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Trump’s Campaign-Style Video Sets Off 2024 Talk, but There’s a Back Story

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A campaign-style video that former President Donald J. Trump posted on his social media site this week has prompted fact-checks and a new round of speculation about whether he is on the verge of announcing a third bid for the White House.

The back story is a little more complicated.

The nearly four-minute, highly produced video leaves viewers with a feeling of anticipation, which was probably by design: The footage was used to help introduce Mr. Trump before his speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Dallas last weekend.

The video was compiled by staff members on Mr. Trump’s Save America political action committee and started to take on its own life when the former president posted it on Truth Social after midnight on Tuesday. Just hours earlier, the F.B.I. had searched his Florida home.

Relying mostly on footage from a rally Mr. Trump held last month in Alaska, the video features his America-in-decline message that has become mostly standard boilerplate in his speeches and rallies. That portion of his addresses has the effect of both criticizing the current administration and positioning Mr. Trump — an increasingly likely presidential candidate — as someone who can deliver the rescue.

The release of the video also came in the backstretch of a midterm campaign dominated by Mr. Trump’s efforts to oust Republicans who have crossed him, and in which an embrace of his election lies has become a litmus test in a number of G.O.P. primaries.

As to when Mr. Trump might announce a 2024 campaign, there is some new disagreement among his inner circle about when he should do so. While some on his team were eager for him to fly down to Mar-a-Lago this week and begin his bid in the wake of the F.B.I. search, others view the recent legal developments as reason to hold off.

Mr. Trump has considered an early announcement, at least partly in order to scare off any other high-profile Republican challengers.

But the F.B.I. search had the effect of uniting the party behind him. Fox News, which hadn’t interviewed Mr. Trump in months, has featured extensive coverage of the search, and Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida and former Vice President Mike Pence — both viewed as potential rivals in 2024 — each offered supportive statements of the president.

As with all things Trump, the only certain answer is to wait and see.

For now, though, it’s already shaping up as a busy week for the former president: The F.B.I. has searched his home; a federal appeals court upheld a request to turn over his federal income tax returns to Congress; and, on Wednesday, he invoked the Fifth Amendment in response to questions from the New York attorney general at a scheduled deposition.

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Drive-by outside Nashville church injures 2 at funeral for shooting victim

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — A drive-by shooting in Nashville on Saturday injured two people as they and others were walking out of church from the funeral of a woman who was fatally shot earlier this month, according to police.

Metro Nashville Police Department spokesperson Don Aaron said the afternoon shooting occurred outside New Season Church, where a funeral service had just ended for 19-year-old Terriana Johnson. The hearse was parked out front with the rear door open and people were filing out of church as the shots began, Aaron said.

Police say they are on the lookout for a black late-model Honda Civic with a temporary tag, from which one shooter or more fired as the car passed by, hitting an 18-year-old woman in the leg and a 25-year-old man in the pelvis. Neither were considered life-threatening injuries, Aaron said.

Some attendees of the funeral services for Johnson — who was not a member of the church that was hosting — were armed and fired back at the car, Aaron said.

The shooting occurred before Johnson’s body was brought out of the church, according to police, and her burial took place later in the afternoon.

Authorities remain on the lookout for a 17-year-old charged with criminal homicide in Johnson’s fatal shooting on Nov. 14 at Watkins Park. Police allege that the teen opened fire on a car in which Johnson was riding after Johnson and the suspect’s sister were involved in a fight moments earlier.

Aaron said the shooting “appears to be some type of beef between two groups of people,” but not necessarily between members of the two families.

“This was just a brazen shooting,” Aaron told reporters. “These persons have no regard for human life at all.”

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EU officials slam Biden administration for ‘profiting’ off Ukraine war

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A collection of high-ranking European officials are fed up with the Biden administration for what they view as war profiteering during the conflict in Ukraine.

The comments come amid rising gas prices and mounting tension toward US legislation that offers tax credits to those who “Buy American.”

Meanwhile, Putin’s invasion of Ukraine is pushing European economies toward recession while the US is benefitting, some officials claim.

“The fact is, if you look at it soberly, the country that is most profiting from this war is the US because they are selling more gas and at higher prices, and because they are selling more weapons,” one senior EU official told POLITICO.

The European Union has turned to the US for gas to reduce reliance on Russian fuel — but the price the EU is paying is reportedly four times higher than what Americans are shelling out for the same product.

Putin’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed the EU to look toward the US for gas.
AP

“The United States sells us its gas with a multiplier effect of four when it crosses the Atlantic,” Thierry Breton, European Commissioner for the Internal Market, said on French TV on Wednesday. “Of course the Americans are our allies … but when something goes wrong it is necessary also between allies to say it.”

The Biden administration has adamantly denied price-hiking accusations and instead blamed the high costs on the Ukrainian conflict.

“The rise in gas prices in Europe is caused by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine and Putin’s energy war against Europe, period,” a spokesperson for Biden’s National Security Council told Politico.

Thierry Breton is the European Commissioner in Charge of Internal Market.
Thierry Breton ripped the US for up-charging gas by a multiple of four.
REUTERS

The dispute is compounded by Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, a massive tax, health care and climate package that offers tax credits to those who buy American-made electric vehicles, sparking concern among European car manufacturers.

“Nobody wants to get into a tit-for-tat or subsidy race. But what the US has done really isn’t consistent with the principles of free trade and fair competition,” Irish Trade Minister Leo Varadkar said during an emergency EU Commission meeting on Friday, according to Fortune.

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Colorado home where Chris Watts killed his family is sold

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The Colorado home where Chris Watts savagely murdered his pregnant wife and two children in 2018 has been sold, according to a report.

The five-bedroom, four-bath house in Frederick was sold for an unspecified price, The Sun reported.

It had been on the market since May when the listing said potential buyers had to submit a funding commitment of at least $600,000 from a bank.

A real estate agent posted a congratulatory note on social media to the new owners saying, “It took everything we had to get here!!! So happy for you guys and can’t wait to see the memories you make in your new home!!!” according to The Sun.

The agent then added “since it’s been asked. Yes, this was the Watts house. It is now the Miller home and they cannot wait to put love, family and laughter back into this house.”

Chris Watts was convicted of murdering Bella, Celeste and Shanann Watts in 2018.
The Colorado Bureau of Investigation via AP
Christopher Watts is escorted into the courtroom before his bond hearing at the Weld County Courthouse in Greeley, Colo.
Christopher Watts is escorted into the courtroom before his bond hearing at the Weld County Courthouse in Greeley, Colorado, on Aug. 16, 2018.
Joshua Polson/The Greeley Tribune via AP, Pool, file
Chris Watts
Chris Watts murdered his pregnant wife and two children.
Weld County Sheriffs Office/MEGA

Watts was convicted of the 2018 killings of his wife, Shanann, 34, and daughters Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3,

The murders were the subject of the Netflix documentary “American Murder: The Family Next Door.”

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