicted in any criminal case, for potential incidents of domestic terrorism, said CBS News chief national affairs and justice correspondent Jeff Pegues.

Pegues said there “is this concern about how will the public react if there is a conviction in any of these cases, and already, the number of domestic terrorism cases that they’ve been investigating the FBI specifically, compared to the number of international terrorism organizations and those kinds of cases, there are about running even, so law enforcement is is also very focused on preventing any kind of domestic terrorism.”

How the Israel-Hamas war unfolds

Two-and-a-half months have passed since Hamas launched its assault on Israel, and how much longer the Israel-Hamas war will last remains unclear.

“Well, the Israelis have told the U.S., they think they can wrap up the current phase, which is this general offensive against Hamas in Gaza, in early January,” Martin said. “But then they say this war is going to go on for months. Hamas has been compared to ISIS. So it’s worth remembering that our war with ISIS started during the Obama administration. We overran the last ISIS stronghold in the Trump administration. And here we are in the Biden administration and special operations forces are still conducting the occasional raid into eastern Syria to go after an ISIS leader.”

“And that, hopefully, will keep this from being a years long battle. but terrorist organizations die hard,” Martin also said. “That’s just the fact.

What happens with China — and Taiwan

Even with the focus on the Middle East and Russia’s war on Ukraine, the Pentagon is also keeping a close eye on China.

Gen. Charles Q. Brown, the new chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says he doesn’t believe Chinese President Xi Jinping wants to take Taiwan by force. But that “doesn’t mean he doesn’t want to take it,” Brennan said.

“Oh, he’s made that pretty clear,” CBS News national security correspondent David Martin said of Xi.

Taiwan has been governed independently from Beijing since 1949, but China has vowed to eventually “unify” Taiwan.

What happens with migration?

Thousands of migrants continue to cross the U.S.-Mexico border each day, and city leaders across the nation are urging the Biden administration to do more to address the crisis.

“We’ve got to do a better job in this business of journalism, and I think as a country, in opening our eyes to the rest of the world and understanding why it is people continue to want to desperately come to this country,” said CBS News senior White House and political correspondent Ed O’Keefe. “And given the numbers we’ve seen in recent months, it’s not just focusing on Latin America, and why people are coming from Venezuela, or El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. But why are they now coming from Africa? Why are they coming from Asia and getting into Mexico and finding their way in? It’s going to be a really tricky year to which to try to do that when we have so many domestic political concerns and questions about whether Congress and the White House really get along. But we have to do a better job of understanding and explaining why the world still so desperately wants to come here.”

There is no “plan B” if Trump is convicted

Trump is easily leading in the 2024 GOP primary polls, and is the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination at this point. But he also faces four criminal trials in 2024, and CBS News chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa said there isn’t a “plan B” if Trump is convicted in any of those cases.

“Talking to my top Republican sources for months, I’ve been trying to get an answer to the question of, what happens if former President Trump is convicted in a federal trial or in Georgia, but more likely in a federal trial before the Republican convention?” CBS News chief election and campaign correspondent Robert Costa said. “Is there a plan B? And even when I’m way off the record with elected officials and campaign strategists, they say almost a refrain: no. So, if Trump is the nominee, we’re looking at a Republican convention this coming summer, where there really is no plan to move to another candidate. The Republican Party because of the way Trump has his fingerprints on everything, the state parties, the delegates are very much in his image politically, he could hold on to the nomination, even if he’s convicted of a federal crime. So my prediction is, you might have a crisis inside the GOP come summer, if Trump’s a convicted felon, but still no real plan of how to handle that in a general election campaign.”

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