First Thing: ‘Teflon Don no more’ as legal threats mount against Trump

·6-min read
<span>Photograph: Jonathan Drake/Reuters</span>
Photograph: Jonathan Drake/Reuters

Good morning.

Donald Trump faces a growing legal threat as investigations gather pace – potentially posing significant obstacles to a 2024 presidential run.

No longer shielded by claims of presidential protections, a series of increasingly grave legal issues – both criminal investigation and civil litigation – are mounting in court.

The former president has been teasing another run for office, but his future could be in the courtroom rather than the Oval Office, reports Victoria Bekiempis, who writes that he is “Teflon Don no more”.

  • Trump “can face criminal charges for activities that took place before he was president, after he was president, and while he was president – as long as they were not part of his duties while he was president,” says attorney David S Weinstein, a partner at Jones Walker LLP’s Miami office. Trump has not been charged with any crimes, and has repeatedly denied wrongdoing.

  • What are the legal proceedings involving the former president? They include Manhattan grand jury, the most threatening legal investigation into the former president, E Jean Carroll and Georgia voting.

  • Meanwhile, American democracy is fighting for its life, writes Robert Reich.

Global carbon dioxide levels are continuing to rise faster than ever, despite the pandemic

The Bond Fire wildfire burns next to electrical power lines near Modjeska Canyon, California, in December. Wildfires are thought to be one of the causes of rising carbon dioxide levels.
The Bond Fire wildfire burns next to electrical power lines near Modjeska Canyon, California, in December. Wildfires are thought to be one of the causes of rising carbon dioxide levels. Photograph: Mike Blake/Reuters

Global carbon dioxide levels are at record levels and are 50% higher than they were at the beginning of the industrial age – despite reductions in air travel and industry as a result of coronavirus.

Emissions rose to 419 parts per million in May, which marks the highest measurement of the greenhouse gas in the 63 years that data has been recorded.

The 10-year average rate of increase is also faster than ever and is now 2.4 parts per million per year.

  • Why? It’s complex, writes Katharine Gammon, but factors include wildfires and modest decreases in emissions won’t make a huge impact on global emissions.

Apple paid a woman millions of dollars after iPhone technicians posted explicit images and videos using her phone

The Apple store on 5th Avenue in New York.
The Apple store on 5th Avenue in New York. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Apple paid a multi-million dollar settlement to a woman from Oregon after she discovered that iPhone technicians uploaded explicit images and videos using her phone when she sent it in for repair.

According to legal filings, the unnamed woman sent her phone to an Apple-approved repair contractor, Pegatron Technology Service in California, where technicians uploaded “extremely personal and private material” to her Facebook account and other online locations, causing her “severe emotional distress”.

  • The woman sued Apple and settled for a multimillion dollar figure.

  • What has Apple said about the incident? A spokesperson said: “When we learned of this egregious violation of our policies at one of our vendors in 2016, we took immediate action and have since continued to strengthen our vendor protocols.”

In other news …

  • Kamala Harris faced scepticism over US policy in Central America during a visit to Guatemala, her first foreign trip as vice-president, as she announced economic aid, a new anti-corruption drive and tougher enforcement against human trafficking. On Tuesday, she will meet the Mexican president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.

  • A kayaker had to be rescued six days into an attempt to paddle solo from California to Hawaii after rough seas and high winds made him lose his sea anchor. Cyril Derreumaux said the voyage – which was supposed to take 70 days – “went from bad to worse very fast”.

  • Presidential candidate Keiko Fujimori has been criticised for alleging fraud and irregularities in the count of Sunday’s election in Peru as rival Pedro Castillo’s narrow lead widened. Castillo, a leftist teacher, held a 0.2% lead with over 96% of votes counted.

  • An enormous two-day underwater avalanche sent mud and sand more than 1,000km into the ocean, rupturing submarine cables and disrupting internet traffic between Nigeria and South Africa, in the longest sediment flow ever recorded. The incident took place in January 2020, but only now is there data on the incident.

Stat of the day: about 40% of turf in the Las Vegas area is to be outlawed in a first in the nation ban on “useless grass”

The Nevada law aims to save water amid a drought that is drying up the Colorado River, the region’s main water source. The ban on “non-functional turf” includes unused grass in office parks, street medians and housing development entrances (it does not include golf courses). While other US cities and states have issued temporary bans on lawns that need watering, this legislation, signed on Friday by the state governor, Steve Sisolak, is the first to introduce a permanent ban.

Don’t miss this: Black Birders Week

Aliya Uteuova goes on a nature walk with Christian Cooper in Central Park as part of the second annual Black Birders Week – a celebration that emerged in response to the video Cooper recorded of a white woman calling police on him last year after he asked her to keep her dog on a leash. A 2011 study found that 4% of birders in the US were Black, while 93% were white. “We want to get more Black birders out,” says Cooper. “I know historically there have not been a lot of Black birders, being one of the few and seeing not many faces like mine out there.”

… or this: ‘A career change saved my life’

After a recent study found that working at least 55 hours a week was causing hundreds of thousands of premature deaths, Emine Saner speaks to people who built better lives after suffering from burnout.

Last Thing: how cicada-phobes are surviving Brood X

It’s a once in a 17-year phenomenon, the insects cannot bite or sting and they die within weeks. But for those who fear them, the cicadas’ arrival feels like a prolonged horror movie. Elle Hunt speaks to cicada-phobes about how they get through it. A Facebook group called Cincinnati Cicada-Phobia Safe Space for people to share coping methods attracted nearly 1,000 members in just six weeks. “I look out my blinds every two seconds,” says Ritter Hoy, who has been dreading this spring for a decade, “just waiting for them.”

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