Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 8, 2022

A Las Vegas official is arrested in connection with investigative reporter's murder, lawyer says Steve Bannon will plead not guilty on New York charges, and more

1

Las Vegas official arrested in connection with murder of investigative reporter

Las Vegas police on Wednesday arrested Clark County Public Administrator Robert Telles on suspicion of murder in the stabbing death of Las Vegas Review-Journal reporter Jeff German, who wrote investigative articles Telles blamed for his June primary election loss. Earlier Wednesday, police searched Telles' house and towed away a red SUV that matched the description of a vehicle believed linked to the killer. The search was the first indication the murder might be linked to German's work to expose public wrongdoing. German reported earlier this year that Telles' employees said he fueled a hostile working environment and had an "inappropriate relationship" with a subordinate staffer. German reportedly was researching a follow-up article in the days before his death.

2

Bannon to surrender, plead not guilty to New York charges

Stephen Bannon's lawyer said the one-time adviser to former President Donald Trump would surrender to New York authorities at 9 a.m. Thursday and plead not guilty to charges in a state criminal indictment. The Manhattan district attorney's office has been investigating Bannon over a private effort that raised $25 million to help build a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Bannon and three others were arrested in August 2020 on federal fraud charges connected to the "We Build the Wall" project. Federal prosecutors accused Bannon of diverting hundreds of thousands of dollars to cover personal expenses. Trump pardoned him before his case went to trial, but presidential pardons don't apply to state cases. Bannon accused New York of a "partisan political weaponization of the criminal justice system."

3

E.U. proposes capping Russia gas prices

The European Union on Wednesday proposed capping Russian gas prices in member states, escalating a fight with Moscow over energy supplies. Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened to cut off all Russian energy supplies to Europe in response to any price cap. The clash threatened to drive up already high European gas prices, and increased the potential for rationing in European countries this winter. Europe has accused Russia of using energy shipments to punish Western nations for imposing sanctions over Russia's invasion of Ukraine, though European leaders are beginning to sound more confident they have enough fuel stored to last until spring. Putin blames the sanctions for shutting down key pipelines. E.U. energy ministers have scheduled an emergency meeting for Friday.

4

Suspect arrested in Memphis shooting spree that killed 4

Memphis, Tennessee, police on Wednesday arrested a 19-year-old suspect in connection with a series of shootings that left four people dead and three wounded. The Memphis Police Department had launched a search for the suspect, Ezekiel Dejuan Kelly, after getting a call from "a concerned citizen" who told them Kelly was on Facebook Live threatening to "cause harm to citizens." Police had advised city residents to stay indoors during the search for Kelly. The shooting spree started early Wednesday morning, when a 24-year-old man was fatally shot in his driveway. The killer then drove around shooting others, apparently at random. Kelly had been released from prison in March after serving 11 months of a three-year sentence for aggravated assault.

5

2nd Canada mass-stabbing suspect dies in custody

The Royal Canadian Mounted Police on Wednesday caught Myles Sanderson, 32, the second suspect in a stabbing spree that killed 10 people and wounded 18, but he died shortly after being taken into custody. Sanderson had driven into a ditch after a high-speed chase near the town of Rosthern, about 80 miles southwest of the James Smith Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. Officers found a knife in the vehicle, a stolen white Chevrolet Avalanche. Police conducted a four-day search for Sanderson after he and his brother, Damien Sanderson, 31, were identified as the suspects in the Sunday attacks in the James Smith Cree Nation and the nearby town of Weldon. Damien Sanderson was found dead Monday near one of the crime scenes.

6

Putin to meet with China's Xi in continuing Asia outreach

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that he will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week, part of an ongoing effort to strengthen economic ties with Asian partners to offset the impact of Western sanctions. Putin was defiant, saying the U.S. and its allies in Europe and elsewhere have failed in their "economic, financial, and technological aggression" against Russia in response to its invasion of Ukraine. "We have not lost anything and will not lose anything," Putin said at an economic conference in Vladivostock, in far-eastern Russia. The United States estimates that 80,000 Russian soldiers have been killed or wounded. Ukraine on Wednesday confirmed that it has expanded its southern counteroffensive to northern Kharkiv.

7

White House unveils Obamas' official portraits

Former President Barack Obama and former first lady Michelle Obama returned to the White House on Wednesday for the unveiling of their official White House portraits. It was the first time the Obamas had returned together since 2017. The paintings were the first added to the White House Collection since Obama, during his presidency, welcomed former President George W. Bush and Laura Bush for the unveiling of their portraits in an emotional, bipartisan ceremony in 2012. President Obama's portrait was painted by Robert McCurdy. Michelle Obama's was painted by Sharon Sprung. White House portraits are usually unveiled under a president's immediate successor, but former President Donald Trump didn't hold a ceremony during his term in office.

8

Texas judge rules government can't mandate HIV drug coverage

U.S. District Judge Reed O'Connor in Texas ruled Wednesday that a group of Christian conservatives could not be forced to cover HIV prevention drugs under the Affordable Care Act because doing so would violate their religious freedom. A group of self-described Christian business owners and employees in Texas argued in the lawsuit that the health care law's mandate to provide the coverage violates their constitutional rights because it forces them to pay for medications they say "encourage homosexual behavior," in violation of their religious faith. O'Connor has heard challenges against ObamaCare before. In 2018 the judge ruled the entire ACA was unconstitutional, but the Supreme Court overturned that decision.

9

Leaked Oath Keepers membership list included hundreds of public officials

Hundreds of law enforcement officers, elected officials, and military members are named in leaked membership rolls of the Oath Keepers, a far-right extremist group accused of heavy involvement in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack, according to a report released Wednesday by the Anti-Defamation League Center on Extremism. The researchers examined membership lists with more than 38,000 names and found more than 370 names of people believed to currently work in police and sheriff's offices. More than 100 others appear to be active-duty military personnel, and more than 80 are believed to be aspiring public officials or already serving in public office. The transparency collective Distributed Denial of Secrets compiled and published the database.

10

Judge says Musk can amend Twitter countersuit to include whistleblower complaint

A Delaware judge on Wednesday said that Tesla CEO Elon Musk could amend his countersuit against Twitter to include recent whistleblower allegations by the social media company's former security chief. Ex-head of security Peter Zatko, who was fired by Twitter earlier this year, filed a whistleblower complaint saying the company failed to adequately protect sensitive user data and prevent the use of fake accounts. Musk is trying to back out of a $44 billion deal to buy Twitter. He says the company has not satisfied his demand to know how many of Twitter's users are bots. Twitter is suing to force him to go through with the acquisition. The judge, Chancellor Kathaleen McCormick, denied Musk's request to delay the trial to November from Oct. 17.

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