10 things you need to know today: December 8, 2023

Hunter Biden is indicted on tax evasion charges, Israel says Hamas fired rockets from 'humanitarian zones,' and more

Hunter Biden
Hunter Biden
(Image credit: Ryan Collerd / Bloomberg via Getty Images)

1. Hunter Biden indicted on tax evasion charges

Special counsel David Weiss on Thursday filed an indictment against Hunter Biden, accusing President Joe Biden's son of evading $1.4 million in federal taxes from 2016 through 2019. During that period, Hunter Biden earned more than $7 million, including payments for his work for energy companies in Ukraine and China, according to The Washington Post. Prosecutors say he spent that money on an "extravagant lifestyle" instead of paying his taxes. He also faces gun charges filed in Delaware in September after a plea deal on both cases fell apart. Defense attorney Abbe Lowell said Hunter Biden paid his tax bill two years ago and wouldn't have been charged if his "last name was anything other than Biden." The Washington Post, CNN

2. Israel says Hamas fired rockets from 'humanitarian zones'

Israel on Thursday accused Hamas of firing rockets from "humanitarian zones" where the Israeli military has directed people fleeing the fighting in southern Gaza. The allegation intensified fears that nowhere is safe for civilians in the Palestinian enclave. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said U.S. pressure on Israel has yielded incremental improvement in Israel's protection of civilians and the flow of aid into Gaza. The United Nations has warned that without a cease-fire, Gaza faces a looming humanitarian catastrophe as aid deliveries are disrupted and civil order breaks down. The New York Times, The Guardian

3. Texas judge grants emergency abortion request despite ban

A Texas district judge in Austin ruled Thursday that a pregnant woman whose fetus has a lethal genetic condition can terminate the pregnancy despite the state's abortion ban. Lawyers for the woman, Kate Cox, said the lawsuit was the first of its kind since the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the landmark case that had made abortion legal nationwide. Cox — a mother of two — is 20 months pregnant. She and her husband want to have a third child, but her doctors said continuing the nonviable pregnancy threatened her health and ability to have another baby. The Texas attorney general's office is considering appealing the ruling and threatened to prosecute Cox's doctor despite the judge's order. The Texas Tribune, USA Today

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4. Poll: Haley edges ahead of DeSantis

A Wall Street Journal poll released Thursday showed former United Nations ambassador Nikki Haley edging into second place in a Republican presidential primary field still dominated by former President Donald Trump. The poll, released the day after the party's fourth primary debate, showed Haley with the support of 15% of the poll's participants, narrowly ahead but essentially tied with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, at 14%. The other candidates had single-digit support. Political observers said Haley's recent surge explained the attacks rivals focused on her during the debate. The Wall Street Journal

5. Trump appeals immunity rejection

Former President Donald Trump filed notice Thursday that he is appealing a ruling against his argument that he is immune from prosecution on charges of plotting to overturn his 2020 election loss to President Joe Biden. The appeal marked one of the Trump team's last options to delay the federal election interference trial, which U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan has scheduled to start in March. The one-page filing started a process that could potentially reach the Supreme Court in the coming months as Trump runs for president again. If he delays the trial until after the election, and wins, Trump is expected to engineer the case's dismissal. The Associated Press

6. House censures Rep. Jamaal Bowman for pulling fire alarm

The House voted mostly along party lines Thursday to censure Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-N.Y.) for pulling a fire alarm in a congressional office building even though there was no emergency. The incident occurred in September while the House was voting on a measure related to preventing a government shutdown. Republicans accused Bowman of trying to delay the funding vote. Then-Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) called for punishing Bowman and likened the incident to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump. Bowman said he pulled the lever because he thought it would open a door. Bloomberg, NBC News

7. Trump attends civil trial as defense witness says 'no fraud here'

Former President Donald Trump on Thursday attended his ongoing New York civil fraud trial, as an expert witness for the defense told the court that Trump's statements about his finances were detailed and transparent. "There is no fraud here," said the witness, New York University accounting professor Eli Bartov. New York Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit against Trump, his two eldest sons, and their company, accusing them of inflating the value of some of their properties to get favorable loans. James is seeking $250 million in penalties. Trump is expected to testify Monday as the trial wraps up. Reuters

8. UNLV gunman had a hit list, targeted faculty

All four victims shot by a gunman at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas were faculty members, police said Thursday. Three of the victims died. The fourth was critically injured. Investigators said the attacker, who was killed in a shootout with police, had a list of people he was targeting, but the victims weren't on it. Police confirmed that the suspect was a college professor who had applied for a job at UNLV but wasn't hired. Police have not named the suspect, but news organizations have identified him as Anthony Polito, 67, who once worked at East Carolina University in North Carolina. USA Today

9. Ex-police chief sentenced to 11 years for Jan. 6 role

A judge on Thursday handed down an 11-year prison sentence to a former California police chief, Alan Hostetter, who brought a hatchet to the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. It was one of the longest sentences for crimes committed during the riot. Hostetter, who didn't enter the Capitol building, was convicted earlier this year on several counts, including entering restricted grounds with a deadly weapon. He represented himself at trial, and in a statement asking for leniency, he claimed the 2020 election was "stolen" from former President Donald Trump, and the Jan. 6 Capitol attack was a "false flag" operation to entrap protesters. He previously led pro-Trump protests and called for "traitors" inside the government to be "executed as an example." Axios, CBS News

10. Donor calls for UPenn president to resign

Pressure mounted on University of Pennsylvania President Liz Magill on Thursday after a prominent donor, Ross Stevens, called for her to resign and threatened to claw back a $100 million gift. The university's board of trustees held an emergency meeting as Magill faced harsh criticism over her responses at a recent House hearing in which she and the presidents of Harvard and MIT stopped short of saying that calling for the genocide of Jews would violate their code of conduct on harassment. Magill had already faced criticism from donors, faculty, students and alumni over antisemitism on campus since the Israel-Hamas conflict erupted. UPenn's Wharton business school board called for a leadership change. CNN

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