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Good morning and happy Friday! How’s this for a wild commute: A federal judge in Alaska has been assigned to preside over a bribery case in Hawaii after another judge unexpectedly recused himself. Yes, a direct flight from Anchorage to Honolulu is only a little over six hours long. But good luck figuring out what to pack for that trip. Have a great weekend!
In Today’s Brief
Infrastructure: Biden unveils $5B plan
Iran: Ignored terror warning from U.S.
Trump: Doesn’t want RNC resolution
Alaska Air: $150M loss after incident
WWE: Roiled by new McMahon lawsuit
1) GDP boom
The numbers: Gross domestic product (GDP) was up 3.3% over the final three months of 2023 when adjusted for inflation and season. That was off the 4.9% growth in Q3, but far better than projections of 1.5%. The overall GDP growth for the year was 2.5%.
In context: GDP was up 3.1% YoY in Q4. A rise in consumer spending fueled the surge and businesses spent more as interest rates stabilized.
Big picture: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen predicted 2024 will be "a very good year" for the U.S. economy and said she does not expect a recession. And continued good numbers may be critical for President Joe Biden and his re-election bid.
2) Art of the No-Deal?
Senate Republicans’ efforts to strike a grand bargain on Ukraine aid and border security may be for naught.
Trump card: There is growing belief former President Donald Trump wants to scuttle any deal so he can make border security and immigration a focus of his anticipated general election campaign. Trump is favored to be the GOP nominee against President Biden.
State of play: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell reportedly acknowledged Trump's pressure campaign and cast doubt on a deal during a GOP lunch. But McConnell also reiterated his support for a deal in another caucus meeting.
Big picture: Democrats and Republicans have been trying to accomplish a substantial deal for weeks and are believed to be close. Biden has prioritized a deal and indicated he will compromise on the border to send more funds to Ukraine. But Trump could blow it up.
3) Israel ruling today
The International Court of Justice will make an interim ruling on allegations of genocide committed by Israel.
The case: South Africa accused the Israelis of genocide related to their ongoing war against Hamas in Gaza. Both sides traveled to the United Nations' top court in Switzerland earlier this month to argue their viewpoint.
Potential outcomes: It could take the ICJ years to make a final ruling on the genocide assertion. But South Africa is seeking several preliminary measures, including an emergency order for Israel to halt military activities. The court cannot enforce any decision, but any ruling against Israel would carry political heft.
Next steps: Israel has protested the accusations vehemently and would almost certainly ignore any adverse ruling. Hamas has said it would adhere to a ceasefire if Israel complies with a ruling.
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President Biden unveiled a $5B infrastructure investment in dozens of projects nationwide. Most of the funds will go toward building and repairing bridges, including $1B to replace the Blatnik Bridge between Minnesota and Wisconsin (More)
Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said his state will continue to place barbed wire fencing at its border with Mexico. The Supreme Court ruled earlier this week federal officials temporarily have the right to remove it (More)
Former Trump Administration official Peter Navarro was sentenced to four months in federal prison following a contempt of Congress conviction. Navarro defied several House subpoenas; he is appealing his conviction on executive privilege grounds (More)
The U.S. privately warned Iran about a pair of recent suicide bombings that killed almost 100. The Iranians never responded to the intelligence, which officials said could have prevented the attacks (More)
A second South Korea lawmaker was attacked ahead of contentious parliamentary elections in April. Bae Hyun-jin, a member of the ruling party, was hospitalized after being hit in the head with a rock; opposition leader Lee Jae-myung was stabbed earlier this month (More)
A Russia-NATO war is extremely unlikely in the immediate future, according to Lithuania's top military commander. Gen. Valdemaras Rupsys was responding to recent claims by European politicians (More)
Donald Trump rejected a potential Republican National Committee resolution declaring him the party's presumptive presidential nominee after two primary contests. Trump said he does not want the plan enacted in order to preserve party unity (More)
North Carolina’s Democratic Party won a lawsuit challenging Republican-backed election laws in the swing state. The Biden campaign assisted with the filing and alleged voter suppression tactics (More)
Trump briefly testified in his New York defamation trial involving E. Jean Carroll. He said he stood by a prior deposition calling her a liar despite being found liable for sexual assault by a civil jury (More)
Business & Markets
Major indexes all closed higher yesterday. The Dow Jones ended a two-day skid (Dow +0.64%, Nasdaq +0.18%, S&P 500 +0.53%).
Alaska Airlines said it faces a $150M hit after a plane door blew out midair, forcing an emergency landing. The incident led to 3K canceled flights after the FAA grounded a fleet of Boeing jets (More)
Levi Strauss will lay off 10-15% of its global corporate workforce. The apparel retailer is restructuring due to weak sales forecasts this year (More)
Entertainment & Sports
Vince McMahon was accused of sex trafficking by a former WWE employee in a federal lawsuit. The woman also made claims against the company and a former executive; McMahon denied the allegations (More)
Nick Dunlap will join the PGA Tour after becoming the first amateur golfer to win an event on the circuit since 1991. Dunlap, who played collegiately at Alabama, captured The American Express title last week (More)
Mattel has greenlit a Bob The Builder animated feature film. Jennifer Lopez will produce the movie, which will be a spin on the long-running children's program (More)
Feel Good: A second grader in Texas wanted to help the less fortunate, and she opened her piggy bank to do so. Davenee Jaramillo used her allowance to fill goodie bags for the unhoused.
Be Safe: Two versions of Robitussin were recalled due to microbial contamination that could present fungus or yeast into a patient's blood. Robitussin Honey CF Max Day Adult and Robitussin Honey CF Max Nighttime Adult are the impacted cough syrups.
New Idea: Extreme weather has caused an uptick in potholes on roads all over the world. What if robots powered by artificial intelligence could be trained to identify and fix them?
Life Hack: No one likes a rough trip while flying. But if you understand what air turbulence does to your body, you can better handle it. Here are some tips to smooth out a bumpy ride as best you can.
Get Healthy: Pop quiz: What’s the body’s most abundant protein? The answer: Collagen. NativePath's Certified Grass-Fed Collagen Powder is made from grass-fed, pasture-raised cows and contains 18 grams of protein per suggested serving. Start incorporating it daily to support skin elasticity, joint health, bone strength, and muscle growth and maintenance.*
Amazon Prime has released the first trailer for its much-anticipated remake of the 1980s hit Road House. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal and UFC legend Conor McGregor.
Looking Ahead …
Political polling results will be everywhere you turn for the next few months. While they are far from a perfect science, some polls are far more accurate on average than others. Here is 538's rundown of the top pollsters on the road to Election Day.
Would you get an impromptu tattoo at a party?