Tuesday Briefing: The Trump Trial Opens

In an opening statement, the prosecution gave a sweeping synopsis of the case against Donald Trump — a pivotal moment in the first criminal prosecution of a former American president.

A Manhattan prosecutor told the 12 jurors that the case was about “a criminal conspiracy and a cover-up” of sex scandals that threatened his 2016 election win. He described how Trump, his counsel Michael Cohen, and David Pecker, the publisher of The National Enquirer tabloid, engaged in a strategy to “catch and kill” negative stories.

Trump, who faces up to four years in prison if convicted, watched from the defense table. Occasionally, he shook his head.

In his opening statement, Trump’s lawyer insisted that his client had done nothing wrong. “President Trump is innocent,” he told the jury.

Then, Pecker was called to the stand as the first witness in the trial. In his testimony, Pecker explained how The National Enquirer paid for stories, a practice he called “checkbook journalism.” He is expected to return to the stand today.

Background: The case centers on a $130,000 payment that Cohen made to a porn star, Stormy Daniels, to buy her silence as the 2016 campaign was winding down. Prosecutors say he was reimbursed by Trump, who falsified business records to conceal his conduct.

For more: Sign up for Trump on Trial, our newsletter that tracks the various cases.

Maj. Gen. Aharon Haliva yesterday became the highest-ranking Israeli official to step down since the Hamas attack on Oct. 7. Haliva, the head of military intelligence, had emerged as a symbol of the Israeli establishment’s failure to prevent the deadliest attack in Israel’s history.

His resignation suggests that a bitter reckoning about the failures is gaining momentum in Israel, now that the pace of the war in Gaza has ebbed.

Although Haliva’s resignation was long expected, it is still expected to heighten pressure on other senior figures, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to take greater responsibility for their role in the October failure.

During a campaign event, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Muslims “infiltrators” who would take India’s wealth if his opponents were to gain power. His statement was unusually divisive and direct.

Modi was referring to a remark once made by Manmohan Singh, his predecessor from the opposition Indian National Congress Party. Singh, Modi claimed, had “said that Muslims have the first right to the wealth of the nation. This means they will distribute this wealth to those who have more children, to infiltrators.”

Modi’s use of such language as he campaigns for a third term raised alarms that it could inflame right-wing vigilantes who target Muslims.

The pharmaceutical giant Novo Nordisk produces nearly all of the key ingredient for its wildly popular weight-loss drugs Ozempic and Wegovy at a factory in the Danish town of Kalundborg. Now, the company is planning to invest about $8.6 billion into expanding the facilities there.

It’s the largest manufacturing investment in Denmark by a company, and it’s happening in a town of fewer than 17,000 people.

Lives lived: Terry Anderson was the Beirut bureau chief for The Associated Press when he was kidnapped in 1985 by militants, and then spent six years as a hostage. He died at 76.

  • Top prize: Archie Moore, an Indigenous Australian artist who made an installation at the Venice Biennale that included a monumental family tree, won the Golden Lion.

  • Swift fatigue? Taylor Swift’s ubiquity may finally be taking a toll on her fans.

  • Car key conversations: Asking older people to stop driving can be hard. Here are a few ways to do so with empathy.

It’s complicated. From a transit emissions perspective, getting deliveries could be more efficient — compare the route of a single truck to multiple cars, making multiple trips to stores.

But three billion trees are cut down every year to produce packaging, according to some estimates. The convenience of online shopping may also encourage overconsumption. One 2015 study found that the production and use of household goods and services are responsible for 60 percent of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.

So try buying in bulk and bundling your orders. “It’s easy to get a rush from buying something new,” my colleague Dionne Searcey writes, “but environmentalists suggest getting your dopamine fix from something entirely different: Try taking a walk instead.”

Have a question for reporters covering climate and the environment? Ask our Climate desk.

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