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Supreme Court hearing over 'bump stocks' ban and Texas Panhandle wildfire: Morning Rundown

Plus, Biden and Trump won the Michigan presidential primaries, as "uncommitted" voters make a statement about Biden's support of Israel.
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Protest voters loom over Joe Biden’s Michigan win. A nuclear weapons plant evacuates some staff as a wildfire tears through Texas. And a Willy Wonka-inspired attraction was so bad the cops were called. 

Here’s what to know today.

Biden nabs Michigan primary win despite ‘uncommitted’ movement

President Joe Biden’s victory in the Michigan Democratic presidential primary was never in doubt, especially when it came to his rival, Rep. Dean Phillips. What was unknown, though, was how many Democratic voters would choose “uncommitted” over Biden, as part of a grassroots movement to protest against his handling of the war in Gaza. 

As of last night, the share of “uncommitted” voters stood at 13.7%, with 80% of expected votes counted. For comparison, Barack Obama received 11% of uncommitted votes in the primary when he ran for re-election in 2012.

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Biden’s campaign isn’t worried about the “uncommitted” movement. “This primary isn't competitive, so people will use this time to speak their minds,” an aide said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

Still, more so than any other primaries to date, the Michigan contest was a referendum of sorts on Biden’s support of Israel. Read more about Biden’s win here. 

In the Michigan Republican presidential primary, former President Donald Trump easily secured a victory, continuing his dominant run to the nomination 

But he’s not done in Michigan yet. Trump only earned 16 of the state’s 55 delegates to the Republican National Convention in yesterday’s primary. The remaining delegates will be decided Saturday at the state party convention. Read more about Trump’s win here.

More 2024 election coverage: 

  • See the full results in the Michigan presidential primary. 
  • Political correspondent Steve Kornacki explains why Trump is winning independents in polls while struggling with them in primaries.
  • Last month, chief political analyst Chuck Todd suggested a way a third-party candidate could interrupt a Biden-Trump rematch in the general election. In a new analysis, Todd argues that it’s “time for acceptance.” One big reason why is abortion.

Supreme Court considers gun ‘bump stock’ ban

Did the federal government have the authority to ban “bump stocks” when it did so after the 2017 Las Vegas mass shooting? And does the accessory meet the definition of a “machine gun”? The Supreme Court will consider those questions today as it hears arguments over the Trump administration’s prohibition, which was enacted after a gunman used bump stock-equipped firearms to open fire on a country music festival, initially killing 58 people.

The case concerns Texas-based gun owner and licensed dealer Michael Cargill, who argues that the federal government lacks the legal authority to implement a prohibition. A lawyer and advocate for gun restrictions says the ban of bump stocks are “a significant public safety issue.”

Even if the Supreme Court overturns the regulation, bump stocks would still not be available nationwide.

Texas wildfire uncontained as huge blaze covers 300,000 acres

Kaitlyn Butler

A disaster has been declared as a wildfire spreads across the Taxes Panhandle, threatening towns, forcing evacuations and cutting off power to thousands of homes and businesses. A fire north of Amarillo has burned through 300,000 acres and was zero percent contained early this morning. The fire is now twice the size it reached on Monday. The fires have led to the shutdown and evacuation of a nuclear weapons facility at Pantex out of “an abundance of caution.” Follow live updates.  

Throughout the rest of the country, millions of people from the Great Lakes to the Gulf Coast have experienced warmer-than-usual temperatures, with 100 daily record highs set Monday and up to 80 more set yesterday. But today, a powerful cold front will leave bitter cold temperatures in its wake in the upper Midwest and heavy rain and wind along the East Coast. And a new storm system is moving in off the Pacific.

Famine ‘almost inevitable’ in Gaza; U.S. says Israel must do more to help

Children struggle to support their families in Gaza under Israeli attacks
Abed Zagout / Anadolu via Getty Images

Israel and Hamas have poured cold water on the idea that a breakthrough is close on a temporary cease-fire deal for Gaza. However, officials from Qatar, who are mediating negotiations, said yesterday they were ‘’pushing hard’’ for a deal by the start of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on March 10. Hamas said its conditions had not been met, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said popular support for Israel in the U.S. will help it fight “until total victory.”

Famine is ‘’almost inevitable’’ in Gaza, Ramesh Rajasingham, a senior U.N. aid official, told the Security Council yesterday. The World Food Programme also warned that famine was imminent in the north of the enclave, where violence forced it to halt aid deliveries. Levels of child malnutrition in Gaza are the worst in the world, it has said. The U.S. said ‘’Israel must do more’’ to get aid into the embattled enclave. Follow live updates.

First, lead exposure. Now, constant fear.

In the four months since WanaBana announced a nationwide recall of its cinnamon applesauce pouches, parents of lead-poisoned children say they now worry about the potential long-term health issues that could develop in their young ones. As of last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has received 468 confirmed, probable and suspected reports of elevated blood lead levels linked to pouches across 44 states. 

Some parents, like Maryland resident Sarah Callahan, have noticed symptoms in their children. Callahan’s 18-month-old son, Rudy, is showing signs of speech delay, and she fears more health issues may come up in the future. Another mother said her 3-year-old son developed dark circles around his eyes around the time he started eating WanaBana pouches — and they still haven’t gone away. Others who spoke to NBC News say the recall has also left them frustrated and on edge.

Politics in Brief

Hunter Biden: Two Republican-led House committees leading the impeachment inquiry against Biden will question Hunter Biden in a closed-door deposition that the president’s son had declined to participate in for months. 

Government funding: Senators in both parties are warning that they will likely need to pass another short-term funding bill to prevent a partial government shutdown this weekend. 

Troubled aircraft: Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin could be briefed as early as this week on the military’s plans to get its V-22 Osprey aircraft back in the air months after they were grounded, according to two senior defense officials. 

Trump investigations: Fulton County, Georgia, special prosecutor Nathan Wade was back on the witness stand in a hearing about his romantic relationship with the county’s district sttorney, Fani Willis. During his testimony, Wade said he couldn’t remember when their relationship began.

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Staff Pick: Inside the dumpy Willy Wonka-like experience

House of Illuminati's "Willy's Chocolate Experience" event
House of Illuminati's "Willy's Chocolate Experience."Stuart Sinclair

A Willy Wonka-inspired “Chocolate Experience” in Glasgow, Scotland, was far from a “world of pure imagination.” The experience, which is being compared to the chaotic Fyre Festival, promised a dreamlike “paradise of sweet treats.” Instead, attendees encountered a sparsely decorated warehouse. Reporter Angela Yang spoke to some infuriated parents and embarrassed cast members who were hired to work at the event. One actor called it a place “where dreams go to die.” — Saba Hamedy, culture & trends editor

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