Ron DeSantis Resets

Happy Wednesday! Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger was in Beijing yesterday, meeting with Chinese Defense Minister Li Shangfu about the deteriorating relationship between China and the United States. 

Inflation’s so bad you can’t even retire at 100 years old anymore. 

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • Former President Donald Trump said Tuesday he received a “target letter” on Sunday indicating he will likely be indicted on charges related to special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation into his behavior after the 2020 election that culminated in the January 6 Capitol riot. According to Trump, the letter offered him an opportunity to speak to the investigation’s grand jury, which meets in Washington, D.C., this week. Representatives of former Trump attorneys John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani said they hadn’t received target letters.
  • Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel announced Tuesday her office had charged 16 people with eight different counts—including forgery—for their participation in a “false electors” scheme attempting to overturn the state’s presidential election results in 2020 by presenting themselves as an alternate slate of Trump electors. Tuesday’s charges appear to be the first against anyone who took part in the false electors scheme, which was replicated in several other states. 
  • U.S. Forces Korea spokesperson Col. Isaac Taylor said Tuesday a United States soldier is in North Korean custody after “willfully and without authorization” crossing into North Korea. Reportedly facing additional military discipline in the U.S. after being held on assault charges in a South Korean jail, Private 2nd Class Travis King skipped his flight home and instead joined a civilian group touring the Joint Security Area on the North and South Korean border before crossing into North Korea, evading United Nations Command security forces escorting the tour group.
  • The USS Kentucky, an Ohio-class ballistic missile nuclear submarine, docked in the South Korean city of Busan as the joint U.S. and South Korean Nuclear Consultative Group met for the first time in Seoul, months after President Joe Biden and South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol’s April summit in Washington reaffirming America’s commitment to deterring North Korean nuclear advances. The port visit—by a vessel likely carrying nuclear missiles—is the first of its kind in decades, leading North Korea to launch two short-range ballistic missiles into the Sea of Japan early Wednesday morning in response. 
  • A Russian Su-35 fighter jet buzzed a U.S. surveillance plane flying over Syria Sunday, forcing the American aircraft to fly through the turbulence of the jet’s wake. The incident follows aggressive Russian intercepts of American drones in the region earlier this month. U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman Mark Milley downplayed the incident at a press conference yesterday, emphasizing the “deconfliction channel” U.S. military personnel maintain with their Russian counterparts to prevent incidents and escalations.
  • The Commerce Department reported Tuesday that retail sales climbed 0.2 percent month-over-month in June and 1.5 percent year-over-year—down from 0.5 percent and 2 percent in May, respectively. Furniture and electronics sales climbed—as did online shopping—while spending at grocery stores and gas stations fell.
  • Navy veteran and Vietnamese refugee Hung Cao announced Tuesday he will run for U.S. Senate in Virginia, seeking the Republican nomination to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine. Cao ran for the House in 2022, but lost to Democratic Rep. Jennifer Wexton by nearly 7 percentage points. He now joins a field of eight GOP candidates vying for the Republican nomination. 

DeSantis In Trouble

Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis delivers remarks on July 17, 2023.  (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
Republican presidential candidate Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis delivers remarks on July 17, 2023. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Republican primary voters watch out, because “DeSantis is everywhere.” That’s not a threat—it’s a campaign strategy.

Or at least, that’s what Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ team is saying publicly. In a confidential memo to top donors earlier this month obtained by NBC News, the picture was a little less “DeSantis is everywhere,” and a little more “DeSantis is in New Hampshire, Iowa, and maybe South Carolina—but that’s it.” The update for high-dollar supporters is just one of several signs that the DeSantis campaign may not be taking off as hoped: His polling has stalled in several key states, his campaign finance filings show he’s bled some top donors dry, and his operation is starting to lay some people off. But with a lot of game left to play—including the first debate on August 23—before the first votes are cast on January 15, there’s still plenty of time for the Florida governor to right the ship. 

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