Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 28, 2022

Trump and Cruz deliver remarks at NRA convention, U.S. sanctions Russian banks over North Korean missile tests, and more

1

Trump, Cruz deliver remarks at NRA convention just days after Uvalde shooting

Former President Donald Trump and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz (R) both delivered speeches at the annual convention of the National Rifle Association in Houston on Friday. "The existence of evil in our world is not a reason to disarm law-abiding citizens," Trump said, refusing to endorse new gun control measures after a school shooting in Uvalde, Texas, killed 21 people on Tuesday. Cruz also doubled down, arguing that if gun bans worked, "Chicago wouldn't be the murder hellhole that it has been for far too long." Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott (R) had been scheduled to speak but delivered his address by prerecorded video instead.

2

U.S. sanctions Russian banks over North Korean missile tests

The United States imposed new sanctions on two Russian banks on Friday after North Korea reportedly conducted three ballistic missile tests on Tuesday. The two banks, Far Eastern and Sputnik, have been accused of doing business with U.S.-sanctioned North Korean entities. North Korea has conducted 23 ballistic missile tests since the beginning of the year. The U.S. imposed sanctions after Russia and China used their United Nations Security Council vetoes on Thursday to block further sanctions on North Korea.

3

Georgia grand jury investigating Trump will subpoena up to 50 witnesses, including Raffensperger

A special grand jury in Fulton County, Georgia, tasked with investigating whether former President Donald Trump interfered in the state's 2020 election will begin hearing from witnesses on Wednesday and could subpoena as many as 50 people, including Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. The investigation will center on a phone call Trump made to Raffensperger on Jan. 2, 2021, in which Trump asked Raffensperger to "find" enough votes to overturn President Biden's victory in Georgia. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis (D) said she is not motivated by personal distaste for Trump. "I don't know him personally. He does not know me personally. We should have no personal feelings about him," she said.

4

Russia battles for control of Luhansk as civilian death toll tops 4,000

Luhansk Governor Sergiy Haidai said Saturday that the city of Sievierodonetsk is "not cut off," even as Russian troops continue to attack from three sides. Sievierodonetsk and its twin city, Lysychansk, represent one of the last pockets of Ukrainian resistance in Luhansk Oblast. On Tuesday, Haidai told civilians trapped in Sievierodonetsk that there was no time left to evacuate. The United Nations said Friday that 4,031 civilians, including 261 children, have died in Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24.

5

Inflation could be slowing down, new report suggests

The personal consumption expenditures price index, also known as "the Fed's favorite inflation measure" rose 6.3 percent in April from a year ago, in a sign that inflation might be slightly moderating, per the Commerce Department. Though still elevated, April's number represents the first slowdown since November 2020, and clocks in just below a four-decade high set in March. Consumer spending also rose a healthy 0.9 percent from March to April.

6

Blinken confident Finland and Sweden 'will soon be NATO members' despite Turkish opposition

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday that he believes Turkey's concerns about Finland and Sweden joining NATO can be addressed. "The United States fully supports Finland and Sweden joining the alliance and I continue to be confident that both will soon be NATO members," Blinken said during a joint news conference with Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, who was visiting Washington, D.C. "We look forward to being able to call Finland and Sweden our allies." Haavisto said he expects Turkey's objections to be fully resolved before the late-June NATO summit in Madrid.

7

Biden's reported student debt forgiveness plan 'won't do anything,' NAACP says

President Biden is planning to cancel $10,000 in student debt per borrower, according to a report published Friday. Biden had hoped to announce this student loan plan as soon as this weekend in a speech at the University of Delaware but delayed it due to the recent shooting in Texas. The plan reportedly involves limiting debt forgiveness to those who made less than $150,000 the previous year, or $300,000 for married couples. NAACP President Derrick Johnson also slammed the reported plan, saying canceling $10,000 in student debt would be "like pouring a bucket of ice water on a forest fire. In other words, it won't do anything, especially for the Black community."

8

Texas official acknowledges delay in confronting shooter: 'It was the wrong decision'

Texas Department of Public Safety Director Steven McCraw on Friday acknowledged that law enforcement made the "wrong decision" by waiting to enter an Uvalde, Texas classroom as a mass shooting unfolded. "Obviously, based on the information we have, there were children in that classroom that were still at risk," McCraw said during the high-stress and emotional news conference. "It was the wrong decision. Period." The commander at the scene incorrectly believed the situation inside the classroom had transitioned from an active shooter situation to a barricaded hostage situation, McCraw explained at the press conference. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Friday that he was "livid" at having been "misled" by law enforcement.

9

Mark Meadows reportedly burned papers after meeting with GOP lawmaker

Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows reportedly burned papers in his office after meeting with GOP Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania, a former Meadows aide told the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 Capitol riot. Cassidy Hutchinson, Meadows' aide at the time, said she saw him destroy the documents after his conversation with Perry, who was working to challenge the 2020 election results. The meeting took place in the weeks following Election Day. It's unclear if Hutchinson revealed which specific papers were burnt and if their destruction went against federal records laws. 

10

Jury begins deliberations in Johnny Depp-Amber Heard libel trial

Lawyers for Johnny Depp and ex-wife Amber Heard delivered their closing arguments to the jury on Friday, bringing the six-week libel trial to an end. The jury began deliberations at around 3:00 p.m. on Friday, finished for the day at around 5:00 p.m., and will resume on Tuesday. Depp sued Heard for $50 million over a Washington Post op-ed in which Heard identified herself as a survivor of domestic abuse. "We're asking you to finally hold this man responsible," Heard lawyer Elaine Bredehoft told the jury, pressing Heard's counterclaim. "He has never accepted responsibility for anything in his life." Depp lawyer Camille Vasquez told the jury Heard's allegations, which Depp denies, had "ruined his life."

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