Mystery at center of Graceland sale and Kouri Richins speaks from jail: Morning Rundown

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Donald Trump allies are getting involved in the fight to shape the Republican Party's platform. Racing legend Mario Andretti recalls a clash with a Formula 1 owner amid his bid to enter a new team into the sport. And the Utah grief author accused in her husband’s fatal poisoning makes her first statements.

Here’s what to know today.

Trump team looks to shift the GOP platform and keep out the party’s right flank

Allies of former President Donald Trump are quietly getting involved in little-noticed fights over who will serve on the committee to set the Republican Party’s national platform. The goal is to stop the party’s right flank from trying to push the official Republican National Committee platform too far to the right, according to nine people familiar with what’s happening in states across the country.

A Trump campaign official acknowledged that there are conversations throughout the party about culture war-infused policies and that they have been watching and engaged in some state-level races for spots on the RNC’s Platform Committee.

This is Morning Rundown, a weekday newsletter to start your day. Sign up here to get it in your inbox.

The official also noted that it’s not unusual for people most closely aligned with the president to get key convention roles. However, one longtime RNC member said the involvement of Trump’s allies in the selection of platform committee members is “definitely out of the ordinary from past experiences.”

One big consideration is that the RNC didn’t make adjustments to its platform in 2020 because of the Covid pandemic. But that means some platform fights that could have played out four years ago are now spilling over into this year’s election cycle. Two big issues that the party is paying more attention to: abortion and same-sex marriage.

Read the full story here.

Company at the center of Graceland battle is a mystery

Hours after a Tennessee judge blocked the foreclosure sale of Graceland, Elvis Presley’s famed Memphis estate, a huge question in the case remains. Who exactly is trying to take the property? Presley’s family doesn’t know nor does the judge overseeing the fight.

A representative for Naussany Investments & Private Lending wasn’t in the courtroom for yesterday’s hearing. In fact, it has been difficult to figure out much about the company or who runs it. NBC News searched multiple public record databases and found nothing. Documents provided for street addresses for the company match post offices and post office boxes. Emails to addresses claiming to be people associated with the company also added to the mystery. Here’s what our reporters know — or rather, what they don’t know.

When blocking the sale of Graceland, the Shelby County Chancery Court judge presiding over the case said Riley Keough, one of Presley’s granddaughters, would likely succeed in the legal battle.

Where home buying is the most difficult, county by county

This map of the U.S. shows the counties where households with the counties’ median household incomes can afford the counties’ median-priced homes. From Colorado on west, such households in most counties can’t. In Tennessee, much of North Carolina and Florida, such households in many counties can’t.
This map of the U.S. shows the counties where households with the counties’ median household incomes can afford the counties’ median-priced homes. From Colorado on west, such households in most counties can’t. In Tennessee, much of North Carolina and Florida, such households in many counties can’t.

The current home buying market can feel like one head fake after the next, from bidding wars replete with all-cash offers to homes that arrive on Zillow or Redfin already under contract. Not to mention, counterintuitive. If mortgage rates are high and demand is low, why are prices still high? And how does my situation compare to others — is it worse? Better?

To simplify the math, NBC News’ data graphics team built the NBC News Home Buyer Index. We developed a new metric that measures how difficult it is to buy a home, based on four categories: cost, competition, scarcity and economic instability. Together, these make up a single number, on a scale of 0 to 100, that answers the question “how hard do I have it?” (Right now, the U.S. is at 82, which is pretty bad). Data reporter Jasmine Cui shares four key takeaways from our April report:

🏡 $92,000: The yearly income needed to buy the median home in today’s market — and that number is closer to $100,000 if you want the kind of low-interest, low-down payment loan first-time homebuyers seek, experts say.

📍 Everything, everywhere: Home buying may be “local,” but its challenges are anything but. Twenty-six states are represented among the 100 counties where it’s most difficult to buy a home.

💰 Beyond cost: And 43 of those counties have median list prices below the national average — showing that price isn’t the only factor making home buying difficult.

⛰️ Colorado’s rocky peaks: At the top of April’s difficulty index are three Colorado counties: Routt, Garfield and Mesa. In Routt County’s Steamboat Springs, buyers face a housing boom so intense that even high earners can’t afford homes.

See where your county ranks in the Home Buyer Index, and see more takeaways from the report.

Mario Andretti says F1 owner vowed to block his team

Legendary racer Mario Andretti said he clashed with Greg Maffei, CEO of Formula 1’s owner Liberty Media, at a recent event in Miami over a blocked bid to become F1’s 11th team. NBC News senior political reporter Sahil Kapur spoke to Andretti about the exchange, which happened a few days after Andretti visited Washington, D.C., to meet with members of Congress. Lawmakers have accused Formula 1 of engaging in anti-competitive practices by denying Andretti’s application.

During an event last weekend, Andretti said he was talking to Formula 1 CEO Stefano Domenicali about why he went to Washington. Then, Maffei “broke into the conversation,” Andretti said, “and [Maffei] said: ‘Mario, I want to tell you that I will do everything in my power to see that Michael never enters Formula 1.’” Maffei was referring to Andretti’s son, Michael Andretti — chairman and CEO of Andretti Global and the one leading the company’s bid to enter the sport.

However, a source close to Liberty Media said the incident occurred differently than Andretti described it. Read the exclusive story here.

Utah grief author makes first comments since arrest in husband’s murder

The Utah mother accused of spiking her husband’s cocktail with a fatal dose of fentanyl is speaking out for the first time since her arrest. In a series of statements provided exclusively to “Dateline,” 34-year-old Kouri Richins criticized prosecutors in the case and asserted her innocence. “You took an innocent mom away from her babies,” she said. “This means war.”

And in recent months, Richins’ lawyers have withdrawn from her case, a decision she said was “forced,” “not my choice” and “not a personal choice of any counsel on my defense team.” Here’s what else Richins said about the case against her. 

Richins is charged with aggravated murder and other crimes in the 2022 death of her husband, Eric Richins, who died after prosecutors say she gave him a Moscow mule spiked with a lethal dose of fentanyl. One year after her husband’s death, Richins released a children’s book that sought to comfort children who had lost loved ones.

Politics in Brief

Immigration: The Biden administration is finalizing details of a new executive action that would let the president temporarily shut down the southern border to migrants if necessary.

Deepfake robocall fallout: The political consultant who admitted that he was behind a robocall impersonating President Joe Biden before the January presidential primary in New Hampshire has been indicted.

Want more politics news? Sign up for From the Politics Desk to get exclusive reporting and analysis delivered to your inbox every weekday evening. Subscribe here.

Staff Pick: Hundreds of mountain goats were flown to a new home. Very few survived.

Mountain goats are moved via helicopter (John Gussman / National Park Service)
Mountain goats are moved via helicopter (John Gussman / National Park Service)

On a 2018 reporting assignment in Washington state, I was awestruck by the strange sight of blindfolded mountain goats being flown beneath helicopters. The scene was part of a project to move 325 nonnative goats away from the Olympic Mountains to boost numbers in their home range in the nearby Cascades. Ever since, I've been curious about the creatures' fate. Years later, we now know few survived — a sobering outcome that has brought attention to a broader threat to the species. — Evan Bush, science reporter

Select: Online Shopping, Simplified

Is your hair thinning? Don’t panic — these shampoos and treatments will promote hair growth and keep your strands healthy. Or if you want to make lackluster, brittle hair look shiny and strong, consider these shampoos for damaged hair.

Sign up to The Selection newsletter for exclusive reviews and shopping content from NBC Select.

Thanks for reading today’s Morning Rundown. Today’s newsletter was curated for you by Elizabeth Robinson. If you’re a fan, please send a link to your family and friends. They can sign-up here.

This article was originally published on