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The Morning Rundown™

Biden preps at Camp David, Trump remains on campaign trail ahead of debate

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With just days to go, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump prepare for the first presidential debate. And prosecutors drop charges against Columbia students arrested during campus protests. These stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Friday, June 21, 2024.

Biden preps at Camp David, Trump remains on campaign trail ahead of debate

With under a week to go until the first presidential debate, President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump are taking different approaches to getting prepared. And CNN is releasing more details on what the debate will look like. 

President Biden gave a thumbs up to reporters when asked how debate prep is going as he headed to Camp David on Thursday, June 20. Biden will spend the next handful of days at the Maryland retreat with his team of aides, including his former Chief of Staff Ron Klain, to get his talking points together for the June 27 debate. 

Preparations will include a mock 90-minute debate and it is possible that Biden will travel straight from Camp David to Atlanta for the debate. 

Meanwhile, former President Donald Trump has been holding policy meetings with vice presidential candidates and will continue on the campaign trail, including holding a rally in Philadelphia and delivering a keynote address at the Faith and Freedom Coalition conference in Washington. 

Friday, June 21, will see the start of a series of court hearings in Florida regarding Trump’s federal case on the handling of classified documents, but he is not expected to attend those proceedings. 

On Thursday, Trump was a guest on the All-In Podcast hosted by a group of Silicon Valley entrepreneurs. When asked about his prediction for the debate, Trump spoke out against Biden’s policies but did give the current president some praise over his past debate performances. 

“Well, all I can say is this: I watched him with Paul Ryan and he destroyed Paul Ryan,” Trump said. “Paul Ryan with the water — he was chugging water at left and right. I didn’t think a human being would be able to drink so much water at one time. And he beat Paul Ryan so, I’m not underestimating him. I will say he beat Paul Ryan, which was still years ago, but he beat Paul Ryan pretty badly and I assume he’s going to be somebody that will be a worthy debater. Yeah, I would say I think I don’t want to underestimate him.” 

CNN announced on Thursday that it will be only Biden and Trump debating, as independent candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. failed to meet the network’s requirements. 

CNN held a coin flip to decide podium placement and the order of closing statements. Biden’s campaign won the coin toss and chose to stand on the right side of the viewers’ screen.

Trump’s team was then able to choose the order of closing arguments. Trump will get the final word at Thursday’s first presidential debate of the season. 

Charges dropped against most Columbia pro-Palestinian protesters 

Charges have been dropped for most of the protesters arrested after occupying Columbia University’s Hamilton Hall in April. The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office dropped charges Thursday for 31 of the 46 students and staff charged with trespassing during pro-Palestinian protests.

Prosecutors said they don’t have enough video from inside the building because protesters covered the surveillance cameras. 

Prosecutors also told 14 others, including two Columbia students, their cases would be dropped if they avoid being arrested in the next six months. The 14 rejected the offer and will be due back in court next month. 

The remaining defendant has two other open cases against him on separate charges including a charge of arson for burning an Israeli flag during a protest.   

The students and staff who had their charges dropped are still subject to discipline by Columbia university. 

U.S. redirecting interceptor missiles from other allies to Ukraine

The U.S. is rushing its delivery of air defense interceptor missiles to Ukraine to help counter Russia’s escalating attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure. The White House announced Thursday, June 20, it’ll do so by redirecting planned shipments to other allied nations. 

Officials have not disclosed which nations will have to wait for aid. National Security Spokesperson John Kirby called it a “difficult but necessary decision.” 

“Russia has accelerated both its missile and its drone attacks against cities and civilian infrastructure,” Kirby explained. “They are trying to destroy Ukraine’s energy system ahead of this winter. Again, this is not a new tactic for them, but they have certainly applied a lot more energy and effort into it in recent months. Deliveries of these missiles to other countries that are currently in the queue will have to be delayed. To be clear, those countries will still receive the missiles that they have ordered, it’s just that the delivery timelines will now take a little longer.” 

The U.S. was already sending Ukraine a consistent stream of interceptors for its air defense systems. The number of interceptors to be sent isn’t clear but Kirby said it could involve “hundreds” of Patriot missiles. 

U.S. bans sales of cybersecurity software over Russian ties

In a first-of-its-kind move, the Biden administration is banning U.S companies and citizens from using certain software made by a Russian cybersecurity firm over national security concerns. They’re targeting Kaspersky Lab’s antivirus software. 

The U.S. Commerce Secretary said Russia’s influence over the company poses a significant security risk. 

The ban calls for Kaspersky to stop selling its software products in the U.S. starting July 20. U.S. customers will stop getting software updates at the end of September.  

U.S. government agencies already banned Kaspersky Lab software in 2017. 

Kaspersky defended itself in a statement, saying it “does not engage in activities which threaten U.S. national security.”

FBI investigating cause of deadly New Mexico wildfires

The FBI is now investigating what caused two wildfires in New Mexico. So far, at least two people have died and 1,400 buildings have been destroyed, with hundreds believed to be people’s homes. 

As of Friday, June 21, morning, the South Fork Fire and Salt Fire were 0% contained and more than 8,000 residents in the area remain under evacuation orders. 

In their latest update, forestry officials said the South Fork fire has burned an estimated 16,000 acres and the Salt Fire more than 7,000. 

Cruise ship rescues 68 migrants adrift heading to Spanish Canary Islands

A cruise ship rescued dozens of migrants from a fishing boat trying to get to the Spanish Canary Islands in rough seas. The luxury cruise ship “Insignia” was near the end of a 180-day trip around the world when it got a distress call about the boat. 

The ship’s crew rescued 68 people, but at least five died before help arrived.  

The Canary Islands have become the main point of entry to Spain for illegal migrants from Africa in recent years, but authorities say that route is also the deadliest.

Oldest wine ever discovered in Roman funerary urn

Researchers have discovered what is said to be the world’s oldest wine — at 2,000 years old. A team of scientists studied liquid inside an urn that was found at a Roman burial site in Spain. 

The team conducted a chemical analysis and, in a study published this week, said they discovered the contents to be the oldest wine ever found in liquid form. Specifically, they said it was a white wine. 

The researchers said an air-tight seal prevented the wine from evaporating after all these years. 

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[KARAH RUCKER]

WITH UNDER A WEEK TO GO UNTIL THE FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE – PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN AND FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP ARE TAKING DIFFERENT APPROACHES TO GETTING PREPARED — 

JUST AS WE LEARN MORE DETAILS ON WHAT THE DEBATE WILL LOOK LIKE. 

PRESIDENT BIDEN GIVING A THUMBS UP TO REPORTERS WHEN ASKED HOW DEBATE PREP IS GOING – AS HE HEADED TO CAMP DAVID ON THURSDAY. 

BIDEN WILL SPEND THE NEXT HANDFUL OF DAYS AT THE MARYLAND RETREAT WITH HIS TEAM OF AIDES INCLUDING HIS FORMER CHIEF OF STAFF RON KLAIN TO GET HIS TALKING POINTS TOGETHER FOR THE JUNE 27TH DEBATE. 

PREPARATIONS WILL INCLUDE A MOCK 90-MINUTE DEBATE – AND IT IS POSSIBLE THAT BIDEN WILL TRAVEL STRAIGHT FROM CAMP DAVID TO ATLANTA FOR NEXT WEEK’S DEBATE. 

MEANWHILE — FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP HAS BEEN HOLDING POLICY MEETINGS WITH VICE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATES AND WILL CONTINUE ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL THIS WEEKEND — INCLUDING HOLDING A RALLY IN PHILADELPHIA AND DELIVERING A KEYNOTE ADDRESS AT THE FAITH AND FREEDOM COALITION CONFERENCE IN WASHINGTON. 

FRIDAY WILL SEE THE START OF A SERIES OF COURT HEARINGS IN FLORIDA REGARDING TRUMP’S FEDERAL CASE ON THE HANDLING OF CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS – BUT HE IS NOT EXPECTED TO ATTEND THOSE PROCEEDINGS. 

ON THURSDAY – TRUMP WAS A GUEST ON THE ALL-IN PODCAST HOSTED BY A GROUP OF SILICON VALLEY ENTREPRENEURS. WHEN ASKED ABOUT HIS PREDICTION FOR THE DEBATE — TRUMP SPOKE OUT AGAINST BIDEN’S POLICIES BUT DID GIVE THE CURRENT PRESIDENT SOME PRAISE OVER HIS PAST DEBATE PERFORMANCES. 

FORMER PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP 

“Well all I can say is this I watched him with Paul Ryan and he destroyed Paul Ryan Paul Ryan with the water he was chugging water at a left and right I didn’t think a human being would be able to drink so much water at one time and he beat Paul Ryan so I I’m not underestimating him I’m not underestimating him… 

“I will say he beat Paul Ryan who was still years ago but he beat Paul Ryan pretty badly and I assume he’s going to be uh somebody that will be a worthy debater yeah I would say I think I don’t want to underestimate him.” 

CNN ANNOUNCED ON THURSDAY THAT IT WILL BE ONLY BIDEN AND TRUMP DEBATING AS INDEPENDENT CANDIDATE ROBERT F. KENNEDY FAILED TO MEET THE NETWORK’S REQUIREMENTS. 

CNN HELD A COIN FLIP TO DECIDE PODIUM PLACEMENT AND THE ORDER OF CLOSING STATEMENTS. 

BIDEN’S CAMPAIGN WON THE COIN TOSS AND CHOSE TO STAND ON THE RIGHT PODIUM SIDE — MEANING HE WILL APPEAR ON THE RIGHT SIDE OF THE T.V. SCREEN. 

TRUMP’S TEAM WAS THEN ABLE TO CHOOSE THE ORDER OF CLOSING ARGUMENTS. 

TRUMP WILL GET THE FINAL WORD ON THURSDAY’S FIRST PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE OF THE SEASON. 

CHARGES HAVE BEEN DROPPED FOR MOST OF THE PROTESTERS ARRESTED AFTER OCCUPYING COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY’S HAMILTON HALL IN APRIL.  

THE MANHATTAN DISTRICT ATTORNEY’S OFFICE DROPPING CHARGES FOR 31 OF THE 46 STUDENTS AND STAFF CHARGED WITH TRESPASSING DURING PRO-PALESTINIAN PROTESTS. 

PROSECUTORS SAY THEY DON’T HAVE ENOUGH VIDEO FROM INSIDE THE BUILDING… BECAUSE PROTESTERS COVERED THE SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS. 

PROSECUTORS ALSO TOLD 14 OTHERS — INCLUDING TWO COLUMBIA STUDENTS — THAT THEIR CASES WOULD BE DROPPED — IF THEY AVOID BEING ARRESTED IN THE NEXT SIX MONTHS… HOWEVER, THE 14 REJECTED THE OFFER AND WILL BE DUE BACK IN COURT NEXT MONTH. 

THE REMAINING DEFENDANT HAS TWO OTHER OPEN CASES AGAINST HIM ON SEPARATE CHARGES INCLUDING BURNING AN ISRAELI FLAG DURING A PROTEST.   

THE STUDENT AND STAFF WHO HAD THEIR CHARGES DROPPED ARE STILL SUBJECT TO DISCIPLINE BY COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY. 

THE U-S IS RUSHING ITS DELIVERY OF AIR DEFENSE INTERCEPTOR MISSILES TO UKRAINE — TO HELP COUNTER RUSSIA’S ESCALATING ATTACKS ON UKRAINIAN ENERGY INFRASTRUCTURE. 

THE WHITE HOUSE ANNOUNCED THURSDAY IT’LL DO SO BY REDIRECTING PLANNED SHIPMENTS TO OTHER ALLIED NATIONS. 

NATIONAL SECURITY SPOKESPERSON JOHN KIRBY CALLED IT A “DIFFICULT BUT NECESSARY DECISION.” 

JOHN KIRBY | NATIONAL SECURITY SPOKESMAN 

“Russia has accelerated both its missile and its drone attacks against cities and civilian infrastructure. They are trying to destroy Ukraine’s energy system ahead of this winter. Again, this is not a new tactic for them, but they have certainly applied a lot more energy and effort into it in recent months.” 

“Deliveries of these missiles to other countries that are currently in the queue will have to be delayed. To be clear, those countries will still receive the missiles that they have ordered. It’s just that the delivery timelines will now take a little longer.” 

THE U-S WAS ALREADY SENDING UKRAINE A CONSISTENT STREAM OF INTERCEPTORS FOR ITS AIR DEFENSE SYSTEMS. 

 THE NUMBER OF INTERCEPTORS TO BE SENT ISN’T CLEAR BUT KIRBY SAID IT COULD INVOLVE “HUNDREDS” OF PATRIOT MISSILES. 

THE F-B-I IS NOW INVESTIGATING WHAT CAUSED TWO WILDFIRES IN NEW MEXICO THAT HAVE  KILLED TWO PEOPLE AND DESTROYED 1,400 BUILDINGS — WITH HUNDREDS BELIEVED TO BE PEOPLE’S HOMES. 

AS OF FRIDAY MORNING — THE SOUTH FORK FIRE AND SALT FIRE ARE ZERO PERCENT CONTAINED AND MORE THAN 8,000 RESIDENTS IN THE AREA REMAIN UNDER EVACUATION ORDERS. 

THE LATEST UPDATE FROM FORESTRY OFFICIALS — THE SOUTH FORK FIRE HAS BURNED AN ESTIMATED 16,000 ACRES… AND THE SALT FIRE MORE THAN 7,000. 

A CRUISE SHIP RESCUED DOZENS OF MIGRANTS FROM A FISHING BOAT TRYING TO GET TO THE SPANISH CANARY ISLANDS IN ROUGH SEAS. 

THE LUXURY CRUISE SHIP “INSIGNIA” WAS NEAR THE END OF A 180-DAY TRIP AROUND THE WORLD WHEN IT GOT A DISTRESS CALL ABOUT THE BOAT. 

THE SHIP’S CREW RESCUED 68 PEOPLE… BUT AT LEAST FIVE DIED BEFORE HELP ARRIVED.  

THE CANARY ISLANDS HAVE BECOME THE MAIN POINT OF ENTRY TO SPAIN FOR ILLEGAL MIGRANTS FROM AFRICA IN RECENT YEARS — BUT AUTHORITIES SAY THAT ROUTE IS ALSO THE DEADLIEST. 

RESEARCHERS HAVE DISCOVERED WHAT IS SAID TO BE THE WORLD’S OLDEST WINE — AT 2,000 YEARS OLD.  

A TEAM OF SCIENTISTS STUDIED THE CONTENTS OF AN URN THAT WAS FOUND AT A ROMAN BURIAL SITE IN SPAIN. 

INSIDE WAS A LIQUID. 

THE TEAM CONDUCTED A CHEMICAL ANALYSIS AND IN A STUDY PUBLISHED THIS WEEK SAID THEY DISCOVERED THE CONTENTS TO BE THE OLDEST WINE EVER FOUND IN LIQUID FORM — 

GIVING MORE DETAILS — THEY SAID IT WAS A WHITE WINE.  

THE RESEARCHERS SAID AN AIR-TIGHT SEAL PREVENTED THE WINE FROM EVAPORATING AFTER ALL THESE YEARS.