10 things you need to know today: July 19, 2023

Trump says he expects special counsel to indict him over Jan. 6, a U.S. soldier is detained after crossing into North Korea, and more

Donald Trump speaks at a lectern
Trump made his announcement about a possible indictment on Truth Social
(Image credit: GIORGIO VIERA / AFP via Getty Images)

1. Trump says he faces likely indictment in federal Jan. 6 investigation

Former President Donald Trump said Tuesday that he is likely to be indicted over his efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Trump said his lawyers received a letter from "Deranged Jack Smith," the special counsel investigating Trump, saying he was a target of the grand jury investigation into the events surrounding the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by a mob of Trump supporters aiming to reverse Trump's loss to President Biden. Trump noted in a post on his Truth Social social media platform that such a letter "almost always means an Arrest and Indictment." Smith has already indicted Trump on charges that he mishandled secret government documents found at his Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida, endangering national security.

The New York Times

2. U.S. soldier detained after crossing North Korea border

A troubled U.S. soldier who was about to be sent home from South Korea for disciplinary reasons ran across the border Tuesday into North Korea, where he was detained. The soldier, identified as Pvt. 2nd Class Travis King, was at Incheon Airport when he fled by blending in with tourists heading to the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas. When the group reached the DMZ, about an hour and a half from the airport, King "bolted," the Pentagon said. King is the first known American to be taken captive in North Korea since Bruce Byron Lowrance​ illegally entered the country from China in 2018 and was detained for a month.

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NBC News

3. Biden meets with Herzog amid tensions over Israel's judicial reforms

President Biden on Tuesday held a high-profile meeting with Israeli President Isaac Herzog at the White House as Biden sought to ease tensions with the conservative government of Israel's prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu. Herzog, a more moderate figure with a mostly ceremonial role, made a veiled reference to Netanyahu's controversial push to reform the judiciary in what protesters have called a threat to Israel's democracy. Herzog told Biden Israel "is going through a heated debate as a society" but that the debate showed Israel's democracy is "strong and resilient." Biden, who spoke to Netanyahu on Monday, said he had confirmed to Netanyahu that America's commitment to Israel remained "ironclad." Biden and Netanyahu agreed to meet later this year.

The Washington Post Haaretz

4. Michigan attorney general charges 16 GOP fake electors with felonies

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel on Tuesday filed charges against 16 Republicans who signed a certificate falsely claiming then-President Donald Trump beat President Biden in Michigan's 2020 presidential vote and said they were casting the state's 16 electoral votes for Trump. The 16 fake electors, including Michigan Republican Party Co-Chair Meshawn Maddock, face numerous felony counts, including forgery and conspiring to publish a counterfeit record. Nessel, a Democrat, said the "false electors' actions undermined the public's faith in the integrity of our elections." The allegations were the most serious yet in Michigan connected to the efforts by Trump and his allies to overturn Trump's loss to Biden in the state.

The Detroit News

5. Federal judge in Florida hears arguments on Trump trial start date

U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon appeared skeptical Tuesday of former President Donald Trump's request to delay his trial for allegedly mishandling classified government documents until after the 2024 presidential election. Attorneys for Trump, the front-runner for the Republican nomination, argued in the first hearing for both sides before Cannon that holding the trial after the election will ensure it's fair. Prosecutors want the trial to start as soon as December. Cannon said in a 90-minute hearing in Fort Pierce, Florida, that she would consider both arguments and make a decision "promptly."

The Washington Post

6. Extreme heat intensifies around the world

Heat waves continued to set records in the United States, Europe, and Asia on Tuesday, with more days of dangerously high temperatures to come. Hundreds of millions of people from China to Spain to the United States were exposed to extreme heat. U.S. climate change envoy John Kerry urged Chinese officials to join in leading a global response, saying rising temperatures pose "a threat to humankind." Weather forecasters warned the heat waves provided a glimpse of what climate change will mean for the planet. The European Union's emergency response coordination center issued red alerts for most of Italy, northeastern Spain, Croatia, Serbia, southern Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Montenegro.

The New York Times Reuters

7. North Korea test fires missiles after U.S. nuclear-armed sub visits South Korea

North Korea launched two short-range ballistic missiles early Wednesday in an apparent show of defiance after the first South Korea port call in decades by a U.S. nuclear-armed submarine. The missiles flew 341 miles before coming down in waters east of the Korean Peninsula, according to South Korea's Joint Chiefs of Staff. Pyongyang had been expressing anger over the U.S. plan to send the nuclear-armed sub, which made port in Busan, South Korea, on Tuesday. Last Wednesday, North Korea test fired its new Hwasong-18 intercontinental ballistic missile. South Korea called the missile launches a "major provocation."

The Associated Press

8. Powerful earthquake felt across Central America

A powerful 6.5 magnitude earthquake in the Pacific Ocean shook parts of Central America and sent people in El Salvador's capital, San Salvador, rushing out of buildings into the streets. Lawmakers fled the country's Legislative Assembly, but later resumed their session. The quake was centered about 27 miles south of Intipuca, El Salvador, outside the Gulf of Fonseca, where Honduras, El Salvador, and Nicaragua have coastal areas. There were no immediate reports of injuries or significant damage. The quake was also felt in Honduras, Guatemala, and Belize.

The Associated Press Reuters

9. Las Vegas police search home in Tupac Shakur cold case

Las Vegas police this week served a search warrant at a house seeking information related to the 1996 murder of rapper Tupac Shakur. "It's a case that's gone unsolved and hopefully one day we can change that," Metropolitan Police Department Lt. Jason Johansson said. Shakur was shot four times in his car at a red light on the Las Vegas strip, and died in a hospital six days later. A neighbor of the house that was searched said officers got out of patrol cars and yelled at the occupants to come out with their hands up. They apparently complied and nobody was arrested, the neighbor said.

Las Vegas Review-Journal

10. Judge finds 'Bullhorn Lady' guilty in Jan. 6 case

A Pennsylvania woman, Rachel Powell, was found guilty of felony charges for her role in the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol attack, during which she gave instructions to rioters with a bullhorn. Powell, who was known as "Bullhorn Lady," was convicted of interfering with officers performing their duties and obstruction of an official proceeding. Her bench trial was held in May but U.S. District Judge Royce Lamberth delivered the verdict Tuesday. Powell appeared at the hearing with her children and wore a red hat with former President Donald Trump's "Make America Great Again" slogan on it. An online group, "Sedition Hunters," tracked down Powell's identity, and The New Yorker revealed it in a February 2021 article.

NBC News

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.