Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 24, 2022

Nadler defeats Maloney in N.Y. primary between Democratic colleagues, jury convicts two men in plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, and more

1

Nadler beats Maloney in New York, Crist advances in Florida

Rep. Jerrold Nadler beat Rep. Carolyn Maloney in a New York Democratic primary pitting two longtime colleagues, both chairs of powerful committees, against each other in a new Manhattan district drawn during redistricting. Pat Ryan, a Democratic county executive in New York's Hudson Valley, won a close special House election in a swing district to keep the seat in Democrats' hands. He beat Republican Marc Molinaro 52 percent to 48 percent in a race that centered on abortion rights and was considered an early look at the impact of the Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade in the November midterms. In Florida, Democrats chose Rep. Charlie Crist to challenge Gov. Ron DeSantis (R), and Rep. Val Demings to face Sen. Marco Rubio (R).

2

Jury convicts 2 men over plot to kidnap Michigan governor

A federal jury convicted Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. for plotting to kidnap Gov. Gretchen Whitmer (D) in response to her handling of the coronavirus pandemic. In a previous trial, the jury deadlocked on Fox and Croft, and acquitted two other men. This time, the jury found Fox and Croft guilty of kidnapping conspiracy and conspiracy to possess weapons of mass destruction. Croft was also convicted on a separate weapons charge. Prosecutors said the plotters "wanted to execute" Whitmer. "This verdict brings important accountability for perpetrators of violence against public officials," said former U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan Barbara McQuade. The defense said the prosecution was partisan.

3

Ex-detective pleads guilty to lying on Breonna Taylor search warrant

Former police detective Kelly Goodlett pleaded guilty in federal court Tuesday to working with another officer to falsify a search warrant application for the raid in which police fatally shot Breonna Taylor in her Louisville, Kentucky, apartment. Goodlett also admitted to trying to cover up the effort to mislead the judge who authorized the faulty warrant. Goodlett's plea makes her the first officer convicted in connection to the March 2020 raid on Taylor's apartment, purportedly to search for evidence of drug dealing by Taylor's former boyfriend. The maximum sentence Goodlett could face is five years. A fourth officer who fired 10 shots into two apartments faces charges of violating Taylor's civil rights.

4

Special prosecutor won't prosecute Georgia officers over Rayshard Brooks' death

A Georgia special prosecutor announced Tuesday that he has decided not to prosecute two Atlanta police officers over the fatal shooting of Rayshard Brooks in the parking lot of a Wendy's restaurant. Pete Skandalakis, executive director of the Prosecuting Attorneys' Council of Georgia, said he plans to dismiss felony murder and other criminal charges against officers Garrett Rolfe, who shot Brooks, and Devin Brosnan. Skandalakis said an analysis of videos taken during the June 2020 shooting showed it was a "routine arrest which, in a split second, became a violent fight initiated by" Brooks. The videos, showing a Black man shot by a white officer as he ran away, sparked protests. An attorney for Brooks' family said they were "heartbroken" by the decision.

5

U.S. advises Americans to leave Ukraine

The United States on Tuesday urged Americans to leave Ukraine ahead of potential Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure and government buildings around Ukraine's independence day on Wednesday, when Ukraine will mark 31 years since it broke ties with the Soviet Union. The day falls exactly six months after Russia invaded Ukraine. "The U.S. Embassy urges U.S. citizens to depart Ukraine now using privately available ground transportation options if it is safe to do so," the embassy said in a security alert. "The security situation throughout Ukraine is highly volatile and conditions may deteriorate without warning." Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that Russian forces might intensify missile strikes and other attacks around independence day. His government has urged Ukrainians to be "especially careful."

6

Ammunition cache catches fire in Russia near Ukraine border

Ammunition stored in southern Russia near the Ukrainian border burst into flames Tuesday. It was the second ammunition depot to catch fire in two weeks on the Russian side of the border. Russia said the fire, which forced people near the village of Timonovo to evacuate, was caused by high temperatures. No injuries were reported. Ukraine seldom claims responsibility for explosions in Russia or Russian-occupied territory, although it often mocks Russia and suggests it is careless or hiding the real cause of the incidents. "In a few months we will find out whether Russian ammunition can explode because of the cold," Ukraine's defense ministry tweeted Tuesday. "The five main causes of sudden explosions in Russia are: winter, spring, summer, autumn, and smoking."

7

Biden decision expected on student loan forgiveness

President Biden is expected to announce as early as Wednesday whether his administration will extend the repayment moratorium on student loans in place since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing a source familiar with the matter. The current payment pause is set to expire Aug. 31, and borrowers have been waiting to hear about an expected extension. Student debt relief advocates also think Biden will announce a plan to forgive as much as $10,000 for borrowers who make under $125,000 a year. Senior administration officials were still working on the policy and the White House has kept the deliberations quiet, so the details could change, according to The Wall Street Journal.

8

Ex-Twitter security chief files whistleblower complaint 

Twitter's former head of security, Peiter "Mudge" Zatko, said in a whistleblower disclosure obtained by CNN and The Washington Post that the social media company has misled its board, investors, and government regulators about security vulnerabilities. Zatko sent the complaint to Congress and federal agencies last month, warning that Twitter has not come clean about "extreme, egregious deficiencies" in its defenses against hackers. Zatko, a widely admired hacker, depicted Twitter as a chaotic company that is vulnerable to foreign intelligence services. He also said Twitter's leaders lack the resources to determine how many bots are on the platform, an issue Tesla CEO Elon Musk cited to justify his effort to back out of his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter.

9

Ex-Tennessee House speaker arrested on bribery, money-laundering charges

Disgraced former Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada (R) and his former chief of staff, Cade Cothren, were arrested Tuesday on federal bribery and money-laundering charges. Casada and Cothren are accused of exploiting their positions to direct money to themselves through the Phoenix Solutions political consulting firm, with the collaboration of another, unnamed lawmaker. Cothren allegedly registered the firm in New Mexico, where LLCs can be registered anonymously, to keep their identities hidden. The arrests followed the March resignation of Rep. Robin Smith, also a Republican, who pleaded guilty to federal wire fraud charges involving Casada and Cothren. A lawyer for Cothren said he will be "vindicated." Casada declined to comment.

10

Finnish prime minister apologizes over party picture

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin apologized Tuesday for a picture from a private party at her official residence. After public debate over video of Marin and friends dancing with Finnish celebrities that surfaced last week, another photo circulated on social media showing two female influencers kissing each other and covering their bare breasts with a "Finland" sign from Marin's official residence, Reuters reported. "The picture is not appropriate. I apologize for it," Marin said. "That kind of a picture should not have been taken but otherwise, nothing extraordinary happened at the get-together." Marin, 36, is one of the world's youngest national leaders. Some Finns have defended Marin's right to a private life, while others questioned her judgment. She took a drug test due to the controversy, and it came back negative.

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