Trump indicted on 2020 election fraud charges in Georgia, Lahaina fire update: 5 Things podcast

On today’s episode of the 5 Things podcast: Trump indicted on 2020 election fraud charges in Georgia

Former President Donald Trump has been indicted in Georgia. Plus, USA TODAY Deputy Managing Editor for Visuals Sandy Hooper and USA TODAY Breaking News Reporter N’dea Yancey-Bragg have the latest on the Lahaina firestudent loan debt forgiveness begins for 800,000 borrowers after a lawsuit was dismissed, in a first-of-its-kind Montana climate trial, a judge rules for youth activists. (Listen to our Sunday episode on the issue here), and USA TODAY Pentagon Correspondent Tom Vanden Brook breaks down the latest aid to Ukraine.

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Trump indicted on 2020 election fraud charges in Georgia, Lahaina fire update: 5 Things podcast

Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.

Taylor Wilson:

Good morning. I’m Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Tuesday, the 15th of August 2023. Today, Trump was indicted again. Plus how Maui plans to rebuild, and another round of aid is heading to Ukraine.

A Georgia grand jury late yesterday indicted 2024 presidential candidate and former President Donald Trump, along with several allies, on conspiracy charges of trying to steal Georgia’s electoral votes from President Joe Biden after the 2020 election. The indictment accuses Trump and others of a coordinated plan to have state officials spike Biden’s victory and hand the state to Trump. Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis launched her investigation of Trump in February of 2021.

Fani Willis:

Every individual charged in the indictment is charged with one count of violating Georgia’s Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act through participation in a criminal enterprise in Fulton County, Georgia, and elsewhere, to accomplish the illegal goal of allowing Donald J. Trump to seize the presidential term of office beginning on January 20th, ’21.

Trump indicted on 2020 election fraud charges in Georgia, Lahaina fire update: 5 Things podcast

Taylor Wilson:

And this indictment has been expected since a special grand jury recommended charges in February of this year. Others indicted here include former Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. Much of the indictment centers on a behind-the-scenes pressure campaign on state election workers, along with the harassment that came from Trump falsely accusing poll worker Ruby Freeman of fraud. Trump and others named in the indictment have until next Friday, August 25th to voluntarily surrender. District Attorney Fani Willis has said she’ll seek a trial in the next six weeks. Though that decision is up to the appointed judge.

At least 99 people are now dead in the historic Lahaina fire on Maui. And Hawaii Governor Josh Green said that number could double or even triple. For more on what the scene is like on the island, I spoke with USA TODAY Deputy Managing Editor for Visuals Sandy Hooper, and USA Breaking News Reporter N’dea Yancey-Bragg. They joined me from Maui. Thanks for being here.

Sandy Hooper:

Thanks for having us.

N’dea Yancey-Bragg:

Hi.

Taylor Wilson:

You’re there on Maui. What’s the scene like after these devastating fires?

Sandy Hooper:

Here where we’re at, not in West Maui where the community is, you can’t tell a whole lot’s going on. You can only tell when you get to the highway where the entrance starts to get into Lahaina. Supplies are running low on this side of town at the Home Depot, and there are just lines of cars of people trying to bring aid into West Maui where the fires have devastated the communities.

Taylor Wilson:

For folks not from Hawaii, can you help us understand the importance of Lahaina, this community that’s been largely destroyed?

N’dea Yancey-Bragg:

Yeah, I mean it’s a centuries-old location. Some churches are over 200 years old that have burned down. It used to be the capital of Hawaii. Leaders of Hawaii were buried at some of the churches that I was talking about. It’s just a really important place culturally and people have been saying that not only is it hard losing their homes and their businesses and their loved ones, but losing that cultural impact, it’s been a hard loss psychologically.

Trump indicted on 2020 election fraud charges in Georgia, Lahaina fire update: 5 Things podcast

Taylor Wilson:

And I know FEMA has hundreds of people on the ground in Hawaii. What do recovery efforts look like in the coming weeks and months and are there enough resources to help?

N’dea Yancey-Bragg:

I think what everybody is stressing to us here is that a lot of the recovery efforts are community generated. People are taking in donations and bringing in supplies. A lot of the people that are operating donation centers in Lahaina are just regular people. We talked to one woman who created a fitness app and she organizes trail runs, but now she’s responsible for distributing aid from an airport where she’s been at every day. We think more resources are coming in, but a lot of it is community driven.

Sandy Hooper:

There are volunteers with aid in their trucks that can get through the road blockage. Either they have authorized access or they have a Lahaina ID and they’re driving up and down a lot of the neighborhoods in like Lahaianluna, which is a neighborhood just north of the majorly impacted area that has some houses that have been burned down. They’re without power, they’re without clean running water and people are just coming by with trucks of goods and distributing them. And that’s not government, that’s organizations. Those are individual volunteers from Maui or other parts of Hawaii. I think a big sentiment from what a lot of people in those communities are saying is, where is the official help? Even the woman at the hub at the airport has said she has not seen anyone from the government come and bring goods. It’s all been donations from private individuals and civilians.

Trump indicted on 2020 election fraud charges in Georgia, Lahaina fire update: 5 Things podcast

Taylor Wilson:

Folks you’re speaking with, some of whom have lost loved ones, others have lost everything they owned, did they plan on staying and rebuilding? Are they leaving Maui? What are they saying about what’s next for them?

Sandy Hooper:

Yeah, I think everyone wants to stay. The people that we’ve talked to are adamant about staying and it’s two things: they either built their homes and have lived here for decades or they are multi-generational homes that are native Hawaiian. They don’t want to lose that culture, that importance to developers or tourism. This is a very important community and they’re amplifying the message to not sell and to stay and rebuild.

I spent a day in two homes yesterday with two separate women. One of them, Paula Ventura, is a woman who lives literally on the front line of where the fire came up. It came up to her lawn and her neighbors helped save her home. She was outside sweeping leaves off her front porch. And you just look outside of her house where there used to be a beautiful neighborhood and it’s nothing but charred homes and charred cars. And she says it’s really difficult to get up and look at that every day, but she’s staying despite the toxic air, despite lack of electricity, despite not having clean water, except bottled water. She’s going to stay and she wants to rebuild.

Taylor Wilson:

All right, N’dea Yancey-Bragg and Sandy Hooper joining us from Maui. Thanks for your reporting and insight here. Appreciate it.

N’dea Yancey-Bragg:

Thank you.

Sandy Hooper:

Thank you.

Taylor Wilson:

A federal judge yesterday dismissed a lawsuit from two conservative groups looking to block student loan forgiveness for more than 800,000 borrowers. The U.S. Education Department said last month that after adjusting how it calculates student loan payments in a move to correct past errors, some 804,000 people would have the balance of their loans erased over the next few months. The suit came from the Cato Institute and Mackinac Center and argued that the federal government lacks the authority to forgive the debt. But a George W. Bush-appointed judge dismissed the group’s case and rejected a request that the forgiveness be temporarily blocked.

A Montana judge yesterday sided with young environmental activists who said state agencies were violating their constitutional right to a clean and healthy environment by allowing fossil fuel development without considering its effect on the climate. District Court Judge Kathy Seeley found that the policy the state uses in evaluating requests for fossil fuel permits, which does not allow agencies to evaluate the effects of greenhouse gas emissions, is unconstitutional. The ruling was part of a first-of-its-kind trial in the U.S. and adds to a small number of legal decisions around the world that have established a government duty to protect citizens from climate change. You can hear more with a special Sunday episode on this topic. We have a link in today’s show notes.

The Pentagon has unveiled a new aid package for Ukraine. I spoke with USA TODAY Pentagon Correspondent Tom Vanden Brook about what’s in this latest round and what’s next for U.S. support. Thanks for making the time, Tom.

Tom Vanden Brook:

Taylor, good to be here.

Taylor Wilson:

What does this include and how much money are we talking about?

Tom Vanden Brook:

Taylor, this isn’t one of the bigger packages that they’ve had, but it’s still substantial. I mean, it’s $200 million. That’s a lot of money. And it focuses on ammunition for Patriot antimissile and aircraft batteries; HIMARS, long-distance, long-range, very accurate rocket-assisted artillery shells, and mine-clearing equipment. So that’s also something that’s in high demand right now because the Ukrainians and their counteroffensive are trying to make their way through these minefields that the Russians have set up.

Taylor Wilson:

You were on last week, Tom, explaining how Ukraine’s counteroffensive has kind of stalled. How might this aid help them get going again?

Tom Vanden Brook:

One of the other major parts of this is going to be, well, the mine-clearing equipment, but also demolition equipment that they’re going to be able to use to get past some of these barriers. So they’ve got these minefields and beyond the minefields, they have anti-tank barriers, so they’re going to need equipment and explosives to blow those things up so that once they do get through the minefields and they breach those defenses, they can get through and hopefully make a breakthrough.

Taylor Wilson:

And we’ve heard a lot of language from leaders, be it President Joe Biden or Secretary of State Antony Blinken, about sending aid for as long as it takes. Tom, what does that mean in practice if this conflict, say, stretches on for years to come?

Tom Vanden Brook:

Well, it’s a good question, Taylor. I mean, since Russia’s invasion in February 2022, the United States has sent more than $43 billion worth of military aid. There’s going to be a vote coming up in not too long about how to fund the next year’s worth of this, the fiscal year-end September 30th, and Congress is going to have to sign off on a new package of aid for Ukraine. Will there be the appetite to spend another $40 billion on this? That’s an open question. The president can say that we’re in it as long as he wants to, but he needs Congress to support that, too.

Taylor Wilson:

All right. Tom Vanden Brook covers the Pentagon for USA TODAY. Thanks, Tom.

Tom Vanden Brook:

Thanks, Taylor.

Taylor Wilson:

Thanks for listening to 5 Things. If you like the show, please subscribe and leave us a rating and review on Apple Podcasts. And if you have any comments, you can reach us at podcasts@usatoday.com. I’m back tomorrow with more of 5 Things

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