10 things you need to know today: August 1, 2023

Hunter Biden associate Devon Archer testifies to GOP-led House panel, Georgia rejects Trump's bid to challenge prosecutor's election investigation, and more

Hunter Biden associate Devon Archer
Devon Archer is Hunter Biden's former business partner
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images)

1. Hunter Biden associate testifies to House panel

Devon Archer, Hunter Biden's former business partner, told members of the Republican-led House Oversight Committee that President Biden's son put his father, then vice president, on the speaker phone numerous times to impress associates, but "never once spoke about any business dealings." Rep. Dan Goldman, who represented Democrats in the closed-door hearing, said Hunter Biden sold the "illusion of access" to his father by falsely claiming credit for things his father did as vice president. The White House said the testimony fell short of the "bombshell evidence" Republicans promised from their "much-hyped witness." But Rep. James Comer, the panel's Republican chair, said "Joe Biden was 'the brand' that his son sold around the world to enrich the Biden family."

Reuters The Associated Press

2. Georgia judge rejects Trump challenge of election investigation

A Fulton County, Georgia, judge on Monday rejected former President Donald Trump's last-ditch attempt to challenge the local district attorney's investigation into Trump's alleged attempt to interfere with the state's 2020 presidential election. The ruling came in response to a request by Trump and Cathy Latham, an "alternate" GOP elector, to disqualify Fulton District Attorney Fani Willis and the investigative grand jury that considered evidence her office presented in the case. The investigation is expected to result in criminal charges within weeks. In a scathing order, Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney wrote that being the target "of a highly publicized criminal investigation is likely an unwelcome and unpleasant experience," but that doesn't give Trump the right to "halt the investigation."

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The Atlanta Journal-Constitution The Associated Press

3. Drone strikes same Moscow office tower targeted two days ago

Russia said Tuesday that it shot down two more Ukrainian drones that targeted Moscow, and electronically jammed a third that crashed into an office tower hit by drones two days earlier. Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin said on Telegram there were no injuries in the blast on the building's 21st floor, occupied by the Russian Economy Ministry. Ukraine didn't immediately comment. The attack was the third targeting Moscow since July 24. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the military to boost the Russian capital's air defenses in May after the military downed eight drones involved in the biggest attack on Moscow since Russia invaded Ukraine last year. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said this week it was "inevitable" the fighting would spread into Russia.


4. Ukraine, Croatia agree on alternative route for grain exports

Ukraine and Croatia have reached an agreement to export Ukrainian grain through Croatian ports on the Danube River, a deal seen crucial to keeping world food prices stable. "We agreed on the possibility of using Croatian ports on the Danube and the Adriatic Sea to transport Ukrainian grain," Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba said Monday after meeting with Croatian counterpart Gordan Grlic-Radman, according to the Ukrainian government website. "Now we will work to build the most efficient routes to these ports." Ukraine had to seek alternative routes for its grains and edible oils after Russia ended the United Nations-brokered Black Sea Grain Initiative, which let ships carry the exports safely through the Black Sea.


5. Trump aide makes 1st court appearance on alleged document coverup plot

Former President Donald Trump's property manager at his Mar-a-Lago residence and club in Florida made his first appearance in court Monday to face charges of conspiring with Trump to obstruct the investigation into Trump's handling of classified documents after leaving office. Prosecutors from special counsel Jack Smith's office last week accused the property manager, Carlos De Oliveira, and another aide of plotting with Trump, and telling the Mar-a-Lago information technology expert that "the boss" wanted him to erase the computer server that stored security video from cameras outside a storage room where some secret documents were kept. De Oliveira was released on bond and will enter a plea at an Aug. 10 hearing.

The New York Times

6. 'Doomsday' mom sentenced to life for her children's murders

An Idaho judge on Monday sentenced Lori Vallow Daybell to three consecutive terms of life in prison with no possibility of parole for the murders of her two youngest children, and conspiracy to murder her husband's ex-wife, Tammy Daybell. The sentencing came more than three years after authorities found the bodies of her son, Joshua "JJ" Vallow, 7, and daughter Tylee Ryan, 16, in her husband's backyard in rural eastern Idaho. The case attracted national attention because of the "doomsday" religious beliefs of Vallow Daybell and her husband, a self-published writer of apocalyptic religious fiction who is awaiting trial on the murder charges. Prosecutors said the killings were part of a bizarre plot to steal Social Security and insurance money.

USA Today

7. 'Euphoria' actor Angus Cloud dies at age 25

Actor Angus Cloud, who starred as Fezco "Fez" O'Neill on the HBO series "Euphoria," died Monday in Oakland, California, his family announced. He was 25. The cause of death wasn't given, but Cloud's family said that last week "he buried his father and intensely struggled with this loss." The family statement added that Cloud "was open about his battle with mental health." "Euphoria" was Cloud's first acting credit. He was out with friends in Brooklyn when a casting scout approached him, thinking he would be perfect for the show. He later appeared in the films "North Hollywood" and "The Line," and music videos for Becky G and Karol G and Juice WRLD.


8. ISIS-K claims responsibility for Pakistan bombing as death toll rises

Islamic State Khorasan, the Islamic State affiliate in South Asia, claimed responsibility Monday for a suicide bombing that killed dozens of people at a political rally in northwest Pakistan on Sunday. The group, also known as ISIS-K, said the attack was part of its war against democracy, The New York Times reported, citing the SITE Intelligence Group. The death toll from the blast rose to at least 54 on Monday. Another 200 people were wounded. The attack was one of the deadliest Pakistan has seen for months in the region near the country's border with Afghanistan, where Islamist militant groups have been active in the last year. Pakistan accuses the Taliban of giving extremists shelter since returning to power, which Taliban officials deny.

The New York Times

9. Georgia utility cranks up new nuclear reactor

Georgia Power Co. announced Monday the first totally new U.S. nuclear reactor built in decades had completed tests and was supplying electricity to the grid. At full power, Unit 3 at Plant Vogtle southeast of Augusta will produce 1,100 megawatts, enough to power 500,000 homes and businesses. The reactor is sending electricity to utilities in Georgia, Florida, and Alabama. Another new reactor at the plant is nearing completion. The two new reactors were supposed to cost $14 billion, but the price tag ballooned to $31 billion. The plant's debut came as government officials and some utilities seek ways to fight climate change and take a fresh look at nuclear power as an alternative to plants that burn fossil fuels.

The Associated Press

10. Pee-wee Herman actor Paul Reubens dies at 70

Actor Paul Reubens, best known for his off-the-wall Pee-wee Herman character, has died at age 70 after a private battle with cancer. Reubens started his career in the Los Angeles comedy troupe the Groundlings in the 1970s, before launching "The Pee-wee Herman Show" as a stage production in 1980. The character became a cult hero with his first movie, "Pee-wee's Big Adventure," with director Tim Burton in 1985, and his 1986-1990 TV show "Pee-wee's Playhouse." Reubens' image as a childhood hero was derailed with his 1991 arrest for indecent exposure in a Florida adult movie theater, but he revived his character in 2010 with the "Pee-wee Herman Show" on Broadway and his last movie, "Pee-wee's Big Holiday" in 2016.


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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.