Tuesday Briefing – The New York Times

Michael Cohen — the do-anything fixer who once boasted about burying Donald Trump’s secrets and spreading his lies — testified yesterday at Trump’s criminal trial.

In a crucial passage, he said that the hush-money payment that he made to Stormy Daniels came at Trump’s direction. “He expressed to me, ‘Just do it,’” Cohen said on the stand in New York, adding, “I was doing everything and more to protect my boss.” Here’s the latest.

Cohen’s testimony is a key to prosecutors’ efforts to tie Trump to allegations of a conspiracy to safeguard his presidential campaign in 2016 by burying Daniels’s account of a 2006 sexual encounter. Cohen admitted to lying and bullying for Trump, buying and suppressing negative stories while acting the part of a “thug.”

Cohen, who still faces cross-examination from the defense, also ground down some key assertions: that Trump was, as his lawyers argue, oblivious to his fixer’s machinations, and that the former president was a family man deeply worried about how Daniels’s accusations would harm his marriage. Cohen described Trump as a micromanager, who was focused above all else on his campaign.

Israelis gathered across the country yesterday for the first national day of mourning for victims of war or terrorist attacks since the Hamas-led Oct. 7 assault. Protesters disrupted several ceremonies and heckled Benjamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, as they demanded that government officials do more to secure the release of hostages.

The protests underscored the strength of the anguish over the war in the Gaza Strip, the fate of hostages taken on Oct. 7 and domestic politics.

Hostages: About 240 people were abducted by Hamas in the attacks, and the Israeli government has so far secured the release of more than 100.

In Gaza: Israeli airstrikes yesterday shook the northern and southern ends of the territory, with the military saying it had struck more than 120 targets over the past 24 hours. Ground troops also engaged Hamas fighters in several locations, the Israeli military said. Amid the fighting, tens of thousands of civilians fled, seeking safety.

Hamas: A top leader for years oversaw a secret police force in Gaza that spied on young people, journalists and those who questioned the government, according to information reviewed by The New York Times.


Ukrainian air defenses used to intercept most Russian missiles, but in recent months, more and more have made it through, crippling Ukraine’s ability to protect major infrastructure and plunging cities into darkness.

A Times analysis of daily Ukrainian military reports shows a major shift. Kyiv reported intercepting more than 80 percent of the missiles last May. That rate has now dropped to less than half, as Ukraine calls for more supplies and Russia fires larger barrages that overwhelm Ukrainian air defenses and faster missiles that are harder to shoot down.

When tomatoes arrived in Europe 500 years ago, many considered them dangerous. Now, a fruit once thought of as “evil” defines Italy’s cuisine.

Wells Fargo Championship: Does Rory McIlroy’s win make him a favorite for the P.G.A. Championship?

The Cannes Film Festival begins today in the south of France. Kyle Buchanan, a Times culture reporter, wrote about the movies, artists and events we’ll be keeping an eye on.

Some 45 years after “Apocalypse Now” won the Palme d’Or, Francis Ford Coppola is back with “Megalopolis,” starring Adam Driver as a visionary architect determined to rebuild a city after a disaster. It’s hard to imagine a friendlier place for the film’s debut than Cannes, where Coppola is revered.

But the biggest movie premiere will be “Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga.” Expect a major red-carpet moment from Anya Taylor-Joy, who takes over the title character originated by Charlize Theron. (For more, read our interview with Taylor-Joy.)

Real-world controversies may bleed into the glitzy festival. The festival’s workers may strike, frustrated by their contracts. And the French film industry is reckoning with #MeToo, with more accusations rumored to be coming during the festival.

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