10 things you need to know today: September 7, 2023

A judge says Trump is liable for defaming author E. Jean Carroll in 2nd case, Blinken promises another $1 billion aid during Ukraine visit, and more

E. Jean Carroll beats Donald Trump in court again
(Image credit: Luiz C. Ribeiro for NY Daily News via Getty Images)

1. Trump liable in 2nd E. Jean Carroll defamation case

A federal judge ruled Wednesday that former President Donald Trump is liable for defaming writer E. Jean Carroll in 2019 when, as president, he denied her allegation that he sexually assaulted her in a department store dressing room in the mid-1990s. U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan said a previous defamation trial related to the same allegations established in May that Trump sexually abused Carroll, so the second trial will "be limited to the issue of damages only." Carroll was awarded $5 million in damages in the first trial after a jury found that Trump defamed her by saying he didn't rape or even know her, and she wasn't his "type." Trump denies wrongdoing and is appealing the first verdict.

CNN USA Today

2. Blinken promises $1 billion more in aid during Ukraine visit

Secretary of State Antony Blinken arrived in Kyiv on Wednesday in a show of U.S. support for Ukraine, and promised another $1 billion in aid to help the country as it struggles with its counteroffensive against Russia. Hours into Blinken's visit, a Russian missile hit a market in the eastern industrial city of Kostiantynivka, killing at least 17 people and injuring 30. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy condemned what he called the "utter inhumanity" of the strike, the deadliest by Russia in months. "A regular market. Shops. A pharmacy. People who did nothing wrong," Zelenskyy said on Telegram. Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal said a child was among the dead. Russia has repeatedly targeting civilians since invading Ukraine last year.

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The New York Times NBC News

3. Colorado voters sue to keep Trump off 2024 ballot

Six Colorado voters on Wednesday filed a lawsuit seeking to prevent former President Donald Trump from appearing on the state's 2024 presidential ballot, citing Section 3 of the Civil War–era 14th Amendment, which bars anyone who has "engaged in insurrection or rebellion" from holding office. The lawsuit, filed with assistance from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), mirrors efforts in other states and argues Trump "knowingly sought to subvert our Constitution and system of elections through a sustained campaign of lies" culminating in "a violent insurrection at the United States Capitol by a mob who believed they were following his orders." Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung said anyone claiming the 14th Amendment disqualifies Trump is "stretching the law beyond recognition."

The Denver Post CNN

4. Special counsel to seek Hunter Biden indictment within weeks

Special counsel David Weiss' office said in a court filing Wednesday that it plans to seek an indictment against Hunter Biden on gun charges by the end of September. Hunter Biden, President Biden's son, had reached a plea deal on the gun count and two tax charges, but the agreement fell apart after a judge raised questions about the terms. Under the deal, the president's son would have avoided prosecution on the charge for possessing a gun during a period when he was admittedly using drugs, provided he met certain conditions. Hunter Biden's attorney Abbe Lowell said he expected a "fair resolution" of the case "based on the evidence and the law, not outside political pressure."

CNN

5. Biden blocks oil drilling in much of Arctic Alaska

The Biden administration announced Wednesday it would ban oil and gas drilling in 13 million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska and cancel drilling leases in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The move marked the administration's most forceful step yet to protect pristine federal lands from energy exploration. It won't stop the $8 billion Willow oil drilling project President Biden signed off on in March, angering climate activists who called it a "carbon bomb." Biden said the new protections would "help preserve our Arctic lands and wildlife, while honoring the culture, history and enduring wisdom of Alaska Natives who have lived on these lands since time immemorial."

The New York Times The Associated Press

6. Mexico's Supreme Court decriminalizes abortion nationwide

Mexico's Supreme Court decriminalized abortion in federal health facilities nationwide on Wednesday, a sweeping decision that will give more than 70% of the women in the country access to legal abortion. The decision came two years after the court ruled abortion was not a crime in northern Coahuila state, a landmark ruling that has been called the Mexican Roe v. Wade, according to The Washington Post. Since then, 12 Mexican states have decriminalized the procedure one by one. Wednesday's decision struck down the part of the federal penal code that criminalized abortion, ruling it unconstitutional. The nonprofit Information Group on Reproductive Choice, which took the challenge to the Supreme Court, called the decision a "historic milestone."

Politico The Washington Post

7. Judge orders Texas to remove Rio Grande floating barriers

A federal judge on Wednesday ordered Texas to remove floating barriers Gov. Greg Abbott (R) had installed in the Rio Grande to deter migrants from crossing from Mexico into the United States. U.S. District Judge David Ezra, a Reagan appointee, ruled that the 1,000-foot-long string of large orange buoys ringed with saw blades in Eagle Pass lacked required federal authorization and "irreparably harms the public safety, navigation, and the operations of federal agency officials in and around the Rio Grande." Abbott said he will appeal. Lawyers for Texas argue that installing the barrier was an act of self-defense against an "invasion" of undocumented migrants.

NPR

8. Lee expected to strengthen into major hurricane

Hurricane Lee started Wednesday as a tropical storm, but its maximum sustained winds increased to 80 miles per hour early Thursday. The National Hurricane Center said Lee was likely to continue intensifying rapidly and become an "extremely dangerous" Category 4 hurricane with top wind speeds as high as 150 mph as it passes over abnormally warm water near the northeastern Caribbean. "There is increasing confidence on Lee becoming a very powerful hurricane by this weekend," the hurricane center said. Lee is heading west-northwest. Forecasters expect it to curve north as it approaches the Bahamas and Florida, so its potential impact on the Eastern U.S. remains uncertain.

South Florida Sun-Sentinel National Hurricane Center

9. 2 women picked as Mexico's leading 2024 presidential candidates

Mexico's governing Morena party on Wednesday named former Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum as its candidate in next year's presidential election. Days earlier, the main opposition alliance nominated Xochitl Galvez, an entrepreneur and senator of Indigenous origin. With both main candidates women, Mexico is on track to elect its first female leader in 2024. That marks an "extraordinary change," said Jesús Silva-Herzog Márquez, a political scientist at the Monterrey Institute of Technology. "Mexico, by the end of next year, will be governed by a woman." Sheinbaum, a close ally of President Andrés Manuel López Obrador, beat out five rivals within her party by winning five nationwide polls, averaging 39% of the vote. "Today democracy won," she said.

The New York Times Reuters

10. Spanish soccer player Jenni Hermoso accuses embattled official of sexual assault

Jenni Hermoso, a star of Spain's Women's World Cup champion soccer team, has accused national soccer federation chief Luis Rubiales of sexual assault for kissing her on the lips without her consent during the awards ceremony, Spanish prosecutors said Wednesday. Rubiales, who has been suspended, has said the "little peck" was consensual, and called the backlash against him a "witch hunt." Hermoso, 33, said it wasn't consensual, and made her feel "vulnerable and the victim of aggression, an impulsive, sexist act." In addition to the potential criminal case, Rubiales faces investigations into his conduct by Spain's top court and soccer's world governing body, FIFA. The incident occurred in Australia but can be prosecuted under Spanish law.

ESPN

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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.