Donald Trump's legal woes are already costing him dearly. Mark Zuckerberg apologizes to families of kids harmed by social media. And a rare but deadly fungal infection has spread to a new state.
Here’s what to know today.
Campaign finance records reveal Trump’s cash crunch
Donald Trump’s recent threat to blackball Republican donors who support his opponents was about more than just loyalty. He also needs the money.
Campaign finance records filed yesterday show the main super PAC supporting the former president’s campaign, MAGA Inc., spent more than it raised in the second half of 2023. To be exact, MAGA Inc. raised $47.8 million from July 1 through Dec. 31, and the super PAC spent $55.4 million over the same period.
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Similarly, Trump’s official campaign blew through more cash than it took in over the last three months of the year. It took in $19.1 million from October through December and spent $23.6 million.
As Trump closes in on a likely GOP nomination with more trial dates looming, he’ll have to hope his legal woes energize the GOP faithful.
Meanwhile, Democrats are touting President Joe Biden’s earnings, saying his team doesn’t need to spend the money on “various … expenses,” as a campaign spokesperson put it. Biden’s campaign ended 2023 with $46 million in cash. The main super PAC backing Biden, Future Forward, had $24 million at the end of the year, compared to MAGA Inc.’s $23.3 million.
Our politics team took a deeper look at the numbers. Read the full story here.
More coverage of 2024 campaign finances
- The price of lawyers is weighing Trump down.
- The super PAC backing Nikki Haley started the year with just $3.5 million in cash after it spent heavily on ads.
- The super PAC backing Ron DeSantis spent $131 million in 2023 , more than four times the $28.2 million the DeSantis campaign spent.
- Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and his allied super PAC are amassing a significant war chest as they mount an outsider bid.
Israel returns dozens of Palestinians’ bodies to Gaza
Issa Abu Sarhan’s 28-year-old son, Mahmoud, is believed to have been killed nearly two months ago. This week, Abu Sahran searched through body bags at a newly dug mass grave in the southern tip of Gaza hoping to find his son. Some bodies were so dismembered that he couldn’t identify them, he said. He was among several people searching for their missing loved ones, hoping for answers and the chance to say a last goodbye.
An NBC News team in Gaza filmed people unfolding the sheets of tarp containing bodies and body parts in various states of decomposition. The corpses arrived at the Israeli-controlled Kerem Shalom border crossing. Israeli officials have declined to comment on the transfer of bodies but have said they are conducting “hostage rescue operations” that includes collecting bodies they suspect are captives who have been killed.
More on the Israel-Hamas war:
- The White House has blamed an umbrella group of Iran-backed militias, collectively known a the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, for the deadly drone strike on a base in Jordan. National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said U.S. retaliation to the attack will be sustained over time. Overnight, U.S. Central Command said it struck Houthi targets in Yemen that were readying attack drones as part of the militia’s campaign against shipping in the Red Sea. Follow live updates.
- A group of U.S. citizens who were taken hostage in the Oct. 7 Hamas-led attack on Israel, as well as family members of those who were murdered, filed a federal lawsuit blaming “the Islamic Republic of Iran” for the massacre.
- Bad hygiene, few meds and dead colleagues: A doctor describes what it’s like to work at Gaza’s last major hospital.
Mark Zuckerberg apologizes to parents
A tense back and forth between Republican Sen. Josh Hawley and Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave way to an apology to parents who say Instagram contributed to their children’s suicides or exploitation. “I’m sorry for everything you’ve all gone through,” Zuckerberg said after he stood up to face the families. “It’s terrible. No one should have to go through the things that your families have suffered.” See video of the tense exchange.
Zuckerberg faced perhaps the toughest line of questioning at yesterday’s Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, called “Big Tech and the Online Child Sexual Exploitation Crisis.” Four other tech CEOs were grilled also about their platforms. Snap’s Evan Spiegel apologized to families who have had children purchase drugs on Snapchat and later die from taking those drugs. During a line of questioning aimed at TikTok’s Shou Zi Chew, Republican Sen. Tom Cotton repeatedly asked if Chew “had ever been a member of the Chinese Communist Party.” Chew replied, “Senator, I’m Singaporean.” Read more about the biggest moments from hearing.
Some calls for violence among the far-right convoy en route to the southern border
A trucker convoy of self-described patriots is headed toward the U.S.-Mexico border for planned events on Saturday. Organizers of the events refer to themselves as “We the People” and “God’s Army” have called for “peaceful assembly & prayer.” However, social media postings in response to the events, which are also being advertised on white nationalist and gun forums, include calls for civil war and violence. However, some potential supporters are suspicious the events are a government setup.
“They’re idiots,” Scot Saks, one of the leaders of the group organizing the event, said of those calling for violence. “They’re stupid Americans, they’re stupid people.”
The three events are slated for this weekend at the southern border in Eagle Pass, Texas; Yuma, Arizona; and San Ysidro, California. A report from the convoy’s first day called the expedition “a complete mess.”
3 dead in Idaho building collapse
A serious collapse at a hangar being built at Boise Airport left at least three people dead and nine others injured, the fire department said. Five of the nine injured people were in critical condition.
The collapse happened yesterday afternoon as a crane was placing something on a steel-frame structure. “I don’t know what caused it, but I can tell you it was a pretty global collapse,” Boise Fire Operations Chief Aaron Hummel said. Boise Airport’s director said the structure was on airport property, but the project was being done by a private party. Here’s what else we know.
Suspect in father’s decapitation has been ‘ranting and railing’ for a decade
Justin Mohn, the man accused this week of killing his father and displaying his decapitated head in a macabre YouTube video was described by a childhood friend as a “great kid” who “went off the rails” once he went to college. “He’s been ranting and railing about the government for 10 years now ... all the crazy stuff that was said on the video last night,” said Michael Prickett, who lived down the street from Mohn when they were children. “He’s essentially been doing that for 10 years now.”
The events at the Mohn residence on Tuesday cast an eerie pall on the Levittown, Pennsylvania, neighborhood, where the 32-year-old grew up. “We’re all just in shock right now,” said John Prickett, Michael’s father. Neighbor Keanya Horton said she recognized Mohn when she saw his picture on the news as the man she frequently saw pacing outside. Meanwhile, a roommate who lived with Mohn in Colorado recalled his strange writings.
Today’s Talker: A fungal infection outbreak was reported in...
… Washington state, where public health departments in Seattle and King County said four cases of Candida auris were identified at the same hospital in January. While the infection can sometimes be deadly, none of the patients have died. Nationwide, cases of C. auris have risen every year for the past seven years, and experts say it’s only a matter of time before cases are in every state.
Politics in Brief
Tax bill: The House voted to pass a $78 billion tax package that includes an expansion of the child tax credit. The bill now goes to the Senate, where a path forward is uncertain as it faces opposition from liberal Democrats and right-wing Republicans. One GOP senator cast doubt on whether the bill will pass because it could make President Biden “look good.”
Florida vs. Disney: A federal judge dismissed Disney’s lawsuit against Gov. Ron DeSantis, ruling Disney lacked standing to bring the suit. Disney claimed in the suit that Florida lawmakers dissolved Disney’s long-standing planning district in retaliation after the company spoke out against the bill dubbed “Don’t Say Gay” by its detractors.
Georgia election interference case: Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis and special prosecutor Nathan Wade have been subpoenaed to testify in a hearing this month about their alleged romance, part of a lawsuit from a Trump co-defendant in an effort to have the charges dismissed.
2024 election: A top adviser to Donald Trump’s presidential campaign is urging Republican donors to ignore Trump’s rhetoric and focus instead on the fact that he’s the likely GOP nominee and the party’s best bet to defeat Joe Biden, according to people familiar with her remarks at a private event in Florida.
Staff Pick: ‘The villain in my life story’
At 35 years old, Kellen Swift-Godzisz doesn’t go on dates, struggles with erectile dysfunction and is hesitant to trust people. For more than 20 years, he has also experienced intense bouts of anxiety and depression. He traces this distress back to the religious trauma of his youth, he said, when he was told he would go to hell because of his sexuality. Swift-Godzisz is among the 1 in 3 adults in the U.S. who have suffered from religious trauma at some point in their life, according to a recent study. We spoke to LGBTQ people about how they’ve been uniquely affected by this type of trauma. — Brooke Sopelsa, NBC OUT editorial director
News. Culture. The stories we’re talking about across our communities. Sign up for our newsletter from NBC OUT.
In Case You Missed It
- Harvard’s chief diversity, equity and inclusion officer is the newest target of plagiarism accusations.
- Over 20 million people in California are under flood watches as the first of two “atmospheric river” storm events makes its way across the state.
- The Los Angeles Police Department pledged better security after nearly 30 floors of an under-construction high-rise luxury condominium tower near the home of the Lakers was plastered with graffiti.
- The Federal Reserve announced it was keeping interest rates at their current levels amid improving consumer confidence and a declining inflation rate.
- Alec Baldwin pleaded not guilty to an involuntary manslaughter charge in the 2021 fatal shooting on the set of the movie “Rust.”
- Researchers have discovered a 45,000-year-old pit of bones in a cave beneath a medieval German castle that they say unlocks secrets of the earliest humans.
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