Your Friday Briefing

Federal prosecutors in Brooklyn are investigating whether or not a number of Ukrainian officers helped orchestrate a wide-ranging plan to meddle within the 2020 presidential marketing campaign, together with the attainable use of Rudolph Giuliani to unfold disinformation about Joe Biden and tilt the election in Donald Trump’s favor, based on folks with data of the matter.

In December 2019, Giuliani, then Trump’s private lawyer, met with a number of Ukrainians, together with Andriy Derkach, a member of Parliament who was later accused by Trump’s Treasury Department of being “an active Russian agent.”

Yesterday, Giuliani’s lawyer defended the seek for details about Biden, disputing the assertion that Giuliani had relied on deceptive data. “When you investigate allegations of corruption, you talk to all sorts of people; some are credible, and some are not,” he stated, including that “some day the truth will come out” about Biden’s dealings in Ukraine.

Denials: In an interview final yr, Giuliani stated there was nothing to dissuade him from assembly with Derkach, who was not below sanctions on the time. “I have no reason to believe he is a Russian agent,” Giuliani stated.

As the U.S. completes its withdrawal from Afghanistan, greater than 25 rural Afghan authorities outposts and bases in 4 provinces have surrendered to the Taliban, with every facility’s or city’s give up feeding the subsequent.

Among the negotiated surrenders had been these of 4 district facilities, which home native governors, police personnel and intelligence chiefs. People have been influenced by threats — with insurgents primarily sending the message to surrender or die — in addition to by bribes.

The Taliban have negotiated Afghan troop surrenders previously, however by no means on the scale and tempo of the bottom collapses this month, within the 4 provinces extending east, north and west of Kabul. The militants have secured key territory, weapons, ammunition and autos, usually with out firing a shot.

Quote: “The government is not able to save the security forces,” stated Mohammed Jalal, a village elder in Baghlan Province. “If they fight, they will be killed, so they have to surrender.”

President Biden’s name for a 90-day investigation into the origins of the coronavirus got here after intelligence officers stated that they had a raft of still-unexamined proof that required extra pc evaluation.

Though officers declined to explain that proof, the revelations recommend that the federal government might not have exhausted its databases of Chinese communications, the actions of lab employees and the sample of the preliminary outbreak of the illness across the metropolis of Wuhan.

Biden has dedicated to creating the outcomes of the overview public, however he added a caveat: “unless there’s something I’m unaware of.”

Details: In addition to marshaling scientific assets, the push is meant to prod American allies and intelligence businesses to mine present data and to hunt for brand new intelligence to find out whether or not the Chinese authorities coated up an unintended lab leak.

In 1964, somewhat than give up his land to permit the constructing of an interstate freeway, a Vermont farmer burned himself and his farm. His legend lives on.

“In his mind,” his niece stated, “the only way out was to do what he did.”

“Day X,” a brand new five-part audio documentary from The Times, examines the rise of a brand new model of extremism in Germany, and one shadowy determine in the midst of it. Katrin Bennhold, our Berlin bureau chief, discusses the project on this interview, which has been evenly edited and condensed.

How did you arrive at this sequence?

The rise of a far-right celebration, the Alternative for Germany, which was capable of make it into the German Parliament and is the largest opposition celebration there, is an enormous deal. Toward the tip of 2018, German information media reported that there was this complete community of troopers and cops and like-minded civilians who had been planning for the day democracy dies: Day X.

Franco A. is the particular focus of 1 episode. He is someone with racist, absolutist concepts. Why was it essential to inform his story?

To me, some of the scary and most essential options of the brand new proper, as they name themselves — the previous proper being neo-Nazis and even Nazis — is that the brand new proper believes in the identical ideology, however they give the impression of being completely different and so they speak otherwise. We have this picture of neo-Nazi skinheads in bomber jackets and tattoos. But a variety of these guys mix in far more. I really feel we do want to indicate them out for what they’re.

Jackfruit is ideal for a meatless meal, like this tangy sabzi from West Bengal.

Whether you’re hoping to make amends for studying on a seaside, at a park or within the tub, our editors and reviewers’ picks of 73 books have you ever coated this summer time.

“A Quiet Place Part II” — John Krasinski’s alien-invasion blockbuster sequel — is brasher than its predecessor, however simply as splendidly acted, our reviewer writes.

Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Lose one’s hair (4 letters).

And right here is today’s Spelling Bee.

You can find all our puzzles here.

That’s it for at this time’s briefing. Thanks for becoming a member of me, and have a fantastic weekend. — Natasha

P.S.: Season 2 of “Modern Love,” the Amazon Prime sequence primarily based on the Times column, will premiere on Aug. 13.

The newest episode of “The Daily” is concerning the saga of Ryanair Flight 4978, which the federal government of Belarus pressured to land in Minsk.

You can attain Natasha and the crew at

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