Israel carries out a retaliatory strike inside Iran. The fragility of the 911 system is exposed after operations fail in several states. And we go inside a far-right sheriffs convention where conspiracy theories were abundant, but actual sheriffs weren’t. 

Here’s what to know today.

Israel caries out retaliatory strike inside Iran

Israel carried out a limited military strike against Iran and is assessing the strike’s effectiveness and the damage it caused, a source familiar with the situation told NBC News. Iran’s state media reported that three small drones were destroyed in Isfahan province, and reported that there had been no casualties or damage, including at the nuclear facility in Isfahan.

The U.S. was not involved in Israel’s strike in Iran, a source familiar with the situation confirmed, adding that Israeli officials notified U.S. officials earlier that a response was coming. Israeli officials have remained largely silent on the country’s strike, with National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir, a member of a far-right party, summing up his thoughts in one word in a post on X: “Feeble.”

Israel had vowed it would respond to Iran’s attack on Saturday, when Iran fired more than 300 drones and missiles at Israel in its first-ever direct military assault on the country. The strikes did not cause widespread damage or death. The Iranian strikes were in retaliation for an Israeli strike April 1 on an Iranian consular building in Syria, which killed two of Tehran’s top generals.

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More on the conflict between Israel and Iran: 

  • In a rare and exclusive interview, Hezbollah’s second-in-command insisted the Iran-backed group is not seeking war but would respond in kind to any Israeli escalation.
  • Hours before Israel’s strikes on Iran, CIA Director William Burns said that Iran’s missile and drone barrage against Israel last weekend was a “spectacular failure.”
  • The Biden administration announced new sanctions targeting Iran’s missile and drone program.

In trial’s first week, Trump tried to control the narrative

Jabin Botsford / Pool via Getty Images

The rest of the 12 jurors — and one alternate — in Donald Trump’s hush money trial were seated yesterday, but not without some hiccups along the way. Today, the search continues for five more alternate jurors. And then the first week of the former president’s criminal trial will come to a close.

Looking back, the ways Trump tried to control the narrative are clear. On Monday, Trump stood in front of reporters ready to unleash a grievance-laced tirade that, at times, did not totally reflect reality. He fixated on Judge Juan Merchan’s decision to not yet rule on whether Trump can attend his son Barron’s high school graduation next month. The key words to keep in mind are “not yet.”

But Trump painted a picture for his supporters of a biased judge blocking a loving father from seeing his son’s graduation. The disdain toward Merchan from Trump’s supporters was swift.

Then there were arguments about whether Trump fell asleep at one point and about jury selection rules. Those sorts of distortions and fights about nearly every aspect of the trial dominated the first week — and earned him $1.6 million in small-dollar donations. Read the full story here.

Taylor Swift’s ‘The Tortured Poets Department’ is here

Taylor Swift’s new album was released at midnight on the dot, heralding a new era for the pop star. And then two hours later, Swift revealed that “The Tortured Poets Department” is actually a double album, with an extra 15 songs. Surprise!

Before the album’s release, die-hard fans gathered for listening parties at their homes and bars across the country. Shortly after the release, the reviews started to pour in: “Unapologetically dramatic,” Variety’s Chris Willman wrote; “proudly villainous energy,” the Los Angeles Times’ Mikael Wood wrote. NBC News’ biggest Swifties stayed up past their bedtimes to document the excitement. Here’s what you missed.

108 arrested in pro-Palestinian protest at Columbia University

A Pro-Israel protest and a Pro-Palestinian counter protest took place at Columbia University on April 18, 2024.
Kelsea Petersen / NBC News

More than 100 people — including Rep. Ilhan Omar’s daughter, pictured above — were arrested yesterday at a pro-Palestinian protest at New York’s Columbia University after school officials voiced concerns about demonstrators violating campus policies. The protests grew throughout the afternoon and eventually, more than 500 students entered the quad area, according to NYPD Commissioner Edward Cuban. The students who were arrested did not resist and said what they wanted to say “in a peaceful manner,” Cuban said.

The demonstration came a day after Columbia President Nemat “Minouche” Shafik attended a congressional hearing about antisemitism and faced questioning by Rep. Omar and other lawmakers about on-campus demonstrations. Tensions over free speech have erupted across U.S. college campuses since the war between Hamas and Israel began in October.

Inside a convention for a far-right sheriffs movement

Conspiracy theorists, felons and election deniers flocked to a Las Vegas hotel. They were there to attend a far-right sheriffs convention, where discussions centered around their belief in encroaching federal power and rampant voter fraud, despite a lack of evidence. The event by the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, or CSPOA, included a lackluster Pledge of Allegiance, a smooth jazz rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner,” disgruntled former politicians and a pizza party. Only a few actual sheriffs attended.

Mark Abramson for NBC News

CSPOA, which sees sheriffs as more powerful than the federal government, used the event to set a course for the coming election. The conference’s low attendance indicates just how fringe the group’s ideas are, but critics fear the organization’s focus on U.S. elections will nonetheless legitimize disinformation.

Senior reporter Brandy Zadrozny was at the annual meeting, where she listened to speakers (and their conspiracy theories) and talked to a few attendees. Here’s what she observed.

911 outage shows fragility of emergency system

After a major 911 outage this week left millions of people unable to contact authorities for 2 ½ hours, telecommunications and public safety experts are calling for increased modernization and regulation of the emergency system.

The outages appeared to be related to Louisiana-based Lumen Technologies, a telecommunications company that reported outages to some customers in Nevada, South Dakota, Nebraska and Texas. Lumen claims a third-party company caused the outage while installing a light pole.

However, experts say a single pole should not be able to disable 911 in multiple states. This incident draws attention to the outsourcing of the running of 911 systems to private companies, like Lumen, causing outages to hit states even if the source of the problem is nowhere near them.

Politics in Brief

TikTok ban: Legislation that could ban TikTok in the U.S. unless it cuts ties with its Chinese parent company is on a path to quickly becoming law, with the House planning to package a version of the bill along with billions of dollars in foreign aid for Ukraine, Israel and Taiwan.

Classified docs case: U.S. District Judge Aileen Cannon denied motions by two Trump co-defendants — aide Walt Nauta and Mar-a-Lago property manager Carlos De Oliveira — to dismiss charges in the classified documents case.  

2024 election: Republicans are publicly dismissing concerns about falling behind Democrats in fundraising for key House races.

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Staff Pick: A regional reproductive care void on both sides of the border

A growing number of American women are seeking abortion care in Mexico, and they’re navigating a medley of laws that, like the U.S., vary according to Mexico’s different states. My colleague Albinson Linares and I dug into some of these laws. What we found is that most Mexican border states ban elective abortions, despite a Supreme Court ruling last year that decriminalized the procedure nationwide. Add Arizona’s recent ruling on an 1864 law that will ban most abortions in the state, and women on both sides of the border could soon find themselves in a remote and politicized region with little reproductive care. — Isabela Espadas Barros Leal, associate editor

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In Case You Missed It

  • An arm and torso discovered along Lake Michigan are believed to be those of a 19-year-old Wisconsin woman who was killed after she went on a date with the suspect, police said.
  • Trader Joe’s has recalled packaged herbs that were linked to a salmonella outbreak and sold in 29 states.
  • Hyundai paused its advertising on X after a sponsored post from the company appeared next to antisemitic and pro-Nazi content.
  • A California school administrator who lost his previous job with the city over controversial Covid remarks is accused of workplace bullying for putting a subordinate’s desk on a roof.
  • A jawbone discovered two decades ago by a child collecting rocks was identified as that of a Marine who died in a 1951 training accident.

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