Odysseus moon landing and 'Rust' armorer trial: Morning Rundown

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Republicans struggle with the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling on IVF embryos. The U.S. celebrates its first lunar landing in more than 50 years. And what to know about Wendy Williams’ aphasia diagnosis.  

Here’s what to know today.

Alabama’s IVF ruling is creating problems for Republicans

The Alabama Supreme Court’s decision last week finding that embryos created through in vitro fertilization are considered children has already resulted in at least three facilities pausing IVF services.

The decision is also creating problems for Republicans who have pushed strict anti-abortion policies.

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Earlier this week, Republican presidential candidate Nikki Haley told NBC News that she supported the Alabama ruling and said, “Embryos, to me, are babies.” But a few hours later, she seemed to walk back the comment. And the next day, she said the court’s decision needed to be “based on the law.”

South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott took a jab at Haley’s “back and forth” on the subject but evaded the question when asked about his position.

Meanwhile, Sen. Tommy Tuberville struggled to answer questions about the ruling, telling reporters at a Conservative Political Action Conference yesterday that he was “all for” the decision. But when pressed whether he was concerned about how the ruling could impact people trying to have children through IVF, he sidestepped the question. “Well, that’s, that’s for another conversation,” he said.

Even among voters, there’s a split. Read the full story here.

Related coverage:

U.S. cheers first lunar landing in more than 50 years

Intuitive Machines successfully transmitted its first IM-1 mission images to Earth on February 16, 2024. The photos were captured shortly after separation from SpaceX’s second stage, marking the start of Intuitive Machines' first journey to the Moon under NASA’s CLPS initiative. (Intuitive Machines)
Intuitive Machines successfully transmitted its first IM-1 mission images to Earth on February 16, 2024. The photos were captured shortly after separation from SpaceX’s second stage, marking the start of Intuitive Machines' first journey to the Moon under NASA’s CLPS initiative. (Intuitive Machines)

“Houston, Odysseus has found its new home.” Those words, from Intuitive Machines Chief Technology Officer Tim Crain, marked the successful landing yesterday afternoon of a robotic spacecraft, nicknamed Odysseus, on the lunar surface. The feat marks the first time an American spacecraft has made it to the moon since the Apollo 17 mission in 1972, and it is the first privately built craft to touch down on the lunar surface.

The lead-up to the landing wasn’t without some hiccups. Laser instruments designed to help the spacecraft find a safe spot to touch down were not operable, leaving the company scrambling before it found a solution. Then, mission controllers lost contact with the spacecraft when it made its final descent — but that was expected to happen, the company said.

Now, Odysseus will spend about a week collecting data before lunar night sets in and the probe loses power.

Biden promises sanctions over Navalny’s death

President Joe Biden met with the wife and daughter of Alexei Navalny yesterday in California. The meeting was not previously reported and did not appear on Biden’s official schedule. Navalny’s wife, Yulia Navalnaya, has been outspoken since her husband’s death last week and has accused the Kremlin of killing her husband and covering it up by not releasing his body to his family.

In remarks after his meeting with them, Biden reiterated his plans to announce sanctions against Russian President Vladimir Putin. The White House said the sanctions will be in response to Navalny’s death, as well as “Russia’s repression and aggression” and the war with Ukraine.

Fearful critics weigh risk of Trump’s retribution

What happens if Donald Trump wins another presidential term? Stephanie Grisham, a former White House press secretary who has become a sharp Trump critic, said she and some of her former colleagues have discussed moving to countries with nonextradition treaties. Maybe it’s a dark joke but, nonetheless, Grishman said she’s been saving up and “making other arrangements.”

Interviews with more than a dozen people who have run afoul of Trump reveal deep worry among many that he will seek revenge if he wins another term in the White House. Those people include a key figure in Trump’s first impeachment, a former press aide who testified before the House Jan. 6 committee and others. Like Grisham, they’re considering leaving the country and padding their savings accounts while they fear what Trump might do.

Netanyahu reveals plan for post-war Gaza

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu presented his plan for Gaza after the war ends with Hamas. It says that Israel would be allowed to operate militarily in the enclave for an indefinite period of time to prevent the resurgence of the militant group. The plan also stipulates that UNRWA, the main aid organization in the Gaza Strip, must be closed.

An Israeli delegation is traveling to Paris today for negotiations for a hostage release and cease-fire deal, an official has said weeks after Netanyahu dismissed proposals from Hamas as "delusional." Hamas leaders have left Cairo, where days of discussions on a deal had also been taking place. Follow live updates.

Prosecution criticizes ‘Rust’ armorer on the first day of trial

The death of cinematographer Halyna Hutchins in a shooting on the set of the movie "Rust" in 2021 was the result of armorer Hannah Gutierrez-Reed’s “sloppy” handling of the weapons on set, New Mexico special prosecutor Jason Lewis alleged in opening statements of Gutierrez-Reed's trial. Gutierrez-Reed is accused of manslaughter and tampering with evidence and faces up to three years in jail if convicted of both charges. The case centers on how a live round of ammunition found its way onto the film's set and into the gun held by actor Alec Baldwin.

During the first day of trial in Santa Fe, New Mexico, Lewis also told jurors they will hear testimony that Gutierrez-Reed “routinely left guns and ammunition lying around the set unattended” and that “her gun safe and ammo cart were constantly disorganized.” Gutierrez-Reed’s attorney hit back at those claims, saying that Hutchins' death was a result of Baldwin's failure to comply with film set safety regulations. Recap the first day of the trial here.

Wendy Williams’ aphasia diagnosis: What to know

Former talk show host Wendy Williams has been diagnosed with aphasia, her team said in a statement yesterday. The neurological condition affects a person's ability to speak, read, write and understand others. Williams’ team said she was also diagnosed with dementia.

The announcement has brought aphasia into the spotlight again, after Bruce Willis was also diagnosed with the same condition in 2022. The symptoms and their severity vary based on which type of aphasia a person has. In people with primary progressive aphasia, Williams’ diagnosis, language skills become increasingly impaired over time. Right now there is no cure for aphasia, but speech and language therapy can help some patients. Here’s what else to know about the neurological condition.

Politics in Brief

Trump investigations: Trump urged a federal judge to dismiss his classified documents case in Florida on the basis of presidential immunity. Also yesterday, the judge who presided over the civil fraud case against Trump and his company rejected a request to delay enforcing the $350 million judgment against them.

Hunter Biden: Alexander Smirnov, the former FBI informant charged with lying about Biden and his son Hunter Biden, has been arrested for a second time.

2020 election fallout: A federal judge said MyPillow founder and election denier Mike Lindell must pay $5 million to a man who won his “Prove Mike Wrong” challenge.

CPAC 2024: The presidents of El Salvador and Argentina will take the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference, highlighting the growing alliance between right-leaning Latin American leaders and the Republican Party.

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Staff Pick: Stuck on a ‘most wanted’ list — and in a prolonged nightmare

Imagine the nightmare of being included in a global list of the world’s most wanted criminals — when your name shouldn’t be on it — and then being detained for six years because of it. This happened to a mother of three, who explains in an exclusive interview how she became ensnared in a global law enforcement network that is unfortunately sometimes used in a punitive way. It’s a fascinating story — as well as a warning. — Sandra Lilley, NBC Latino managing editor

News. Culture. The stories we’re talking about across our communities. Sign up for our newsletter from NBC Latino.

Select: Online Shopping, Simplified

Are you scared you might have bad breath? A tongue scraper may help. Dentists explain the little tool’s benefits and share their favorite picks.

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This article was originally published on NBCNews.com