Who Will Be Trump’s Running Mate?

Happy Wednesday! If you’ve ever glanced at a black and white dog and thought it looked a little like a panda bear, you’d make a great zookeeper at the Taizhou Zoo in Jiangsu Province, China.

Quick Hits: Today’s Top Stories

  • Ukrainian security services announced Tuesday they had thwarted a Russian plot to assassinate Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and other top Ukrainian government officials. According to the agency, the scheme involved scouting for a potential assassin close to Zelensky “who could take the Head of State hostage and later kill him.” The Ukrainian security agency arrested two Ukrainian colonels on suspicion of treason for their connection to the plan. Assets involved with the plot were apparently also following other targets so Russia could coordinate a rocket and drone strike on their location.
  • Israel’s limited military operation into the southern Gaza city of Rafah that began on Monday does not cross President Joe Biden’s “red line,” Axios reported Tuesday. Biden had previously signaled that a ground invasion into Rafah was a “red-line” and would harm U.S.-Israeli relations and potentially alter Biden’s support for Israel’s war. That said, administration officials confirmed to the New York Times last night that Biden had decided last week to pause an arms shipment to Israel—consisting of about 3,500 bombs—due to concerns that the weaponry would be used in an upcoming offensive in Rafah. Meanwhile, representatives of Israel and Hamas arrived in Cairo, Egypt, on Tuesday to discuss a proposed deal that would exchange Israeli hostages held in Gaza for a ceasefire. 
  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken announced on Tuesday the repatriation of 11 U.S. citizens from northeastern Syria, where they’d been living in a camp housing the family of suspected Islamic State (ISIS) terrorists. The group—which includes five minors—is reportedly part of a single family and includes a 9-year-old non-U.S. citizen, the half-brother of one of the repatriated minors. Later Tuesday, the Justice Department unsealed an indictment against one of the repatriated U.S. citizens, Halima Salman, alleging she trained as an ISIS fighter overseas. Since 2016, when the ISIS caliphate began to crumble, the U.S. has repatriated 30 children and 21 adults from the camps in Syria.
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin was inaugurated for a fifth six-year term on Tuesday after winning last month’s sham presidential election with more than 88 percent of the popular vote. In his fifth term, Putin is set to pass Joseph Stalin as the longest-serving Russian ruler since Empress Catherine the Great in the 18th century. 
  • In a speech at the U.S. Holocaust Museum on Tuesday, President Joe Biden urged Americans to “never forget” Hamas’ violent October 7 terror attacks in Israel. “Now, here we are, not 75 years later but just seven and a half months later, and people are already forgetting,” the president said. “They’re already forgetting that Hamas unleashed this terror.” Also on Tuesday, the White House released new details in its plan to curb antisemitism on college campuses—which Biden condemned again in his speech—including outlining what can be considered antisemitism under Title VI, offering online support services, and working with tech companies to combat online antisemitism.
  • TikTok and its parent company, ByteDance, sued the U.S. government Tuesday over a recently enacted law that requires ByteDance to divest from the popular social media app or face a nationwide ban. President Biden signed the bill into law last month after it was included in a bipartisan foreign aid and national security package. The lawsuit argues that a potential ban of the app violates the First Amendment rights of the company and its American users. 
  • The Boy Scouts of America announced Tuesday the organization will change its official name to Scouting America after allowing female scouts to join in 2019. The organization will formally adopt the name change on its 115th anniversary in February. “This will be a simple but very important evolution as we seek to ensure that everyone feels welcome in Scouting,” the organization’s president and CEO, Roger Krone, said in a statement.
  • Porn star Stormy Daniels testified in former President Donald Trump’s New York criminal trial on Tuesday, offering details of her 2006 affair with Trump that led to the alleged hush-money payments that prosecutors say were made to influence the 2016 presidential election. She claimed she took the payment “out of fear, not money.” Trump’s lawyers asked for a mistrial following her testimony, arguing her story was not consistent with her past accounts and that certain details she offered—including that she blacked out during the encounter with Trump—were meant to suggest the relationship was not consensual. Judge Juan Merchan denied the mistrial request, but also told prosecutors that “the degree of detail we’re going into here is just unnecessary.”
  • Judge Aileen Cannon—the federal judge overseeing special counsel Jack Smith’s case related to former President Donald Trump’s handling of classified documents—indefinitely postponed the start of that trial on Tuesday over unresolved legal questions regarding access to classified evidence. To move ahead with the scheduled May 20 start date would be “imprudent and inconsistent,” Judge Cannon said in a brief order. It’s unclear when a new trial date might be set. 
  • Former President Donald Trump—the presumptive Republican nominee for president—won Indiana’s Republican primary on Tuesday night with 78 percent of the vote. Former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who dropped out of the presidential primary more than two months ago, still garnered some 22 percent of the vote, a total of more than 128,000 votes. Haley has likewise garnered significant vote totals in other primaries where Trump was running uncontested, including 150,000—16 percent of the votes—in the Pennsylvania primary two weeks ago.   

The Veepstakes Heat Up 

Sen. Tim Scott speaks as former President Donald Trump, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, and Vivek Ramaswamy look on during a campaign rally in the basement ballroom of the Margate Resort in Laconia, New Hampshire, on January 22, 2024. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Sen. Tim Scott speaks as former President Donald Trump, North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum, and Vivek Ramaswamy look on during a campaign rally in the basement ballroom of the Margate Resort in Laconia, New Hampshire, on January 22, 2024. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

In a December 19, 1796, letter to his wife Abigail, John Adams—the first man to serve as vice president—described the role as “the most insignificant office that ever the invention of man contrived or his imagination conceived.” But Adams’ warning hasn’t deterred generations of politicians from seeking the position as an express ticket to their Oval Office dreams. 

Former President Donald Trump’s campaign is deep in the veep selection process, with more than a half-dozen Republican hopefuls looking for the nod. Potential candidates are busy putting on public demonstrations of what seems to be the chief qualification for Trump’s vice president: unquestioning loyalty.

Presidents seeking a second term typically don’t have to search again for a running mate. But ginning up a mob and sending it to the Capitol to pressure your vice president into helping you subvert an election tends to sour relations: Former Vice President Mike Pence said in March that he wouldn’t endorse Trump in this election. 

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