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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Toby Keith dies at 62 and Senate GOP threatens border bill: Morning Rundown

Senate Republicans threaten to sink the bipartisan border security package they negotiated. Britain’s King Charles III is diagnosed with cancer. Plus, a “pig butchering” scam cost a man his life’s savings. 

Here’s what to know today.

Senate Republicans threaten to sink the border deal they negotiated

A bipartisan package of border security measures and asylum restrictions may be blocked by Senate Republicans despite weeks of negotiations, signoff from a chief Republican negotiator, an endorsement from Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, and backing from President Joe Biden.

The striking turn of events yesterday came a day after the 370-page deal was released for lawmakers to review. Now, GOP senators say that they need more time to discuss changes to the bill and predict that their party would not provide enough support to move forward in a vote tomorrow. Even Sen. James Lankford, the lead Republican negotiator in the border talks, predicted that the package won’t pass.

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The vote scheduled for Wednesday is a procedural vote to move toward debating the legislation. It needs 60 votes to pass. If it fails, the bill would be indefinitely on ice until 60 senators agreed to restart floor consideration.

House Republican leaders have already said the package is “dead on arrival” if it makes it to the lower chamber. In recent weeks, former President Donald Trump has demanded that Republicans sink the agreement as he hopes to wield immigration as a potential weapon in the November election. And McConnell, who had backed the bill, gave his members the green light to oppose it, a source familiar with the Republicans’ closed-door meeting said yesterday. 

Democrats were stunned. “Just gobsmacked,” Sen. Brian Schatz wrote in a post on X. 

“You told us you wanted a bipartisan border fix,” Sen. Chris Murphy, the chief Democratic negotiator, wrote on X. “You appointed the Republican negotiator. WE GOT A DEAL. Stop the drama — do you want to fix the border or do you want to keep the border chaotic to help Trump? Just decide pls.” 

Read the full story here.

More border security coverage

Country singer Toby Keith dies at 62

Country music icon Toby Keith has died, his official website and social media accounts said, 18 months after he revealed he had stomach cancer. He was 62.

2023 People's Choice Country Awards - Show
Toby Keith performs during the 2023 People’s Choice Country Awards in Nashville, Tenn.Mickey Bernal / NBC via Getty Images file

The “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” singer died Monday night surrounded by his family, a short statement said.

Keith announced that he was living with cancer in June 2022 and last September, he spoke of the “roller coaster” experience of going through treatment, while receiving the Country Icon Award at last year’s People’s Choice Country Awards.

Storm system hovers over Southern California

Image:
An SUV buried by a mudslide Monday in the Beverly Crest area of Los Angeles. Marcio Jose Sanchez / AP

A flood watch remains in effect in the Los Angeles area until this afternoon, forecasters say, after almost 11 inches of rain fell in some parts of the city. Downtown L.A., in particular, saw more than 7 inches in a day. In San Diego, thunderstorms and off-and-on rain is predicted through Thursday, a National Weather Service meteorologist said. 

Yesterday’s rainfall resulted in mudslides, submerged cars, a helicopter rescue and power outages throughout California. At least three people have died in incidents related to trees falling amid the severe weather. Much of the state’s south is under flash flood warnings as the atmospheric river storm system lingers. Follow live updates.

King Charles’ cancer diagnosis

King Charles III’s recent procedure for an enlarged prostate is relatively common for older men: Around 80% of men over the age of 70 have it, according to Yale Medicine (Charles is 75). But a less common diagnosis followed the procedure. 

Buckingham Palace announced that he was diagnosed with cancer in a health update yesterday. It didn’t reveal what kind of cancer it is or how serious the condition is. “His Majesty has today commenced a schedule of regular treatments, during which time he has been advised by doctors to postpone public-facing duties,” the statement added. Separately, the palace said Charles does not have prostate cancer, while British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak said this morning that the cancer was “caught early.” Prince Harry is expected to fly back to England to see his father.

Announcing that Charles has cancer is a departure from the past, when monarchs’ ailments were often hidden from the public, according to royal experts.

Iran has a stark warning for the U.S.

After a weekend of U.S. strikes against its proxies in Iraq, Syria and Yemen, Iran has issued a stark warning not to target the MV Behshad, a ship that U.S. officials and analysts suspect of providing real-time intelligence for attacks on other vessels in the Red Sea and serving as a forward operating base for its commandos. 

Asked by NBC News about the ship, Defense Department press secretary Maj. Gen. Patrick Ryder said, “I am not aware of the U.S. targeting the Behshad. We are very well aware of the ship.”

The Iranian ship provides electronic intelligence to the Houthis, enabling them to spot and target vessels in the Red Sea region, according to a U.S. official, a U.S. congressional aide with knowledge of the matter and a Middle Eastern official. U.S. officials and experts explain what is known about the Behshad.

Read more

  • Secretary of State Antony Blinken is meeting with leaders in Qatar and Egypt today as part of his trip to the Middle East to promote the framework of a hostage release and cease-fire deal. Yesterday, he discussed an “enduring end’’ to the war in Gaza with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. Follow live updates.

Why Trump and Haley won’t be on the same ballot in Nevada

Trump is running virtually unopposed in the Nevada Republican caucuses later this week. Before that happens, former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley — and Trump’s closest rival for the Republican presidential nomination — will participate in today’s separate state-run primary, but a win won’t come with any delegates. While the primary is mandated under state law, there are no delegates at stake because the national Republican Party is only recognizing the caucuses, not the primary, for the purpose of awarding delegates. Here’s what else to know.

Today’s Talker: Some people love Apple’s Vision Pro. Others…

… aren’t so sure. The augmented reality headset, released last week, allows people to see apps, email, video games and more, integrated with their real-world surroundings. Reviewers who loved the headset say it’s a huge step forward technologically, even if it is “imperfect.” Critics have called out Vision Pro’s price ($3,500) and say it feels dystopian, like seeing aspects of the TV show “Black Mirror” or the movie “Ready Player One” play out the real world.

Politics in Brief

NBC News poll: Three-quarters of voters, including half of Democrats, say they have concerns about Biden’s mental and physical health, according to the latest national NBC News poll. And while 61% of voters have concerns about Trump’s multiple felony charges, less than half have concerns about his mental and physical health. 

2024 election: Biden is passing on a Super Bowl interview that could reach millions of people. His advisers say it’s part of their plan. Meanwhile, Haley’s presidential campaign has requested a Secret Service detail after the Republican candidate’s South Carolina home was the target of two swatting incidents.

Republican leadership: Trump has indicated in a Newsmax interview that Ronna McDaniel should leave her post as head of the Republican National Committee, a shift from his past praise for her.

2020 election conspiracy: Conservative provocateur James O’Keefe and his former organization Project Veritas settled a lawsuit after the group spread a Pennsylvania postal worker’s false claims of voter fraud during the 2020 presidential election.

Staff Pick: ‘Pig butchering’ scams on the rise

More than 40,000 Americans a year fall victim to an internet scam called pig butchering, according to the FBI in which scammers pose as romantic interests and entice victims to send thousands of dollars overseas. We hear about how insidious they are from Barry May, a divorced retiree who was convinced to send his life savings to a woman he met on social media. — Nick Duffy, platforms editor

In Case You Missed It

Select: Online Shopping, Simplified

Make Valentine’s Day shopping easy by browsing these 24 standout gift options on Amazon. Plus, those with a Prime membership can rest easy knowing many of these gifts will arrive on time.

Sign up to The Selection newsletter for exclusive reviews and shopping content from NBC Select.

Thanks for reading today’s Morning Rundown. Today’s newsletter was curated for you by Elizabeth Robinson. If you’re a fan, please send a link to your family and friends. They can sign-up here.

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