Happy Monday! A 53-year-old man in Florida nearly lost his leg to a flesh-eating bacterial infection a few months ago after he was bitten in the thigh while trying to break up a fight.
The man declined to name the Floridians who were fighting or what they were fighting about, but we’re pretty sure we know.
Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky seemed to confirm Saturday his country’s long-awaited counteroffensive is underway against Russian forces in southeast Ukraine. Ukrainian officials claimed over the weekend their troops had liberated at least three villages in the Donetsk region while Russians suggested they had repelled an attack on one of their ships in the Black Sea. Some reports indicate Russian forces have mounted a more significant defense than originally anticipated.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Friday he will begin moving tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus as soon as July 7, assigning a timeline to his March promise to station warheads in the allied neighboring country. Putin maintains Russia is still meeting its non-proliferation requirements by retaining control of the weapons, though Russian forces have trained Belarusian troops to deploy them.
- The Biden administration on Friday released declassified intelligence revealing Iran is helping construct a drone factory in western Russia that could be in use by early next year. Iranian-made attack drones have been at the forefront of Russia’s invasion, including strikes on residential areas and critical infrastructure.
- The Pentagon announced Friday $2.1 billion in additional military aid to Ukraine, this time in the form of a long-term arms package. The money—drawn from the $19 billion appropriated in the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative (USAI)—will finance contracts with U.S. defense manufacturers for several kinds of air defense systems as well as two types of artillery rounds. The weapons provisioned in this package must be manufactured from scratch and will not be delivered to Ukraine for months or even years.
- Moscow police arrested American musician Travis Leake last week on drug charges after raiding his apartment and seizing what they described as paraphernalia for dealing drugs. Leake—a 51-year-old former U.S. paratrooper who sings in two musical groups in Moscow and publicly decried Russian government censorship in 2014—is reportedly being held until August 6. Drug charges have previously been used as a pretense for Russian authorities to detain American citizens, most recently WNBA player Brittney Griner.
- Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to travel to Beijing on Sunday, following through with a planned visit that was canceled following the Chinese spy balloon incident in February. This week’s trip would represent the highest-level visit to China since then-Secretary of State Mike Pompeo traveled to the country in 2018 and mark a significant step in the Biden administration’s attempted thaw. But the public revelation Saturday that China has for years operated an electronic spying facility in Cuba to eavesdrop on U.S. communications may complicate the trip.
- Boris Johnson on Friday resigned his post as a member of the United Kingdom’s parliament Friday after receiving a preview of an ethics report on whether he lied to parliament about parties held while he was prime minister during COVID-19 lockdowns. In a resignation statement Saturday, Johnson decried the investigation, led by the parliament’s privileges committee, as politically motivated. “Their purpose from the beginning has been to find me guilty, regardless of the facts,” he said.
- The Biden administration announced Friday Jason Owens will become the new head of the Border Patrol. Owens—a 27-year Border Patrol veteran–currently leads the agency’s Del Rio division in Texas. The current Border Patrol chief, Raul Ortiz, announced his retirement in May, and will step down from his post at the end of the month. Owens will be the third person to hold the position under President Joe Biden.
- Nate Paul—the Austin real-estate investor at the heart of Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s impeachment— was arrested and charged last week with eight counts of making false statements to credit agencies and mortgage lenders. The indictment does not mention Paxton, who is currently suspended from his position over allegations of abusing his office to benefit Paul, a campaign donor and friend of the attorney general.
- A northbound section of I-95 in Philadelphia collapsed Sunday morning after a tanker truck caught fire underneath it and damaged the interstate overpass. The truck is reportedly still stuck under the collapsed bridge, but authorities have not announced any injuries related to the fire and collapse. The incident chokes off a major East Coast artery—the four southbound lanes are also no longer structurally sound for traffic, and repairs will likely take months.
- Republican Rep. Mike Gallagher of Wisconsin announced Friday he won’t run for U.S. Senate in 2024 against incumbent Democratic Sen. Tammy Baldwin. Gallagher said he intended to continue to focus on the bipartisan committee on China he chairs in the House. There’s currently an open GOP field for the Senate seat in the battleground state.
- Ted Kaczynski–the infamous Unabomber—died Saturday, reportedly of suicide, at age 81 in the North Carolina prison where he was serving a life sentence. A Harvard-educated mathematician, Kaczynski’s opposition to industrialized life motivated his 17-year terrorist campaign, which included bombings that killed three people and injured more than 20 before his arrest in 1996.
- Serbian tennis player Novak Djokovic won his 23rd Grand Slam title Sunday at the French Open, beating Norwegian Casper Ruud. Iga Swiatek, from Poland, bested the unseeded Karolina Muchova of the Czech Republic Saturday to win her third French Open title. In the world of horse racing, Arcangelo became the first woman-trained horse to win a Triple Crown race at the Belmont Stakes Saturday.
Here We Go
After eight years of this, you’d think GOP elected officials and commentators would have learned their lesson: Do not go out on a limb for Donald Trump, because he will saw it off behind you—and drop an anvil on your head for good measure.
Yet on Thursday night—minutes after Trump announced on Truth Social he’d been indicted a second time—dozens of prominent Republicans were out with scathing statements impugning special counsel Jack Smith’s investigation and defending the former president. “If the people in power can jail their political opponents at will, we don’t have a republic,” Sen. Josh Hawley said. Sen. Marco Rubio accused “these people” of “ripping our country apart” to “protect their power [and] destroy those who threaten it.” Rep. Jim Banks complained that Democrats were “throwing away 247 years of American democracy over a records case.”