Will Giuliani testify in Georgia election probe?, WNBA playoffs are here: 5 Things podcast

On today's episode of the 5 Things podcast: Will Giuliani testify in Georgia election probe?

A grand jury is investigating potential election interference. Plus, Trump-backed candidates do well in primaries, health reporter Adrianna Rodriguez tells pet owners whether they should be worried about monkeypox, the WNBA Playoffs are here and money reporter Terry Collins looks into the housing recession.

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Hit play on the player above to hear the podcast and follow along with the transcript below. This transcript was automatically generated, and then edited for clarity in its current form. There may be some differences between the audio and the text.


Taylor Wilson:

Good morning. I'm Taylor Wilson and this is 5 Things you need to know Wednesday, the 17th of August, 2022. Today, Rudy Giuliani's potential testimony in a Georgia election probe, plus a roundup of yesterday's primaries and more.

Here are some of the top headlines:

  1. Syria, earlier today, denied it was holding American journalist, Austin Tice, or other Americans, after President Joe Biden accused the government of detaining him. Tice went missing in August of 2012 at a checkpoint west of Damascus. A video released a month later showed him blindfolded and he has not been seen since.

  2. Wolfgang Petersen has died. The blockbuster German director of movies like Air Force One, Troy, and The NeverEnding Story was 81.

  3. And a father and son fishing in Maine caught a bright blue lobster that Marine biologists say is a one in two million discovery. They plan on throwing it back.

Rudy Giuliani is scheduled to testify today in front of an Atlanta area grand jury. It's investigating interference in the 2020 presidential election. Giuliani, the personal attorney of former President Donald Trump, has made claims that voting systems altered ballots in Georgia, despite ignoring a hand count audit that confirmed President Joe Biden's victory in the state. The former New York City mayor has also said that thousands of underage voters, felons, and even dead people voted, claims that were debunked by the Georgia Secretary of State. And he vaguely said ballots were stolen from facilities.

Rudy Guiliani:

You have, live from Atlanta, you've got voter fraud right in front of people's eyes, blatant, clear, obvious. You have to be a fool to ignore it, or worse.

Taylor Wilson:

Giuliani is one of several high profile Trump affiliates who have been subpoenaed for testimony this month. They include Republican Senator Lindsay Graham, who challenged his subpoena. But a federal judge this week denied his bid to avoid testifying. Other Trump lawyers will also face the grand jury later this month. As for Giuliani, his attorney said that Fulton County prosecutors in Atlanta now consider him a target of their investigation. That's an escalation from his initial status as a material witness in the investigation. According to court documents seeking Giuliani's appearance, Fulton County authorities are highlighting his December, 2020 appearance in front of the Georgia State Senate, when he gave a video recording of election workers supposedly showing suitcases of unlawful ballots from unknown sources outside the view of election poll watchers. Within 24 hours of that hearing, though, the video was discredited by the Secretary of State's office, showing no voter fraud of any kind.

The push for testimony in the Atlanta inquiry is one of several investigations surrounding former President Donald Trump. Last week, the FBI searched his Florida estate and escalated a federal investigation into his handling of classified documents.

Results are in from primaries yesterday in Alaska and Wyoming, and it was a good day for candidates endorsed by former President Donald Trump. Congresswoman Liz Cheney was one of 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump in January, 2021 after the violent attack on the Capitol. She lost her primary in Wyoming yesterday to Trump-backed Harriet Hageman badly, by more than 30 percentage points. Cheney blamed her blowout loss on going against the former president.

Liz Cheney:

Two years ago, I won this primary with 73% of the vote. I could easily have done the same again, the path was clear, but it would've required that I go along with President Trump's lie about the 2020 election. It would've required that I enable his ongoing efforts to unravel our democratic system and attack the foundations of our Republic. That was a path I could not and would not take.

Taylor Wilson:

Elsewhere, in Alaska, the state's new nonpartisan ranked choice primary likely helped Republican Senator Lisa Murkowski advance in her primary, even though she crossed Trump. But Trump's pick for her seat, Kelly Tshibaka, also moved on and they'll face each other in this fall's general election. Meanwhile, Trump-backed Sarah Palin made it as one of the top four candidates to take over Congressman Don Young's seat. He died in March.

As US health officials work to contain the monkeypox outbreak, some pet owners wonder if their four-legged companions could be at risk. Health Reporter Adrianna Rodriguez tells PJ Elliott that it's rare, but possible.

Adrianna Rodriguez:

Pets aren't catching monkeypox, it's just possible that they can catch it. It's not like there's an epidemic of monkeypox among cats and dogs. There was one case in Paris, France, where two people who were sharing a bed with their pet and had monkeypox gave it to their pet, but that's so far the only known case that we know of, human to pet transmission. In terms of why the monkeypox virus, animals and both humans, can get. It's one of those rare viruses that can not only jump from human to human, but apparently can also jump species, which is very similar to also the COVID virus, because it jumped from an animal to human.

Taylor Wilson:

What symptoms should pet owners look out for?

Adrianna Rodriguez:

The signs and symptoms are very similar to any illness if your pet is sick. So if they're looking really run down, if they're tired, if they're coughing, sometimes they can have mucus or crust in their eyes and their nose. But obviously the telltale side of monkeypox virus is that rash. But as pet owners know, dogs and cats, rashes appear on them for any reason, and any bacteria or illness or virus. And so, it's important to go to your vet if they do have that symptom and a known exposure, so they can get a professional assessment.

Taylor Wilson:

For more, click the link in today's episode description.

The WNBA playoffs are here. First round match-ups begin today with opening games from two of the four series. Candace Parker will try to lead the 2 seed Chicago Sky to a second consecutive title when they take on 7 seed New York Liberty. Then the number 1 seed, Las Vegas Aces, will play number 8, Phoenix Mercury. Phoenix is notably without star Brittney Griner, who remains imprisoned in Russia. The Aces are looking for their first championship in their 25-year history spread across several cities, as are the Connecticut Sun, the 3 seed who will begin their series with the number 6 Dallas Wings tomorrow before the number 4 Seattle Storm and number 5 Washington Mystics play each other starting tomorrow, as well. All first round series are best two out of three. You can tune in on ABC, ESPN, and NBA TV.

After months of increased prices, there's a strong consensus among US home builders that we're in a housing recession. Money Reporter Terry Collins and PJ Elliott, explain what that means and if now's a good time to buy a house.

Terry Collins:

A housing recession can occur in a period of time when a number of key metrics are showing weaknesses. For example, what's going on currently, according to US home builders, single-family permits are down about 4%, first half of this year, compared to the first half of last year. Current home builder sentiment has fallen below 50 to just to 49. Anything 50 and above, we consider positive. So right now, with that sentiment being low, that's another factor that home builders consider maybe a housing recession.

PJ Elliott:

So Terry, explain what exactly home builders' sentiment is.

Terry Collins:

The National Association of Home Builders, each month, does a survey of its members to get a gauge of where they are, thinking about the market right now. And for the eighth straight month, home builders' sentiment has fallen. It's pretty low right now. It's at 49, which is just a point short of what home builders considered positive. It's been in a state of decline for a while now. And there's a possibility and likelihood that next month is going to be the same thing. Home builders are just seeing a lack of new houses coming up out into the market. Right now, it's like this gradual slowdown that's now, like drawing some concern. Where's the market at right now? For two years of the market just being so red hot, now it's cooling a little bit. Some may think it's stalling. We'll know more in the next, I guess, three to four months, almost as we get toward the end of the year, where the market really stands.

PJ Elliott:

So does that mean it's a good time to buy a house right now?

Terry Collins:

Some say no. The way the prices are right now, they're still relatively high. I'd say, according to experts, I've heard anywhere from the next three to four months, the beginning of the year could be a good time to buy a house, in early 2023.

PJ Elliott:

So is there anything else that a potential home buyer should know?

Terry Collins:

The home builder's monthly survey continues to show a decline in three major components. Current sales conditions dropped seven points to 57. Sales expectations for the next six months slid also. Another key metric is the traffic of prospective buyers, that fell five points in August compared to 11 points in July. So, as you said, what we're seeing is a gradual decline in home building, and I think this is just going to continue for the next few months into the new year.

Taylor Wilson:

Thanks for listening to 5 Things. You can find us seven days a week on whatever your favorite podcast app is. Thanks to PJ Elliott for his great work on the show, and I'm back tomorrow with more of 5 Things from USA TODAY.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Giuliani target of GA election probe, housing recession looms: 5 Things podcast