Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 7, 2022

Ukrainian counteroffensive may drive Russians back from Kharkiv, Trump allegedly wanted to kill Iranian military officer to boost reelection campaign, and more

1

Ukrainian counteroffensive may drive Russians back from Kharkiv

A Ukrainian counteroffensive could drive Russian forces back from Kharkiv, Ukraine's second-largest city, according to the Institute for the Study of War. "The Ukrainian counteroffensive north and east of Kharkiv city secured further gains in the last 24 hours and may successfully push Russian forces out of artillery range of Kharkiv in the coming days," the U.S.-based think tank said Friday, adding that the Ukrainian operation "is developing into a successful, broader counteroffensive — as opposed to the more localized counterattacks that Ukrainian forces have conducted throughout the war." Kharkiv, located in northeastern Ukraine, has been under constant threat since the war began.

2

Trump wanted to kill Iranian military officer to boost reelection campaign, memoir alleges

Former President Donald Trump wanted to kill a high-ranking military officer shortly before the 2020 election to boost his own campaign, former Secretary of Defense Mark Esper alleges in his forthcoming memoir, Sacred Oath: Memoirs of a Defense Secretary in Extraordinary Times. According to Esper, who served as defense secretary from July 2019 until just after the 2020 election, the proposed strike "was a really bad idea with very big consequences" and had likely been pitched to the president as a way to "create news" that would benefit him politically. Esper also claims Trump asked him if the U.S. military could "quietly" fire "missiles into Mexico to destroy the drug labs."

3

U.S. economy added 428,000 jobs in April

Amid inflation concerns, the U.S. economy added more jobs last month than expected. The Labor Department said Friday the U.S. added 428,000 jobs in April, more than the roughly 400,000 that experts were predicting. The unemployment rate stayed at 3.6 percent. "Job growth was widespread, led by gains in leisure and hospitality, in manufacturing, and in transportation and warehousing," the Bureau of Labor Statistics said. Last month, the Labor Department said 431,000 jobs were added in March, though this number was revised down on Friday to 428,000. Friday's report was released in the wake of U.S. gross domestic product contracting 1.4 percent in the first quarter of 2022, the worst quarter since the pandemic began.

4

News stories about the U.S. sharing intel with Ukraine are counterproductive, Biden tells officials

President Biden told senior intelligence and defense officials on Friday that news stories about the U.S. sharing intelligence with Ukraine to aid in the fight against Russia have been counterproductive and that the leaks should stop. On Thursday, Fox News host Tucker Carlson accused Biden administration officials of "bragging about" sharing intelligence that helps Ukraine kill Russian soldiers in order to intentionally escalate the war. "Why would you tell people you are doing that? There is only one reason: because you want war with Russia," Carlson said. Some administration officials have also reportedly expressed concerns that public disclosures about intelligence sharing could provoke Russia.

5

Federal judge dismisses Trump lawsuit against Twitter

U.S. District Court Judge James Donato dismissed former President Donald Trump's lawsuit against Twitter on Friday, though Trump's lawyers will have a chance to submit an amended complaint by May 27. Trump sued Twitter for banning him from the platform after the Jan. 6 Capitol riot, claiming that Twitter violated the First Amendment, that Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act is unconstitutional, and that Twitter engaged in "deceptive and misleading" practices. Trump said last month that he would not rejoin Twitter even if new owner Elon Musk offered to reinstate his account.

6

Battle for early-state status in Dems' 2024 presidential primary begins

A number of states and at least one territory have submitted applications to the Democratic National Committee to be considered for coveted early-state status in 2024's Democratic presidential primary. The 16 applicants include New Jersey, Washington, Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, and Puerto Rico. Iowa, which has held the country's first presidential nominating contest in every election since 1972, has applied to retain that slot. In shaking up the election's early states, Democrats hope to eliminate caucuses and give more power to voters of color.

7

NLRB files complaint accusing Starbucks of over 200 violations at Buffalo stores

The National Labor Relations Board issued a compliant Friday accusing Starbucks of over 200 violations of federal labor law at its stores in Buffalo, home to the first Starbucks to unionize. "Starbucks will be held accountable for the union-busting minefield they forced workers to walk through in fighting for their right to organize. This Complaint fully unmasks Starbucks' facade as a 'progressive company,'" Starbucks Workers United said in a statement. The company denies that it broke the law. "We believe the allegations contained in the complaint are false, and we look forward to presenting our evidence when the allegations are adjudicated," Starbucks spokesperson Reggie Borges said.

8

Explosion at hotel in Cuba leaves at least 22 dead and more than 60 hospitalized

At least 22 are dead and more than 60 have been hospitalized after a Friday explosion ripped through Havana's iconic Hotel Saratoga. Witnesses described a "massive blast" that destroyed buses and cars outside. The explosion, which tore off the hotel's facade, is believed to have been caused by a gas leak. "It was not a bomb or an attack. It was an unfortunate accident," said Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel, who has visited the site of the explosion.

9

Belarusian court hands dissident's girlfriend 6-year prison sentence

Sofia Sapega, the Russian girlfriend of detained Belarusian dissident Roman Protasevich, was sentenced on Friday to six years in prison for inciting social hatred. Sapega was traveling with Protasevich last May when their flight was diverted to Minsk by Belarusian authorities. At the time, Belarus claimed it grounded the plane due to a tip about a bomb; but the threat ended up being false, and both Protasevich and Sapega were detained, Reuters writes. The forced diversion was immediately condemned by the international community, many members of which likened the incident to a state-sponsored hijacking. The European Union and the United States responded by enacting more sanctions against Belarus.

10

Harry and Meghan aren't invited to appear on Buckingham Palace balcony during queen's Jubilee

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will officially return to the U.K. to attend Queen Elizabeth's Jubilee, but they won't be joining her on the Buckingham Palace balcony. Buckingham Palace said Friday the queen has decided that when she and other members of the royal family make an appearance on the palace balcony during the celebration of her 70th year on the throne, only those "who are currently undertaking official public duties" on her behalf will join her. That means Harry and Meghan aren't invited, nor is Prince Andrew, who stepped back from public duties over his ties to Jeffrey Epstein and has been accused of sexual assault.

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