Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 16, 2022

Biden fist bumps Saudi crown prince, Russia steps up rocket attacks on Ukrainian cities, and more

1

Biden fist bumps Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman

President Biden faced criticism after fist bumping the Saudi crown prince who allegedly approved the brutal murder of a journalist almost four years ago. The president on Friday met with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman during a trip to Saudi Arabia, and video showed the two sharing a fist bump. The meeting itself was controversial given that U.S. intelligence has concluded Mohammed bin Salman approved the 2018 murder of former Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi. In 2019, Biden promised he would make Saudi Arabia "the pariah that they are."

2

Russia steps up rocket attacks on Ukrainian cities

Russian rockets struck the southern Ukrainian city of Nikopol on Saturday, killing two people and bringing the death toll since Thursday to around 40. The Russian Defense Ministry confirmed that the country's forces had been ordered to increase rocket attacks against Ukrainian cities. At least three people were killed and 15 wounded in a strike on Dnipro on Friday, while an attack on Vinnytsia — a city with a pre-war population of around 370,000 located a four-hour drive southwest of Kyiv — killed 23 people the previous day. A spokesperson for Ukraine's defense ministry said Friday that only 30 percent of Russian missile attacks were striking military targets.

3

Biden promises 'strong executive action' after Manchin blows up climate deal

President Biden on Friday said he would take "strong executive action" to "tackle the climate crisis and strengthen our domestic clean energy industry." This statement came one day after Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) pulled out of a climate deal that had been in the works for more than a year and had been specifically tailored to meet Manchin's demands. Democrats were furious. Former Obama adviser John Podesta said Manchin had cemented his legacy as "the one man who single-handedly doomed humanity." Manchin signaled on Wednesday that he might withdraw from the deal over concerns that new climate spending could exacerbate the ongoing inflation crisis.

4

Poll: Liz Cheney trails primary challenger by more than 20 points

In the race for Wyoming's at-large seat in the House of Representatives, attorney Harriet Hageman is leading Rep. Liz Cheney (R) by more than 20 points, according to a poll conducted for the Casper Star-Tribune. Only 11 percent of voters remained undecided. "The big story is Liz Cheney is going to get beat," said Brad Coker, the managing director of the polling firm that conducted the survey. Large majorities of voters also disapproved of Cheney's decision to serve on the Jan. 6 committee and said her vendetta with former President Donald Trump had "affected her ability to deal with the important Wyoming issues." The primary is scheduled for Aug. 16.

5

Musk's lawyers move to block Twitter's request for an expedited trial

Elon Musk's lawyers argued in a letter sent Friday that Twitter's request for a trial within two months is "unjustifiable." The billionaire's legal team asked for a trial date of Feb. 13, 2023, at the earliest. Musk offered to buy Twitter for $54.20 per share — about $44 billion dollars — on April 25 before attempting to cancel the deal on July 8, claiming Twitter had breached the terms of the agreement by failing to provide accurate data on spam and fake accounts. In what could be a bad sign for Musk, the judge assigned to the case is one of the few in U.S. history to have ordered a reluctant buyer to close an acquisition deal.

6

Ivana Trump's death was an accident, medical examiner says

The New York City medical examiner's office said Friday that Ivana Trump, who was married to former President Donald Trump from 1977 to 1992, died accidentally from blunt impact injuries to her torso. Other sources have reported that she fell down the stairs at her Manhattan home. The Czech-born skier, who became a successful businesswoman and a fixture of New York society, died Thursday at the age of 73. The three children she had with Trump — Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric — described her in a joint statement as "an incredible woman — a force in business, a world-class athlete, a radiant beauty and caring mother and friend."

7

Jan. 6 committee subpoenas Secret Service to obtain erased text messages

The Jan. 6 committee on Friday issued a subpoena after Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari told committee members that the Secret Service had erased text messages from Jan. 5 and Jan. 6, 2021. Cuffari said he had been told that the messages were erased "as part of a device-replacement program." In a letter to Secret Service Director James M. Murray, committee chair Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) ordered Murray to produce "the relevant text messages" by July 19.

8

Brittney Griner lawyers tell court she was prescribed medical cannabis due to chronic pain

As Brittney Griner's drug trial in Russia continues, her lawyers have presented evidence in court that she was prescribed medical cannabis. During a hearing on Friday, the basketball star's attorneys showed a letter from a doctor recommending the use of cannabis for treating chronic pain. Griner has been detained in Russia for months after being arrested at the airport for possession of cannabis vape cartridges. She pleaded guilty but told the court she was "in a rush packing and the cartridges accidentally ended up in my bags." Griner could be sentenced to up to 10 years in prison.

9

Attorney for Ricky Martin denies incest allegations

An attorney for singer Ricky Martin said on Friday that Martin "had never been — and would never be — involved in any kind of sexual or romantic relationship with his nephew," calling the allegations "not only untrue" but "disgusting." Margin was served with a restraining order for domestic abuse in Puerto Rico earlier this month, but the order did not identify the alleged victim. Martin said the order was "based on completely false allegations." On Friday, Eric Martin — the singer's brother — said that the victim was Ricky Martin's 21-year-old nephew and that the two had shared a sexual relationship. Under Puerto Rico law, Martin could face up to 50 years in prison.

10

Jim Thorpe reinstated as gold medalist from 1912 Olympics

The International Olympic Committee on Friday reinstated Jim Thorpe as the gold medal winner of the pentathlon and decathlon at the 1912 Stockholm Olympics. Thorpe was the first Native American to win a gold medal for the United States. After winning both events by wide margins, Thorpe was hailed by King Gustav V of Sweden as "the greatest athlete in the world" and received a ticker-tape parade upon returning to the United States. He was stripped of the medals months later after it was discovered that he had violated the Olympics' amateurism rules by taking a paycheck to play minor league baseball over two summers. Thorpe died in 1953.

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