1/ Trump repeatedly provided off topic testimony, lost his temper, and attacked the judge overseeing his $250 million civil fraud case, saying: “It’s a terrible thing you’ve done. You know nothing about me.” Trump called New York Attorney General Letitia James “a political hack” and her prosecutors “all haters,” complaining that this is “a very unfair trial.” The outburst prompted New York Judge Arthur Engoron to direct Trump’s lawyers to “control him,” saying “this is not a political rally, this is a courtroom.” James accused Trump and his co-defendants of a decade-long scheme to use “numerous acts of fraud and misrepresentation” to inflate Trump’s net worth in order get more favorable loan terms. Engoron has already ruled that Trump is liable for fraud, and the trial is meant to determine what damages Trump will pay. Nevertheless, Trump complained during testimony that Engoron “called me a fraud and he didn’t know anything about me.” Engoron suggested that Trump read the order where he found him liable for fraud. (Washington Post / NBC News / New York Times / CNN / Politico / Axios / Associated Press / NPR / ABC News / Wall Street Journal)
2/ A federal appeals court lifted a gag order imposed on Trump in the election subversion criminal case, temporarily allowing him to go back to disparaging prosecutors, witnesses, and court staffers involved in the proceeding. The pause will last about two weeks as the three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia considers Trump’s claim that the limited gag order violates his First Amendment rights. (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post)
3/ United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres warned that Gaza is “becoming a graveyard for children,” saying “the unfolding catastrophe makes the need for a humanitarian ceasefire more urgent with every passing hour.” More than 1.5 million people have been displaced and more than 10,000 people have been killed in Gaza since Israel’s bombardment began four weeks ago, according to the Gaza Health Ministry in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip. Israel says 1,400 people were killed in the Hamas terror attack, and that 240 are still held hostage. Israel, however, rejected the Biden administration’s calls for a humanitarian cease-fire, saying it will continue to bombard the Gaza Strip with “all of its power.” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu added that “there’ll be no cease-fire […] in Gaza without the release of our hostages,” saying “It’ll hamper our effort to get our hostages out because the only thing that works on these criminals in Hamas is the military pressure that we’re exerting.” Israel’s military, meanwhile, has “completed our encirclement” of Gaza City – effectively splitting the Gaza Strip in half – and was carrying out “a significant operation” as it carried out “a large attack on terrorist infrastructure both below and above ground.” (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / NBC News / Bloomberg / Wall Street Journal / Associated Press / NPR / Politico / ABC News)
4/ The Biden administration has reportedly become deeply “uncomfortable” and “distressed” with some of Israel’s tactics, saying the “counterattack against Hamas has been too severe, too costly in civilian casualties, and lacking a coherent endgame.” A person familiar with the administration’s thinking said the White House has been skeptical of an Israeli ground invasion and concerned that “the situation inside Gaza would only get worse for the people there, and that would lead to escalation. They’re just trying different ways of, ‘How do you mitigate a set of actions that are inevitable and won’t work and will fail?’” State Department staffers, meanwhile, issued a memo that argues the Biden administration should be willing to publicly criticize Israel’s military tactics and its treatment of Palestinians. “We must publicly criticize Israel’s violations of international norms such as failure to limit offensive operations to legitimate military targets,” the memo states. “When Israel supports settler violence and illegal land seizures or employs excessive use of force against Palestinians, we must communicate publicly that this goes against our American values so that Israel does not act with impunity.” The document also says the administration’s private and public messaging “contributes to regional public perceptions that the United States is a biased and dishonest actor, which at best does not advance, and at worst harms, U.S. interests worldwide.” (Washington Post / Politico)
🔮 Dept. of Magical Thinking.
Biden trails Trump in five of the six battleground states one year before the 2024 election. Trump leads Biden by 10 points in Nevada, six in Georgia, five in Arizona, five in Michigan, and four in Pennsylvania. Biden holds a 2-point edge in Wisconsin. In 2020, Biden won all six battleground states. (New York Times)
76% of Americans believe the country is headed in the wrong direction. 33% have a favorable view of Biden, while 29% have a favorable view of Trump. (ABC News)
58% of Americans believe AI tools will increase the spread of misinformation during the 2024 presidential election cycle. (Associated Press)
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