Happy Monday! Declan left a note in our TMD Google doc over the weekend instructing us to make a joke about the Bears-Packers game—“hopefully at Steve’s expense.”
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- President Joe Biden is reportedly nearing a decision on providing Ukraine long-range Army Tactical Missile Systems (ATACMS), which officials in Kyiv have been requesting for months in order to strike behind Russia’s defensive lines. The administration has been hesitant to provide the ATACMS—which have a range of 190 miles, four times as long as the High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS) and M270 multiple-launch rocket systems—for fear they might be used to strike inside Russian territory or be seen by Moscow as an escalation.
- A 6.8-magnitude earthquake struck in the High Atlas Mountains near Marrakesh, Morocco, Friday night, followed closely after by an aftershock that registered 4.9 on the Richter scale. The death toll rose to more than 2,100 people over the weekend, as search and rescue teams struggled to reach some of the more remote villages close to the epicenter.
- An al-Qaeda-linked insurgent group claimed responsibility for three attacks in northern Mali last week that collectively left more than 60 people dead. On Thursday, the group opened fire on a boat on the Niger River, killing 49 civilians and 15 government soldiers. Insurgents also raided a military camp Thursday and Friday, and were behind a suicide bombing at a military base.
- The Senate voted 55-43 last week to confirm Anna Gomez to the Federal Communications Commission, giving Democrats a majority on the five-person commission, which had spent nearly three years in partisan deadlock. Gomez—currently an adviser on communications policy at the State Department—fills a seat once sought by Gigi Sohn, President Biden’s previous, controversial pick who withdrew after a stalled 16-month confirmation battle.
- New Mexico’s Democratic Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham issued an order Friday restricting the open and concealed carry of firearms in public in Bernalillo County—which includes the city of Albuquerque—for at least 30 days after an 11-year-old boy was killed outside a minor league baseball stadium last week. The order—which has already been challenged in court by the National Association for Gun Rights as violating the Second Amendment—excludes licensed private security guards and police officers. The police will be responsible for enforcing the order, issuing civil violations to those who violate it. That said, Albuquerque Police Chief Harold Medina said the Albuquerque Police Department wouldn’t enforce the order, and Bernalillo County Sheriff John Allen indicated he had reservations about the governor’s action.
- A federal district judge in Georgia on Thursday denied former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows’ request to have the racketeering case against him moved from Fulton County, Georgia, to the federal jurisdiction. “The Court concludes that Meadows has not shown that the actions that triggered the State’s prosecution related to his federal office,” Judge Steve Jones wrote in his decision. The judge did not rule out granting similar requests from other defendants in Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ sprawling case against Meadows, former President Donald Trump, and 17 others, related to their attempts to overturn the 2020 election.
- A report unsealed Friday showed the Georgia special grand jury—whose investigation allowed Willis to compile the evidence she needed to charge Trump and 18 other defendants with racketeering—also recommended Willis indict Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, two former U.S. senators from Georgia, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, and various Trump advisers and lawyers. The panel—which, according to Georgia law, had to make indictment recommendations but could not itself vote to indict—said the Trump allies were involved in a “national effort” to overturn the results of the 2020 election in the state, but doesn’t specify the facts on which that conclusion is based.
- The 5th Circuit Court of Appeals also found that the Biden administration, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the FBI may have violated the First Amendment when they tried to influence several social media companies’ content moderation policies regarding COVID-19 and election information. The Fifth Circuit judges wrote the Biden administration “likely coerced the platforms to make their moderation decisions by way of intimidating messages and threats of adverse consequences.” The three-judge panel denied the Justice Department’s request to fully reject an order from a lower court restricting the administration’s ability to communicate with social media companies, instead limiting the previously sweeping ruling to restrictions only on the White House, the surgeon general’s office, the CDC, and the FBI. The panel paused implementation of its ruling for 10 days to give the Justice Department time to appeal.
- Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday she will seek another term in 2024. The California Democrat, who is 83 years old, stepped down from House leadership last year and has served in Congress for more than 35 years.
- South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem endorsed Trump for the GOP nomination Friday at the former president’s campaign rally in Rapid City. Noem has been floated as a potential running mate for Trump.
- Coco Gauff defeated Aryna Sabalenka to win the U.S. Open Women’s Singles tennis title Saturday—the first American teenager to do so since Serena Williams won the tournament in 1999. On Sunday, Novak Djokovic bested Daniil Medvedev to win his 24th majors title in the men’s championship.
India Hosts Its First G20 Summit
India—the host of this year’s Group of 20 (G20) summit—chose a theme for the international economic forum held in New Delhi over the weekend: an ancient Sanskrit term from Hindu scripture, “Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam.” Loosely translated, the phrase means “the world is one family,” and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi modified it for the summit to “one earth, one family, one future.”
The lofty message of global unity belied geopolitical divisions over Russia’s war in Ukraine and China’s escalating competition with the United States—Vladimir Putin and Xi Jinping were both notably absent from the summit. But the meeting proved a success for India as a rising leader of the Global South, and the U.S. further strengthened its relations with the world’s largest democracy, securing agreements to counter Chinese influence in global infrastructure and development.