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The Morning Rundown™

Biden administration plans $1 billion weapons deal with Israel

Wednesday

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The U.S. is preparing to send $1 billion in new weapons to Israel. And there are new details about the deadly crash in Florida that killed eight migrant farmworkers. These stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Wednesday, May 15, 2024.

Biden administration plans $1 billion weapons deal with Israel

The Biden administration intends to send over $1 billion in new weapons to Israel, notifying Congress committees of the planned deal on Tuesday, May 14. This decision follows last week’s announcement that the administration paused a shipment of bombs to Israel due to concerns about a major operation in the Gaza border city of Rafah.

U.S. officials indicated that the proposed package includes approximately $700 million for tank ammunition, $500 million for tactical vehicles and $60 million for mortar rounds.

The timing of when these weapons would reach Israel remains unclear, as this package is not part of the approved foreign aid bill passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden in April.

While the House Foreign Affairs and Senate Foreign Relations Committees have been alerted about this potential arms transfer, Congress still awaits official notification.

Despite the pause in sending 2,000-pound bombs to Israel, the administration emphasizes its commitment to supporting Israel’s right to defend itself against threats in the region. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan conveyed this message during a press briefing on Monday, May 13.

“The United States has sent a massive amount of military assistance to Israel to defend itself against all threats, including Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran and its other proxies,” Sullivan said. “We are continuing to send military assistance, and we will ensure that Israel receives the full amount provided in the supplemental. We have paused a shipment of 2,000-pound bombs because we do not believe they should be dropped in densely populated cities. We are talking to the Israeli government about this.”

Sullivan added that the president’s commitment to Israel is ironclad, noting that “ironclad” doesn’t imply an absence of disagreements.

Trump’s legal team begins cross-examination of Michael Cohen

Former President Donald Trump’s legal team began its cross-examination of Michael Cohen during day 17 of the former president’s criminal trial in New York on Tuesday. The defense suggested that Cohen has profited from Trump’s name after releasing two books, earning him at least $3.4 million.

Trump’s one-time lawyer was asked if he was “obsessed” with the former president. Cohen responded, “I don’t know that I would characterize it as obsessed. I admired him tremendously.”

Cohen was then questioned about positive comments he made about Trump in the past.

“At the time, I was knee-deep into the cult of Donald Trump,” he replied.

Trump’s lawyer asked Cohen if he wants to see Trump convicted in this case. Cohen answered, “Sure.”

Prosecutors have indicated that Cohen is their last witness as they seek to prove that Trump falsified business records. Trump has pleaded not guilty to all charges.

Trump’s legal team plans to conclude the cross-examination on Thursday when the trial resumes.

TikTok users sue federal government over law that could ban app

A group of TikTok users has filed a lawsuit against the federal government, contesting a new law that could compel the sale of the popular video-sharing app or result in its U.S. ban.

The eight users, collectively boasting millions of followers, argue that the law signed by President Biden violates their First Amendment rights. They contend that it stifles a communication medium integral to American life, hindering their content creation and viewing experiences.

TikTok and parent company ByteDance have also submitted their own petition, claiming that the law infringes on First Amendment rights.

Part of a foreign aid package, the law mandates that ByteDance divest its TikTok stake within 270 days. Noncompliance would sever TikTok’s access to mobile app stores and web-hosting providers, impacting its estimated 170 million U.S. users.

National security concerns and Chinese government influence prompted this legislation.

Driver charged in DUI crash that killed 8 migrant farmworkers

A crash in central Florida on Tuesday, May 14, resulted in the deaths of eight migrant farmworkers and injuries to dozens more.

According to police, 41-year-old Bryan Howard crashed his pickup truck into a bus carrying 53 workers. Authorities have arrested Howard and charged him with eight counts of DUI manslaughter.

Approximately 40 others sustained injuries, with eight individuals listed in critical condition. Howard himself was also injured in the collision.

The workers were reportedly from Mexico and held permits to work in Florida. The bus was enroute to a watermelon farm in the area.

Boeing faces potential prosecution over 737 Max crashes

The U.S. Justice Department has found that Boeing violated a settlement that allowed the company to avoid criminal prosecution following two deadly crashes involving its 737 MAX aircraft in 2018 and 2019.

Boeing failed to implement changes to prevent violations of federal anti-fraud laws, a condition of the 2021 settlement. This determination means that Boeing could face prosecution for any federal criminal violation known to the United States, including the fraud charge it sought to avoid through the $2.5 billion settlement in 2021.

The government’s next steps regarding legal action against the manufacturing giant remain uncertain.

Miniature poodle wins Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show

There’s a new top dog in town as a miniature poodle took home Best in Show at the 148th Annual Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show in New York on Tuesday, May 14. Sage emerged victorious, surpassing a field of over 2,500 dogs. The competition narrowed down to seven group champions vying for the coveted title.

This marks the 11th time that a poodle has claimed the top prize. Notably, in 2002, another Miniature Poodle named Spice — Sage’s great-grandmother — also secured the Best in Show honor.

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[KARAH RUCKER]

THE U.S. IS PREPARING TO SEND ONE BILLION DOLLARS IN NEW WEAPONS TO ISRAEL

AND — NEW DETAILS ABOUT THE DEADLY CRASH IN FLORIDA THAT KILLED EIGHT MIGRANT FARM WORKERS

THE MORNING RUNDOWN STARTS NOW.

TODAY IS WEDNESDAY, MAY 15TH

THANK YOU FOR JOINING US.

I’M KARAH RUCKER.

THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION IS PLANNING TO SEND MORE THAN ONE BILLION DOLLARS IN NEW WEAPONS TO ISRAEL— WITH THE WHITE HOUSE NOTIFYING CONGRESS COMMITTEES OF THE PLANNED DEAL ON TUESDAY. THIS COMES A WEEK AFTER THE ADMINISTRATION ANNOUNCED IT PAUSED A SHIPMENT OF BOMBS TO ISRAEL OVER CONCERNS ABOUT A MAJOR OPERATION IN THE GAZA BORDER CITY OF RAFAH.

U.S. OFFICIALS SAYING THE PROPOSED PACKAGE WOULD INCLUDE ABOUT 700 MILLION DOLLARS FOR TANK AMMUNITION, 500 MILLION DOLLARS IN TACTICAL VEHICLES AND 60 MILLION DOLLARS IN MORTAR ROUNDS.

THIS PACKAGE IS **separate** from the THE FOREIGN AID BILL PASSED BY CONGRESS AND SIGNED BY PRESIDENT BIDEN LAST MONTH.

WHILE “THE HOUSE FOREIGN AFFAIRS” AND “SENATE FOREIGN RELATIONS” COMMITTEES HAVE BEEN ALERTED OF THIS POSSIBLE ARMS TRANSFER – CONGRESS STILL NEEDS TO BE OFFICIALLY NOTIFIED.

DESPITE THE U.S. PAUSING A SHIPMENT OF TWO THOUSAND POUND BOMBS TO ISRAEL – THE ADMINISTRATION SAYS THE U.S. IS CONTINUING TO SUPPORT ISRAEL’S RIGHT TO DEFEND ITSELF AGAINST THREATS IN THE REGION.

NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR JAKE SULLIVAN DELIVERING THAT MESSAGE TO REPORTERS DURING A PRESS BRIEFING EARLIER THIS WEEK.

JAKE SULLIVAN | NATIONAL SECURITY ADVISOR

“The United States has sent a massive amount of military assistance to Israel to defend itself against all threats, including Hamas, Hezbollah, and Iran and its other proxies.  We are continuing to send military assistance, and we will ensure that Israel receives the full amount provided in the supplemental. We have paused a shipment of 2,000-pound bombs because we do not believe they should be dropped in densely populated cities.  We are talking to the Israeli government about this.”

[KARAH RUCKER]

IN HIS COMMENTS – SULLIVAN ADDED THE PRESIDENT’S COMMITMENT TO ISRAEL IS IRONCLAD. ADDING – IRONCLAD DOESN’T MEAN YOU always agree on everything.

IT IS NOT CLEAR YET WHEN THE WEAPONS part of this new proposed package WOULD REACH ISRAEL.

DONALD TRUMP’S LEGAL TEAM BEGAN ITS CROSS-EXAMINATION OF MICHAEL COHEN DURING DAY 17 OF THE FORMER PRESIDENT’S CRIMINAL TRIAL IN NEW YORK ON TUESDAY.

THE DEFENSE arguing COHEN HAS BEEN MAKING MONEY OFF OF TRUMP’S NAME AFTER COHEN RELEASED TWO BOOKS– WHICH EARNED HIM AT LEAST 3 POINT 4 MILLION DOLLARS.

TRUMP’S ONE-TIME LAWYER WAS ASKED IF HE WAS QUOTE “OBSESSED” WITH THE FORMER PRESIDENT.

COHEN SAYING QUOTE, “I DON’T KNOW THAT I WOULD CHARACTERIZE IT AS OBSESSED. I ADMIRED HIM TREMENDOUSLY.”

COHEN WAS THEN ASKED ABOUT POSITIVE COMMENTS HE HAS MADE ABOUT TRUMP IN THE PAST –

COHEN RESPONDING, QUOTE, “AT THE TIME, I WAS KNEE-DEEP INTO THE CULT OF DONALD TRUMP.”

TRUMP’S LAWYER ASKING COHEN IF HE WANTS TO SEE TRUMP CONVICTED IN THIS CASE.

COHEN RESPONDED “SURE.”

PROSECUTORS HAVE INDICATED COHEN IS THEIR LAST WITNESS AS THEY TRY TO PROVE DONALD TRUMP FALSIFIED BUSINESS RECORDS. TRUMP HAS PLEADED NOT GUILTY TO ALL CHARGES.

TRUMP’S LEGAL TEAM SAYS IT PLANS TO CONCLUDE CROSS-EXAMINATION ON THURSDAY WHEN THE TRIAL RESUMES.

A GROUP OF TIKTOK USERS IS SUING THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OVER A NEW LAW THAT COULD FORCE THE SALE OF THE APP OR LEAD TO IT BEING BANNED IN THE U.S.

THE 8 USERS ARGUE IT VIOLATES THEIR FIRST AMENDMENT RIGHTS.

TIKTOK AND ITS PARENT COMPANY BYTEDANCE ALSO FILED A SIMILAR SUIT IN FEDERAL COURT LAST WEEK, CITING ITS IMPACT ON FREE SPEECH FOR ITS 170 MILLION U.S. USERS.

THE LAW WAS PART OF CONGRESS’S FOREIGN AID PACKAGE AND REQUIRES BYTEDANCE TO SELL ITS TIKTOK STAKE WITHIN 9 MONTHS. FAILURE TO COMPLY RISKS CUTTING OFF TIKTOK FROM MOBILE APP STORES.

THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT SAYS NATIONAL SECURITY CONCERNS AND CHINESE GOVERNMENT INFLUENCE PROMPTED THE LEGISLATION.

MORE DETAILS ARE EMERGING FOLLOWING A DEADLY CRASH IN CENTRAL FLORIDA ON TUESDAY THAT LEFT EIGHT MIGRANT FARMWORKERS KILLED AND DOZENS OF OTHERS INJURED.

POLICE SAYING 41-YEAR-OLD BRYAN HOWARD CRASHED HIS PICKUP TRUCK INTO THE BUS CARRYING 53 WORKERS.

HOWARD WAS ARRESTED AND CHARGED WITH EIGHT COUNTS OF DUI MANSLAUGHTER.

AROUND 40 OTHERS SUFFERED INJURIES – WITH EIGHT LISTED IN CRITICAL CONDITION. HOWARD WAS ALSO INJURED IN THE CRASH.

THE WORKERS WERE REPORTEDLY FROM MEXICO WITH PERMITS TO WORK IN FLORIDA.

THE BUS WAS HEADED TO A WATERMELON FARM IN THE AREA.

THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT HAS FOUND THAT BOEING VIOLATED A SETTLEMENT THAT ALLOWED THE COMPANY TO AVOID CRIMINAL PROSECUTION FOLLOWING TWO DEADLY CRASHES INVOLVING ITS 737 MAX AIRCRAFT IN 2018 AND 2019.

ACCORDING TO THE D-O-J — BOEING HAS FAILED TO IMPLEMENT CHANGES TO PREVENT VIOLATIONS OF FEDERAL ANTI-FRAUD LAWS, A CONDITION OF THE 2021 SETTLEMENT.

THE DEPARTMENT SAYS THIS MEANS THAT BOEING COULD FACE PROSECUTION FOR “ANY FEDERAL CRIMINAL VIOLATION KNOWN TO THE UNITED STATES.” THIS INCLUDES THE FRAUD CHARGE THE COMPANY SOUGHT TO AVOID THROUGH THE 2.5 BILLION SETTLEMENT IN 2021.

IT IS UNCERTAIN IF ANY LEGAL ACTION WILL BE TAKEN AGAINST BOEING. THE DOJ SAYING AS OF NOW “THE GOVERNMENT IS DETERMINING HOW IT WILL PROCEED IN THIS MATTER.”

FINALLY THIS MORNING – THERE’S A NEW TOP DOG IN TOWN – AND HER NAME IS SAGE.

THE MINIATURE POODLE WINNING BEST IN SHOW AT LAST NIGHT’S 148TH ANNUAL “WESTMINSTER KENNEL CLUB” DOG SHOW IN NEW YORK.

“SAGE” ROSE ABOVE THE COMPETITION WHICH FEATURED MORE THAN TWO THOUSAND FIVE HUNDRED (2,500) DOGS — DWINDLED TO SEVEN “GROUP CHAMPIONS” VYING FOR THE TITLE.

THIS WAS THE 11TH TIME A POODLE TOOK HOME THE TOP PRIZE – INCLUDING IN 20-02 WHEN ANOTHER MINIATURE POODLE NAMED SPICE — SAGE’S GREAT-GRANDMOTHER — WON BEST IN SHOW.

THESE ARE YOUR TOP STORIES FOR THIS WEDNESDAY.

WE’LL SEE YOU BACK HERE TOMORROW.

UNTIL THEN I’M KARAH RUCKER. HAVE A GREAT DAY!