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Morning Rundown: Rare June severe weather, human body part theft ring and the story behind a ‘reckless’ robotaxi

After a day of severe storms that ended with nine reports of tornadoes, parts of the Gulf Coast may be in for more inclement weather
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Congressional Republicans are split over whether they’d support Donald Trump if he is convicted. Rare June severe weather continues to threaten parts of the Gulf Coast. And San Francisco police weigh in on a widely criticized video of a driverless car.

Here’s what to know today.

Amid Trump’s historic indictment, Republicans face an unprecedented question

Despite being accused of federal crimes related to his handling of classified documents, former President Donald Trump is his party’s presidential front-runner. But what would happen to his support if he were to be convicted of federal crimes? 

While it’s a still-hypothetical situation, some GOP lawmakers say they could not support a candidate who’s been convicted. Others are reluctant to close the door. And the divisions scramble along ideological lines, with some of the most right-leaning Republicans expressing unease while various center-right GOP members say their responses would depend on circumstances.

For example, Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee, one of the most conservative House Republicans, said he would not be OK with having a convicted felon as the party’s 2024 nominee. 

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Rep. Cathy McMorris of Washington, who chairs the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, said, “I’ll cross that bridge when it comes.” 

And Rep. George Santos of New York, who knows what it’s like to be indicted by federal prosecutors, declined to entertain hypotheticals. “We’re just gonna do hyperboles now? Woulda, coulda, shoulda? Ask me a question with facts,” Santos said. “I don’t know the future. Do you know the future? I support the president.”

Here’s what else Congressional Republicans had to say

More analysis after Trump’s arraignment

Bill Cosby sued in Nevada over sexual assault allegations

Nine women filed a sexual assault lawsuit yesterday against Bill Cosby in Nevada, weeks after the state passed a law eliminating the statute of limitations for civil cases. The lawsuit accuses the 85-year-old actor of using his “enormous power, fame, and prestige” to isolate and sexually assault each of the women named in the lawsuit. Many of the women in the lawsuit alleged that Cosby drugged them before he assaulted them.

A spokesperson for Cosby accused the women of being motivated by an “addiction” to “media attention and greed.” 

Risk of severe storms continues across Southeast and Gulf Coast

 After a day of severe storms that ended with nine reports of tornadoes, parts of the Gulf Coast may be in for more inclement weather today that could see hail and gusty winds threaten the region. “Multiple rounds” of thunderstorms were forecast for parts of Alabama through this evening. Central Mississippi and small areas of Arkansas and Louisiana were advised about thunderstorms on Thursday.

For the Southeast and Gulf Coast regions, severe storms are most likely during the early spring months, making this week’s storms unusual for the area. Here’s the latest on the rare June severe weather outbreak.

Southern Baptists expel two churches led by female pastors

The Southern Baptist Convention paved the way to ban women from most leadership roles, voting yesterday to amend its constitution to specify that churches must hire “only men as any kind of pastor or elder as qualified by Scripture.” The decision came during SBC’s annual meeting in New Orleans, where 12,000 or so “messengers” gathered. On Tuesday, voters also sealed the exit of two churches — one in Southern California and one in Louisville, Kentucky — for having female pastors. According to the SBC’s tally, the votes weren’t even close.

▼ Today’s Talker

The viral video of a ‘reckless’ robotaxi caused an uproar, but…

… police and firefighters say the viewers may have misunderstood what was happening. In the video, a self-driving taxi is seen seemingly refusing to move out of the way as it blocked emergency vehicles from reaching the scene of a mass shooting. After a witness posted the video to Twitter, local media outlets and politicians ran with that idea — but they may have been wrong.

▼ Politics in Brief

Congress: The House blocked a GOP-backed effort to censure California Rep. Adam Schiff, with almost two dozen Republican lawmakers joining Democrats in the vote.

2024 election: Another Florida man has filed paperwork to enter the race for the Republican presidential nomination: Miami Mayor Francis Suarez.

Immigration: Forty-two migrants arrived in downtown Los Angeles yesterday following a nearly daylong bus ride from Texas. Gov. Greg Abbott called their removal a “much-needed relief” for his state.

▼ Staff Pick

Tori Bowie was looking forward to motherhood

In her last conversation with Tori Bowie, Kimberly Holland remembered the Olympic sprinter was “just so happy.” Holland, Bowie’s longtime agent and confidant said, “I thought that conversation, overall, was a conversation of new beginnings.” Instead, two weeks later, Bowie died from pregnancy complications. This story is a heartbreaking glimpse into Bowie’s life before her death. — Elizabeth Robinson, newsletter editor

▼ In Case You Missed It

Daniel Penny was indicted on a second-degree manslaughter charge in the chokehold death of fellow subway rider Jordan Neely. 

Fox News says it “addressed” a chyron that called President Joe Biden a “wannabe dictator.”

Four people are accused of stealing human body parts from Harvard Medical School’s morgue and selling them to a nationwide network of buyers.

Jurors awarded $25.6 million to a former Starbucks regional manager who alleged that she and other white employees were unfairly punished after the arrests of two Black men at a Philadelphia location.

Former U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson deliberately misled Parliament about the Covid lockdown-flouting parties that contributed to his downfall, an investigation has found.

Social Security beneficiaries are on track to receive the smallest cost-of-living adjustment increase since the start of the pandemic. 

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Thanks for reading today’s Morning Rundown. Today’s newsletter was curated for you by Elizabeth Robinson. If you’re a fan, please send a link to your family and friends. They can sign-up here.