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The U.S. Navy Blue Angels fly over the Lincoln Memorial at President Trump's Fourth of July event in 2019. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post via Getty Images

President Trump's Fourth of July "Salute to America" event last year cost over $13 million, according to an estimate released Thursday by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), an independent agency watchdog.

Why it matters: Estimated costs for Independence Day events on the National Mall in 2016, 2017 and 2018 ranged between $6 million to $7 million, per GAO.

Catch up quick: GAO partially attributes the price tag to the Defense Department transporting battle tanks and fighter jets to the National Mall for the ceremony, as well as extra security made available for the president to attend in-person.

What they're saying: White House spokesperson Judd Deere told AP's Ellen Knickmeyer that the Fourth of July celebration "is not about politics," in response to congressional Democrats' criticisms of how much the holiday cost taxpayers.

  • “It’s about all Americans coming together to celebrate Independence Day, our great armed forces and their heroic sacrifices, which have preserved our freedoms for generations, and our amazing heritage,” Deere told AP.

Go deeper: Trump plans military flyover at Mount Rushmore on July 3 (Politico)

Go deeper

Trump to visit Kenosha amid anger over Jacob Blake shooting

President Trump visiting an emergency operation center in Orange, Texas, on Saturday. Photo: Roberto Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images

President Trump will visit Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Tuesday amid unrest over the Aug. 23 police shooting that left Jacob Blake paralyzed from the waist down, the White House confirmed.

Why it matters: Per AP, Trump's trip is "certain to exacerbate tensions in the city, where a crowd of about 1,000 demonstrators gathered outside a courthouse Saturday to denounce police violence." White House spokesperson Judd Deere told reporters the president would "survey damage from recent riots," AFP reports. Trump is touting his law and order credentials as he seeks re-election.

Go deeper: Trump and Biden ready to refight 1968

Updated 7 hours ago - World

U.S. airstrike kills senior al-Qaeda leader in Syria, DOD says

A displacement camp near the village of Qah in Syria's northwestern Idlib province. Photo: Ahmad Al-Atrash/AFP via Getty Images

A U.S. airstrike in northwest Syria on Friday killed senior al-Qaeda leader Abdul Hamid al-Matar, U.S. Central Command said in a statement.

Why it matters: Syria serves as a "safe haven" for the extremist group to plan external operations, according to U.S. Army Maj. John Rigsbee.

Updated 12 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Giuliani associate Lev Parnas convicted of campaign finance crimes

Lev Parnas, a former associate of then-President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani. Photo: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Florida businessman Lev Parnas was convicted Friday on charges of conspiracy to make foreign contributions to political campaigns, according to multiple outlets.

Why it matters: Prosecutors said Parnas, then an associate of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, funneled over $150,000 from a Russian businessman into U.S. campaigns as part of an effort to land licenses in the U.S.'s legal cannabis industry.