1/ Rudy Giuliani conceded that he made “false” and defamatory statements that two Georgia election workers had mishandled ballots while counting votes in Atlanta during the 2020 election. Although Giuliani is no longer contesting the accusations by Ruby Freeman and Shaye Moss, he argued that his false claims were “constitutionally protected” speech and didn’t damage the women. In 2021, Freeman and Moss sued Giuliani, accusing him of defaming them when he falsely claimed they had engaged in fraud while counting ballots at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. The lawsuit also accused Giuliani of promoting a selectively edited video that purportedly showed the two women manipulating ballots, which made them the targets of a conspiracy theory spread by Trump and his allies. (Associated Press / NPR / CNN / Washington Post / New York Times / NBC News / Wall Street Journal)
2/ Hunter Biden pleaded not guilty to federal tax charges after the judge refused to accept the terms of his initial plea deal. Biden originally agreed to plead guilty to two misdemeanor tax crimes he committed in 2017 and 2018 with prosecutors agreeing to recommend probation. Prosecutors had also agreed not to pursue a separate felony gun-possession charge as long as Biden remains drug-free and agrees to never own a firearm again. Instead, Judge Maryellen Noreika, a Trump appointee, asked that the lawyers from both sides to clarify and limit the scope of the immunity deal after questioning whether the deal would protect Biden from the potential future criminal charges. The hearing ended with Biden pleading not guilty for the time being. He’s expected to reverse that plea if a new agreement meets Noreika’s approval. (New York Times / NBC News / CNN / Washington Post / NPR / ABC News / CNBC / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal)
3/ The Federal Reserve raised interest rates to the highest level in 22 years. For the 11th time in 17 months, the Fed raised the benchmark federal-funds rate from roughly 5.1% to 5.3%, after pausing rate increases in June. Inflation cooled in June to 3% from a peak of 9.1%, but remains above the Federal Reserve’s target of 2%. “Inflation has moderated somewhat since the middle of last year,” Chair Jerome Powell said. “Nonetheless, the process of getting inflation back down to 2% has a long way to go.” Congressional Budget Office, meanwhile, estimates that the U.S. economy will avoid slipping into a recession with GDP projected to rise at a 0.4% annual rate in the second half of this year. (Associated Press / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / NPR / Washington Post / New York Times / ABC News / NBC News / CNN / CNBC)
4/ A former national intelligence official turned-whistleblower testified that the U.S. is concealing a longstanding program that retrieves and reverse engineers UFOs. David Grusch appeared before the House Oversight Committee’s national security subcommittee alongside two former fighter pilots who had firsthand experience with “unidentified anomalous phenomena,” a phrase the federal government uses to refer to what are commonly known as UFOs. Grusch told lawmakers that during his work with a UAP task force, he was denied access to a UAP crash-retrieval and reverse-engineering program that had existed for decades. He added that the U.S. likely has been aware of “non-human” activity since the 1930s and claimed that the government has recovered “non-human biologics” from crashed UAPs. The Defense Department, meanwhile, said it “has not discovered any verifiable information to substantiate claims that any programs regarding the possession or reverse-engineering of extraterrestrial materials have existed in the past or exist currently.” (Associated Press / NBC News / CBS News / New York Times / CNN / Wall Street Journal)
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