Tuesday Briefing

Speaker Mike Johnson said that he planned to advance a long-stalled national security spending package this week to aid Israel, Ukraine and other U.S. allies, coupled with a bill to mollify conservatives opposed to backing Kyiv.

Johnson, a Republican, has agonized for weeks over whether and how to advance critical aid for Ukraine over stiff resistance from the far right faction of his conference. His announcement was the first concrete indication that he had chosen a path forward.

That path appears complex. Johnson said he would cobble together a legislative package that roughly mirrors the $95 billion aid bill the Senate passed two months ago, albeit in pieces. Lawmakers would vote separately on aid for Israel, Ukraine and allies like Taiwan, and then on another measure containing policies popular among Republicans.

It is not clear whether the convoluted strategy will succeed in the House, where Johnson has a tenuous hold on his caucus and a slim majority. Republicans could try to block the package from coming to the floor, and even if they let the legislation through, its success would hinge on a complicated mix of bipartisan coalitions to pass. And the plan could imperil Johnson’s speakership, which is teetering under a threat to oust him.

The first criminal trial of a former U.S. president began in Manhattan yesterday, with hundreds of citizens summoned to potentially join a jury that will decide Donald Trump’s fate.

More than half of the first group of 96 potential jurors raised their hands to say they could not be fair to Trump. The judge immediately dismissed them.

The Manhattan case, one of four indictments facing the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, may be the only one to reach trial before Election Day.

Trump, who could face up to four years in prison if convicted on charges of falsifying records to cover up a sex scandal, appeared in court and looked alternately irritated and exhausted. He called the case “an assault on America” when he arrived, and he later appeared to nod off.

For more, the trial thrusts the presidential campaign into uncharted territory; here are a glimpse inside the courtroom and five takeaways from the first day.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel faces a delicate calculation. He must decide how to respond to Iran so as not to look weak, while trying to avoid alienating the Biden administration and other allies that helped defend Israel despite their impatience with Netanyahu’s handling of the war in Gaza.

An Israeli official briefed on the discussions of the cabinet said it was weighing several options, from diplomacy to an imminent strike. But there was no immediate public statement by the ministers or Netanyahu.

The world’s coral reefs are in the throes of a global bleaching event that is expected to affect the most reefs on record.

Bleaching is caused by stressors, in this case extraordinarily high ocean temperatures, and it can kill corals. Currently, more than 54 percent of the world’s coral area has experienced bleaching-level heat stress in the past year, and that number is increasing by about 1 percent per week, one expert said.

The novelist Salman Rushdie was speaking at an event in New York in 2022 when a man wielding a knife ran onstage and stabbed him 10 times.

In his memoir “Knife: Meditations After an Attempted Murder,” which is out today, Rushdie addresses the attack and credits his wife, the poet and novelist Rachel Eliza Griffiths, for helping him recover from it. The book is very different from his earlier third-person memoir “Joseph Anton,” Rushdie told my colleague Sarah Lyall.

“This is not novelistic,” Rushdie said. “I mean, somebody sticks a knife in you, that’s pretty personal.”

For more: Our critic said that “Knife” was “a clarifying book. It reminds us of the threats the free world faces.”

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