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Morning Rundown: Deadly Texas tornado, Reddit moderator rules and Neil Gorsuch opinion

At least three people died and more than 50 others were injured when a tornado struck Perryton, Texas, on Thursday afternoon.
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A trailer park took a direct hit when a tornado tore through a Texas city. Reddit's CEO vows to make changes to the site after protests. And how a conservative justice's decision seemingly echoes "woke" historians. 

Here’s what to know today.

Deadly tornado tears through Texas Panhandle town

At least three people died and more than 50 others were injured yesterday afternoon when a tornado struck Perryton, Texas, a city with a population of around 8,500. The city’s fire chief said a trailer park took a direct hit. 

Injuries ranged from cuts and bruises to those that were more severe, an Ochiltree General Hospital spokesperson said. Several patients in critical condition were transported to another hospital.

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Video from a bystander showed damage in downtown Perryton, broken-off trees and damaged and destroyed homes, as well as at least one overturned truck. While National Weather Service forecasters say a tornado touched down based on videos and photos, the storm’s strength won’t be known until damage surveys are done. 

Here’s what else we know about the storm’s toll so far.

Biden talked out of speaking with Xi Jinping after Chinese balloon shot down

President Joe Biden wanted to talk to Chinese President Xi Jinping in the days after the U.S. military shot down a surveillance balloon in February. Biden even said he expected to do so — but his top national security advisers talked him out of it, according to two senior administration officials and one former senior U.S. official familiar with the discussions. 

Biden thought his relationship with Xi could help tamp down the newly escalated tensions with Beijing, but officials said China was far too angry. Instead, officials had other ideas for how to get the U.S. and China’s relationship “back on track.”

Pentagon leak suspect accused of mishandling classified documents

Jack Teixeira, the suspect accused of leaking classified Pentagon documents on the social media platform Discord, was indicted by a federal grand jury on six counts of willful retention and transmission of national defense information. According to the indictment, Teixeira held a top-secret security clearance starting around July 2021 and was trained on the proper handling of classified materials. The indictment also alleged Teixeira transcribed and took photos of classified documents before sharing them online.

Florida apartment tower may have been at risk even before its construction

It has been nearly two years since the partial collapse of a residential building in Surfside, Florida, that killed 98 people, and federal investigators are still looking into what went wrong. But in a preliminary analysis released yesterday, they identified a leading hypothesis: design flaws in the building’s pool deck. 

According to the report, poor construction of the deck in 1981 further weakened Champlain Towers South. Over the next four decades, corrosion, along with renovations that added a heavier load to the deck, made the building even more vulnerable.

FDA panel recommends updated Covid boosters

New Covid vaccines this fall could have tweaks to exclude the original coronavirus strain from the formulation and instead target an XBB strain of the virus. Advisers to the Food and Drug Administration voted on the recommendations yesterday and also pushed for the Covid boosters to provide longer-lasting protection against the virus.

The FDA is expected to make a final decision soon — drugmakers need enough time to produce and distribute the new shots to be used as early as September.

▼ Today’s Talker

Reddit’s rules may be changing…

… after user-led protests made large parts of the website inaccessible this week. Reddit CEO Steve Huffman slammed the protest leaders in an interview yesterday, comparing them to a “landed gentry.” Huffman also said he wants to allow users to vote out moderators more easily. “What I’m suggesting as a pathway out is actually more democracy,” he said.

▼ Politics in Brief

Space Command: The head of U.S. Space Command took a step toward making the temporary Colorado headquarters permanent, even as members of Congress try to force the Defense Department to move operations to Alabama. 

2024 election: Ron DeSantis is headed to Nevada this weekend to speak at an event popular among politicians (and where lamb testicles are on the menu).

Tennessee Legislature: Justin Jones and Justin J. Pearson, the two Democratic state representatives who were expelled by Republicans over gun violence protests, won the primary races for their old seats. 

Student loan debt: House Republicans introduced their own plan to address student debt. 

▼ Staff Pick

Conservative justice echoes ‘woke’ historians

Neil Gorsuch’s conservative reputation is seen in the bulk of his Supreme Court votes and even in some of his actions outside of the chamber. But reporter Lawrence Hurley points out that in a series of recent cases, Gorsuch has spoken up about historical injustice in a way that seems at odds with Republican attacks on “woke” histories being taught in schools. Let’s look at what he wrote. — Elizabeth Robinson, newsletter editor

▼ In Case You Missed It

Former UFC champion Conor McGregor denied an allegation that he sexually assaulted a woman after Game 4 of the NBA Finals.

“Jeopardy” fans were left stunned when all three contestants failed to answer a question about the most widely recited prayer in Christianity.

Prince Harry and Meghan have announced another high-profile split — the couple’s lucrative deal to produce podcasts for Spotify has come to an end.

An American couple found dead in their Mexico hotel room died of carbon monoxide poisoning while on vacation, their family said.

A Colorado surgeon was convicted in the death of a teen patient after a breast augmentation surgery.

Actor Al Pacino, 83, and his 29-year-old girlfriend Noor Alfalla, announced the birth of their new son and his fourth child.

▼ Select: Online Shopping, Simplified

Taking a dip in the pool is a great way to fight the summer heat. To make it even more entertaining for the family, consider stocking up on toys, floats, games and other fun accessories. Here are 14 highly rated pool toys that’ll be sure to make a splash, from floating cornhole and water shooters to dinosaur-shaped floats.

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.