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Israel seizes Rafah crossing and the best Met Gala looks: Morning Rundown

Plus, experts weigh on what might happen if Trump goes to jail after Judge Juan Merchan again punished the former president over his gag order violations.
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Israel seizes Gaza's Rafah border crossing. Millions in the U.S. are under severe weather alerts. And see the most head-turning looks from the Met Gala.

Here’s what to know today.

Israeli forces enter Rafah and take control of key border crossing

Israeli ground forces have seized control of the Gaza side of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, the Israeli military said this morning. Video released by the Israel Defense Forces showed tanks flying Israeli flags entering the crossing, a crucial point for humanitarian aid coming into the besieged Palestinian enclave. The movement of aid into the Gaza Strip through the Rafah and Kerem Shalom border crossings has "completely stopped," a spokesman for the Palestinian Crossings Authority said this morning.

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The move comes after Hamas announced it had accepted a cease-fire proposal following weeks of talks with Qatar and Egypt. Israel said that the deal was “far from” its requirements and that it would push ahead with a Rafah operation and send a delegation to the talks. An Israeli official has told NBC News that the ground incursion into Rafah is “a very limited” operation designed to achieve tactical military goals and put pressure on Hamas in the cease-fire negotiations.

Earlier, Israel told some 100,000 people to evacuate eastern Rafah and head to what it said was an expanded humanitarian area. Israel insists a ground attack on Rafah is needed to eradicate Hamas. But world leaders and aid groups have warned against a broader operation in the city, where more than 1 million people are sheltering.

Follow live updates here. 

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The looks we loved at the Met Gala

Let’s give it up once more for the 2024 Met Gala looks! The stars “rose” to the occasion for this year’s dress code, “The Garden of Time.” Jennifer Lopez sparkled in a custom Schiaparelli gown that contained 2.5 million beads and took 800 hours to create. That’s dedication. And we couldn’t be-“leaf” Kim Kardashian’s all-metal corseted John Galliano gown. It only gets better from there.

NBC News art director Chelsea Stahl recapped last night’s most memorable looks:

👗 Best dressed: Zendaya. We “challenge” anyone to get on her level with TWO looks. Great interpretation of the theme and striking makeup! A co-host extraordinaire.

💕 Cutest couple: Maybe not a couple, but model Gigi Hadid and the five men helping her with her dress took our hearts.

💇🏻‍♀️ Best hair: Amanda Seyfried’s silver-cast hair was cool, inventive and stood out with her purple lips.

🎤 Most likely to be a co-host next year: Gwendolyn Christie. She was giving her best theater girl energy, and we need more of that at the Met Gala!

👏 Honorable mentions: Cardi B, Ayo Edebiri and Emma Chamberlain.

See photos of the night’s fiercest looks, and visit our blog for other moments you may have missed.

Trump on trial: Another fine and a jail threat

The fourth week of Donald Trump’s hush money trial began with a $1,000 fine for violating a gag order — and a threat from Judge Juan Merchan that he would send the former president to jail “if necessary.” Yesterday’s fine is in addition to a $9,000 fine the judge imposed last week for nine previous gag order violations.

Merchan did not specify which jail Trump would end up in, but experts said it would likely be Rikers Island. “The department would find appropriate housing,” the jail’s top spokesperson said when asked what would happen if Trump were to be sent there. Experts described what else might happen if Trump goes to jail — from the intake process to how the Secret Service would protect him. 

At yesterday’s trial, Jeffrey McConney, a former Trump Organization executive, and Deborah Tarasoff, the first current employee to testify, described how the many large sums of money that went to Michael Cohen for alleged hush money payments came straight from Trump’s bank account. And for the first time in the trial, a check from the alleged scheme was shown in court. Here are other highlights from Day 12.

It remains unknown which witnesses will take the stand today, though at some point in the trial, Cohen and adult film star Stormy Daniels are expected to testify. Read more about today’s trial. 

Russia detains U.S. soldier accused of stealing

A U.S. soldier stationed in South Korea was detained in Russia last week. Army Staff Sgt. Gordon Black was accused of theft and is now being held in pretrial confinement for at least two months. The details of his alleged crime are not yet known. 

Black had finished a deployment and was heading back to the U.S. when he made a side trip to Vladivostok, Russia, to visit a woman he was romantically involved with, according to U.S. officials. It’s not clear if the woman he was accused of stealing from is the woman he was in Russia to visit. The trip was made without permission from his superiors, the officials said.

Black joins a list of Americans being held in Russia. Among the most prominent are Wall Street Journal reporter Evan Gershkovich, who was jailed last March, and former Marine Paul Whelan, who was arrested in 2018. The U.S. government has said that both Gershkovich and Whelan are wrongfully detained. Here’s what else we know.

Possible tornadoes, flooding and hail threaten millions

The National Weather Service confirmed multiple tornadoes last night in parts of Oklahoma and Tennessee, and millions of people are at risk today as an extreme weather outbreak extends into its sixth week. In Okeene, Oklahoma, an emergency management official said outbuildings were damaged and one home was struck by lightning when a tornado touched down. 

Emergency workers with Caney Creek Fire and Rescue boat out dogs from a flood portion of River Plantation Drive in River Plantation, Texas
Emergency workers in River Plantation, Texas, on Friday. Jason Fochtman / Houston Chronicle via Getty Images

About 18 million people from north Texas to South Dakota and over to Illinois were threatened by severe storms last night. That risk extends to 25 million people across the Midwest, the Ohio Valley and the Tennessee Valley today. Forecasters warn of possible tornadoes, 80 mph wind gusts, flooding and hail. 

In Texas, Gov. Greg Abbott said severe weather was to blame for at least three deaths in recent days, including a 5-year-old boy swept away in floodwaters.

Read more about the severe weather in the U.S.

Who could be Trump’s vice president?

Trump’s selection of Mike Pence as his running mate played a key role in his 2016 election win. Now, it’s time for Trump to pick a potential vice president again.

Among the onetime rivals being considered is Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina, whose name recognition could be an asset but whose outspoken support of a federal abortion ban could hurt him. South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem, whose handling of the Covid pandemic garnered conservative praise, is among the Trump skeptics-turned-supporters in the mix. Add in a few former Trump administration officials and a handful of up-and-comers, and the result is a vast field of potential picks. Take a closer look at the vice presidential hopefuls, their backgrounds, their relationships with Trump and the reasons why they might or might not be picked.

Miss USA gives up her crown

Noelia Voigt on stage.
Hector Vivas / Getty Images file

Noelia Voigt is relinquishing her Miss USA crown to focus on her mental health, she announced yesterday. “In life, I strongly value the importance of making decisions that feel best for you and your mental health,” she said in an Instagram post yesterday. The 24-year-old who represented Utah was the first Venezuelan American to hold the crown as Miss USA. The Miss USA pageant said it will announce a successor soon. Read more.

Politics in Brief 

Indiana primary: Most of the action in Indiana’s election today will be concentrated in GOP primaries up and down the ballot. A governor’s race is expected to be an early test of Trump’s endorsement, while GOP nominees for three House seats will likely be sent to Congress. Here’s what else to watch.

Johnson’s speakership: House Speaker Mike Johnson said he will continue discussions with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene after a nearly two-hour meeting yesterday. Greene has threatened to oust Johnson but, at least for one day, backed off her plan to force a vote on the matter. 

Contempt resolution: The House Judiciary Committee plans to move forward with a contempt of Congress resolution against Attorney General Merrick Garland over his refusal to hand over audio of President Joe Biden’s interview with former special counsel Robert Hur in a classified documents investigation. 

Wisconsin shakeup: The top election official in Milwaukee County was removed from her post, an unexpected move for the largest county in the battleground state.

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Staff Pick: ‘Epcot is my coffee shop’

Take it from me — being a so-called “Disney adult” can be embarrassing to admit. But I found several proud adult Disney fans who let me in on a little secret: Working remotely is a lot more fun if your “coffee shop” is the one inside Epcot or the Magic Kingdom. The resulting story about working on a laptop inside Disney World reflects the ever-changing dynamics of work-life balance. — Kat Tenbarge, tech and culture reporter

In Case You Missed It

Select: Online Shopping, Simplified

When it comes to choosing an electric toothbrush, dentists say to get one you’d use consistently. Since there are so many models on the market, our Select team rounded up the 14 best electric toothbrushes for adults. 

Sign up to The Selection newsletter for exclusive reviews and shopping content from NBC Select.

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