While the federal criminal indictment of a former president and the 2024 GOP presidential frontrunner is a hugely important story, this week also featured major news that would have dominated headlines in any other week.
The third indictment of Donald Trump earned wall-to-wall coverage this week. While the federal criminal indictment of a former president and the 2024 GOP presidential frontrunner is a hugely important story, this week also featured major news that would have dominated headlines in any other week. Here’s what you may have missed from a wild week of news:
- The House Oversight Committee heard testimony from Devon Archer, the former business partner of Hunter Biden, who testified that Hunter put President Joe Biden on speakerphone in business meetings on at least twenty occasions.
- Archer’s testimony blew a hole in President Biden’s claims to have “never” spoken to his son about his business dealings and influence-peddling, and left congressional Democrats insisting that the elder Biden was merely calling to chat about the weather.
- Former President Trump did not have a great week. On Wednesday, Trump was indicted on four federal charges connected to his efforts to overturn his defeat in the 2020 presidential election.
- Special Counsel Jack Smith is overseeing Trump’s prosecution on Jan. 6-related charges in a DC court. Earlier, Smith filed a new superseding indictment in the Trump’s other federal trial in Florida detailing new obstruction charges in the Mar-a-Lago classified documents case.
- The Trump campaign, once a financial juggernaut, is nearly broke. Campaign finance reports revealed Trump, the billionaire businessman, has spent nearly his entire campaign war chest, largely comprised of small-dollar donations from working-class Americans, on legal fees.
- Fitch Ratings downgraded US government debt from its highest rating, AAA, to its second highest, AA+, in a surprise move citing what it called an “erosion of governance.” The unexpected downgrade, the second-ever and first in over a decade, was derided by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen as “arbitrary and based on outdated data.”
- A Pittsburgh jury sentenced the Tree of Life synagogue shooter to death this week, the first federal death sentence of the Biden administration. The gunman, Robert Bowers, murdered 11 people in 2018 in the deadliest antisemitic attack in US history.
- In international news, the successful military coup d’état in Niger threatens to plunge West Africa into war. The Niger coup follows successful putsches by military officers in Burkina Faso, Mali, and Chad in recent years, dividing the region between military dictatorships backed by Russia and democracies like Liberia and Nigeria that are backed by western powers.
- Ecowas, the regional organization of West African states, has threatened a military intervention to restore the government of President Mohamed Bazoum, who called on the US and the “entire international community” to restore his government. The Malian and Burkinabè military dictatorships vowed to counter any intervention with force.
- Closer to home, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced he would be separating from his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, after 18 years of marriage. The end of Trudeau’s marriage came just a week after he reshuffled his government amid flatlining poll numbers. The Liberal prime minister insists he will seek a fourth term in the next election.
- The New York Times published two major polls of the 2024 election this week that earned significant media attention. The latest NYT/Siena national survey found Biden and Trump are deadlocked, 43%-43%, more than a year out from election day. Surveys of the GOP presidential primary found Trump maintaining a wide lead nationally but a much narrower one in Iowa.
- NBC News covered the death of the latest leader of the Islamic State, the terrorist organization that ruled a wide swath of the Levant less than a decade ago before it was degraded and destroyed by the US and Iraqi militaries. Abu al-Hussein al-Husseini al-Qurayshi was killed fighting an al-Qaeda linked group, the fourth leader of the group to die a violent death since founder Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi blew himself up during a US special forces raid in 2019.
- At least 157 people, including children, were killed in an airstrike earlier this year in the deadliest attack by Myanmar’s military junta since it seized power in 2021. A Washington Post investigation revealed that the strike on supposed “terrorists” killed at least 25 children, including babies less than one year old. The junta has been engaged in a brutal campaign to suppress resistance to its rule that has received relatively little attention from US media.
- Fox News covered an upcoming debate featuring a Republican presidential hopeful – and no, it’s not the GOP primary debate scheduled for later in August. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis accepted a challenge from Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom of California for a live debate on Fox News moderated by Sean Hannity. The two governors have sparred in the press and the debate between the two big-state governors would showcase their differing visions for governance.
- National Review covered the decision by the American Academy of Pediatrics to take a “half step back” from its policies on “gender-affirming care” for children with gender dysmorphia. The AAP commissioned a systematic review of media treatments as the gap between American and European medical practices regarding transgender youth has grown after a similar review in Europe found the benefits of surgical interventions limited while the risks are “abundantly clear.”
- The New York Post reported on the ongoing investigation into the Gilgo Beach murders. On Friday, victim Jane Doe No. 7 was identified as Karen Vergata, who disappeared around Valentine’s Day, 1996. Police have not yet linked Vergata’s death to Rex Heuermann, the suspected serial killer who has been indicted for the murders of four women found near each other in 2010.
© Dominic Moore, 2023