April 18, 2024

๐Ÿ‘‹ Good Thursday afternoon! Today's newsletter, edited by Erica Pandey, is 646 words, a 2.5-min. read. Thanks to Sheryl Miller for copy editing.

1 big thing: Jurors under MAGA microscope

Trump in courtroom
Former President Trump and his attorney Todd Blanche at Manhattan Criminal Court today in New York City. Photo: Brendan McDermid/Pool/Getty Images

One of the first jurors seated in former President Trump's historic criminal trial was dismissed today after expressing concerns about being publicly identified.

  • Why it matters: With the People of New York v. Trump set to be one of the most high-profile and politically charged cases in U.S. history, the conditions for keeping 18 jurors anonymous โ€” and safe โ€” could not be more challenging, Axios' Erin Doherty writes.

State of play: Court reporters have been live-blogging the profiles of prospective jurors all week, including broad physical descriptions, recent employment, where they get their news and where in Manhattan they live.

  • Juror No. 2, who was dismissed Thursday, said she was already facing questions from friends and family after basic details โ€” including her work as an oncology nurse and residence on the Upper East Side โ€” circulated online.

Zoom in: Trump's constant posting about the case, as well as targeted campaigns by his allies online and in conservative media, has raised significant security concerns.

๐Ÿ‘€ Between the lines: The simple fact of Trump's presence during jury selection has also had an impact on some jurors.

  • "One potential People v. Trump juror became so anxious after laying eyes on Trump this afternoon she started chewing on the corner of her jury service card," a pool report revealed yesterday.

Keep reading.

2. ๐Ÿ›๏ธ Speaker skips nuclear option to protect job

Johnson
Speaker Mike Johnson.ย Photo: Kent Nishimura/Getty Images

Speaker Mike Johnson has opted not to attempt to change the rules on removing people from the House speaker job, he said this afternoon.

  • Why it matters: The decision comes as Reps. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) threaten to pull the trigger on a resolution to oust him amid conservative outrage over the speaker pushing Ukraine aid without border language attached, Axios' Juliegrace Brufke reports.

๐Ÿ”Ž Zoom in: Johnson had been urged by some members to restore the threshold for introducing a motion to vacate that was lowered by former Speaker Kevin McCarthy to a single member.

  • "While I understand the importance of that idea, any rule change requires a majority of the full House, which we do not have," Johnson said today.

The bottom line: The speaker will now push forward on the foreign aid package, knowing he'll likely face an ouster attempt in the coming days.

3. Catch me up

Cover: Simon & Schuster

  1. ๐Ÿ“– Nancy Pelosi has a new book, "The Art of Power," which will be published Aug. 6 by Simon & Schuster. In the memoir, Pelosi digs into her years of public service, including what it felt like at the Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection. Go deeper.
  2. ๐ŸšจPro-Palestinian activists on Columbia University's campus were removed by NYPD officers in riot gear at the request of the university's president this afternoon. Get the latest.

4. ๐ŸŽจ 1 hopeful thing: Art after ALS

Gleason
Steve Gleason watches as his son Rivers throws a ceremonial first pitch at Wrigley Field in Chicago in June 2021. Photo: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Steve Gleason is famous in New Orleans for blocking a punt in the Saints' first game in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina.

  • But the athletic body that made Gleason's iconic block possible carried a secret, Axios New Orleans' Chelsea Brasted writes.

He was diagnosed with ALS after increasing health troubles five years later.

  • The disease quickly damaged his ability to achieve most basic bodily functions, and today he communicates using eye movement.

One way Gleason has learned to cope with ALS is by creating art.

  • Adobe gave him early access to its AI art generating tool Firefly, including a feature that lets him teach the system about his creative style using private sketches he created prior to his diagnosis.
Gleason's art
An original drawing by Gleason, at left, and AI generated renditions at right. Image: Nieux Society

The bottom line: "This is a way to save your creativity, for folks to be proactive when they are diagnosed with ALS," says New Orleans-based Adobe customer success senior manager Adam Wood.

  • "It opens up a whole new world."

Keep reading ... Get Axios New Orleans ... 30 Axios Local cities.