Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 28, 2022

Russian missile strike kills 18 at Ukrainian shopping mall, the Supreme Court rules in favor of a coach ousted over postgame prayers, and more


Russian missile kills at least 18 at Ukraine shopping mall

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Monday that more than 1,000 civilians were inside a shopping mall in central Ukraine that was struck by a Russian missile, in what he described as "one of the most defiant terrorist attacks in European history." An air raid warning sent many shoppers fleeing just before the missile hit, Zelensky added. Local authorities said at least 18 people were killed, more than 50 were injured, and dozens remained missing. "We don't know how many more people might be under the rubble," said Volodymyr Solohub, a Poltava Oblast regional official. Ukraine's air force said the missiles were fired by long-range bombers that took off from a Russian air base north of Ukraine.


Supreme Court rules in favor of a coach ousted over postgame prayers

The Supreme Court ruled Monday that a Washington state school district violated the religious freedom of a former high school football coach, Joseph Kennedy, who lost his job after holding postgame prayers on the 50-yard line. Kennedy led the prayers for years, and refused to stop after the Bremerton School District asked him to because administrators feared the district could be sued for violating students' religious rights. The 6-3 conservative majority said the First Amendment clause against the establishment of religion doesn't require the government to "single out religious speech for special disfavor." The court's three liberal justices said in a dissent that the ruling weakened "the nation's longstanding commitment to the separation of church and state."


WNBA star Brittney Griner gets July 1 court date in Russia

WNBA star Brittney Griner briefly appeared Monday in a Russian court, where a judge ordered her detained through her trial on drug charges. Griner's lawyer, Alexander Boikov, said the next hearing was set for July 1 and would mark the official start of Griner's trial. Monday's proceedings were closed to the public, but journalists snapped photos of Griner, 31, as guards walked her, handcuffed, through the building. The Phoenix Mercury center was arrested Feb. 17 for allegedly trying to take cannabis vaping cartridges through a Moscow airport, and charged with smuggling drugs into Russia, where she played basketball in the off-season. She could face up to 10 years in prison if convicted.


House Jan. 6 committee to hold surprise Tuesday hearing

The House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol attack said Monday that it has scheduled a previously unannounced Tuesday hearing to "present recently obtained evidence and receive witness testimony." The surprise witness, CNN reports, is Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows. The news came after the panel talked with British filmmaker Alex Holder late last week. Holder gave the panel more than 10 hours of footage he shot after being granted exclusive access to former President Donald Trump and his family for a documentary project. The footage included interviews with Trump, his adult children, and former Vice President Mike Pence. Holder received a subpoena last week, and said he was surprised the committee didn't contact him sooner. 


Judges temporarily block Louisiana, Utah abortion 'trigger' laws

Judges in Louisiana and Utah on Monday temporarily blocked state "trigger" laws intended to ban abortion as soon as the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, which it did Friday. Louisiana has passed several trigger laws since 2006, so it wasn't immediately clear which policies would take effect. The Louisiana order followed a lawsuit by abortion providers calling the laws "constitutionally vague." Judge Robin Giarrusso didn't comment on the merits of the case, but set a hearing for July 8. The Utah judge granted a 14-day restraining order requested by Planned Parenthood, citing the possibility of "irreparable harm." Eleven other states have similar trigger laws.


46 people found dead in hot tractor-trailer in San Antonio

Authorities found at least 46 people dead in a tractor-trailer in San Antonio, Texas, on Monday, local police and fire officials said. Sixteen survivors were hospitalized. A person who had been working nearby called police after hearing someone cry for help and seeing several bodies through the trailer's partially opened doors. San Antonio Fire Department crews arrived and found "stacks of bodies" inside, along with some survivors too weak to get out, SAFD Chief Charles Hood said. Hood said the victims died from heat stroke and heat stroke. Temperatures in the area reached more than 100 degrees Fahrenheit, and the trailer had no air conditioning or water. Mexican authorities tweeted that at least two of the victims in the alleged human-smuggling operation were from Guatemala.


Trump Jan. 6 legal adviser John Eastman says FBI seized his phone

Federal agents seized the phone of John Eastman, a lawyer involved in former President Donald Trump's effort to overturn Trump's 2020 election loss, Eastman revealed Monday in a New Mexico court filing. The filing included a copy of a search warrant the agents used to obtain the phone. The filing said FBI agents stopped Eastman and seized his iPhone as he was leaving a restaurant last Wednesday. Eastman, a California former law professor who helped develop a plan to block the certification of the 2020 election results, called the seizure improper and asked the judge to order his phone returned. The incident is the latest sign that the Justice Department investigation into Trump's effort to reverse President Biden's election victory is intensifying.


California voters to decide whether to protect abortion rights in state Constitution

California's Democratic-controlled Legislature on Monday approved a measure that will let voters decide in November whether to protect the right to an abortion in the state Constitution. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) also issued an executive order saying California won't share medical records with anti-abortion states or extradite doctors who care for patients who come to the state to seek the procedure. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Democrats in Washington are looking into ways to protect personal data stored on reproductive health apps, and to ensure the right to free travel between states after the Supreme Court's ruling overturning Roe v. Wade, the decision that protected abortion rights in the United States for 50 years.


Amtrak train hits truck and derails in Missouri, killing at least 3

An Amtrak train derailed Monday in Mendon, Missouri, about 100 miles northeast of Kansas City, killing at least three people and injuring 50. Two of those killed were on the Los Angeles-to-Chicago train, which had 243 passengers on board. The other was in a dump truck the train hit at a crossing, causing eight cars and two locomotives to leave the track. "When I saw what was happening, I just yelled out, 'No, no, no!' Then it was over," passenger Allen Galloway said. It was the second time in two days an Amtrak train had hit a vehicle. On Sunday, a train carrying 85 passengers hit a vehicle in California, killing three people who were in the vehicle and severely injuring two.


Trump social media merger hit with grand jury subpoenas

A federal grand jury in New York has issued subpoenas to the shell company merging with former President Donald Trump's social media company, which operates his Truth Social app, the company revealed in a regulatory filing flagged Monday by The New York Times. Digital World Acquisition, a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC), said in the filing that the company and its directors received the subpoenas in the past week. SPACs "are not supposed to have an acquisition target in mind when they raise money from investors," the Times writes. A Securities and Exchange Commission investigation into the same merger is focused on whether Digital World and Trump Media leaders held serious but undisclosed talks before the SPAC went public.


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