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Morning news brief

LEILA FADEL, HOST:

Law enforcement authorities are preparing for whatever happens inside and outside a courthouse in Miami today.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Former President Trump is to surrender, facing 37 charges relating to mishandling secrets. Photos show cartons of documents stored in a bathroom and a ballroom in his Florida residence. And the indictment says some papers contain defense and nuclear information. But Trump supporters have talked of protests and even violence.

FADEL: The Justice Department leads the prosecution and plays a role in keeping order. And NPR justice correspondent Carrie Johnson covers them. Good morning, Carrie.

CARRIE JOHNSON, BYLINE: Good morning.

FADEL: So we've never had a former president be prosecuted by the U.S. Justice Department. What kind of preparations are underway?

JOHNSON: You know, this is all happening in the backdrop of the assault on the U.S. Capitol on January 6, and law enforcement really wants to avoid a repeat of what happened that day. There's already been a lot of angry rhetoric coming from the former president and some of his supporters, including current members of Congress, and there's been a lot going on behind the scenes securitywise involving the Secret Service, the U.S. Marshals and local police in Miami too. Miami Mayor Francis Suarez says there are going to be extra police and EMS on the scene today with even more first responders standing by. He says he wants people who might show up to support Trump to be peaceful today.

FADEL: Yeah, and as you mentioned, there's been a lot of angry rhetoric from former President Trump and his supporters. And the former president has spent the last few days making himself out to be a victim, claiming he's been - being targeted by prosecutors because he's running for president again. How is the Justice Department responding to that?

JOHNSON: The special counsel, Jack Smith, said last week, we have one set of laws in this country, and they apply to everyone. Today, the former president is going to show up at the courthouse for processing, like, in many ways, other criminal defendants. Normally that would involve fingerprints, a mug shot and other steps. It's not clear whether Trump will be handcuffed. He was not in New York City earlier this year when he faced state charges in Manhattan over those hush money payments to Stormy Daniels before the 2016 election.

FADEL: OK, so that's all what happens before Trump gets into the federal courtroom. What do you expect out of this initial court appearance today?

JOHNSON: These are really short hearings typically. Trump and his aide, Walt Nauta, can ask to have the charges against them read by the magistrate judge, or they can waive that step. They may be asked if they want to enter a plea. Presumably that would be not guilty. And they may be asked to turn over their passports. They may have to check in with court supervision while the case proceeds and agree to certain travel restrictions. Since Donald Trump is involved in a presidential campaign, the magistrate judge will want to be mindful of that, too.

FADEL: So much is historic, unprecedented, unusual about this case. The Justice Department signaled last week it wants to have a speedy trial. Is that wishful thinking in a case like this one? How speedy can it be?

JOHNSON: You know, in some ways, it's up to the defendant, Donald Trump. The special counsel says he wants a speedy trial. That could happen within 70 days, but that would be well ahead of the presidential primary season, what the Justice Department wants. The defense could lodge a number of hurdles and complications. This case involves a lot of classified documents. Do Trump's lawyers have security clearances to see them? Will Trump make arguments about wanting to use all of those papers in the courtroom? And will he make other pretrial motions for things like selective prosecution? All those things could delay a trial by months, and that could be the strategy of Trump's team, to delay until after the election, if they can get a judge to agree.

FADEL: NPR's Carrie Johnson, thank you.

JOHNSON: My pleasure.

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FADEL: Americans have been facing sticker shock for the last two years, from the supermarket to the used car lot.

INSKEEP: Today we find out what happened to the cost of living in May. The latest inflation report from the Labor Department comes just as Federal Reserve officials are huddling to decide what to do with interest rates.

FADEL: NPR's Scott Horsley joins us now with a preview. Good morning, Scott.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Good morning, Leila.

FADEL: So, Scott, what's getting more expensive, if anything, and is anything getting cheaper?

HORSLEY: Well, there is some good news in the grocery aisle. Food prices have been coming down in recent months after a big run-up over the last couple of years. And that trend likely continued into May. Even egg prices, which had been a poster child for soaring supermarket inflation, have come back to Earth now that laying flocks are recovering from that severe outbreak of avian flu. Last week, the White House Council of Economic Advisers touted falling grocery prices in a blog post. And the council's chief economist, Ernie Tedeschi, says goods prices overall are not climbing as fast as they had been now that pandemic knots in the supply chain have generally come untangled.

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ERNIE TEDESCHI: We try not to pay too much attention to month-to-month numbers because they are noisy. But I think if you're looking at trends, supply chains have normalized, and that seems to have translated into goods inflation that has trended down.

HORSLEY: Gasoline prices are also holding pretty steady, even though demand for gas is up this summer. Of course, it was just about a year ago that we saw gas prices hit a record high in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. They've since dropped by about a buck-40 a gallon. The problem is just as one pain in the pocketbook goes away, another comes along, so while the price of a lot of stuff has leveled off or even fallen, the price of a lot of services like restaurant meals and car repairs is still climbing. And that's making it hard to get overall inflation back down to the 2% point where the Fed wants it to be.

FADEL: So what's the Fed doing in response?

HORSLEY: Well, it's been raising interest rates really aggressively. The central bank's boosted its benchmark interest rate at the last 10 straight meetings. That's making it more expensive to borrow money for a business or buy a house or even carry a balance on your credit card. At this week's meeting, though, Fed watchers think the central bank will take a break and leave rates where they are, giving policymakers some time to assess how the economy is reacting to these higher borrowing costs. Don't get too comfortable, though. Andrew Patterson, who's a senior economist at Vanguard, thinks the Fed could go back to raising rates at its next meeting in July.

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ANDREW PATTERSON: We believe the Fed has more work to do. I think they have an opportunity here for a hawkish pause or skip, whatever you want to call it, where they're saying, hey, we're eventually going to get to a higher terminal rate.

HORSLEY: By terminal rate, he means the highest point that interest rates climb to in the cycle. Back in March, Fed policymakers on average thought that would be about where we are right now. Since then, though, we've seen some strong economic data, so the Fed may feel like it needs to tap the brakes a little bit harder, even if it doesn't do so right away.

FADEL: Now, we've been living with high inflation for a while now. How is that affecting the way people think about rising prices?

HORSLEY: You know, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York does a survey every month. They go out and ask people, where do you think inflation is going to be a year from now, three years from now, five years from now? In the most recent survey, people guess about where inflation would be a year from now was a little bit better. In fact, it was the lowest it had been since the spring of 2021, just as rising prices were starting to take hold in the U.S. But people's guess of where inflation would be three and five years out was higher than it had been. So one way to read that is that people are not as acutely worried about inflation as they were a few months ago, but they also see inflation as a pretty stubborn problem that could be with us for a while.

FADEL: NPR's Scott Horsley, thank you.

HORSLEY: You're welcome.

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FADEL: Artificial intelligence is likely to upend a lot of different industries in the near future.

INSKEEP: And in one field, a quiet AI revolution is underway - surveillance. AI is changing the way governments use everything from spy satellites to security cameras.

FADEL: And joining me to discuss exactly what's enabling this revolution is NPR science and security correspondent Geoff Brumfiel. Hi, Geoff.

GEOFF BRUMFIEL, BYLINE: Hi, Leila.

FADEL: Give me an example of what AI can do.

BRUMFIEL: So there's this small Wisconsin-based company called Synthetaic, and they're basically teaching AI how to look for stuff in surveillance images taken by satellites and drones. Corey Jaskolski is the CEO, and he explains it this way.

COREY JASKOLSKI: The way I think about it is effectively what we've come up with is a way to search massive amounts of data, almost like a search engine but for imagery, for visuals.

BRUMFIEL: Their AI is able to spot anything the user's interested in finding, and it can do it much faster than a human can.

FADEL: OK. Can you give an example?

BRUMFIEL: Yeah. So you remember the Chinese spy balloon that...

FADEL: Of course.

BRUMFIEL: ...Blew across America? Well, it was shot down over South Carolina, and commercial satellites had photographed the entire state around the time the balloon flew by. So Jaskolski was wondering kind of on a whim whether he could find it.

JASKOLSKI: I hand-drew a picture of what I thought the balloon might look like from space.

BRUMFIEL: He fed this sketch - I mean, this wasn't even a real image of the balloon - into his software and then had it look across the entire state of South Carolina. This is the type of thing it would take a human months to do. And in just minutes, it found the balloon.

FADEL: That's incredible. But hasn't AI been a part of surveillance for a while now?

BRUMFIEL: Absolutely. This comes down to the fact that AI is really, really good at pattern recognition. And actually, you remember about 10 years ago when Facebook all of a sudden could start tagging your friends in all your photos? That was enabled by this previous generation of AI that came before ChatGPT. And those sorts of tools that could identify friends in a photo have been developed into really powerful tools for all kinds of imagery analysis, and that includes, you know, drone satellites and just facial recognition of people in surveillance footage.

FADEL: You know, but should governments have these kinds of tools? I mean, there are people that will feel unsettled, especially in governments that are accused of overreach or abusing powers when it comes to surveilling citizens. Should we be worried?

BRUMFIEL: Yeah. I mean, this is something that a lot of privacy experts and civil rights sort of experts are very worried about, actually. You know, for example, here in the U.S., imagine - you could have police set up a camera outside a house for months, compress that down to 10 minutes of interesting events as picked out by some kind of AI tool and then use facial recognition to ID everyone in those events. I spoke to Clare Garvie with the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers. She's particularly interested in facial recognition, and she says that in the U.S. system, some of our rights have been protected historically by the fact that police just couldn't do that kind of thing. So she thinks now we need new laws that would protect people's privacy and right to association.

CLARE GARVIE: Where are we drawing the lines? Where do we build inefficiencies back into a technology that has created massive efficiency in law enforcement?

BRUMFIEL: I think globally it's an even bigger problem. You know, China has used this tech to set up a surveillance system that can track millions. And it's also starting to pop up in places like Israel and Singapore. So I think this is something that global society really needs to start looking at.

FADEL: NPR's Geoff Brumfiel, thanks so much.

BRUMFIEL: Thank you.

FADEL: And finally, a lot of people in Denver, Colo., are waking up happy today.

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UNIDENTIFIED PERSON: It's over. At last, the long wait is over. After 47 years, the Denver Nuggets can finally call themselves NBA champions.

FADEL: Nikola Jokic led the team through a grueling game, with Denver missing several opportunities early on. Jokic was awarded the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player and became the first player in history to lead all players in points, rebounds and assists in a single postseason. The team will celebrate with a parade through Denver on Thursday. For more on the historic victory, tune in to MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.

Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
Leila Fadel is a national correspondent for NPR based in Los Angeles, covering issues of culture, diversity, and race.