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Donald Trump faces first criminal trial and Israel weighs response to Iran attack: Morning Rundown


Israel’s war Cabinet meets to decide on a response to Iran’s weekend retaliatory attack. Donald Trump’s hush money case trial begins today in New York. And a look inside the downfall of the organization that tried to develop an electoral rival to Trump and Biden. 

Here’s what to know today.

▼ The Lead

Israel weighs a response to Iran as the world urges restraint

Israel is weighing its next steps after Iran’s retaliatory attack over the weekend, with an Israeli official telling NBC News that the country will respond but that no final decision has been made on the scale or timing of that response. The country’s war Cabinet will convene today after an hourslong meeting last night.

The two countries clashed at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, with Tehran insisting it does not seek further escalation after launching the barrage of 300 drones and missiles, but warning of more “decisive” strikes in retaliation to any Israeli counterattack.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres said it was time to “step back from the brink” as a chorus of world leaders urged restraint. President Joe Biden has warned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu against launching new strikes on Iran, and said that the U.S. would not participate in any offensive actions against Iran, but has privately said he fears that Netanyahu is trying to drag the U.S. into a wider conflict, officials told NBC News. Follow live updates here. 


Trump on trial tests his political wherewithal — and American resolve

Donald Trump sits in court
Mary Altaffer / AP Pool file

The country has never seen anything quite like the made-for-the-screen trial set to start this morning in New York: Donald Trump, a former president and the current Republican Party nominee for the presidency, faces a jury in a criminal trial.

Trump is charged with 34 counts of first-degree falsifying business records. Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg alleges that Trump “repeatedly and fraudulently falsified New York business records to conceal criminal conduct that hid damaging information from the voting public during the 2016 presidential election.”

At the heart of the case are allegations of various sex scandals that prosecutors say Trump tried to suppress with the help of his former lawyer Michael Cohen and top executives in charge of the National Enquirer.

Trump has been branding himself as a political prisoner. The state of New York contends that he is a common criminal using his stature to mock justice. The loudest voices on the political spectrum make competing arguments: that Trump has been unfairly targeted because of his political views and that his status as a candidate has unjustly shielded him from a criminal reckoning. 

He has to hope both that he escapes a guilty verdict and — regardless of the jury’s conclusion — that he is able to convert his prosecution into sympathy votes from people outside his base. 

Follow our live blog for news out of the courtroom, reactions from across the political landscape and expert legal analysis throughout the day at

Read more:

O.J. Simpson will be cremated and his brain won’t be donated to CTE research, lawyer says

OJ Simpson Bids For Freedom In Parole Hearing
Jason Bean / Bloomberg via Getty Images file

A lawyer who represented O.J. Simpson, who died from cancer last week at 76, said that the former NFL star’s body will be cremated in the coming days, and there are no plans to have his brain donated to science.

“On at least one occasion, someone has called saying he’s a CTE guy who studies the brain,” attorney Malcolm LaVergne said, referring to chronic traumatic encephalopathy, a degenerative brain disease that has been studied in former football players and is associated with behavioral and cognitive issues related to repeated head injuries. “That’s a hard no,” LaVergne added. “His entire body, including his brain, will be cremated.”

Inside the secret battle to stop No Labels

Leaders of "No Labels," from left, former North Carolina Gov. Pat McCory, Margaret White, co-executive director, and former U.S. Assistant Attorney Dan Webb at a news conference in Washington on Jan. 18, 2024.
Haiyun Jiang / The New York Times / Redux

The people who run No Labels and Third Way, two of the most prominent centrist organizations in Washington, had all come up together in the small world of Clinton-era center-left politics. Nancy Jacobson, an early Bill Clinton hire and the founder of No Labels, helped secure the necessary political blessings to start Third Way. 

No Labels decided to try to field a bipartisan “unity ticket” against both Biden and Trump during the 2024 election, backed by a reported budget of $70 million. Third Way, which may be centrist but is firmly Democratic, viewed this as a misguided effort that could affect the election for Biden and help to re-elect Trump.

The conflict was personal; there was betrayal, a double agent, a secret team of political operatives, — and a decisive victory for one side that left the other bitter.

‘Rust’ armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed called jurors ‘idiots’ in jail phone calls, prosecutors say

profile court trial rust movie
Gabriela Campos / Pool/AFP – Getty Images

“Rust” armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed said the jurors who convicted her of manslaughter charges in recorded jail phone conversations as “idiots” and “a–holes” and complained that they took only two hours to deliberate, according to a recent filing by prosecutors. The comments made by Gutierrez-Reed were among the revelations made by prosecutors ahead of her sentencing today. 

Prosecutors are seeking the maximum penalty of 18 months in prison. They wrote in the filing that Gutierrez-Reed’s conversations with her mom, boyfriend and her attorney’s paralegal demonstrate her “complete and total failure to accept responsibility for her actions.”

Politics in Brief

Capitol riot: The Supreme Court is expected to tackle a case brought by a Jan. 6 defendant Joseph Fischer, who is accused of obstructing an official proceeding that could also affect a separate prosecution for rump for violating the same law and conspiracy provision. 

Abortion rights: Despite the state Supreme Court ruling that a 1864 near-total abortion ban was enforceable, anti-abortion groups say they will continue to protest outside of abortion clinics.

Russia-Ukraine war: Russian regime propaganda has taken hold in America’s political conversation, with some pro-Trump Republicans often echoing Moscow’s line on why Ukraine is a hopeless cause.


 Sign up for From the Politics Desk to get exclusive reporting and analysis delivered to your inbox every weekday evening. Subscribe here.

Staff Pick: Bringing heat to the chili crisp debate

Photo Illustration: A jar of Lao Gan Ma on a pedestal
Justine Goode / NBC News; Getty Images

Chili sauces make up roughly 60% of the condiments in my fridge so when it came out that Momofuku was issuing cease-and-desist letters to small businesses for using their trademarked term “chili crunch,” I took notice. And I immediately thought of Lao Gan Ma, the O.G. chili crisp, as reporter Kimmy Yam put it. She spoke with fans who think that Lao Gan Ma (Chinese for “old godmother”) wouldn’t be starting beef like that.

— Joy Y. Wang, senior editorial director

In Case You Missed It

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 Mother’s Day is now less than a month away, which means it’s a great time to start thinking about the perfect gift. Here are the 33 best gifts for the mom who loves to cook, work out, reader, garden and more.

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