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Morning news brief

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

What are the prospects for at least a temporary peace in Gaza?

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken is in Israel, trying to work out terms for Israel to stop its military campaign in Gaza.

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ANTONY BLINKEN: That offers the prospect of extended calm, hostages out, more assistance in. That would clearly be beneficial to everyone. And I think that offers the best path forward. But there's a lot of work to be done to achieve it.

MARTIN: The U.S. and Israel have been trading messages with Hamas. It is a slow negotiation, with Qatar passing notes back-and-forth. Qatar says the latest response from Hamas is, quote-unquote, "positive." And in Gaza, people in the streets are calling on Israel to accept it.

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UNIDENTIFIED PEOPLE: (Chanting in non-English language).

MARTIN: They're chanting, the people want peace right now.

INSKEEP: NPR's Michele Kelemen is traveling with Secretary Blinken. She's in Tel Aviv. Hey there, Michele.

MICHELE KELEMEN, BYLINE: Hi, Steve.

INSKEEP: Is a deal imminent?

KELEMEN: Not imminent. You know, it took Hamas well over a week to respond to the latest deal that was on the table. Both Qatar and Egypt have had a tough time getting a timely response, in part because it's just hard to communicate with Hamas leaders inside Gaza as Israel continues to pursue them. But the Qataris say that Hamas has now agreed to kind of this framework of a deal. They've offered what some are calling a counterproposal, and now we're expecting to see some more negotiations on those details.

INSKEEP: OK. What is the framework, so-called?

KELEMEN: It would be in phases, basically. The first phase would last about 45 days. That would be a period of calm. Hamas would release women and children and some elderly hostages that they've been holding since October 7, and Israel would release some Palestinian prisoners. Now, Hamas wants prisoners who are serving life sentences in Israel out of jail. They also say they've proposed some numbers, though that ratio of hostages to prisoners seems to be one of those issues that's still being negotiated.

In other phases of the deal, we might see Israeli troops repositioning and Hamas releasing female soldiers, followed by male soldiers and the bodies of dead hostages. Israel says that Hamas is holding about 31 bodies - 29 of them were taken during the October 7 attack - and it believes that there are still about a hundred hostages taken that day who are still alive.

INSKEEP: So negotiation over living hostages, over the bodies of hostages. And aside from that, isn't there a big disagreement about the longer term?

KELEMEN: Yeah. I mean, Hamas wants a permanent cease-fire. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is vowing to keep fighting Hamas until Hamas is destroyed. And the U.S. is basically just hoping that if there's a pause in fighting that's long enough, it could give everyone more room for diplomacy. And there are a lot of big ideas floating around about that, Steve.

INSKEEP: OK, big ideas - does this include some path forward for a Palestinian state, a two-state solution?

KELEMEN: Yeah, and a normalization deal between Saudi Arabia and Israel. Blinken was just in Saudi Arabia, and he says the crown prince is interested in pursuing that, but a couple of things are required first.

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BLINKEN: An end to the conflict in Gaza and a clear, credible, time-bound path to the establishment of a Palestinian state.

KELEMEN: Now, Prime Minister Netanyahu has repeatedly said he doesn't want a two-state solution, but Blinken knows that Israel does want normal ties with the Saudis and needs Arab states to support a postwar Gaza. So he'll be talking about all of that here with Netanyahu.

INSKEEP: NPR diplomatic correspondent Michele Kelemen in Tel Aviv. Michele, thanks, as always, for your insights.

KELEMEN: Thank you.

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INSKEEP: OK, in this country, House Republicans are regrouping after a failed vote to impeach the Homeland Security secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, for the crisis at the southern border.

MARTIN: With a border security deal on the verge of imploding on Capitol Hill, Republicans and Democrats are moving in completely opposite directions on immigration ahead of a key procedural vote, which is scheduled for today. President Joe Biden slammed Republicans who plan to sink the bipartisan legislation, even though the White House agreed to the measures they wanted.

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PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN: It's time for Republicans in the Congress to show a little courage, to show a little spine, to make it clear to the American people that you work for them, not for anyone else.

INSKEEP: NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales joins us this morning. Claudia, good morning.

CLAUDIA GRISALES, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: OK, I'm trying to figure this out. Republicans demanded some border security measures. Democrats finally said yes to some of them, anyway.

GRISALES: Right.

INSKEEP: And then Republicans said, actually, no. How did that happen?

GRISALES: Yes. They spent a lot of months on negotiating this $118 billion bipartisan deal. And yes, Republicans initially said no to foreign aid to Ukraine and Israel without this border deal. McConnell and other Republicans warned that this is probably the best deal they could get, even comparing it to a Republican-controlled Congress and White House.

But now McConnell is singing a different tune with House Republicans starting this momentum for senators - Republican senators - to vote against this plan. So he told reporters all this after applauding all the negotiations on it.

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MITCH MCCONNELL: But it looks to me and to most of our members as if we have no real chance here to make a law.

INSKEEP: And I guess we should underline why it would seem to be that they would have no real chance to make it law. Why would that be?

GRISALES: Because there just was not enough support there because Senate Republicans had turned on the plan, too.

INSKEEP: And that would have to do with Donald Trump.

GRISALES: Exactly. So that really started pressure, especially for House Speaker Mike Johnson, who really started this momentum for House Republicans to say, we're not even going to take up this plan if it were even to pass in the Senate.

INSKEEP: Wasn't there also an effort yesterday to just strip out the immigration part, even strip out the Ukraine part and just pass military aid to Israel in the House of Representatives?

GRISALES: Yes. Speaker Mike Johnson was unable to pass this $17.6 billion in military aid to Israel. There was just too much opposition there, even on both sides. And Biden also had threatened to veto the bill.

INSKEEP: OK. How does election year politics, the fact that it's 2024 and there are presidential primaries underway - how does that play into this?

GRISALES: That plays a huge role. For example, if you were to, say, fix the border with this legislation, Republicans will lose that argument as a big talking point on the campaign trail. So there's definitely a political calculation here for the GOP, who want to preserve their best shot for presenting the best argument for the election. And especially when you look at the presidential race with Trump as the presumed GOP presidential nominee, he was adamantly opposed to this. Quickly, House Republicans, Speaker Johnson followed suit. And now we're seeing Senate Republicans fall in line as well.

INSKEEP: So how did the House fail to impeach Secretary Mayorkas, which was supposed to be part of their campaign push?

GRISALES: Well, there were three Republicans who joined Democrats to vote against the measure, so too many for this narrow GOP majority. They could still revisit this effort later. But it's another reminder how far apart both these parties remain.

INSKEEP: OK, just the facts. NPR congressional correspondent Claudia Grisales, thanks, as always.

GRISALES: Thank you.

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INSKEEP: Ethan Crumbley was 15 years old when he committed a mass shooting at Michigan's Oxford High School a few years ago. A judge sent him to prison for life. Yesterday, a jury found his mother shares responsibility.

MARTIN: A jury found Jennifer Crumbley guilty of four counts of involuntary manslaughter. She faces many years in prison. And Ethan's father, James Crumbley, still faces involuntary manslaughter charges. And this raises the question, at what point do parents share criminal responsibility for a child's gun crimes?

INSKEEP: NPR law enforcement correspondent Martin Kaste joins us now. Martin, good morning.

MARTIN KASTE, BYLINE: Good morning, Steve.

INSKEEP: Does this case set a new standard?

KASTE: Well, it's not clear that this suddenly makes gun-owning parents more criminally liable for their children's actions because experts call this an extreme case. It's less about how Ethan got the gun, and this is more about how Jennifer Crumbley ignored clear warnings that her son posed a danger and failed to stop him. Still, there are some people who think this may affect some of the more gray area cases in which parents are careless with their guns. I talked about this with Adam Skaggs, who's the vice president at the Giffords Law Center.

ADAM SKAGGS: If a high-profile prosecution of this nature leads some prosecutors to think maybe they should use the tools that they can to deter irresponsible gun ownership, irresponsible gun storage, that may not be a bad thing.

INSKEEP: OK, so this case becomes part of the conversation. How does it compare with other prosecutions in somewhat analogous situations?

KASTE: Well, nobody's really keeping track of how many prosecutions like this there are nationally. But in these shootings that have gotten national attention, what we've seen is that the parent usually isn't charged with violating a gun safety law, per se. It's typically something else. For instance, that notorious case last year of the 6-year-old in Newport News, Va. - the boy who brought his mother's gun to school and shot his teacher - there, his mother ended up pleading guilty to felony child neglect.

INSKEEP: OK. So not too many cases that we can judge by here. What about the laws that apply and how they're evolving?

KASTE: Well, that's easier to quantify here because roughly half the states have laws now that require guns to be kept out of reach of children. Some also have laws that require guns to be locked up when kids are present. But these safe storage laws are harder to pass because Second Amendment rights groups say that they can also hamper an adult's ability to keep a gun ready for self-defense. That said, more states are passing laws like that. Michigan passed a version after the Oxford High School shooting, and it takes effect next week.

INSKEEP: I'm interested in this, Martin, because when people debate gun control legislation, one of the arguments against it is that it doesn't work, that people get guns anyway, that people use guns anyway. Is there any research suggesting that these particular gun safety laws do work?

KASTE: Well, the experts say yes. I talked to April Zeoli. She's with the Institute for Firearm Injury Prevention at the University of Michigan.

APRIL ZEOLI: There is a measurable effect in child suicide, child homicide and child unintentional deaths. In fact, child access prevention laws are the firearm safety law with the most evidence in reducing child deaths.

KASTE: But here again, though, Zeoli does not know how often parents are actually prosecuted under those gun safety laws. Her guess is it's not that often. She says that's because parents' negligence often goes undetected when no one's shot. And when someone is shot or a child dies, prosecutors may still hesitate to bring a criminal charge against grieving parents.

INSKEEP: NPR's law enforcement correspondent Martin Kaste. Martin, thanks so much.

KASTE: You're welcome.

INSKEEP: And we have a bit of political news out of Nevada, where Nikki Haley, the former South Carolina governor, suffered a setback in the presidential primary. She lost to none of the above. Republican voters held a primary, which was meaningless - no delegates at stake because of the way the state had organized its presidential contest - and Haley was on the ballot with none of the above and lost to none of the above. In a caucus coming in days, former President Trump is expected to grab all the actual delegates.

In the Democratic primary, President Biden decisively won, getting one step closer to a formal confirmation of his nomination. You can get more information at npr.org. 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.

Michel Martin is the weekend host of All Things Considered, where she draws on her deep reporting and interviewing experience to dig in to the week's news. Outside the studio, she has also hosted "Michel Martin: Going There," an ambitious live event series in collaboration with Member Stations.
Steve Inskeep is a host of NPR's Morning Edition, as well as NPR's morning news podcast Up First.
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