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Is Trump getting ready to launch 2024 campaign early?

From the Full coverage of the July 4th Highland Park shooting, carnivorous plant traps prey underground, and more top stories from the last week series
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Former President Donald Trump is mulling when, exactly, he should announce a presidential run for 2024 -- a decision that has become even more pressing following revelations by the House select committee investigating his role in the Jan. 6, 2021 insurrection.

Over the past week, Trump told associates he is eager to launch another presidential campaign as early as this month to capitalize on President Joe Biden's increasingly dismal poll numbers and put his potential GOP rivals on notice.

Committee testimony about Trump's fight to overturn the 2020 election have exposed growing political vulnerabilities just as he eyes another presidential bid.

A former White House aide this week described Trump as an unhinged leader with no regard for the safety of elected officials in either party as he clung to power on Jan. 6, 2021. The testimony from the congressional panel investigating the Capitol attack provided a roadmap for prosecutors to potentially charge Trump with a crime, some legal experts say.

Typically, candidates would wait at least until after the November midterm elections. But aides say Trump is eager to push forward because the House committee's public hearings have targeted him in a sharply unflattering light.

Trump is battling investigations of his post-election team's activities in battleground states as well. And business regulators continue to scrutinize his dealings.

Biden shows vulnerability, too. His poll numbers continue to plunge:

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China says it is extending threatening military exercises surrounding Taiwan that have disrupted shipping and air traffic and substantially raised concerns about the potential for conflict. Military leaders say the exercises will include anti-submarine drills, apparently targeting U.S. support for Taiwan in the event of a potential Chinese invasion. China has said the exercises involving missile strikes, warplanes and ship movements crossing the midline of the Taiwan Strait are a response to U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to the self-ruled island last week. China has ignored calls to calm the tensions, and there was no immediate indication when it would end what amounts to a blockade.

Wisconsin Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes has emerged as the clear favorite in what had been a crowded Democratic field seeking to unseat Republican U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson, as his nearest rival dropped out and threw his support behind Barnes. Milwaukee Bucks executive Alex Lasry dropped out of the race Wednesday. Other Democrats remain in the Aug. 9 primary. Polls showed Lasry had been running tight with Barnes. But Lasry told The Associated Press that Barnes pulled ahead in recent weeks and there was no way he could catch him in the hotly contested primary for what is expected to be one of the most hard-fought Senate races this year.

The Justice Department’s legal effort to block the merger of book publishing giants Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster is more than just a showcase for the Biden administration’s tougher approach to corporate consolidation. The trial going on in federal court in Washington is also a rare moment for the publishing industry itself to be placed in the dock. Through the trial's opening week, industry executives, along with agents and authors such as Stephen King have shared opinions, relived disappointments and revealed financial figures they would otherwise have preferred to discuss privately or confide on background with reporters.

U.K. Foreign Secretary Liz Truss has cemented her place as front-runner in the race to replace Prime Minister Boris Johnson by winning endorsement from an influential former rival. Tom Tugendhat, who was eliminated from the contest in an earlier round, said Truss had the “resolution, determination, and passion” to be prime minister. The endorsement is a blow to ex-Treasury chief Rishi Sunak, the other finalist in the race for Conservative leader. The winner will be decided by votes from about 180,000 party members across the country. The result will be announced Sept. 5 and the victor will replace Johnson as party leader and prime minister. Johnson stepped down as Conservative leader after months of ethics scandals.

Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Wisconsin Assembly Speaker Robin Vos' opponent in the state's Republican primary next week in a sign of his anger over Vos for doing too little to overturn 2020 election results. Trump on Tuesday backed Adam Steen, a little-known Republican. Also on Tuesday, the Trump-backed candidate for Wisconsin governor said he would support a Trump presidential bid in 2024. Tim Michels said less than 24 hours before at a televised town hall that he hadn't committed to anyone in 2024 yet. Trump is coming to Wisconsin for a rally on Friday, just four days before the Aug. 9 primary.

The government of the Solomon Islands is tightening its control over the nation’s state-owned broadcaster. Opponents say the move is squarely aimed at controlling and censoring the news. The government this week accused the Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation of a “lack of ethics and professionalism." But in an interview with The Associated Press, Solomon Islands Broadcasting Corporation chief executive Johnson Honimae says he is proud of the broadcaster’s award-winning journalism. He says it is business as usual for the broadcaster and that there are no government censors vetting stories before they air. That's contrary to what was being reported by some news outlets.

China says it is cutting off dialogue with the U.S. on a range of vital issues from climate change to military relations and anti-narcotics efforts in retaliation for a visit this week to Taiwan by U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The measures announced Friday are the latest steps intended to punish Washington for allowing the visit to the island claimed by Beijing as its own territory — to be annexed by force if necessary. China also is firing missiles in military exercises off the coast of the island. U.S.-China expert Bonnie Glaser warns China may be heading toward changing the status quo in the Taiwan Strait, with results that are negative for both Taiwan and the U.S.

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