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The Morning Rundown™

Suspects in Russia concert hall attack appear in court

Mar 25


The U.S. responds to Vladimir Putin’s claims after dozens are killed in a terrorist attack at a Russia concert hall, and—NBC News’ Chuck Todd calls out his own network for a recent hiring during ‘Meet the Press.’ These stories and more highlight The Morning Rundown for Monday, March 25, 2024.

Suspects in Russia concert hall attack appear in court

ISIS has claimed responsibility for a terror attack at a concert hall in Russia on Friday, March 22, resulting in the death of more than 130 people and injuring nearly 200 others.

In response to the massacre, Russia observed a day of mourning on Sunday, March 24. The four men accused of carrying out the shooting and detonating explosives inside the venue near Moscow were brought to court, displaying visible injuries that Russian media sources suggest were the result of torture during interrogations by security services.

Court documents revealed two of the accused have pleaded guilty, although reports from Russian media indicate three confessions. The suspects, apprehended on Saturday, face life imprisonment. Russian President Vladimir Putin has asserted their intention was to flee to Kyiv, a claim Ukrainian officials have refuted.

The United States, aligning with Ukraine, has made a clear statement attributing the attack solely to ISIS, denying any Ukrainian involvement. Furthermore, U.S. officials disclosed that America had previously warned Russia about a potential terrorist attack targeting Moscow earlier in the month and had issued a public caution to Americans in Russia regarding the threat.

Trump faces deadline to secure $454 million bond amid fraud judgment

March 25 marks the deadline for former President Donald Trump to secure a $454 million bond to cover a fraud judgment against him or face the risk of asset seizure. The accusation stems from a civil fraud case alleging Trump inflated his net worth.

New York Attorney General Letitia James, who issued the judgment, granted Trump a 30-day grace period, which concludes today. Despite the lack of expected immediate action from James, the potential impact on Trump’s financial stability remains significant.

A substantial portion of Trump’s assets are in real estate, a form of collateral that bond companies typically shy away from. Consequently, Trump has encountered difficulties securing the bond, with more than 30 companies turning down his requests.

In a social media post last week, Trump claimed to have almost $500 million in cash. He has filed an appeal against the judgment, but a decision on the matter is still pending.

Kamala Harris says Israeli operation in Rafah would be a ‘huge mistake’

Vice President Kamala Harris has indicated that the United States may consider “consequences” should Israel proceed with its plans to expand military operations into the city of Rafah, amid the ongoing conflict with Hamas. In an interview with ABC News, Harris underscored the Biden administration’s opposition to an invasion of Rafah, labeling any significant military action in the area as a grave error.

“We have been clear in multiple conversations and in every way, that any major military operation in Rafah would be a huge mistake,” Harris stated, emphasizing the lack of evacuation options for the city’s residents. “Let me tell you something, I have studied the maps. There’s nowhere for those folks to go.”

The United Nations has reported that over one million people reside in Rafah, a border city, with the majority having been displaced from other parts of the territory due to the conflict.

Despite objections from the U.S., Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu remains steadfast in his plans for Rafah, recently affirming the necessity of an attack to defeat Hamas. In the coming week, the Israeli Defense Minister and a separate Israeli delegation are slated to visit Washington to discuss the Gaza war and Rafah plans with top U.S. officials.

Chuck Todd blasts NBC News for hiring former RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel

NBC News is facing criticism from within its own ranks following the recent addition of former Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel to its team. Chuck Todd, a prominent political reporter and former moderator of “Meet the Press,” expressed strong disapproval of the network’s decision during Sunday’s program, hosted by Kristen Welker.

Todd, now serving as NBC News Chief Political Analyst, raised concerns about McDaniel’s credibility and potential conflicts of interest given her new role as a paid contributor.

“Because I don’t know what to believe,” Todd remarked, questioning whether McDaniel’s responses in a recent interview were influenced by her contractual obligations to NBC News. He highlighted the difficulty in discerning whether she was speaking for herself or on behalf of her payers, suggesting McDaniel still has credibility issues to address.

The hiring has reportedly caused discomfort among NBC News journalists, with Todd noting their previous experiences with the RNC involved “gaslighting” and “character assassination.” He emphasized the network executives owe Welker an apology, following her interview with McDaniel, which took place just minutes before Todd’s commentary.

Welker, at the start of the show, informed viewers that McDaniel’s booking occurred weeks prior to NBC’s announcement on Friday, March 22, of her hiring. During the interview, McDaniel stated that individuals charged with attacking the Capitol on January 6 should not be released, contradicting former President Trump’s claims of potential pardons. Additionally, McDaniel acknowledged President Biden’s legitimate victory in the 2020 presidential election, while still mentioning there were voting issues.

Ohtani to address media on gambling scandal involving former interpreter

Los Angeles Dodgers’ Shohei Ohtani is expected to address the media Monday, March 25, for the first time since the firing of his interpreter last week, amidst a gambling scandal shaking Major League Baseball. The incident raises questions about the involvement of the Japanese baseball star’s former interpreter, who was dismissed following allegations of a “massive theft” by Ohtani’s legal team. The accused is said to have diverted millions from Ohtani to cover gambling debts.

Despite the interpreter’s assertion that Ohtani was uninvolved with the gambling charges, the athlete has remained silent on the issue, including the circumstances leading to his friend and interpreter’s dismissal. Dodgers Manager Dave Roberts has publicly supported Ohtani’s decision to speak out, emphasizing the importance of transparency in the situation.

Ohtani, who last December signed the largest contract in baseball history — a 10-year agreement valued at $700 million — finds his career at a critical juncture as MLB launches an investigation into the gambling allegations linked to his former interpreter.

The league’s probe aims to uncover the depth of the gambling issue and its impact on one of baseball’s leading figures. Monday’s press conference with Ohtani is highly anticipated, offering potential clarity on his stance and the broader implications for MLB.

Global support pours in for Princess Kate after cancer diagnosis

Worldwide reactions continue to emerge after Princess Kate, the Princess of Wales and wife of Prince William, heir to the British throne, revealed she has been diagnosed with cancer. In a video released on Friday, Kate shared news of her condition and her ongoing treatment.

On Friday, March 22, a video was posted on social media by Kensington Palace detailing Kate’s health journey. “In January, I underwent major abdominal surgery in London and, at the time, it was believed my condition was non-cancerous. The surgery was successful, but subsequent tests revealed the presence of cancer,” Kate stated. She is now undergoing preventative chemotherapy and is in the early stages of treatment.

President Joe Biden and First Lady Jill Biden expressed their support on X (formerly Twitter), saying, “Jill and I join millions around the world in praying for your full recovery, Princess Kate.”

Ivanka Trump, daughter of former President Donald Trump, also shared her sentiments: “I am deeply saddened to hear about Princess Kate’s diagnosis. Amidst the trials she faces, her strength and grace continue to shine brightly.”

Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, offered their wishes for Kate’s health and healing, hoping for privacy and peace for the family during this time.

Amidst the outpouring of support, some public figures addressed the speculation and rumors that had spread prior to the announcement. Actress Jamie Lee Curtis urged respect and positive wishes for Kate and her family, criticizing the conspiracy theories that had been circulating on social media.

Olivia Munn, who recently disclosed her own battle with breast cancer, thanked Kate for demonstrating grace and determination in the face of adversity.

Over the weekend, Kate and William expressed their appreciation for the global support, stating they were “enormously touched by the kind messages” received from around the world. The couple’s acknowledgment highlights the widespread concern and solidarity from people and notable figures across the globe.

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