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President Biden to hold press conference as George Clooney, Sen. Welch call for a change

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President Joe Biden is set to hold a press conference as George Clooney joins the calls for him to step aside. And the NBA scores big with its latest TV rights deal. These stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Thursday, July 11, 2024.

Biden to hold press conference as Clooney, Welch call for a change

President Joe Biden will hold his first solo press conference of the year Thursday, July 11. It’s also the first since his rocky performance in the June 27 presidential debate, as calls for him to step aside as the Democratic nominee continue to grow.

On Wednesday, July 10, it was Hollywood actor and longtime Democratic donor George Clooney calling for Biden to withdraw from the race. This happened just weeks after Clooney hosted a fundraiser for Biden’s campaign that brought in more than $30 million. 

In an op-ed piece for The New York Times, Clooney wrote that the Biden he saw at the fundraiser was not the Biden of 2010 or 2020, saying, “He was the same man we all witnessed at the debate.”

“As Democrats, we collectively hold our breath or turn down the volume whenever we see the president, whom we respect, walk off Air Force One or walk back to a mic to answer an unscripted question,” Clooney wrote. “Is it fair to point these things out? It has to be. This is about age. Nothing more. But also, nothing that can be reversed. We are not going to win in November with this president.” 

Clooney joined a chorus of Democrats who have recently spoken up for Biden to drop out, including nine House members. And on Wednesday, Peter Welch of Vermont became the first Democratic senator to join the call

Welch wrote in an op-ed in The Washington Post that Biden should step down for “the good of the country.” 

“We need him to put us first, as he has done before. I urge him to do it now,” Welch said. 

On Thursday afternoon, Democratic senators will meet with senior advisers from the Biden campaign as they look to express their concerns following the debate. Then the president’s press conference — dubbed by Bloomberg News and cited by the White House as a “big boy press conference” — will take place at 5:30 p.m. ET as the three-day NATO summit winds down in Washington. 

NATO calls China “decisive enabler” of Russia’s war in Ukraine

The 32 NATO countries are lambasting China as a “decisive enabler” of Russia’s war in Ukraine. They said China’s “no limits” partnership with Russia is enabling Moscow to wage its war. 

In recent months, the U.S. and European leaders have accused China of bolstering Russia’s defense sector with supplies critical to rebuilding the Russian military. Beijing has denied the accusations. 

“China provides dual use equipment, microelectronics, a lot of other tools which are enabling Russia to build the missiles, to build the bombs, to build the aircrafts, to build the weapons they’re using to attack Ukraine,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Wednesday, July 11, the second day of the NATO summit in Washington, D.C. “And the fact that this is now clearly stated, agreed by all NATO allies, is an important message to China. And then, of course, we also then state that it cannot continue like this.” 

The NATO nations also affirmed the importance of their Indo-Pacific partners, which are not members of the alliance, with leaders from Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Australia joining the summit.  

NATO and the Indo-Pacific partners said they plan to launch four joint projects including supporting Ukraine, bolstering cooperation on cyber defense, countering disinformation and working on artificial intelligence. 

China is accusing NATO of overreaching and inciting confrontation in the Indo-Pacific region.

U.S. to resume shipping 500-pound bombs to Israel

The United States is resuming shipping 500-pound bombs to Israel after pausing the shipment of nearly 2,000 of them in mid-May. However, U.S. officials said they’ll continue to hold back on a delivery of much larger 2,000-pound bombs over concerns they could be used in densely populated areas of Gaza. 

The U.S. is specifically concerned the large bombs would be used in Israel’s ground invasion of Rafah, where more than a million Palestinians have taken refuge since the war with Hamas began.

U.S. officials said the smaller 500-pound bombs had been put together in a shipment with the larger bombs, which is why they were delayed. They have since been separated and can now be sent to Israel. 

AOC files impeachment articles against Supreme Court justices Thomas, Alito

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., has introduced articles of impeachment against conservative Supreme Court Justices Samuel Alito and Clarence Thomas. Ocasio-Cortez is accusing them of what she calls “unchecked corruption” for refusing to recuse themselves from certain cases, like the recent decision to grant former President Donald Trump immunity and improperly failing to disclose gifts from wealthy donors.

However, it’s unlikely the justices will be impeached. A majority vote of 218 is required for the House to adopt the articles. Currently in the House, Republicans hold 219 seats and Democrats hold 213.

Reports: NBA finalizes 11-year $76B deal with NBC, Amazon, Disney

The NBA has hit a slam dunk when it comes to TV rights. According to multiple outlets, the league has finalized a record 11-year deal worth $76 billion to bring NBA games to NBC and Amazon Prime Video

Disney’s ESPN and ABC will also continue to carry games, including the NBA Finals.

TNT Sports, which has been airing the NBA since the 1980s, will have a five-day window to match one of the deals once the league shares the finished contracts. 

The agreement, which breaks NBA records for length and value, would take effect for the 2025-2026 season.

‘Inside Out 2’ becomes Pixar’s highest-grossing movie of all time

There’s a whole lot of joy over at Pixar studios; its latest movie has made box office history. “Inside Out 2” is officially Pixar’s highest-grossing movie of all time.

So far, the film about a teenager’s emotions has earned $1.25 billion worldwide, passing “Incredibles 2,” which made $1.24 billion in its run. “Inside Out 2” now ranks as the fourth-highest grossing animated movie of all time. 

The top spot currently belongs to Disney’s 2019 film “Frozen 2” which grossed $1.45 billion globally during its release.

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[KARAH RUCKER]

PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN WILL HOLD HIS FIRST SOLO PRESS CONFERENCE OF THE YEAR THURSDAY – AND THE FIRST SINCE HIS ROCKY PERFORMANCE IN LAST MONTH’S PRESIDENTIAL DEBATE AS CALLS FOR HIM TO STEP ASIDE AS THE DEMOCRATIC NOMINEE CONTINUE TO GROW. 

ON WEDNESDAY – IT WAS HOLLYWOOD ACTOR AND LONGTIME DEMOCRATIC DONOR GEORGE CLOONEY CALLING FOR BIDEN TO WITHDRAW FROM THE RACE – JUST WEEKS AFTER CLOONEY HOSTED A FUNDRAISER FOR BIDEN’S CAMPAIGN THAT BROUGHT IN MORE THAN 30 MILLION DOLLARS. 

IN AN OP-ED PIECE FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES –  CLOONEY WROTE THAT THE BIDEN HE SAW AT THE FUNDRAISER WAS NOT THE BIDEN OF 2010 OR 2020 – SAYING QUOTE “HE WAS THE SAME MAN WE ALL WITNESSED AT THE DEBATE.” 

CLOONEY GOING ON TO SAY, “AS DEMOCRATS, WE COLLECTIVELY HOLD OUR BREATH OR TURN DOWN THE VOLUME WHENEVER WE SEE THE PRESIDENT, WHOM WE RESPECT, WALK OFF AIR FORCE ONE OR WALK BACK TO A MIC TO ANSWER AN UNSCRIPTED QUESTION.” 

“IS IT FAIR TO POINT THESE THINGS OUT? IT HAS TO BE. THIS IS ABOUT AGE. NOTHING MORE. BUT ALSO NOTHING THAT CAN BE REVERSED. WE ARE NOT GOING TO WIN IN NOVEMBER WITH THIS PRESIDENT.”  

CLOONEY JOINS A CHORUS OF DEMOCRATS WHO HAVE SPOKEN UP FOR BIDEN TO DROP OUT – INCLUDING NINE HOUSE MEMBERS – AND ON WEDNESDAY – PETER WELCH OF VERMONT BECAME THE FIRST DEMOCRATIC SENATOR TO JOIN THE CALL. 

WELCH WRITING IN AN OP-ED IN THE WASHINGTON POST – THAT BIDEN SHOULD STEP DOWN FOR “THE GOOD OF THE COUNTRY.” 

WELCH SAYING QUOTE “WE NEED HIM TO PUT US FIRST, AS HE HAS DONE BEFORE. I URGE HIM TO DO IT NOW.” 

TODAY – DEMOCRATIC SENATORS WILL MEET WITH SENIOR ADVISERS FROM THE BIDEN CAMPAIGN THIS AFTERNOON AS THEY LOOK TO EXPRESS THEIR CONCERNS FOLLOWING THE DEBATE. 

THEN THE PRESIDENT’S PRESS CONFERENCE – DUBBED BY BLOOMBERG NEWS AND CITED BY THE WHITE HOUSE AS A “BIG BOY PRESS CONFERENCE”  — WILL TAKE PLACE AT 5:30 PM EASTERN – AS THE THREE-DAY NATO SUMMIT WINDS DOWN IN WASHINGTON.

THE 32 NATO COUNTRIES ARE LAMBASTING CHINA AS A “DECISIVE ENABLER” OF RUSSIA’S WAR IN UKRAINE. 

THEY SAY CHINA’S “NO LIMITS” PARTNERSHIP WITH RUSSIA IS ENABLING MOSCOW TO WAGE ITS WAR. 

IN RECENT MONTHS — THE U-S AND EUROPEAN LEADERS HAVE ACCUSED CHINA OF BOLSTERING RUSSIA’S DEFENSE SECTOR WITH SUPPLIES CRITICAL TO REBUILDING THE RUSSIAN MILITARY. 

BEIJING HAS DENIED THE ACCUSATIONS. 

NATO’S SECRETARY-GENERAL SPOKE OUT ON THE SECOND DAY OF THE NATO SUMMIT IN WASHINGTON.  

JENS STOLTENBERG | NATO SECRETARY GENERAL 

“China provides dual use equipment, microelectronics, a lot of other tools which are enabling Russia to build the missiles, to build the bombs, to build the aircrafts, to build the weapons they’re using to attack Ukraine. And the fact that this is now clearly stated, agreed by all NATO allies, is an important message to China. And then, of course, we also then state that it cannot continue like this.” 

THE NATO NATIONS ALSO AFFIRMED THE IMPORTANCE OF ITS INDO-PACIFIC PARTNERS, WHICH ARE NOT MEMBERS OF THE ALLIANCE — WITH LEADERS FROM JAPAN, SOUTH KOREA, NEW ZEALAND AND AUSTRALIA JOINING THE SUMMIT.  

NATO AND THE INDO-PACIFIC PARTNERS SAY THEY PLAN TO LAUNCH FOUR JOINT PROJECTS INCLUDING SUPPORTING UKRAINE, BOLSTERING COOPERATION ON CYBER DEFENSE, COUNTERING DISINFORMATION AND WORKING ON ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE. 

CHINA IS ACCUSING NATO OF OVERREACHING AND INCITING CONFRONTATION IN THE INDO-PACIFIC REGION.

THE UNITED STATES IS RESUMING SHIPPING 500-POUND BOMBS TO ISRAEL — AFTER PAUSING THE SHIPMENT OF NEARLY TWO THOUSAND OF THEM IN MID-MAY. 

HOWEVER — U-S OFFICIALS SAY THEY’LL CONTINUE TO HOLD BACK ON A DELIVERY OF MUCH LARGER TWO THOUSAND POUND BOMBS OVER CONCERNS THEY COULD BE USED IN DENSELY POPULATED AREAS OF GAZA. 

THE U.S. IS SPECIFICALLY CONCERNED THE LARGE BOMBS WOULD BE USED IN ISRAEL’S GROUND INVASION OF RAFAH — WHERE MORE THAN A MILLION PALESTINIANS HAVE TAKEN REFUGE SINCE THE WAR WITH HAMAS BEGAN. 

U-S OFFICIALS SAY THE SMALLER 500 POUND BOMBS HAD BEEN PUT TOGETHER IN A SHIPMENT WITH THE LARGER BOMBS… WHICH IS WHY THEY WERE DELAYED — BUT HAVE SINCE BEEN SEPARATED AND CAN NOW BE SENT TO ISRAEL. 

ACCORDING TO THE LATEST GALLUP POLLING — SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL’S MILITARY CAMPAIGN IN GAZA HAS GONE UP IN THE U.S. 

42 PERCENT OF AMERICANS APPROVE OF ISRAEL’S MILITARY BEING IN GAZA — THAT’S UP FROM 36 PERCENT IN MARCH. 

WHILE 48 PERCENT DISAPPROVE. DOWN FROM 55 PERCENT.

DEMOCRATIC LAWMAKER ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ HAS INTRODUCED ARTICLES OF IMPEACHMENT AGAINST CONSERVATIVE SUPREME COURT JUSTICES SAMUEL ALITO AND CLARENCE THOMAS. 

THE NEW YORK CONGRESSWOMAN IS ACCUSING THEM OF WHAT SHE CALLS “UNCHECKED CORRUPTION” FOR REFUSING TO RECUSE THEMSELVES FROM CERTAIN CASES —  

 — AND IMPROPERLY FAILING TO DISCLOSE GIFTS FROM WEALTHY DONORS. 

HOWEVER IT’S UNLIKELY THE JUSTICES WILL ACTUALLY BE IMPEACHED. 

A MAJORITY VOTE OF 218 IS REQUIRED FOR THE HOUSE TO ADOPT THE ARTICLES. 

CURRENTLY IN THE HOUSE — REPUBLICANS HOLD 219 SEATS AND DEMOCRATS HOLD 213.

THE NBA HAS HIT A SLAM DUNK WHEN IT COMES TO TV RIGHTS – 

ACCORDING TO MULTIPLE OUTLETS —  THE LEAGUE HAS FINALIZED A RECORD 11-YEAR DEAL WORTH 76 BILLION DOLLARS – BRINGING NBA GAMES TO NBC AND AMAZON PRIME VIDEO. 

DISNEY’S ESPN AND ABC WILL ALSO CONTINUE TO CARRY GAMES – INCLUDING THE NBA FINALS. 

TNT SPORTS – WHICH HAS BEEN AIRING THE NBA SINCE THE 1980S – WILL HAVE A FIVE-DAY WINDOW TO MATCH ONE OF THE DEALS — ONCE THE LEAGUE SHARES THE FINISHED CONTRACTS.   

THE RECORD-BREAKING AGREEMENT FOR THE NBA – WOULD TAKE EFFECT FOR THE 2025-26 SEASON.

THERE’S A WHOLE LOT OF “JOY” OVER AT PIXAR STUDIOS TODAY – BECAUSE ITS LATEST MOVIE HAS MADE BOX OFFICE HISTORY. 

“INSIDE OUT 2” IS OFFICIALLY PIXAR’S HIGHEST-GROSSING MOVIE OF ALL TIME. 

SO FAR, THE FILM ABOUT A TEENAGER’S EMOTIONS HAS EARNED 1 POINT TWO FIVE (1.25) BILLION DOLLARS WORLDWIDE – PASSING “INCREDIBLES 2” WHICH MADE 1 POINT TWO FOUR (1.24) BILLION DOLLARS IN ITS RUN. 

“INSIDE OUT 2” NOW RANKS AS THE FOURTH-HIGHEST GROSSING ANIMATED MOVIE OF ALL TIME. 

THE TOP SPOT CURRENTLY BELONGS TO DISNEY’S 20-19 FILM “FROZEN 2” WHICH GROSSED ONE POINT FOUR FIVE BILLION (1.45) DOLLARS GLOBALLY DURING ITS RELEASE.