Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 27, 2022

Russia says it's pulling out of the International Space Station, Trump and Pence outline opposing agendas in dueling D.C. rallies, and more

1

Russia says it's withdrawing from the International Space Station

Russia announced Tuesday it would withdraw from the International Space Station after 2024 and focus on building its own orbiting facility. "We will fulfill all our obligations to our partners, but the decision … has been made," Yuri Borisov, the newly appointed leader of Russia's Roscosmos space agency, said during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Russian officials have been considering pulling out of the project since at least 2021 due to its aging equipment and increasing safety concerns. Borisov's predecessor, Dmitry Rogozin, has said Russia would only consider extending its involvement in the space station beyond 2024 if the United States lifts sanctions against Russia's space agency that the U.S. imposed after Russia invaded Ukraine in February.

2

Trump, Pence participate in dueling D.C. rallies

Former President Donald Trump and his former vice president, Mike Pence, appeared at dueling rallies in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, with both delivering speeches not far from the U.S. Capitol. Trump repeated his false claim that the 2020 presidential election was stolen from him through voter fraud. "It was a catastrophe, that election. A disgrace to our country," Trump told a cheering crowd, hinting at another presidential bid in 2024. "We may just have to do it again." Pence, whom Trump has called a coward for refusing to try to block certification of President Biden's victory, said it was time to move on. "Some people may choose to focus on the past, but elections are about the future," Pence said.

3

EU calls for member nations to cut natural-gas consumption

European Union energy ministers on Tuesday reached an agreement to call for members of the trading bloc to voluntarily reduce their natural-gas consumption 15 percent by spring. The deal came a day after Russia's state-owned gas monopoly, Gazprom, said it would shut down another turbine for repairs and further cut deliveries through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline, dropping flows to 20 percent of capacity. The Kremlin has blamed sanctions over its invasion of Ukraine for the cutbacks, while Western leaders have accused Moscow of blackmail. "Today, the EU has taken a decisive step to face down the threat of a full gas disruption by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin," said European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen.

4

Garland vows prosecution of anyone 'criminally responsible' for Jan. 6

Attorney General Merrick Garland said Tuesday that the Justice Department would prosecute anyone "criminally responsible for interfering with the peaceful transfer of power," and he declined to rule out charging former President Donald Trump. "We pursue justice without fear or favor," Garland said in a taped interview with NBC News' Lester Holt. Garland said House Jan. 6 committee hearings have revealed the truth about the Jan. 6 Capitol attack by Trump supporters trying to block the certification of his election loss and "what a risk it meant for our democracy." He said the Justice Department also is investigating efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn the 2020 election and use the Justice Department to push baseless claims of voter fraud.

5

Record rainfall leads to flash flooding in St. Louis

Record rainfall caused flash flooding around St. Louis, Missouri, on Tuesday. Firefighters rescued about 70 people who had been trapped in vehicles, streets, and homes. Local fire officials reported at least one death — a 60-year-old man killed in a vehicle submerged under several feet of water. In a video posted on Twitter, St. Louis fire Capt. Garon Mosby urged people to avoid going out in standing water so they wouldn't get stranded and need rescue. "We're being overrun here," Mosby said. The National Weather Service office said the St. Louis metro area got 8.81 inches of rain from midnight Monday to 9 a.m. Tuesday, shattering a record of 6.85 inches set on Aug. 20, 1915.

6

Biden's doctor says president's COVID symptoms have 'almost completely disappeared'

President Biden's physician, Dr. Kevin O'Connor, said Biden's COVID-19 symptoms "have now almost completely disappeared," and his vital signs are good. Biden took his fifth and final dose of the Pfizer antiviral drug Paxlovid on Monday night to prevent severe COVID-19 symptoms. He was fully vaccinated and had received two booster shots before his infection, which doctors say is extremely effective in preventing severe illness. Biden has isolated for five days in compliance with public health guidelines, working remotely from within the White House. He plans to be tested Wednesday and return to in-person work if he's negative. "I hope I look as great as I feel here," Biden said during a virtual meeting on Tuesday.

7

Indiana lawmakers advance proposed abortion ban

The Indiana Senate's Rules and Legislative Procedures Committee voted 7-5 on Tuesday to advance a bill seeking to ban most abortions in the state, with limited exceptions for rape, incest, and the life of the mother. Hundreds of anti-abortion protesters gathered at the Indiana Statehouse, saying the "loopholes" made the bill too "weak." The full Senate could amend the bill before voting on it Thursday as part of a special legislative session. Indiana's abortion laws made national news this month after a 10-year-old Ohio girl traveled to Indiana to obtain an abortion for a pregnancy that resulted from rape. Ohio bans abortion after about six weeks with no exceptions for rape and incest; Indiana currently allows the procedure through 22 weeks.

8

Ex-defense secretary says Trump didn't order troops to protect Capitol on Jan. 6 

Former President Donald Trump never ordered 10,000 troops deployed to protect the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, former acting Defense Secretary Chris Miller testified in a video the Jan. 6 committee released Tuesday. "I was never given any direction or order or knew of any plans of that nature," Miller said in the recorded deposition to the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol by a mob of Trump's supporters. Miller's comment contradicted claims by Trump that he requested up to 20,000 National Guard troops because he had a feeling "the crowd was going to be very large" as lawmakers met to certify the results of the 2020 election.

9

Griner's lawyers tell court she used cannabis to treat injuries

Defense lawyers told a Moscow court on Tuesday that WNBA star Brittney Griner, jailed in Russia on drug charges, used medical cannabis to treat injuries. An expert testified that medical cannabis, although illegal in Russia, is commonly used by elite international athletes and can be more effective than other painkillers, with fewer side effects. Griner was detained at a Moscow airport on Feb. 17 after security agents said they found vape cartridges containing hashish oil in her luggage. Griner pleaded guilty but said she packed hastily and didn't mean to break Russian law. The United States has classified Griner as wrongfully detained, and Griner's supporters say Moscow is using her as leverage as it faces international condemnation for its invasion of Ukraine. Russian authorities say the case isn't political.

10

Uvalde council vows to investigate every officer involved in school-shooting response

The Uvalde, Texas, City Council said Tuesday it would interview every city police officer as part of its investigation of the mass shooting that left 19 students and two teachers dead at Robb Elementary School in May. Council members have appointed a former Austin police detective, Jesse Prado, to lead the inquiry, and vowed to act on the findings. "We owe it to, to the families," another council member, Everardo "Lalo" Zamora, said. Uvalde school officials this week put the school's principal, Mandy Gutierrez, on administrative leave, according to her lawyer, and called for a special legislative session to raise the legal age to buy semiautomatic, assault-style rifles like the one that the killer used.

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