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Good evening. Here’s the latest at the end of Tuesday.
1. A Jan. 6 panel revealed evidence that Trump was involved in a plan to put forward fake electors.
The committee played deposition video from Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chairwoman, who testified that Trump had personally called her about helping to further the scheme. The committee also showed texts from an aide to Senator Ron Johnson, Republican of Wisconsin, indicating that Johnson sought to hand-deliver fake electors from his state and from Michigan.
The revelation came during the panel’s fourth hearing this month, which focused on the pressure applied to election officials and workers to overturn the 2020 results. Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, testified that Trump’s allies broke into his widowed daughter-in-law’s house and that his wife received threats.
2. Asia is buying up Russia’s discounted oil, dulling the effects of sanctions from the West.
Most of the additional oil has gone to two countries: China and India. China’s imports of Russian oil hit a record high in May and made Russia the country’s largest supplier. India has gone from taking in almost no Russian oil to more than 760,000 barrels a day.
The shift has allowed Moscow to maintain its production levels, helped make the ruble the world’s best-performing currency and underscored the cooperation Russia enjoys from China. Soaring energy prices have led to an uptick in oil revenue for Russia, which took in $1.7 billion more last month than in April.
In Ukraine, officials urged civilians to flee the occupied south before a promised counteroffensive. Merrick Garland, the U.S. attorney general, arrived today on a surprise trip to discuss with Ukraine’s prosecutor general the prosecution of Russian war crimes.
3. Vaccines are now available for children younger than 5, but a slow rollout is being greeted with mixed emotions.
Today, health care workers across the country began administering Covid-19 vaccinations to children 6 months to 5 years old, the final group of Americans to gain access to the shots.
But the response was notably muted from parents, with little of the excitement and long lines that greeted earlier vaccine campaigns. An April poll showed that less than 20 percent of parents of young children were eager to find shots right away.
4. The Supreme Court ruled that Maine could not exclude religious schools from a state tuition program.
The case arose from an arrangement in Maine that requires rural communities without public secondary schools to provide for students’ educations. One option is to pay tuition at a private school that is “nonsectarian.” Two families that send or wanted to send their children to religious schools challenged the law, saying it violated their right to exercise their faith freely.
“A state need not subsidize private education,” the chief justice wrote in the decision, the latest in a series of rulings forbidding the exclusion of religious institutions from government programs. “But once a state decides to do so, it cannot disqualify some private schools solely because they are religious.”
5. The head of the Texas State Police called the response to the Uvalde shooting a failure.
Steven McCraw, the director of the Department of Public Safety, testified today before a legislative hearing in Austin on the law enforcement response to the mass shooting, calling it “an abject failure” that ran counter to two decades of training.
He said that the police at the scene had enough firepower and protective equipment to storm the pair of connected classrooms just minutes after shooting began. But the on-scene commander “decided to put the lives of officers ahead of the lives of children” and waited unnecessarily for a key for a door that could not be locked from the inside.
6. Voters decided on runoffs in Alabama and Georgia, and Virginia hosted primaries.
Republican voters in Alabama are experiencing whiplash: Donald Trump, popular in the state, first endorsed Representative Mo Brooks as the party’s nominee for an open Senate seat. But when Brooks lagged in the polls, Trump threw his support to Katie Britt, a former chief of staff for Senator Richard Shelby, who is retiring. Polls indicate a Britt win is likely.
In Georgia, Republicans choose their House contenders against entrenched Democrats. There are similar stakes in Virginia, where Jen Kiggans and Jarome Bell are vying to take on Representative Elaine Luria, a Democrat. All three are Navy veterans in a district where one in five voters are veterans or are on active duty in the military. But what separates them is ideology, with Bell campaigning on Trump’s false claims of election fraud.
7. An investigation into China’s expanding surveillance state.
The scale of Beijing surveillance — of citizens’ appearances, personal technology and the sounds of their voices — and the infrastructure supporting it are larger and more elaborate than previously known, a visual investigation found.
For over a year, Times journalists analyzed more than 100,000 government bidding documents. ChinaFile, a digital magazine published by the Asia Society, collected the bids and shared them exclusively with The Times. Here are four takeaways from the investigation.
In other tech news, an explosive report from BuzzFeed raised questions about Biden’s approach to TikTok and Chinese deal-making. And Microsoft will stop offering automated tools that predict a person’s gender, age and emotional state, and it will restrict the use of its facial recognition tool.
8. A champion retires at age 4.
Wasabi the Pekingese was the most celebrated dog in America last summer. But on Wednesday, a new champion will be crowned best in show at the Westminster Dog Show, raising the question: Once a dog reaches the pinnacle of success, what’s next?
9. The Times’s star ratings return to restaurant reviews.
The longtime practice was suspended early in the pandemic, but as diners fill restaurants again, the four-star scale ratings are returning, too, as a service to readers (and eaters).
First up: La Piraña Lechonera, where one man in a trailer armed with a machete provides the nearest thing New York City has to the experience of eating roast pork in Puerto Rico. Say yes when Angel Jimenez, La Piraña’s sole operator, offers to dress the pulpo, a classic Caribbean salad, “my way” with hot sauce and mojo de ajo — the garlic sauce that one customer calls “God juice.” Three stars.
Also recommended: How to host a memorable meal outside.
10. And finally, a 661-pound stingray may be the world’s largest freshwater fish.
Found in the Mekong River in Cambodia, a 13-foot-long stingray marks a win for conservation efforts in the area. It weighed in at 15 pounds heavier than a giant catfish discovered in Thailand in 2005.
Zeb Hogan, the biologist who found the giant stingray, called its discovery in Mekong “remarkable,” as the region is heavily populated and “the river faces a ton of challenges, including lots of fishing.” But the existence of the ray is an indicator of the ecosystem’s health and, Dr. Hogan hopes, will serve as a reminder of how special the river is.
Have a massive evening.
Allison Zaucha and Eve Edelheit compiled photos for this briefing.
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