Start your week smart: Teacher layoffs looming, Trump trial, thousands fleeing Rafah, Eurovision winner, Steve Bannon

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Start your week smart: Teacher layoffs looming, Trump trial, thousands fleeing Rafah, Eurovision winner, Steve Bannon

The weekend that was

  • Schools across the country are announcing teacher and staff layoffsas districts brace for the end of a pandemic aid package that delivered the largest one-time federal investment in K-12 education. The money must be used by the end of September, creating a sharp funding cliff.
    • One of Donald Trump’s closest White House aides wrapped up her testimony in the former president’s hush money trial, clearing the way for the prosecution’s key witness to take the stand. Michael Cohen, Trump’s former fixer and lawyer, is expected to testify Monday.
    • At least 300,000 people have fled the southern Gaza city of Rafah ahead of an Israeli ground offensive, the United Nations said. There is growing alarm over the humanitarian situation in Rafah, with food aid running very low. Follow live updates.
    • Switzerland’s Nemo won a chaotic and politically fraught Eurovision Song Contest, triumphing in a competitionovershadowed by controversy and booing over the presence of Israel. Nemo sang a stunning rendition of “The Code,” about the journey toward accepting their non-binary identity.
    • A federal appeals court upheld the contempt-of-Congress conviction of Steve Bannon, the former adviser to Trump who was found guilty after failing to comply with a subpoena from the House January 6 committee.

The week ahead

Monday
Jury selection is set to begin in the federal corruption trial of Sen. Bob Menendez. The New Jersey Democrat has said he thought he was acting for the “good of the public” when helping Egypt and Qatar, while prosecutors allege Menendez and his wife took hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of bribes in a scheme involving the foreign governments to fund their lavish lifestyle. Menendez, the former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, will be tried alongside two New Jersey businessmen who are co-defendants. His wife, Nadine, also has been charged but will be tried separately. Menendez and his wife have pleaded not guilty to the charges, as have the other co-defendants.

Also on Monday, Donald Trump’s former attorney Michael Cohen is expected to begin his testimony in the former president’s criminal hush money trial. Prosecutors said it’s “entirely possible” they will rest their case by the end of the week. Cohen says Trump directed him to pay hush money to adult film star Stormy Daniels in the final days of the 2016 presidential campaign. Trump denies the allegations.

Tuesday
Maryland, Nebraska and West Virginia will hold primary elections, while voters in North Carolina head to the polls for runoff elections. Under North Carolina state law, a second-place candidate in a primary may request a second primary if no candidate receives more than 30% of the votes cast in that contest.

Wednesday
Trump will host a fundraiser in Cincinnati alongside Ohio Sen. J.D. Vance, according to an invitation obtained by CNN. Vance, who is a contender to be Trump’s 2024 running mate, previously earned the former president’s endorsement during his Senate race and is one of Trump’s biggest supporters on Capitol Hill.

Thursday
NATO’s Military Committee, its highest military authority, will meet to discuss Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as the alliance’s military transformation for the next 20 years. Ukraine’s defense chief also will be in attendance. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been very vocal about his desire to see his country join NATO and the European Union.

Friday
The long-awaited first crewed mission of Boeing’s Starliner spacecraft gets a second shot at launching at 6:16 p.m. ET from Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Veteran NASA astronauts Suni Williams and Butch Wilmore had already taken their seats aboard the Starliner capsule when the operations team called for a scrub last week about two hours before launch.

Trump’s youngest son, Barron, graduates from high school in West Palm Beach, Florida, and the former president will be in attendance. Before Trump’s hush money criminal trial began, his attorneys had asked for May 17 off so their client could attend the ceremony. The judge last month said things were moving quickly enough that he was comfortable having no court that day so Trump could be at the graduation.

One Thing: The RFK Jr. factor
In this week’s “One Thing” podcast, CNN’s Aaron Pellish explores Robert F. Kennedy Jr.’s strategy to get on the ballot in every state and how President Joe Biden and Trump are responding to his candidacy. Listen here.

What’s happening in entertainment

On the big screen
What happens when children grow up and abandon their imaginary friends? That’s the idea behind “IF,” a comedy starring Ryan Reynolds, Cailey Fleming, John Krasinski and the voices of far too many actors to name. “IF” arrives in theaters Friday.

The Amy Winehouse biopic “Back to Black” stars Marisa Abela as the troubled British singer. “Back to Black” follows Winehouse’s early rise to fame and the release of her Grammy-winning album of the same title. Winehouse died of alcohol poisoning in 2011 at age 27.

And if horror is more your thing, you have “The Strangers: Chapter 1” and “I Saw the TV Glow” to get your jump-scare fix.

Music
Two-time Oscar winner Billie Eilish will release her third studio album, “Hit Me Hard and Soft,” on Friday. A North American tour of the same name will kick off in September and run through late December. Eilish will then pick the tour back up in Australia starting in February 2025, followed by spring stops in Europe and the UK.

What’s happening in sports

At a glance …
The NBA Playoffs continue with the New York Knicks and the Indiana Pacers heading to Game 4 today, while the defending champion Denver Nuggets try to even their series with the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The 2024 WNBA season begins Tuesday. Spearheaded by the star power of Caitlin Clark, Angel Reese and other top college players, women’s basketball is enjoying a surge of popularity. Last week, more than 13,000 fans were in attendance as Clark made her home preseason debut for the Indiana Fever in an 83-80 victory over the Atlanta Dream.

The 50th edition of the Players Championship tees off Thursday at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Kentucky. World No. 1 Scottie Scheffler is the odds-on favorite coming off back-to-back wins, including a second Masters title. Scheffler and his wife Meredith also are expecting the birth of their first child any day now (no word as of the time of this writing).

And the Preakness Stakes — the second leg of horse racing’s Triple Crown — is set for Saturday at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Mystik Dan, who won the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby earlier this month in a dramatic photo finish, will run. Entries for the Preakness must be made by Monday, when the post position draw is held.

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