10 things you need to know today: July 15, 2022
Biden and Israeli leaders pledge to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear arms, Trump will reportedly announce 2024 comeback attempt before fall midterms, and more
Biden, Israel pledge to keep Iran from getting nuclear arms
President Biden and Israeli Prime Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday signed a joint pledge to keep Iran from getting nuclear weapons. Biden aims to get Iran to rejoin the nuclear deal brokered by the Obama administration, and reiterated in Israel that using force is a "last resort," signaling a split with Israel. The pledge states that the U.S. is "prepared to use all elements of its national power to ensure" Iran doesn't acquire nukes. Lapid said that warning is crucial, as "the only way to stop a nuclear Iran is if Iran knows the free world will use force." Iran denies it is trying to develop nuclear weapons. Biden meets with Palestinian leaders on Friday before continuing his Middle East trip with a visit to Saudi Arabia.
Report: Trump to announce 2024 presidential bid before midterms
Former President Donald Trump is likely to announce a 2024 comeback campaign in September, before the fall midterms, The Washington Post reported Thursday, citing two Trump confidants who spoke on condition of anonymity. Numerous Trump loyalists have urged him to wait to go public with his plan to attempt to return to the White House until after the November elections, out of concern he could hurt some GOP candidates and take the blame if Republicans don't do as well as expected as they try to retake control of Congress. One Trump confidant told the Post the odds are "70-30 he announces before the midterms," while others said he might even announce before September.
Indiana AG clashes with doctor over 10-year-old rape victim's abortion
Indiana's Republican attorney general, Todd Rokita, said Thursday that state authorities are investigating the Indiana doctor who performed an abortion for a 10-year-old rape victim unable to get the procedure in her home state of Ohio. Rokita said Indiana is looking into whether the doctor, Caitlin Bernard, failed to report the alleged abuse to Indiana authorities. Documents obtained by the Indianapolis Star indicate that Bernard did file the required form, although she wrote she didn't know the age of the "father," and estimated it to be 17. A 27-year-old suspect has been arrested. The case attracted national attention because Ohio restrictions prevented the girl from getting an abortion in her home state.
Texas sues Biden administration over abortion guidance
The Texas attorney general filed a lawsuit Thursday over new Biden administration guidance warning health workers and hospitals that refusing to treat patients seeking an abortion could put them in legal jeopardy or disqualify them from participating in Medicare, Medicaid, and other federal programs. The suit argues that the policy "forces hospitals and doctors to commit crimes and risk their licensure under Texas law," and violates the rights of doctors not to participate in terminating a pregnancy. The Biden administration argues the guidance is simply "meant to remind folks of their federal obligations when they take federal funding," a senior Health and Human Services Department official said. "It in no way mandates a particular conduct."
Inspector general: Secret Service deleted Jan. 5-6 text messages
The Secret Service deleted text messages from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, after the Department of Homeland Security's Office of Inspector General requested them for its review of the handling of the attack on the Capitol by a mob of former President Donald Trump's supporters, the watchdog said this week. The messages were deleted during "a device-replacement program" despite the inspector general's request that the Secret Service retain and hand over the texts, according to a letter to the leaders of the of the House and Senate Homeland Security Committees obtained by ABC News. U.S. Secret Service spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said in a Thursday statement that any suggestion the service intentionally deleted the texts is inaccurate.
Sri Lanka's exiled president resigns after protests
Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa officially resigned Thursday after intensifying protests drove him into exile, first in the Maldives and now in Singapore. Rajapaksa, 73, left the country before dawn on Wednesday to escape public anger over the island nation's economic collapse. His ouster has set off a full leadership struggle after decades of rule by his family dynasty, which until recently also held the positions of prime minister and finance minister. The economic breakdown Rajapaksa presided over has left Sri Lanka unable to repay its foreign debt or import the fuel and food the country needs, sending prices for staples like rice doubling compared to a year ago.
Disbarred South Carolina lawyer charged with murders of wife, son
A grand jury in South Carolina's Colleton County indicted disbarred attorney Alex Murdaugh on Thursday for the 2021 murders of his wife and their youngest son. Margaret "Maggie" Murdaugh, 52, and Paul Murdaugh, 22, were found fatally shot on the family's property just over a year ago. Alex Murdaugh called 911 and said he found the bodies after returning to the family's home in Islandton, a small community an hour north of Hilton Head Island. A source close to the investigation told CNN that blood spatter on Alex Murdaugh's clothes could place him at the scene of the murders. Also, audio and video on Paul Murdaugh's phone showed his father talking to his mother not long before the killings. After the murders, Murdaugh was arrested over a bizarre roadside shooting and accused of stealing $10 million from his law firm to support a drug habit.
Italian prime minister offers resignation
Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi said Thursday he would resign to clear the path for a new government, but President Sergio Mattarella rejected Draghi's resignation and told him to return to Parliament to see if he can salvage a governing majority. Draghi, a pro-Europe leader who has advocated firm support of Ukraine against Russia, has been a rare unifying force in Italy for 17 months, but a series of crises, from pandemic worries to inflation, drought, and Russia's war in Ukraine, have worsened divisions. Unless Draghi can hold on, Italy will move toward new elections expected to favor the center-right and far-right. Draghi will only be a placeholder even if he can negotiate to keep a majority, though, because Italy is scheduled to hold general elections by early 2023.
China reports slowest economic growth in 2 years
China reported Friday that its economic growth slowed to 0.4 percent in the second quarter compared to the same period a year earlier, its worst performance in two years. The data was worse than most economists had expected, and some said the world's second largest economy might even have contracted. China last year led major economies in its comeback from the coronavirus pandemic, but its "zero covid" approach has brought new shutdowns this year as the United States and other countries reopened. "It wasn't easy to maintain positive economic growth" over the spring, said Fu Linghui, spokesman for the National Bureau of Statistics. "Looking at the next stage, the risk of stagflation in the global economy is rising." Stagflation is a mix of rising prices and slowing economic growth or high unemployment.
Ivana Trump dies at 73
Ivana Trump, the first wife of former President Donald Trump, has died, the family confirmed on social media. She was 73. Donald Trump said Ivana Trump died at her home in New York City. The cause of death was not immediately disclosed, but The New York Times reported that police were investigating whether she fell down a flight of stairs. Donald Trump was married to Ivana, a model from Czechoslovakia, from 1977 to 1992. They had three children together: Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric. "She was a wonderful, beautiful, and amazing woman, who led a great and inspirational life," Trump wrote on his Truth Social social media platform. Her children were her "pride and joy," the former president said Thursday. "She was so proud of them, as we were all so proud of her."