Also, a global heat wave. Here’s the latest at the end of Tuesday.
Donald Trump received a letter informing him that he was a target of the special counsel’s investigation into his role in the events surrounding the Capitol riot. The letter is a signal that Trump is likely to be indicted on federal criminal charges relating to his attempts to retain power after the 2020 election.
It is not clear what charges the prosecutors are considering or when indictments may arise. But when the special counsel, Jack Smith, sent a similar letter last month relating to Trump’s handling of national defense material, the former president was charged with 37 criminal counts within days.
If Trump is indicted again, my colleague Glenn Thrush told me, it may be even more significant than the last time: “The documents case is fairly easy to prove, but in the minds of a lot of people it is pretty peripheral,” Glenn said. “In the Jan. 6 case, the bar for evidence is much higher, and the stakes for the country and the consequences for the republic are almost incalculably higher.”
When Smith was hired in November to examine Trump’s actions around the election and Jan. 6, among other topics, he vowed to move “expeditiously.” His office has focused on a wide array of schemes, including a plan to create false slates of pro-Trump electors in key swing states that Biden won. Prosecutors have also sought information about Trump’s post-election fund-raising.
The reaction from Trump’s G.O.P. primary rivals, whom he leads by a significant margin, was notably muted. As my colleague Maggie Haberman has reported, Trump’s advisers have said that they view winning the election as a defense against possible jail time.
Glenn said that we should not expect an indictment this week, and that it is more likely to come in early August. Still, he said, federal prosecutors will probably want a chance to question witnesses before a district attorney in Georgia, who is also weighing indictments related to the 2020 election.
In related news, Michigan announced felony charges against 16 people in connection with a false-elector scheme to overturn Trump’s election loss in 2020.
The world is sweltering
Punishing heat waves are gripping much of the Northern Hemisphere: In the U.S., Phoenix broke a 49-year-old record with the city’s 19th consecutive day of temperatures above 110 degrees. In Europe, where the temperatures have made conditions dangerous for low-income workers, news outlets are calling the heat wave “Caronte,” after the ferryman in Dante Alighieri’s poem “Inferno.” And in Iran, the heat index hit a life-threatening 152 degrees.
In the U.S.: Track the weather coming your way.
Protesters rally in Israel against the judicial overhaul
Thousands of Israelis demonstrated in major train stations, blocked highways and rallied outside the homes of government ministers to loudly oppose Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s plan to finalize a law next week that would limit the power of the Supreme Court. They say that they fear the proposed law would undermine democracy by reducing judicial oversight over the cabinet.
In the U.S., President Biden met with President Isaac Herzog of Israel this afternoon at the White House. The diplomatic overture is meant to signal steadfast American support for Israel despite tensions between the Biden administration and Netanyahu.
Meta takes a different tack with its A.I.
Mark Zuckerberg, the chief executive of Meta, said today that he planned to provide the code behind the company’s latest and most advanced artificial-intelligence technology to developers and software enthusiasts around the world, free of charge.
The move will allow Meta to capitalize on improvements made by programmers from outside the company, possibly allowing it to better compete with the likes of Google and Microsoft. But it also flies in the face of warnings from the industry’s biggest names that advanced A.I. technology may need to be limited to those who will use it responsibly.
More top news
North Korea: A man apprehended by North Korea after crossing into the country is an American soldier, officials said.
Crime: The Illinois Supreme Court upheld a measure eliminating cash bail, most likely transforming the state’s criminal justice system.
Hollywood strike: The actors’ union and the studios traded statements underscoring how much work needs to be done to reach an agreement.
Politics: After days of new doubts about his campaign, Ron DeSantis vowed a crackdown on transgender rights in the military and defended Donald Trump.
International: Nelson Mandela is revered worldwide and celebrated today, his birthday. But at home, a younger generation is disillusioned with South Africa and Mandela himself.
Ukraine: World War II has been an ideological battlefield in the war. Remnants are cropping up on the actual battlefield, too.
Sports: Jonas Vingegaard of Denmark pulled ahead in the 16th stage of the Tour de France.
EVENING WIND DOWN
50 years of hip-hop
Over the last 50 years, hip-hop has grown from a new art form to a culture-defining superpower, influencing and inspiring television, film, fashion, advertising, literature, politics and countless other corners of American life.
No one person can tell that story. As our critic writes, hip-hop is broad and fruitful, enthralling and polyglot, the source of an endless fount of narratives. People don’t always agree.
So we turned to 50 titans of the genre — from DJ Hollywood to LL Cool J, Lil Wayne to Ice Spice. Here’s what they said.
Flying taxis may soon be a reality
The concept of a flying taxi might remind you of a futuristic world like “The Jetsons.” Or perhaps you’ve seen companies like Uber hype their aircraft technology only to push it off further into the future.
But today, federal regulators made the prospect seem a bit more real. They released a plan and announced a target arrival date: 2028.
The flying taxis look like small airplanes or helicopters and can take off and land vertically, allowing them to operate from the middle of cities, whisking people to airports or vacation destinations such as the Hamptons in New York or Cape Cod in Massachusetts.
Dinner table topics
Saturday night at Gwyneth’s: Which of these celebrity looks do you like the best?
Wikipedia’s moment: Can the online encyclopedia help teach A.I. chatbots to get their facts right without destroying itself in the process?
Playing dress-up: Margot Robbie’s best looks from the “Barbie” press tour took inspiration from the doll’s clothing archive.
WHAT TO DO TONIGHT
Cook: For this chicken recipe, America’s favorite salad dressing, ranch, is the marinade.
Watch: “Love Island” is back tonight for a fifth season. Here’s what else is on TV this week.
Convert: There are plenty of ways to add sleeping space to a home without an extra bedroom.
Listen: Liz Phair and John Denver are perfect for airport listening. Here’s what else is.
Track: To a younger generation, location sharing is a sign of affection.
Compete: Take our quiz to see how well you know spy books and their screen adaptations.
Cool down: Wirecutter tested out dozens of fans. They recommend these six.
Play: Here are today’s Spelling Bee, Wordle and Mini Crossword. For more, find all our games here.
ONE LAST THING
A man-bites-dog story from the dinosaur era
Paleontologists unearthed a fossil in northeastern China that appeared to freeze in time an unexpected skirmish from 125 million years ago. Defying conventional wisdom, the fossil depicts a badgerlike mammal biting a dinosaur significantly larger than it.
The researchers, who published their findings today, said it took a good bit of luck (or unluckiness, from the animals’ point of view) to preserve their bodies midfight. It appears that both the mammal and the dinosaur were caught off guard by a mudslide, freezing them in place until they were discovered a decade ago.
Have a surprising evening.
Thanks for reading. I’ll be back tomorrow. — Matthew
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