Donald Trump in court on Monday.Credit…Jefferson Siegel for The New York Times
Trump’s fraud trial begins
Donald Trump yesterday began his first of many trials — a civil fraud case that imperils his company and threatens his image. The New York State attorney general’s office accused the former president of inflating his riches by more than $2 billion to obtain favorable deals with banks and bragging rights about his wealth.
The trial’s opening day brought Trump face-to-face with one of his longest-running antagonists: the attorney general of New York, Letitia James, who filed the case against him, his adult sons and their family business. If her office proves its case, the judge overseeing the trial could impose an array of punishments on Trump, including a $250 million penalty.
The trial, expected to last more than a month and to include testimony from Trump, coincides with the former president’s latest White House run. After the civil case ends, Trump will face four criminal trials that touch on a range of subjects: hush-money payments to a porn star, the handling of classified documents and his efforts to remain in power after losing the 2020 election.
Context: The fraud case, which will be decided by the judge rather than a jury, has struck a nerve with the former president. The claims portray him as a cheat rather than a captain of industry and undercut an image he constructed while he catapulted from real estate to reality television fame and ultimately the White House.
E.U. foreign ministers meet in Kyiv
Nearly all of the E.U.’s highest diplomats met at a surprise summit in Ukraine’s battered wartime capital to reassert the bloc’s commitment to Ukraine against Russia’s invasion and to rebut concerns that some countries’ support might be waning.
Russia’s attack on Ukraine roused the E.U. into a run of unified action that was extraordinary for the often-fractious bloc. Over 18 months, the nations have imposed 11 rounds of economic sanctions on Russia, provided training for the Ukrainian military and given billions of euros in support.
But the West’s sustained backing has not come without strains, as member nations have struggled to reckon with the war’s economic consequences and to maintain political unity at home.
Details: The foreign ministers came from 23 of the European Union’s 27 members, and they were joined by representatives from the four remaining countries, Poland, Hungary, Latvia and Sweden.
A gunfight in a Kosovar village
After ethnic Serbian gunmen stormed the small village of Banjska in Kosovo last week and fought a deadly battle with Kosovar forces, Serbia deployed thousands of military forces along Kosovo’s border. The White House denounced the move as “destabilizing.”
The violence has raised fears that this troubled Balkan region could be plunged into a wider conflagration. Sinisa Jancovic, a lumberjack from northern Kosovo, said he had heard heavy gunfire as the battle raged. But with the village sealed off by special Kosovar police forces, he was now more worried about getting enough to eat. “I’m very tired of all this,” he said.
THE LATEST NEWS
Around the World
The U.N. Security Council approved a Kenyan plan to deploy a mission to Haiti to help quell gang violence there.
Rescuers in Mexico recovered the bodies of at least 10 people who died after the roof of a church collapsed during a baptism.
Taiwan is preparing for the arrival of Typhoon Koinu, which is expected to get stronger over the coming days and possibly make landfall on Thursday.
Canadian officials said a grizzly bear was believed to have attacked and killed two people in Banff National Park in Alberta.
Other Big Stories
Satellite imagery and aviation data suggest that Russian officials may be preparing to test an experimental nuclear-powered cruise missile.
Investigators looking into a deadly fire at a wedding hall in Iraq called for a half-dozen officials to be fired for their failure to enforce safety standards.
Representative Matt Gaetz moved to force a vote on whether to oust the House speaker, Kevin McCarthy.
Microsoft’s chief executive testified that Google’s power in online search was so ubiquitous that even his company found it difficult to compete.
What Else is Happening
Images from the James Webb Space Telescope have revealed nearly 150 free-floating worlds in the Orion Nebula that defy explanation.
Sales of Tesla cars have slipped after the company paused production at some factories in the U.S. and China to upgrade assembly lines.
Beyoncé announced the release of “Renaissance: A Film by Beyoncé” in movie theaters on Dec. 1.
A Morning Read
Lise Meitner developed the theory of nuclear fission, the process that enabled the atomic bomb. But as a Jewish woman, she was barred from sharing credit for the discovery, newly translated letters show, and Otto Hanh, her longtime collaborator, won the Nobel Prize in 1946.
Related: The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Katalin Kariko and Drew Weissman for their discoveries that led to the development of Covid vaccines.
British 3 p.m. soccer blackout: The Premier League’s invisible games.
The youngest U.S. pro soccer player: Da’Vian Kimbrough, 13, played for Sacramento in a United Soccer League match on Saturday.
Ryder Cup analysis: What to know about Europe’s victory.
ARTS AND IDEAS
Moonshot real estate
Through partnerships and 3-D printing, NASA is plotting how to build houses on the moon by 2040. Living on Mars isn’t far behind — meaning people might live on the moon and Mars in your lifetime.
A 3-D printer on the moon will build structures, layer by additive layer, out of a specialized lunar concrete created from the rock chips, mineral fragments and dust that sits on the top layer of the moon’s cratered surface and billows in poisonous clouds whenever disturbed — a plan made possible through new technology and partnerships with universities and private companies.
Make a smoky eggplant salad infused with cumin.
Avoid the “bristle reaction,” a common intimacy killer.
Read Kenneth Miller’s “Mapping the Darkness,” on the turbulent study of sleeping.
Travel through France on a luxury river cruise.
Play the Spelling Bee. And here are today’s Mini Crossword and Wordle. You can find all our puzzles here.
That’s it for today’s briefing. See you tomorrow. — Natasha
P.S. Take this week’s Flashback history quiz.
You can reach Natasha and the team at [email protected].