1/ On the fifth day of Trump’s election interference case involving falsified business records to conceal a hush money payment during the 2016 campaign, the prosecution and defense both delivered opening statements. Prosecutor Matthew Colangelo framed that case as “a planned, long-running conspiracy” – orchestrated by Trump – “to corrupt the 2016 presidential election,” and that Trump then “covered up that criminal conspiracy by lying in his New York business records over and over and over again.” Trump’s lawyer cast his actions – falsifying 34 business records in an attempt to cover up a payment to a porn star in the days before the 2016 election – as run-of-the-mill, saying: “There’s nothing wrong with trying to influence an election; it’s called democracy.” Prosecutors called their first witness: David Pecker, the former National Enquirer publisher. In his initial testimony, Pecker described the tabloid’s use of “checkbook journalism” to pay for stories — a practice in the tabloid industry of suppressing a potentially damaging story by buying the rights to it. The first “catch-and-kill” deal, Pecker said, was a $30,000 payment to a Trump Tower doorman, who said he had heard Trump had fathered a child out of wedlock. The second payment – made three months before the 2016 election – was made to former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who was paid $150,000 for her story about an affair she had with Trump while he was married. And in the final deal – made one month before the election – Pecker and the Enquirer’s editor helped Michael Cohen negotiate a $130,000 hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels, the former porn star who also said she had sex with Trump. (Associated Press / New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Politico / NPR / NBC News / Axios)

2/ The House passed the $95 billion foreign aid package for Ukraine, Israel, and Taiwan. Each portion of the package, which was split into separate bills, received bipartisan support. The Senate is expected to pass the legislation as early as Tuesday and send it to Biden’s desk. The House also passed a fourth measure full of bipartisan priorities, including forcing TikTok to divest from its Chinese parent company or face a ban in the U.S., seizing Russian assets to resell to Ukraine, and imposing new sanctions on Russia, China, and Iran. (Washington Post / New York Times / NPR / Axios)

  • The head of intelligence for Israel’s military resigned over his “leadership responsibility” for the Hamas attack on Oct. 7. Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva is the highest-ranking leader to resign over the assault. (CNN / New York Times / Washington Post)

  • The U.S. vetoed a U.N. resolution for Palestinian statehood. The vote was 12 in favor, the U.S. opposed, and Britain and Switzerland abstaining. U.S. officials had said that voting for statehood now would undermine prospects for a lasting peace between Israel and the Palestinians. Earlier this month, the Palestinian Authority, which governs parts of the occupied West Bank, formally asked the Security Council to reconsider its 2011 application to upgrade its status from “nonmember observer state.” Gaza is governed by Hamas. (Washington Post / New York Times / NPR / Associated Press)

  • Israel has carried out a military strike inside Iran. The strike was reportedly originally intended to be much broader in scope, but after pressure from allies, Israeli opted for a limited strike that avoided significant damage. (New York Times / Associated Press)

3/ Biden signed legislation extending a federal warrantless surveillance program for another two years. The reauthorize Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act comes as both progressive and conservative civil liberties advocates warned that the program is too expansive and impinge on the privacy of Americans. Section 702 permits the government to collect, without a warrant, the communications of non-Americans located abroad, as well as the communications of Americans when they’re in contact with those targeted foreigners. The new law also redefined the definition of an electronic communications service providers to include any “service provider who has access to equipment that is being or may be used to transmit or store wire or electronic communications.” The senior director of the Brennan Center for Justice’s Liberty and National Security Program warned that the provision would “allow the government to force almost any business in this country to assist with Section 702 collection by giving the NSA access to its phones, computers, and WiFi routers. The NSA would be on the honor system to extract and remove only foreign targets’ communications. This is a truly Orwellian power that no democracy should allow its government to have.” Sens. Ron Wyden and Josh Hawley added that the expansion could be used to compel “ordinary Americans and small businesses to conduct secret, warrantless spying.” (NBC News / Washington Post / CBS News / CNN / Associated Press / The Verge / Common Dreams / Wired / TechCrunch)

poll/ 64% of voters say they’re very interested in November’s election – lower than at this point in the 2008 (74%), 2012 (67%), 2016 (69%), and 2020 (77%) presidential elections cycles. (NBC News)

✏️ Notables.

  1. Biden marked Earth Day with $7 billion in federal grants for residential solar projects serving 900,000-plus households in low- and middle-income communities. The 60 projects are expected to reduce emissions by the equivalent of 30 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and save households $350 million annually. (Associated Press)

  2. The Supreme Court’s conservative majority seemed inclined to uphold a series of local ordinances that allowed an Oregon city to ban homeless people from sleeping or camping in public spaces. The ordinances passed by Grants Pass bar sleeping or camping on publicly owned property, like sidewalks, streets, bridges, and city parks, imposing fines ranging from $75 to $295. Three homeless people sued the city in 2018, arguing that the laws violated the Eighth Amendment’s protections against cruel and unusual punishment because of “their status of being involuntarily homeless.” The court’s three liberal justices, meanwhile, appeared concerned about criminalizing homelessness and the most basic of human needs, like sleeping. (Washington Post / NBC News / CNN / New York Times)

  3. The Supreme Court agreed to consider whether the Biden administration can regulate “ghost guns,” mail-order kits that allow people to build untraceable guns at home. In 2022 by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, broadened the definition of “firearm” in the Gun Control Act of 1968, and issued a federal rule requiring that these kits include serial numbers and mandating background checks for people who buy them from dealers. (CNN / NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post)