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Up First briefing: Trump's GOP support; ICE detention conditions; Senate selfie quest

Former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Erie, Pa., on July 29.
Joed Viera
/
AFP via Getty Images
Former President Donald Trump speaks during a campaign rally in Erie, Pa., on July 29.

Good morning. You're reading the Up First newsletter. Subscribe here to get it delivered to your inbox, and listen to the Up First podcast for all the news you need to start your day.

Today's top stories

The first Republican primary debate is scheduled for next Wednesday. Despite four indictments, Trump remains popular among his Republican base — though he's highly unpopular with Democrats and independents. NPR's Domenico Montanaro analyzes why Trump's legal troubles haven't moved the needle with GOP voters.

  • On Up First today, Montanaro says Republicans "are living in a completely different universe than Democrats or independents" and seem to believe everything Trump says about the 2020 election. Other campaigns have had the former president at the center of their debate prep. It's unclear if Trump will attend the upcoming debate.
  • A three-year NPR investigation has uncovered more than 1,600 pages of reports on ICE detention centers detailing allegations of "barbaric" and "negligent" mistreatment of detainees. The reports are written by experts hired by the Department of Homeland Security to investigate claims of civil rights abuses. They found serious problems, including pepper spraying of mentally ill detainees, filthy conditions and ignoring medical conditions.

  • Both the Trump and Biden administrations have fought NPR's efforts to get these records, says Tom Dreisbach. He spoke to Eunice Cho, an ACLU lawyer who has visited the detention centers. She said the report's findings were "just the tip of the iceberg, and if anything, conditions have probably gotten worse." COVID-19 is one reason conditions may have worsened. Dreisbach adds the Biden campaign has promised to end contracts with for-profit companies running most ICE facilities, but they need Congress to act.
  • Niger's coup leaders announced this week they would try President Mohamed Bazoum for "high treason." Three weeks after they ousted him, military leaders have cut formal diplomatic ties with France, Nigeria and Togo, restored relations with military regimes in Mali and Burkina Faso, and replaced many cabinet members.

  • NPR's Emmanuel Akinwotu says the junta's actions suggest they're taking "a strategic, long-term look at control of the country." Akinwotu adds that intervention from other countries appears unlikely now, though leaders from the regional bloc of West African countries called ECOWAS are expected to meet tomorrow.
  • Picture show

    A scene from the 2022 Emma Farden Sharpe Hula Festival, which usually takes place under the famous banyan tree in downtown Lahaina. The organizers pivoted to Facebook for the 2023 edition after the fires badly burned the tree.
    / Emma Farden Sharpe Hula Festival
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    Emma Farden Sharpe Hula Festival
    A scene from the 2022 Emma Farden Sharpe Hula Festival, which usually takes place under the famous banyan tree in downtown Lahaina. The organizers pivoted to Facebook for the 2023 edition after the fires badly burned the tree.

    As rescue efforts continue in Hawaii, heritage workers and preservation experts are thinking about how to salvage and document the cultural artifacts that have been lost or damaged. While they're worried that some of the most precious items at the Lahaina Heritage Museum may be lost, they balance sadness with hope about what's been saved.

  • See photos of the damage at some of Lahaina's most important cultural sites, and read about how its residents are making sure their stories survive. 
  • Today's listen

    DJ Crazy Times — aka Kyle Gordon — in his element.
    / Toby Tenenbaum
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    Toby Tenenbaum
    DJ Crazy Times — aka Kyle Gordon — in his element.

    Is this the song of the summer? Comedian Kyle Gordon's song parody of '90s Eurodance music, "Planet of the Bass," has taken the internet by storm. His original 50-second TikTok video, featuring his characters DJ Crazy Times and Ms. Biljana Electronica, has more than 8 million views, and he released the full song this week.

  • Listen to parts of the song and hear Polygon editor Michael McWhertor explain why the Eurodance aesthetic and sound are so enticing
  • 3 things to know before you go

    Alaska Senator Murkowski's summer interns took photos with all 100 senators.
    / Office of Senator Murkowski
    /
    Office of Senator Murkowski
    Alaska Senator Murkowski's summer interns took photos with all 100 senators.

  • Eight of Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski's interns have tracked down and taken a selfie with all 100 senators — and they did it all in three weeks. They sat down with NPR to give out some senator superlatives.
  • Members of the Tuohy family are speaking out after Michael Oher, the subject of the hit 2009 movie The Blind Side, alleged his adoption was a lie, and they set up a conservatorship to profit from his name and likeness. Sean Tuohy, the family patriarch, says his family never made money from the film, and the conservatorship was unrelated to the movie.
  • A few years ago, Adrianne Drazin found herself overwhelmed at the airport. She had just gotten off a flight with her two toddlers, her baby in a car, a carry-on suitcase and diaper bags. A fellow mother insisted on helping her get to the baggage check, becoming her unsung hero and a member of the "mom tribe." 
  • This newsletter was edited by Majd Al-Waheidi.

    Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

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