Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 29, 2022

A former White House aide gives bombshell testimony to Jan. 6 panel, courts address state abortion bans following Supreme Court ruling, and more

1

Former White House aide says Trump knew some Jan. 6 rioters were armed

Cassidy Hutchinson, an aide to former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows before and during the Jan. 6 Capitol assault, told the House Jan. 6 committee on Tuesday that then-President Donald Trump knew there were armed people in the crowd at his Jan. 6 "Stop the Steal" rally but called for relaxing security and urged the mob to go to the Capitol. "I don't f---ing care that they have weapons," Hutchinson testified she heard Trump say. "They're not here to hurt me." Hutchinson said Trump demanded to go to the Capitol, and lunged for the presidential SUV's steering wheel when a Secret Service agent insisted on returning to the West Wing.

2

Courts address state abortion bans after Supreme Court ruling

Federal courts scrambled Tuesday to deal with cases involving new state abortion bans designed to go into effect after the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the 1973 decision that established abortion rights nationwide. A federal court in Tennessee allowed that state's ban on abortions as early as six weeks into pregnancy to take effect. A judge in Texas, however, temporarily blocked an even more restrictive decades-old law. Roughly half the states are expected to ban or tightly limit abortions in the wake of the Supreme Court's Friday decision. Courts have let bans and other restrictions take effect in Alabama, Ohio, South Carolina, and Tennessee, while temporarily blocking them in Louisiana, Texas, and Utah.

3

Ghislaine Maxwell sentenced to 20 years for sex trafficking

U.S. District Judge Alison J. Nathan on Tuesday sentenced disgraced socialite Ghislaine Maxwell to 20 years in federal prison for her role in the sex-trafficking scheme of her longtime confidante Jeffrey Epstein, who died in jail awaiting trial. Eight women sent the court victim impact statements to describe how the crimes affected their lives. Maxwell, 60, didn't testify in her trial last year, when she was convicted on five counts, including sex trafficking of a minor. But she spoke in court before her sentencing, addressing the victims. "I am sorry for the pain that you've experienced," Maxwell said. "I hope my conviction ... brings you closure." The sentence shows "it is never too late for justice," U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said.

4

Turkey drops objection to Sweden, Finland joining NATO

Turkey on Tuesday ended its objection to Sweden and Finland joining NATO. The Western military alliance's secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, hailed the "historic decision" as a step forward for European security as it supports Ukraine's fight against Russia's invasion. "We now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO," Stoltenberg said. The two Nordic countries decided to abandon their longstanding neutral status to bolster their security against possible aggression from nearby Russia. Turkey had opposed their NATO applications due to their support of Kurdish rebel groups Ankara considers terrorists, but the Turkish government said it "got what it wanted" in the form of cooperation in its fight against rebel groups.

5

Colorado GOP primary voters reject election deniers

Colorado Republican primary voters backed moderate candidates Tuesday over three hard-line election deniers in statewide races. U.S. Senate candidate Joe O'Dea, who recognizes the legitimacy of President Biden's election win and supports qualified abortion rights, beat state Rep. Ron Hanks (R), who attended then-President Donald Trump's Jan. 6 "Stop the Steal" rally and walked to the Capitol. Voters similarly rejected election conspiracy theorist Tina Peters in the GOP's secretary of state primary. Illinois, Mississippi, New York, Oklahoma, Utah, and South Carolina also held primaries. The Democratic governors of Colorado, Illinois, and New York — Jared Polis, J.B. Pritzker, and Kathy Hochul, respectively — all won their primaries, setting up potentially competitive races against Republicans Heidi Ganahl (Colorado), Darren Bailey (Illinois), and Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-N.Y.).

6

Experts urge FDA to push for new vaccine targeting Omicron

A panel of experts on Tuesday recommended that the Food and Drug Administration push for a coronavirus booster shot tweaked to target the Omicron variant now dominating new COVID-19 cases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron subvariants currently account for more than half of new U.S. cases. The Biden administration hopes to make the new shots available later this year to help fight an expected winter coronavirus resurgence. Dr. Peter Marks, who oversees the FDA's vaccine division, said the formula will have to be identified "very rapidly" to get the booster ready by fall. Vaccine manufacturers Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech are expected to need about three months to produce doses once the plan is finalized.

7

101-year-old former Nazi guard sentenced to 5 years in prison

A German court on Tuesday sentenced a 101-year-old man who once served as a Nazi concentration camp guard to five years in prison. The man, whose name wasn't released under German privacy laws, was charged with "knowingly and willfully" aiding and abetting the killing of prisoners at the Sachsenhausen camp north of Berlin between January 1942 and February 1945. The Neuruppin Regional Court found the centenarian guilty of being an accessory to the murder of 3,518 people during his time guarding the camp. The man denied being active in the camp. Josef Schuster, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, welcomed the verdict, but said it was "bitter that the defendant has denied his activities" and showed "no remorse."

8

Scotland leader proposes fresh independence vote

The leader of Scotland's semiautonomous government, Nicola Sturgeon, on Tuesday proposed another referendum on Scottish independence, despite British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's refusal to allow a fresh vote. Sturgeon said she would ask Johnson to let another vote be held in October 2023, and also ask Britain's highest court if Scotland could hold the vote without his approval. "What I am not willing to do, what I will never do, is allow Scottish democracy to be a prisoner of Boris Johnson or any prime minister," Sturgeon said. The move comes eight years after Scotland's last independence referendum. Johnson has vowed that there will not be a second such vote while he's in power.

9

CDC expands push for monkeypox vaccinations

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is expanding its push to vaccinate people against monkeypox, recommending the shots for those with presumed exposure rather than just confirmed exposure to the viral illness, federal health authorities said Tuesday. Monkeypox has been confirmed in more than 300 people in the United States. There have been thousands of cases in other countries outside of central and western Africa, where the disease primarily occurs. Monkeypox is often spread through skin-to-skin contact. Anyone can get the virus, although many patients in the current outbreak have been gay or bisexual men. "As the number of jurisdictions with cases increases, the need for medical countermeasures, including vaccines, continues to rise," said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky.

10

Serena Williams knocked out in 1st round at Wimbledon

Tennis legend Serena Williams lost her first-round match at Wimbledon to Harmony Tan of France, 7-5, 1-6, 7-6 (10-7). It was Williams' first singles match on tour since she had to drop out of last year's tournament at the All England Club, also in the first round, due to a hamstring injury. The marathon match against Tan, who is ranked No. 115 in the world, lasted 3 hours and 11 minutes. Williams dominated the second set but the 23-time major champion struggled to maintain that momentum in the final set, although she came within two points of winning before Tan came back to tie the set at 5-all. "Maybe tomorrow I could have gave more," said Williams. "But today was what I could do."

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