By: Mary Trimble and Grayson Logue
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- Hurricane Idalia strengthened to a Category 4 storm early Wednesday morning, with sustained maximum winds reaching 130 miles per hour as it nears Florida’s Gulf Coast. The storm is expected to make landfall early this morning.
- Officials with Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, said Tuesday the company had disrupted a disinformation campaign run by accounts linked to Chinese law enforcement. The company described the effort—which lasted more than a year and saw secret users promote Beijing’s talking points and sow disinformation about Western governments—as the “largest known cross-platform covert influence operation in the world.”
- Terry Gou—the billionaire founder of Foxconn, a technology company that supplies Apple—announced Monday he is running in Taiwan’s presidential elections set for January. He joins two other opposition candidates running against the current vice president, the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s William Lai. Gou blames the DPP for the rising tensions with China, which claims sovereignty over the island, and vows to unite the opposition behind him.
- The Biden administration announced Tuesday it would send an additional $250 million in military aid to Ukraine. The package—drawn down from current U.S. military stockpiles—will include AIM-9M air defense missiles, munitions for High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS), 155mm and 105mm artillery ammunition, mine-clearing equipment, and Javelin weapons systems.
- Responding to a Freedom of Information Act request, the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) confirmed Tuesday it is in possession of some 5,400 emails, documents, and other records from President Joe Biden’s time as vice president which include Biden’s various pseudonyms. The pseudonyms are relevant as part of a House Oversight Committee probe into whether Biden improperly shared information with his son Hunter.
- House Oversight Committee Chair James Comer announced Tuesday the committee will investigate the government response to the deadly Maui wildfires that destroyed the town of Lahaina earlier this month. “The response by federal, state, and local officials to the catastrophic wildfire in Maui raises serious questions, and Americans, especially those impacted by this tragedy, deserve answers,” Comer said Tuesday. House Speaker Kevin McCarthy is expected to visit Hawaii later this week.
- GOP Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the House majority leader, announced Tuesday he has been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, which he described as “a very treatable blood cancer.” Scalise intends to continue working as he receives treatment over the next several months.
- Two co-defendants of former President Donald Trump pleaded “not guilty” on Tuesday to charges related to efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election in Georgia. Ray Smith, one of Trump’s 2020 campaign lawyers in Georgia and the first of the 19 total defendants to enter a plea, and Sidney Powell, another Trump campaign lawyer, submitted waivers of arraignment in writing, allowing them to skip the in-person arraignment set for September 6.
- Miami Mayor Francis Suarez Tuesday ended his campaign for president after he failed to qualify for the first GOP primary debate last week. He’s the first candidate to drop out of the race so far, but he did not endorse any of the other candidates running. “I look forward to keeping in touch with the other Republican presidential candidates and doing what I can to make sure our party puts forward a strong nominee who can inspire and unify the country,” he wrote.
GOP Looks for a Winning Abortion Message
In April, GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley delivered a speech billed as a major policy address on abortion. Speaking at Susan B. Anthony Pro-Life America’s Virginia headquarters, Haley called for a “national consensus” on abortion but offered few policy details about what such a consensus would look like. At last week’s primary debate, however, she had a much more direct answer when she expressed strong skepticism about the feasibility of a federal abortion ban after 15 weeks of gestation.
“We haven’t had 45 pro-life senators in over 100 years, so no Republican president can ban abortion,” Haley said. “Let’s find consensus: Can’t we all agree that we should ban late-term abortions? Can’t we all agree that we should encourage adoptions? Can’t we all agree that doctors and nurses who don’t believe in abortion shouldn’t have to perform them? Can’t we all agree that contraception should be available? And can’t we all agree that we are not going to put a woman in jail or give her the death penalty if she gets an abortion?” The answer drew scattered applause from the crowd in Milwaukee, and some Republicans and pro-life advocates are heralding Haley’s stance as the party tries to find a winning message on abortion as Democrats prepare to capitalize on the issue next November.