"If for some reason…he beats the rest of the field, I already know the Democrats are going to be bringing a suit," Trump said. "You have a big lawsuit over your head while you're running. And if you become the nominee, who the hell knows if you can even serve in office?"
As it turns out, Trump's concerns over a lawsuit weren't unwarranted. In fact, one was filed that same day by Houston lawyer Newton Boris Schwartz Sr. The suit asks a federal judge to define the "(1) status (2) qualifications and (3) eligibility or ineligibility of defendant for election to the office of the President and vice President of the United States." In the poorly written, 28-page complaint, Schwartz noted that this question is "now ripe for decision," and then invoked the so-called birther arguments used against President Barack Obama (see the full complaint below):
If all that was and is required for Defendant's eligibility for the election to the office of the President and Vice President of the United States is that one of his biological parents be a U.S. citizen at the time of his birth in Canada outside the 50 United States...then why have the "birthers" or "doubters" and questioners of the place of birth of the 44th President of the United States, Barack Hussein Obama have persisted to this date and prior to his 2008 elections in 2008 and 2012? When undisputedly: (1) he was born in the U.S. state of Hawaii after its admission on August 21, 1959 and is documented by his birth records..."
It's unclear what will come of this complaint, but this isn't the only birther action that Cruz is contending with. Also on Thursday, the Arizona Republic reported that Rep. Kelly Townsend, a Republican state legislator from the Phoenix suburb of Mesa, is "circulating a measure at the Arizona legislature that would call a U.S. constitutional convention to outline what it means to be a natural-born citizen." The paper notes that Townsend hopes to get her Legislature on board before reaching out to other states, since, after all, "it will take 34 states to convene such a meeting, something that hasn't happened since 1787."
This legislative effort—like the lawsuit—appears quixotic. But Trump has ensured this question of his natural-born citizenship status will dog him. As seen in last night's debate, Trump's questioning of Cruz's eligibility has marked a turning point in relations between the two candidates, who have previously refrained from attacking each other throughout the campaign. But, as Trump told CNN's Dana Bash after Thursday's debate, "I guess the bromance is over."
Of all of Jeb Bush's frustrations in his disappointing presidential run, his inability to get a line over on Donald Trump has to rank near the top. In debate after debate, the real estate mogul has shut down the former Florida governor and derided him for being weak and boring. But in Thursday night's debate, Bush finally got the better of Trump in his most successful put-down.
The subject was Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from coming to the US. "This policy is a policy that makes it impossible to build the coalition necessary to take out ISIS," Bush said. "The Kurds are our strongest allies. They're Muslim. You're not going to even allow them to come to our country? The other Arab countries have a role to play in this."
Bush suggested that instead of a blanket ban, there should be more stringent screening of refugees. "We don't have to have refugees come to our country, but all Muslims?" he said. "Seriously?"
The exchange might not be enough to pull Bush out of the campaign doldrums, but it drew thunderous applause that the crowd had previously reserved for the likes of Trump and Ted Cruz. For Bush, that's worth something.
The candidate's responses to question on major issues were more or less predictable: On the economy? Obama has ruined it and pushed jobs overseas. On foreign policy? Obama can't handle ISIS but they can. Along the way, they managed to sneak in a few zingers.
Fiorina, for instance, took a shot at GOP frontrunner Donald Trump: "Despite Donald Trump's bromance with Vladimir Putin, Russia is our adversary."
In one of the event's most memorable exchanges, Santorum offered an interesting spin on mass deportations. He described sending the children of undocumented immigrants back to their countries of origin as "gift" that would enable them to improve their home countries. He called this "exporting America" in what can only be described as perhaps the worst study abroad program ever. At another point, Santorum suggested people Google him to see how he once stood up to Hillary Clinton. But you probably want to avoid Googling "Santorum."
Huckabee kept to his normal tack of decrying Obama's policies on all fronts, including repeating the mostly false claim that, under the Obama administration, the US navy has shrunk to its lowest level since 1915.
Overall the event seemed flat, and certainly could have used the lovable flourishes of erstwhile GOP candidate Sen. Lindsey Graham.
But, as El Chapo himself told Penn in the Rolling Stone interview, the international drug trade will keep right on chugging along without him. "The day I don't exist, it's not going to decrease in any way at all," he said.
Chapo isn't wrong about that. There are plenty of others in the world of illegal drugs to keep law enforcement agencies such as the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) busy. One of them is Maria Teresa Osorio De Serna, a Colombian woman who has replaced El Chapo at the top of the DEA's most wanted international fugitives list. According to the DEA, Osorio De Serna is wanted in connection with money laundering and "cocaine conspiracy."
As reported by BBC Mundo on Monday, very little is known about the woman, described as "practically a ghost," whose aliases include Maria Teresa Correa, Gloria Bedoya, and Iris Conde. Osorio De Serna apparently hasn't been charged with any crimes in her native Colombia, but is wanted in the US in connection for her alleged work with the Medellín Cartel, the cocaine empireheaded by Pablo Escobar until he was killed in a shootout with authorities (and perhaps other traffickers) in December 1993. Osorio De Serna, allegedly laundered cocaine trafficking proceeds for the cartel, but the nature of her involvement remains as unclear as her whereabouts. She may be in Colombia, but other information suggests she was last known to live outside of Miami, Fla.
The DEA public affairs office did not respond to questions about her.
According to a BBC Mundo source—who "deeply knows the judicial and criminal world of Colombia"— Osorio De Serna isn't well known. "It's surprising that in this country,where the criminals all know each other, nobody knows who this woman is," he said.
During Tuesday night's State of the Union speech, President Barack Obama spoke directly to recent political attacks on Muslims, imploring people to tone down the anti-Muslim rhetoric:
"When politicians insult Muslims, whether abroad or our fellow citizens, when a mosque is vandalized, or a kid is called names, that doesn't make us safer," Obama said. "That's not telling it like it is. It's just wrong. It diminishes us in the eyes of the world. It makes it harder to achieve our goals. And it betrays who we are as a country."