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US Monthly Headline News August 2019 Page 3

The 1619 Project is a major initiative from The New York Times observing the 400th anniversary of the beginning of American slavery. It aims to reframe the country’s history, understanding 1619 as our true founding, and placing the consequences of slavery and the contributions of black Americans at the very center of the story we tell ourselves about who we are.

By Peter Beinart
When Democrats are accused of anti-Semitism, Republicans understand that coded language can be hurtful. But Trump’s racist comments get a pass. Most of the time, conservatives and Republicans want the bar for what constitutes bigotry to be set extremely high. When President Donald Trump tweeted last weekend that four nonwhite Democrats in Congress should “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came,” he offered a textbook example of racism. Trump’s own Equal Employment Opportunity Commission uses the phrase Go back to where you came from as one of its examples of discrimination based on national origin. Yet Trump insisted that “those Tweets were NOT Racist”—even as he doubled down on them by launching an attack on Representative Ilhan Omar that prompted rally-goers in North Carolina on Wednesday night to chant “Send her back!” At the same time that Trump was denying charges of bigotry, however, he was also leveling them. At the North Carolina rally, he accused Omar of “vicious anti-Semitic” remarks—a reference to her tweet that the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s influence in Washington is “all about the Benjamins” and her allegation that pro-Israel groups “push for allegiance to a foreign country.” Those comments—which evoked hoary stereotypes of Jews as money-driven and disloyal—elicited criticism even from Democrats, and Omar apologized for the first. But however damning one considers her statements, it’s utterly illogical to claim that they constitute bigotry while Trump’s far more direct attack does not. Yet this is exactly what Trump and other prominent Republicans are doing.

By Zak Cheney-Rice
For a political movement whose rallying cry was “build the wall” to keep Mexicans out of the United States, it was perhaps inevitable that a Muslim, Somali-born congresswoman would eventually have chants of “send her back” aimed her way. Spurred by President Donald Trump — who on Sunday tweeted that Democratic Representatives Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib, Ayanna Pressley, and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez should “go back” to the “totally broken and crime infested” countries they “originally came from” — supporters at his rally in Greenville, North Carolina shouted this directive on Wednesdsay after Trump suggested that Omar was an Al Qaeda sympathizer who looked down on Americans. Racist remarks are routine for the president, who, incidentally, saw his approval rating among Republican voters receive a five point jump after his bigoted tweetstorm, raising it to 72 percent. But some Republican officials have expressed trepidation since Wednesday’s rally. Politico reports that a handful of GOP members of Congress approached Vice-President Mike Pence with concerns about Trump’s broadsides against the four Democratic congresswomen, three of whom, despite his rhetoric, were born in the U.S. “It’s one thing to do chants of ‘lock her up,’” Representative Paul Mitchell of Michigan told the outlet, referencing the 2016 pro-Trump rallying cry aimed at Hillary Clinton. “But a chant like [‘send her back’] is simply not reflective of our constitution.” (Neither is incarcerating people who haven’t been charged with or convicted of crimes, it’s worth noting.) “[Pence] said, ‘at first I couldn’t even tell what it was,’” added Representative Tom Cole of Oklahoma. “And he said, ‘that just needs to not happen.’ [The vice-president] seemed as appalled by it as everybody else.” But perhaps the most telling response came from Representative Mark Walker of North Carolina, who in addition to being a former pastor, is vice-chairman of the House Republican conference. “We talked about [the chant], and [Pence] — we — felt like this is going to be part of our discussion to make sure we are not defined by that,” Walker said. “We want our policies, from the House all the way up to the administration, to define us.”

Senate Homeland Security Chairman Ron Johnson is casting major doubt on the prospects of significant gun regulations passing this fall, the latest sign that the effort to pass new firearm laws is starting to falter. The Wisconsin Republican said that a background checks measure based on the bill written by Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) and Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and a national "red flag" bill are both unlikely to pass. He was open to GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham’s bill that would establish a red flag grant program, but said the Senate would need to “attach to those grants very strict guidelines in terms of due process.” “I really don’t see the dynamic having really changed there much,” Johnson said of an effort to strengthen background checks during gun sales, which generally polls at around 90 percent. “I don’t anticipate we’re going to pass a federal red flag law. “There are a lot of downsides to passing more legislation that doesn’t do anything positive,” Johnson added.

Kevin Breuninger, Ylan Mui
Federal deficits are expected to swell to higher levels over the next decade than previously expected, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said in a new report Wednesday. The CBO also said that President Donald Trump’s tariffs are projected to shrink gross domestic product by 2020, and warned that further tariff hikes could stifle economic growth. The U.S. budget deficit is expected to hit $960 billion in 2019, and average a whopping $1.2 trillion per year between 2020 and 2029, according to the CBO’s look ahead at the U.S. budget and economic outlook over the next decade. The new deficit projection for 2019 rose $63 billion from the last report, which came out in May. The CBO says this is mainly because of the massive new budget deal, which passed both houses of Congress and was signed into law by Trump in early August. “The nation’s fiscal outlook is challenging,” CBO Director Phillip Swagel said in the report. “Federal debt, which is already high by historical standards, is on an unsustainable course.”

Paul Davidson, USA TODAY
The labor market seemed to defy gravity last year, generating more than 200,000 jobs a month despite a historically low unemployment rate that made it harder for employers to find workers. Turns out job growth wasn’t as robust as it appeared. The Labor Department revised down total job gains from April 2018 to March 2019 by 501,000, the agency said Wednesday, the largest downward revision in a decade. The agency’s annual benchmark revision is based on state unemployment insurance records that reflect actual payrolls while its earlier estimates are derived from surveys. The preliminary figure could be revised further early next year. The large change means job growth averaged 170,000 a month during the 12-month period, down from the 210,000 initially estimated, according to JPMorgan Chase. Employment in several industries was revised down especially sharply. Payrolls dropped 175,000 in leisure and hospitality, and 146,000 in retail – two bellwether service sectors that depend heavily on consumer spending, the economy’s main engine. Employment also fell by 163,000 in professional and business services and 69,000 in education and health services.

By Brett Samuels
President Trump on Wednesday signed a memorandum directing the Department of Education to eliminate all federal student loan debt owed by tens of thousands of severely disabled veterans. Trump signed the directive following a speech to AMVETS at the organization's 75th annual convention in Kentucky. The announcement drew applause from those in attendance, including Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. "Nobody can complain about that, right?" Trump said. "The debt of these disabled veterans will be entirely erased. It will be gone. They can sleep well tonight."

By Nancy Altman, Opinion Contributor
Donald Trump recently floated cutting the Social Security contribution rate. Voters should not be fooled by this Trojan horse. It looks like a gift to working Americans. In reality, it is part of a longstanding effort to end Social Security. The proposed cut is supposedly about stimulating the economy. But there are many better ways to achieve that goal. Indeed, cutting the Social Security contribution rate is a particularly poor way. The largest breaks would go to those with higher incomes — who are more likely to simply save the cut and less likely to spend it. Moreover, about one-fourth of those who work for state and local governments don’t participate in Social Security. Therefore, they would get nothing. If Trump truly wanted to stimulate the economy through tax breaks, there are much more targeted, efficient ways to do that. He could reinstate the Making Work Pay Tax Credit, which President Obama and the Democrats in Congress employed in 2009 and 2010. Unlike cutting the Social Security contribution rate, that tax cut was targeted to those who were least likely to simply save it and most likely to spend it in their local economies immediately.

By Kif Leswing
President Donald Trump likes Apple CEO Tim Cook. But it’s not necessarily because he’s running a big and successful business. Rather, Trump said Cook calls him “whenever there is a problem.” “That’s why he’s a great executive,” Trump told reporters on Wednesday outside the White House. “Because he calls me and others don’t.” Last week, Cook joined Trump for dinner at the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey. Their warm relationship stands in stark contrast to Trump’s position on other top executives, whom he frequently antagonizes. “Others go out and hire very expensive consultants,” Trump said. “Tim Cook calls Donald Trump directly.” Cook may be willing to reach out because Apple has a lot at stake when it comes to policy decisions. The company does the majority of its final device assembly in China, putting products such as the iPhone at risk when the Trump administration announces tariffs on Chinese imports. Trump has said he wants Apple to make its products in the U.S. - Sound like Trump feelings are hurt because the other CEO do not call him, poor baby.

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN)In the midst of answering a question about the ongoing trade war with China on Wednesday, President Donald Trump turned from reporters, looked to heavens and proclaimed, "I am the chosen one." He was, ostensibly, joking. The point he was trying to make is that past presidents should have dealt with the inequities in the United States' relationship with China but didn't, leaving him to handle it. But as always with Trump, his jokes are freighted with what he believes to be lots and lots of truth. Two serious strains of Trump thought are at work in the "chosen one" moment. First, Trump does believe he is special and unique. In his defense, he's far from the first president or even presidential candidate to believe that. As Beto O'Rourke famously/infamously told Vanity Fair in announcing his 2020 presidential campaign: "Man, I'm just I'm just born to be in it." Trump's view of himself as special, of course, didn't arrive when he got elected president in 2016. While that stunning victory was perhaps the strongest evidence -- in Trump's mind -- of just how special (and how much better) he is, it's not as though he didn't think of himself that way prior to November 8, 2016. As he wrote in "The Art of the Deal" (Trump's second favorite book behind the Bible, he says): "I like thinking big. I always have. To me it's very simple: if you're going to be thinking anyway, you might as well think big. Most people think small, because most people are afraid of success, afraid of making decisions, afraid of winning. And that gives people like me a great advantage." Since being elected president, Trump has repeatedly told attendees at his campaign rallies that they should be so thankful he won because had Hillary Clinton won the economy would have collapsed and we would be at war with North Korea -- among other catastrophes. (It's, uh, impossible to prove these hypotheticals true or false.)

By Kevin Breuninger
President Donald Trump on Wednesday declared himself “the Chosen One” as he defended his administration’s actions in the ongoing U.S.-China trade war. The president’s self-aggrandizing remark followed a string of criticisms aimed at his predecessors, whom he claimed had ignored China’s alleged malpractice on trade. “This isn’t my trade war, this is a trade war that should have taken place a long time ago,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “Somebody had to do it,” the president said. He added, while looking to the heavens: “I am the Chosen One.” Trump continued: “Somebody had to do it, so I’m taking on China. I’m taking on China on trade, and you know what? We’re winning.” “I was put here by people,” the president said. “I was put here by people to do a great job. And that’s what I’m doing.”

By Tom Porter
President Donald Trump on Tuesday described the prospect of the US falling into recession as "irrelevant" and defended his decision to wage a trade war with China. During a White House visit by Romanian President Klaus Iohannis, Trump was asked about concerns that his trade war with China was dragging down the US economy. "Somebody had to take China on," Trump replied. "And it's about time, whether it's good for our country, or bad for our country short term.  "Long term, it's imperative that somebody does this because our country cannot continue to pay China $500 billion because stupid people are running it. "I don't mind this question. Whether it's good or bad, the short term is irrelevant. We have to solve the problem with China because they're taking out $500 billion a year plus. And that doesn't include intellectual-property theft and other things."

By Dennis Prager
But attacking Zionism is another story. Imagine a group of people who work to destroy Italy because, they claim, Italy’s origins are illegitimate. Imagine further that these people maintain that of all the countries in the world, only Italy is illegitimate. And then imagine that these people vigorously deny they are in any way anti-Italian. Would you believe them? Or would you dismiss their argument as not only dishonest but absurd? Substitute “Israel” for “Italy” and “Jew” for “Italian,” and you’ll understand the dishonesty and absurdity of the argument that one can be anti-Zionist but not anti-Semitic.But that is precisely what anti-Zionists say. They argue that the very existence of a Jewish state in the geographic area known as Palestine — there was never an independent country known as Palestine — is illegitimate. They do not believe that any other country in the world is illegitimate, no matter how bloody its origins. And then they get offended when they’re accused of being anti-Semitic.

By Tom Kertscher on Tuesday, August 20th, 2019 at 3:12 p.m.
Are the tariffs imposed by President Donald Trump on China hurting American consumers? His team says no. Peter Navarro, director of the White House’s Office of Trade and Manufacturing Policy, told CNN’s Jake Tapper that was not the case. Tapper asked about a study that found U.S. importers are shouldering about 95% of the price change from the tariffs, China only about 5%. After Navarro pushed back, there was this exchange: "Tariffs aren't hurting anybody in the United States?" asked Tapper. Navarro responded, "They're not hurting anybody here." The White House didn’t respond to our requests for information to support Navarro’s statement. But evidence to the contrary is overwhelming.

By Brian Naylor
The Trump administration has announced it is ending a federal court agreement that limits how long migrant families with children can be detained. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Kevin McAleenan outlined the new policy Wednesday, which replaces the Flores settlement agreement. That's been a longtime target of immigration hard-liners in the Trump administration, who contend the settlement has acted as a lure to families in Central America. The new policy means that migrant families who are detained after crossing the border can be kept indefinitely, until their cases are decided. Today's policy doesn't specify a limit but sets an expectation that cases be resolved comparatively quickly — within about two months. Asked about the new policy, President Trump told reporters on Wednesday that "very much I have the children on my mind. It bothers me very greatly." He added that the new policy, along with upgrades to border barriers, will mean migrant families won't attempt to travel to the United States, and that "many people will be saved." The American Psychological Association was sharply critical of the new rule. In a statement, it said that "The large majority of these children have already experienced trauma before arriving at immigration facilities, and the longer they are held in detention, the more likely their mental health will continue to suffer."

It claims Tesla ignored basic safety precautions.
By Jon Fingas
So much for Tesla's renewed solar power efforts getting off to a good start. Walmart has sued Tesla after rooftop solar panels on seven of the retailer's stores caught fire, allegedly due to poor safety practices. Tesla supposedly didn't ground its electrical and solar systems properly, according to Walmart, and regularly sent inspectors who "lacked basic solar training and knowledge." Walmart also asserted that Tesla's panels were rife with visible defects. The big-box chain formally accused Tesla of breach of contract, gross negligence and failure to meet industry standards. It wanted Tesla to not only pay damages related to the first, but to remove its panels from over 240 Walmart stores. We've asked Tesla for comment. There's a good possibility Tesla will fight back, though. The company has been struggling to revive its solar business, which installed a modest 29MW of solar power capacity in the second quarter compared to more than 200MW at the division's peak. The last thing it needs is to lose a major deployment and suffer the negative publicity that comes with that loss.

The White House is weighing cuts to corporate and payroll taxes, among other measures, to cushion the U.S. economy if an election-year recession hits. In public, President Donald Trump and top White House officials keep extolling the strength of the U.S. economy. In private, they’re increasingly worrying about a global economic slowdown triggering a U.S. recession — and weighing options to shore up the economy ahead of an election year. At a fundraising luncheon this week in Jackson, Wyo., headlined by both Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump, acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney acknowledged the risks to the GOP elite behind closed doors. If the U.S. were to face a recession, it would be “moderate and short,” Mulvaney told roughly 50 donors, according to an attendee. White House officials are discussing a broader package of measures than previously disclosed, including a cut of an additional percentage point or two to the corporate tax rate. That’s on top of a potential payroll tax cut, which the Obama administration had used to shore up the economy, and a move to index the capital gains rate to inflation, which potentially could be done through an executive order and has internal support from the National Economic Council, the vice president’s office and Mulvaney. Pegging the capital gains rate to inflation would exempt some gains from taxation. “We have been talking about indexing for a long time,” Trump told reporters Tuesday afternoon. “I can do it directly.”

President Donald Trump said that the administration is looking at possible tax cuts, but reiterated that the US economy is still growing and remains very far from a recession. "We're looking at various tax rate deductions but I'm looking at that all the time ... that's one of the reasons we're in such a strong economic position. We're, right now, the No. 1 country anywhere in the world by far as an economy," Trump told press during a White House meeting with Romanian President Klaus Iohannis. But despite Trump's public-facing vociferousness about the strength of the economy on his watch and aides stating they have no concerns about a recession, officials have discussed the possibility of a potential payroll tax cut to stave off anxiety over an economic slowdown in recent days.

By Maegan Vazquez and Jim Acosta, CNN
Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump on Tuesday criticized Jewish Americans who vote for Democrats, saying "it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty." Trump was speaking to the press in the Oval Office about two Democratic congresswomen barred from entering Israel over their involvement in the movement to end international support for the country because of its policies toward Palestinians. "Five years ago, the concept of even talking about this -- even three years ago -- of cutting off aid to Israel because of two people that hate Israel and hate Jewish people -- I can't believe we're even having this conversation," Trump added. "Where has the Democratic Party gone? Where have they gone where they're defending these two people over the State of Israel?" He added, "I think any Jewish people that vote for a Democrat -- it shows either a total lack of knowledge or great disloyalty." The remark led critics to argue the President was dabbling in the anti-Semitic trope of "dual loyalty," which questions the loyalty of Jewish citizens. "It's unclear who @POTUS is claiming Jews would be 'disloyal' to, but charges of disloyalty have long been used to attack Jews. As we've said before, it's possible to engage in the democratic process without these claims. It's long overdue to stop using Jews as a political football," Anti-Defamation League CEO Jonathan Greenblatt tweeted later Tuesday.

By Tom Porter
The Trump administration is considering reversing some of US President Donald Trump's signature tariffs against China as one of a range of measures that would be meant to protect a weakening US economy from recession, The New York Times reported late Monday. In public, Trump and senior administration officials have been bullish about the prospects for the US economy following signs in the bond market last week that could herald a coming recession. It was reported last week that officials were reluctant to prepare for recession amid fears that doing so could weaken confidence in the US economy and hasten a downturn. - If the economy is as good as Trump claims, why is Trump considering reversing his signature tariffs against China to protect a weakening US economy from recession?

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN) - Listen carefully to how President Donald Trump answered a question Sunday about his support for expanded gun control measures:
"So, Congress is working on that. They have bipartisan committees working on background checks and various other things. And we'll see. I don't want people to forget that this is a mental health problem. I don't want them to forget that, because it is. It's a mental health problem. And as I say -- and I said the other night in New Hampshire; we had an incredible evening -- I said: It's the people that pull the trigger. It's not the gun that pulls the trigger." And then, when pressed on his recently expressed support for expanded background checks in the wake of twin mass murders in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, Trump said this on Sunday: "I'm also very, very concerned with the Second Amendment, more so than most Presidents would be. People don't realize we have very strong background checks right now." Those two responses read like a press release from the National Rifle Association. All the elements are there:

By Emily Saul and Lia Eustachewich
Ghislaine Maxwell once taught one of Jeffrey Epstein’s accusers “the proper way” to perform oral sex just how he liked, a new lawsuit claimed. The British socialite allegedly gave the victim, Priscilla Doe, a “step-by-step” tutorial during a meeting at the convicted pedophile’s island, Little St. James, in 2006, according to Priscilla’s lawsuit filed Tuesday in Manhattan federal court. Maxwell, Epstein’s gal pal and alleged madam, used her own hands “to demonstrate how to pleasure Jeffrey Epstein manually so that plaintiff would know exactly how to make Jeffrey Epstein happy,” the complaint said. Maxwell provided other graphic advice on “stimulation” and “pressure” — and eventually made sure that Priscilla and other young women were “constantly on call to sexually service” Epstein, according to the filing. On the same trip, Priscilla — who was a 20-year-old dancer when she was “recruited” as one of Epstein’s personal masseuses in 2006 — was forced into having sex with another woman, identified as “Associate 2,” during which she was choked by Epstein, the suit said.

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN) - Donald Trump is doing a very poor job of not caring that his former friend Anthony Scaramucci has turned on him.
"Just another disgruntled former employee who got fired for gross incompetence," Trump tweeted Tuesday morning of his former White House communications director. That Trump tweet came less than 12 hours after this one, again on the Mooch: "Nobody ever heard of this dope until he met me. He only lasted 11 days!" And earlier on Monday, Trump sent this tweet: "Anthony Scaramucci is a highly unstable 'nut job' who was with other candidates in the primary who got shellacked, & then unfortunately wheedled his way into my campaign. I barely knew him until his 11 days of gross incompetence-made a fool of himself, bad on TV. Does that seem like someone who is totally unbothered by Scaramucci's public rejection of him in a variety of interviews and tweets this month? Remember, always, that Trump's Twitter feed is a direct line to his mental and emotional state. Trump's allies -- in the White House and outside of it -- can say whatever they want, but what really matters is what Trump tweets. If he tweets about it, he cares about it. Bigly. Which begs the question: Why does Trump care so much about Scaramucci's rebellion? The answer is, as always with Trump, tied directly to how he views the world: There are only two kinds of people -- the pro-Trump ones and the anti-Trump ones. People who have been pro-Trump for a long time, or at least before he was elected president, he keeps closer and values more. Those are his OG people, the ones who have been with him from the jump. It's not a big group -- and it's mostly family. But there are a few non-family members in there -- and Scaramucci was one. When those pro-Trumpers turn on him, Trump goes bananas.

By Cristina Alesci, CNN
New York (CNN)On Sunday, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro brushed off concerns of an impending recession. Navarro, known for his outside-the-mainstream positions on economic policy, told CNN's Jake Tapper that the yield curve was not "technically" inverted last week.
This is what Navarro said: "Technically, we did not have a yield curve inversion. An inverted yield curve requires a big spread between the short and the long --we had a flat curve that was a weak signal of any possibility. In this case, the flat curve is the result of a strong Trump economy."
Facts First: Navarro is wrong on two fronts: The inversion did happen, and it's not a good sign for the economy.

By Chris Mills Rodrigo
Three more officials have reportedly stepped down from the National Rifle Association (NRA) amid a spending controversy that continues to roil the gun rights lobbying group. CNN reported Tuesday that country singer Craig Morgan and NASCAR team owner Richard Childress have both resigned from the gun group's board. The outlet cited sources with knowledge of the matter. David Lehman, the deputy executive director and general counsel at the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action, is also reportedly on the way out of the organization. Morgan and Childress both functioned as prominent public faces for the organization, while Lehman filled the roll of top lobbyist since Chris Cox's resignation in June. The exact reasons for Morgan and Lehman's departures were not immediately clear and the two did not immediately respond to CNN's request for comment. The Hill has reached out the NRA for comment. Childress wrote in a letter to NRA executives reported by NPR that "with great regret and a heavy heart" he would resign from the gun group's board and affiliated entities in order "to fully focus on my businesses."

The notorious gun group is being crushed by its own financial mismanagement and legal woes.
By Sebastian Murdock
The National Rifle Association has experienced another in a long line of embarrassments after two more board members announced they are jumping ship from the gun group. Richard Childress, a NASCAR team owner and the NRA’s first vice president, announced his resignation from the board of directors in a letter Monday, Newsweek reported. And country singer Craig Morgan resigned from the board on Tuesday, CNN reports. Six board members in total have now resigned this year. David Lehman, the deputy executive director for the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action, is also departing. “At this time, it is necessary for me to fully focus on my business,” Childress said in a letter to NRA President Carolyn Meadows. “Since proudly agreeing to serve on the NRA board, I have supported the organization and its important mission to preserve and protect our Constitutional rights. But when, as now, I am no longer able to be fully engaged in any commitment I have made, it becomes time for me to step down. I have reached that point in my ability to continue to serve the NRA. As such, I must resign.” Childress’ resignation letter ignored the gun group’s myriad financial and legal problems that have escalated over the past year. During the NRA convention in April, Childress timidly read a letter from the group’s president, Oliver North, announcing that North would not seek reelection after the leader made a failed attempt to oust chief executive Wayne LaPierre. Since then, the group has only continued its infighting, and new lawsuits allege top executives cared less about gun rights than they did about making buckets of money. LaPierre billed the group’s ad agency, Ackerman McQueen, for more than half a million dollars over the years. The executive’s purchases also included a $39,000 shopping spree at a Beverly Hills store, according to The Wall Street Journal.

By Scott Neuman
The Pentagon says it has tested a U.S. missile that exceeds limits set down by the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, a Cold War agreement between Washington and Moscow that was officially scrapped less than three weeks ago. In Sunday's test off the coast of California, a modified Navy Tomahawk cruise missile flew more than 310 miles (500 kilometers). It marks a first for the U.S. since the arms-control treaty signed by President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev in 1987. The INF Treaty had barred the possession, production or flight-testing of all types of missiles with a range between 310 miles and 3,417 miles (500 kilometers to 5,500 kilometers) — nuclear weapons considered especially destabilizing because of their short flight times. The Soviet Union and the U.S. had both deployed such weapons in Europe. The Pentagon's announcement on Monday said the missile was fired from a ground mobile launcher on San Nicolas Island, Calif., and "accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight." Hinting that the test was likely the beginning of a program to build additional weapons once barred by the treaty, it added: "Data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform [the Department of Defense's] development of future intermediate-range capabilities."

By Glenn Kessler, Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly
President Trump’s proclivity for spouting exaggerated numbers, unwarranted boasts and outright falsehoods has continued at a remarkable pace. As of Aug. 5, his 928th day in office, he had made 12,019 false or misleading claims, according to the Fact Checker’s database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement the president has uttered. Trump crossed the 10,000 mark on April 26, and he has been averaging about 20 fishy claims a day since then. From the start of his presidency, he has averaged about 13 such claims a day. About one-fifth of these claims are about immigration, his signature issue — a percentage that has grown since the government shut down over funding for his promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. In fact, his most repeated claim — 190 times — is that his border wall is being built. Congress balked at funding the concrete barrier he envisioned, so he has tried to pitch bollard fencing and repairs of existing barriers as “a wall.”

By Brian Stelter, CNN Business
New York (CNN Business)Either you reject the lies, or you accept the lies.
Of all the divides in American life today, this is the divide I keep thinking about. President Trump and his allies lie with reckless abandon. They make dishonest politicians from the past look like amateurs. When they get called out, they lie about the lying. Trump did this on Wednesday after Robert Mueller contradicted several of the president's fictions about the Mueller Report. When PBS "NewsHour" correspondent Yamiche Alcindor pointed this out to him, citing Mueller's own words, Trump denied it and insulted Alcindor. I'm often told that people are "numb" to Trump's noise and nonsense. But let's examine this for a minute: Why is there not more outrage? Some people, primarily fans of Trump, excuse or rationalize the lies for various reasons. Other people simply cannot. So much of the anti-Trump outrage from progressives and anti-Trump conservatives and columnists and pundits boils down to "He's deceiving you. He's lying to your face. Don't you care?" And the press is right smack dab in the middle of this because advocating for facts gets you labeled "fake news." Which is, again, another lie. Old-fashioned tenets of the news business fade away in this fog of disinformation. For example: "What the president says is news." I still think that's true, but when he's telling you not to believe your own eyes and ears, is it really news?

By Bess Levin
Newly obtained documents show the brazen methods with which the president inflated his assets to banks and insurance companies. During his 72 years on Earth, Donald Trump has told something like 2,936,880 lies, based on my back-of-the-envelope calculations. (According to The Washington Post, the president has told at least 9,179 whoppers just since taking the oath of office—so, you do the math.) Sometimes, the lies are big, like the one he told about seeing “thousands” of supposed terrorist sympathizers “cheering” from New Jersey as the World Trade Center towers collapsed on 9/11. Other times, the lies are small and largely pointless, like his claim that he didn’t call Tim Cook “Tim Apple” when he 100 percent did, on-camera, in a room full of people. Frequently, the lies revolve around his net worth, including its origin (his father) and how big it is (a lot smaller than he claims). As we learned from Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony last month and a New York Times exposé last week, Trump’s lies about his wealth haven’t been confined to bragging about it on TV, but have also allegedly manifested in financial statements sent to banks and insurance companies, in which the ex-real-estate developer inflated his assets in order to obtain loans. And now, thanks to documents obtained by the Post, we have some fun examples of his most absurd financial claims, many of which are now under scrutiny. During his 72 years on Earth, Donald Trump has told something like 2,936,880 lies, based on my back-of-the-envelope calculations. (According to The Washington Post, the president has told at least 9,179 whoppers just since taking the oath of office—so, you do the math.) Sometimes, the lies are big, like the one he told about seeing “thousands” of supposed terrorist sympathizers “cheering” from New Jersey as the World Trade Center towers collapsed on 9/11. Other times, the lies are small and largely pointless, like his claim that he didn’t call Tim Cook “Tim Apple” when he 100 percent did, on-camera, in a room full of people. Frequently, the lies revolve around his net worth, including its origin (his father) and how big it is (a lot smaller than he claims). As we learned from Michael Cohen’s congressional testimony last month and a New York Times exposé last week, Trump’s lies about his wealth haven’t been confined to bragging about it on TV, but have also allegedly manifested in financial statements sent to banks and insurance companies, in which the ex-real-estate developer inflated his assets in order to obtain loans. And now, thanks to documents obtained by the Post, we have some fun examples of his most absurd financial claims, many of which are now under scrutiny.

Opinion by Dean Obeidallah
(CNN) - On Saturday, right-wing activists gathered in Portland, Oregon, for a rally (unironically) titled, "End Domestic Terrorism." Among the groups reportedly at the event was the "Proud Boys," an organization formally designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for spewing white nationalist memes as well as for being horribly anti-Muslim and misogynistic.Some members of this group have been arrested in the past for acts of violence. To add to that, the FBI, according to a July 2018 internal memo from the Clark County Sheriff's Office in Washington, described the Proud Boys as "an extremist group with ties to white nationalism," that has "contributed to the recent escalation of violence at political rallies held on college campuses, and in cities like Charlottesville, Virginia, Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington." Given the Proud Boys' history, you would expect the President of the United States to send a clear message before this rally that he not only denounced the hate group, but that he was dedicating all federal resources needed to help local authorities ensure these extremists don't injure or kill innocent people. Instead, the morning of the event Trump took to Twitter to only condemn Antifa, short for anti-fascists, who had come to counter-protest the extremist groups involved in the rally, tweeting, "Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an 'ORGANIZATION OF TERROR.'" To be clear, Antifa, not one but a collection of anti-fascist groups with no centralized leader, has engaged in deplorable violence where people have gotten hurt. For example, members of Antifa were reportedly involved in a violent protest ahead of provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos's planned appearance at the University of California, Berkeley in February 2017. In June, a conservative reporter was punched and had milkshakes thrown at him reportedly by members of Antifa in Portland during a rally held by the Proud Boys. Yet, Trump singled out Antifa as the group to be deemed a terrorist organization. This is not a surprise given Antifa has protested Trump in the past while the Proud Boys have been outspoken Trump backers, with Southern Poverty Law Center stating that the red MAGA hat "is nearly as prominent at one of Proud Boys gatherings" as the polo shirts the members wear as uniform. One of the Proud Boys first public outings, as the SPLC noted, was a 2017 pro-Trump art exhibit.

By Scott Horsley
President Trump and his economic team are downplaying warnings of slower economic growth, despite signals from the bond market that a recession could be looming. But the president is also calling on the Federal Reserve to cut interest rates again to help boost growth. "Our Economy is very strong," Trump tweeted Monday, accusing Democrats of badmouthing economic conditions to boost their chances in the 2020 election. "I don't think we're having a recession," Trump told reporters on Sunday. "We're doing tremendously well. Our consumers are rich. I gave a tremendous tax cut, and they're loaded up with money. They're buying." White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow also stressed consumer spending during appearances on the Sunday morning talk shows. "I don't see a recession," Kudlow said on NBC's Meet the Press, echoing his boss. "Consumers are working at higher wages. They are spending at a rapid pace." Consumer spending is a major pillar of the U.S. economy, and data from the Commerce Department last week showed retail sales are still strong. That helped to temper recession warnings from the bond market, which triggered the year's biggest selloff on Wall Street last week. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 both fell about 3% last Wednesday. Market indexes have since rebounded. Stocks were up more than 1% in early trading Monday. - If the economy is as good as Trump claims, why must the Fed help the economy?

By Damian Paletta
Several senior White House officials have begun discussing whether to push for a temporary payroll tax cut as a way to arrest an economic slowdown, three people familiar with the discussions said, revealing growing concerns about the economy among President Trump’s top economic aides. The talks are still in their early stages and have included a range of other tax breaks. The officials also have not decided whether to formally push Congress to approve any of these measures, these people said, speaking on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to disclose internal discussions. But the White House in recent days has begun searching for proposals that could halt a slowing economy. Even though the discussions within the White House had begun, the White House released a statement disputing that the payroll tax idea was actively under “consideration.” - If the economy is as good as Trump claims, why are they discussing whether to push for a temporary payroll tax cut ?

By Emily Saul and Yaron Steinbuch
Jeffrey Epstein once had three 12-year-old girls from poor families flown in from France as a sick birthday present for himself, according to newly unearthed court documents. Virginia Giuffre — who has claimed Epstein and his gal pal Ghislaine Maxwell coerced her into being a “sex slave” when she was 15 — said in court papers that the girls who were flown in were molested by the financier and returned to France the following day. “The worst one that I heard from his own mouth was this pretty 12 year old girls he had flown in for his birthday,” she said, according to the document. “It was a surprise birthday gift from one of his friends and they were from France. I did see them, I did meet them,” she said. She said they were a gift from Epstein’s acquaintance Jean-Luc Brunel, a model scout, according to the Daily Mail. “Jeffrey bragged afterwards after he met them that they were 12-year-olds and flown over from France because they’re really poor over there, and their parents needed the money or whatever the case is and they were absolutely free to stay and flew out.”

By Priscilla DeGregory and Kate Sheehy
Jeffrey Epstein’s will has been filed in the US Virgin Islands, and it shows that he signed it Aug. 8 — two days before he hanged himself in his Manhattan jail cell, according to court papers exclusively obtained by The Post on Monday. The multimillionaire convicted pedophile was worth $577,672,654, or about $18 million more than he previously stated in court papers while futilely trying to land bail on federal sex-trafficking charges, the new documents show. The former hedge-fund manager put all of his holdings in a trust, called The 1953 Trust in court papers, after the year he was born. “It’s pretty boiler-plate — it’s what we call a ‘pour-over will,’ which means everything pours over to a trust,” a city estate lawyer told The Post. “It’s done that way for privacy reasons. “What is more unusual is the date, the fact that all of this was done just days before he died,’’ said the source, who asked to remain anonymous. “He probably knew he was going to take his own life’’ or may have thought “he could have been murdered in jail.

By Rebecca Klar
Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci said on Monday that he’s assembling a team of former Cabinet members to speak out against President Trump in an effort to find a Republican challenger to the president in 2020. “I'm in the process of putting together a team of people that feel the exact same way that I do. This is not a ‘Never Trump’ situation, this is not just screeching rhetoric. This is, 'OK, the guy's unstable, everyone inside knows it, everyone outside knows it, let’s see if we can find a viable alternative,'” Scaramucci said Monday on CNN’s “New Day.” “Moreover, I’ve got to get some of these former Cabinet officials in unity to speak up about it.” Scaramucci would not reveal names of former officials that he said feel that Trump is unstable. But he said he expects more to come out publicly in upcoming months.  “I predict in middle or late fall there will be a trove of people that will come together in unity to say this is what’s going on. This is how the person’s acting. This is why there’s nobody inside the White House he’s taking any advice from,” Scaramucci said. He also did not disclose names of possible candidates he’s looking to back along with the team he’s looking to assemble.

Ben Ray Luján, a close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is the highest-ranking House Democrat to support an impeachment investigation. Rep. Ben Ray Luján, the No. 4 House Democrat, announced his support for an impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump on Monday. Luján, a close ally of Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is the highest-ranking House Democrat to back impeachment thus far. The New Mexico Democrat, who currently serves as assistant speaker, is running to fill an open Senate seat in his home state next year.

By Justin Baragona
The “cool kids’ philosopher” apparently forgot that the current Republican president launched his political career on birtherism. Apparently forgetting that President Donald Trump launched his political career by publicly questioning Barack Obama’s place of birth, conservative pundit Ben Shapiro on Monday credulously claimed that he was unaware of a “single major Republican figure” who said Obama wasn’t a legitimate president. Discussing Democrats’ current lurch towards impeaching Trump, Shapiro said that while Republicans did indeed impeach President Bill Clinton, “they never made a move to impeach Barack Obama,” claiming the GOP had plenty of opportunities due to the supposed “myriad scandals that cropped up during [Obama’s] administration.” Shapiro, once described by The New York Times as the “cool kids’ philosopher,” then went on to insist there was no prominent GOP figure that ever questioned Obama’s legitimacy. “I’m not aware of a single major Republican figure who said the Barack Obama was not the legitimate President of the United States,” he bizarrely asserted in a segment first noticed by Media Matters. “Despite the fact that Democrats have claimed that George W. Bush was illegitimate. They’ve claimed that Donald Trump is illegitimate.” Shapiro added: “So this is just not true! And doubts about Barack Obama’s belief system came from Barack Obama being an extraordinarily radical figure. Barack Obama said he wanted to fundamentally transform the country. That’s a pretty radical statement!”

By Joe Concha
Fox News host Steve Hilton is blasting National Rifle Association (NRA) CEO Wayne LaPierre, calling him "an odious little grifter" who needs to be shown the door. Hilton’s criticism comes amid leadership upheaval at the NRA, with at least four members of the gun rights lobbying group’s board of directors stepping down in the past few weeks, following the resignation of NRA President Oliver North in April. Meanwhile, earlier this month, board members had to defend a reported proposal for the organization to spend $6 million on a Dallas-area mansion for LaPierre. "For years, Wayne has taken NRA members’ money to live the life of a king, but he’s not a king. He’s the head of a nonprofit trusted by millions to use its funds to secure constitutional rights,” Hilton, the host of "The Next Revolution," said during his "Swamp Watch" segment Sunday. “He’s an odious little grifter and it’s time for him to go.” Hilton listed several high-ticket purchases LaPierre has made over the years while running the NRA, including a $5 million estate and luxury travel and rent costs incurred during trips to the Bahamas and throughout Europe that entailed private air charters and drivers. "He made NRA members pay for a trip to Italy and Budapest in 2014, including $6,500 at the Four Seasons Hotel. I've been to that hotel. It's lovely," Hilton said.

By Jessie Hellmann
Planned Parenthood's affiliates will tell the Trump administration Monday that they will leave the federal family planning program rather than comply with new abortion restrictions. The Department of Health and Human Services set a Monday deadline for Title X family planning grantees to prove they are complying with new rules banning providers from referring women for abortions.

By Zack Budryk
A New York jury on Monday convicted two members of the far-right Proud Boys organization in connection with the beating of four protesters on the city’s Upper East Side last fall, according to The New York Times. The jury found John Kinsman and Maxwell Hare guilty of attempted gang assault, riot and attempted assault, according to the newspaper. The charges stem from a brawl between the Proud Boys and protesters police described as affiliated with the anti-fascist movement antifa at the Metropolitan Republican Club last October, following an event celebrating the 1960 assassination of Japanese socialist leader Inejiro Asanuma. The four protesters, which investigators determined were also subject to arrest, have never been identified by name, refused to speak with police after the fight and did not take the stand, according to the Times. As a result, prosecutors did not charge Kinsman and Hare with assault, which requires evidence of injury. Defense attorneys for Hare and Kinsman repeatedly asserted without evidence that the district attorney’s office was collaborating with antifa, a term for a loosely organized movement that investigators believed Kinsman and Hare’s opponents in the fight are associated with.

The New York City police officer involved in the high profile 2014 chokehold death of an African-American man has been fired. Daniel Pantaleo was sacked over the death of Eric Garner, whose dying words "I can't breathe" became a rallying cry for protests against police brutality. A state grand jury declined to indict on criminal charges but a civil rights investigation was launched in 2014. Federal prosecutors then said last month they would not bring charges. The decision, based on the recommendation of a department disciplinary judge, was announced by New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill on Monday. Mr Pantaleo was suspended while awaiting the commissioner's decision. In explaining his decision, Mr O'Neill said mobile phone video of Garner's death clearly shows the officer used a chokehold, which is banned by the New York Police Department (NYPD). "It is clear that Daniel Pantaleo can no longer serve as a New York City police officer," Mr O'Neill said. "Had I been in Officer Pantaleo's situation, I may have made similar mistakes," he continued.

By Ryan Browne, CNN
(CNN) - The US military conducted a flight test of a conventional ground-launched cruise missile off the western coast of the US Sunday, a missile test that would have been previously banned under the now defunct Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty, the Pentagon said Monday.
"The Department of Defense conducted a flight test of a conventionally-configured ground-launched cruise missile off the US West Coast Sunday. We are currently evaluating the results of the test," Lt. Col. Carla Gleason told CNN. The test was conducted from San Nicolas Island, California, and the Pentagon said that "the test missile exited its ground mobile launcher and accurately impacted its target after more than 500 kilometers of flight."
Officials stressed that the missile is designed to carry a conventional and not a nuclear payload. US defense officials said that "data collected and lessons learned from this test will inform the Department of Defense's development of future intermediate-range capabilities." A US defense official said the test missile exited its ground mobile launcher and impacted its target and that data collected from the test "will inform our development of future intermediate-range capabilities." The US withdrew from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty with Moscow earlier this month after years of accusing Russia of violating the treaty via its deployment of its nuclear-capable SSC-8 missile, putting an end to a landmark arms control pact that has limited the development of ground-based missiles with a range of 500 to 5,500 kilometers. If the US were to proceed with developing a fully operational mobile ground launched cruise missile system, a key unresolved question is where it would be deployed.

By David Shortell, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Attorney General William Barr removed the acting head of the Bureau of Prisons, the Justice Department said Monday, replacing the agency's top official in the wake of the suicide of Jeffrey Epstein earlier this month. In a statement, Barr said Hugh Hurwitz, who had served in the acting position since last year, would return to the assistant director position he formerly occupied. Dr. Kathleen Hawk Sawyer, who led the bureau from 1992 to 2003, will be the new director, Barr said. Barr has said he was "appalled" and "angry" to learn of the suicide, and cited "serious irregularities" at the Manhattan facility where Epstein had been detained. Barr had already shaken up the top leadership at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in New York, announcing last week that the facility's warden would be reassigned while the FBI and Justice Department's inspector general investigated the conditions leading up to the suicide. A picture of dysfunction in the unit where Epstein was held emerged in the days after he was found dead in his cell.

The Trump administration’s Department of Justice is asking the Supreme Court to set a legal precedent that would enable employers to fire employees because they are transgender. The Department of Justice has submitted a brief to the Court Friday asking the Justices to rule that Title VII, a federal law that prohibits employment discrimination on the basis of sex, race, color, religion or national origin, does not protect transgender people. The department argued that they should throw out a lower court ruling that found that a funeral home that fired a transgender woman had discriminated against her. The brief concerns R.G. & G.R. Harris Funeral Homes Inc. v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, one of three cases that the Supreme Court agreed to hear earlier this year that concern whether Title VII can be applied to LGBTQ workers. In the case, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit found that the owner of the funeral home, Thomas Rost, had violated the law when he fired Aimee Stephens, a transgender woman who worked for the company from 2007 to 2013. According to court documents, Stephens sent the company a letter in 2013 that said she struggled with a “gender identity disorder” and planned to begin to live as a woman, including by wearing the company’s female uniform – a jacket and skirt – instead of a suit and tie.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Eirran Betka-Pope was on her lunch break when she spotted hundreds of Donald Trump supporters protesting outside the office of Rep. Justin Amash, the first Republican on Capitol Hill to say Congress should begin impeachment proceedings against the president. The protesters, who stood on the sidewalk with "Squash Amash" signs, saw his comments as the ultimate betrayal of a president they adore. But for Betka-Pope, a Trump critic, Amash's actions were commendable — and worthy of a counterprotest. The 32-year-old from Grand Rapids, who works in theater and sketch comedy, put on a Trump mask she happened to have in her car and joined the crowd on the sidewalk. She held up a piece of paper that read "I suck." For the next half-hour, Betka-Pope stood silently as some people insulted her. A few passing drivers honked in support. More than one person flashed a middle finger. Betka-Pope happily took the abuse for the congressman. But the one thing the Democrat says she won't do to show her appreciation for Amash is vote for him. "There are other candidates more aligned with my values," she said. Amash's is another cautionary tale for GOP lawmakers who consider opposing Mr. Trump, whose job approval rating among Republicans has hovered around 90% for the past year, according to Gallup. Those who stand against him quickly find it is a lonely place to be and may spell the end of their political career. In the era of tribal politics, the worst thing to be may be a politician without a tribe. The biggest winners to come out of Amash's big stand may be Democrats. Amash ultimately left the GOP and is running for his seat as an independent. He is flirting with running for president as a Libertarian, a threat that could wound Mr. Trump one more time. More than 200,000 Michigan voters supported a third-party candidate in 2016, when Mr. Trump won the state by just over 10,000 votes.

Published 3 hours agoUpdated 3 hours ago
By Maggie Fitzgerald
Shareholder value is no longer the main focus of some of America’s top business leaders. The Business Roundtable, a group of chief executive officers from major U.S. corporations, issued a statement Monday with a new definition of the “purpose of a corporation.” The re-imagined idea of a corporation drops the age-old notion that corporations function first and foremost to serve their shareholders and maximize profits. Rather, investing in employees, delivering value to customers, dealing ethically with suppliers and supporting outside communities are now at the forefront of American business goals, according to the statement. “While each of our individual companies serves its own corporate purpose, we share a fundamental commitment to all of our stakeholders,” said the statement, which signed by 181 CEOs. “We commit to deliver value to all of them, for the future success of our companies, our communities and our country.” “The American dream is alive, but fraying,” said Jamie Dimon, chairman and CEO of JPMorgan Chase & Co. and chairman of Business Roundtable, in a press release.

By Brendan Murray
London | US President Donald Trump drew so much attention this past week on matters ranging from wanting to buy Greenland to a supporter's weight problems, that it was easy to miss some of his more stinging remarks on trade. While much of the focus was on his plans to divide up implementation of the next round of 10 per cent tariffs on Chinese imports between September 1 and December 15, and on the sharemarket plunge that followed, comments he made at a rally in New England signalled no backing down from his views about imbalances elsewhere. "The European Union is worse than China, just smaller. It treats us horribly: barriers, tariffs, taxes," he told a crowd Thursday in Manchester, New Hampshire, a city originally modelled after its industrial namesake in England. "They treat us really badly."

By Jack Healy
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Justin Williams was baking a tray of gluten-free seeded bread for the next morning’s farmers’ market when his phone buzzed. It was a friend who grows organic sprouts, nervously wondering if he should bring along a shotgun to market. It has been a summer of fear, protest and tension in this crunchy college town ever since the popular Saturday morning farmers’ market was jolted by allegations that a husband and wife who had been longtime sellers of organic tomatoes and kale were also white nationalists. The accusations exploded into public view after activists and online sleuths used federal court records and the leaked archives of a far-right message board to uncover a digital trail they say connects the couple who own Schooner Creek Farm to an organization that promotes white nationalism and “white American identity.” The rumors of white supremacy amid the stalls of clover honey and sweet corn left farmers and shoppers reeling: Not even their seemingly placid farmers’ market was immune from the battles over extremism convulsing the country at a time of rising alarm over white supremacist violence.

By Daniel Politi
A 20-year-old from Ohio that police say has self-identified as a white nationalist was arrested Saturday after reportedly making threats against a Jewish community center in Youngstown.* James Reardon Jr. from New Middletown posted a video on Instagram on July 11 that allegedly showed him firing multiple rounds with the sound of screaming and sirens in the background. The caption accompanying that post read, “Police identified the Youngstown Jewish Family Community shooter as local white nationalist Seamus O’Reardon.” Law enforcement officials say that “I-R-A Seamus” was Reardon’s online pseudonym. He was being held Sunday on a $250,000 bond on charges of aggravated menacing and online harassment. As soon as they began investigating, law enforcement officials found Reardon’s social media feeds were filled with racist content. “There were several videos that he posted on Instagram where he used a lot of derogatory remarks towards the Jewish community, and the African-American community, things of that nature,” New Middletown Police Chief Vincent D’egidio said.

By Carmen Reinicke
President Trump has long said that China is far more affected by the tariffs he's imposed than the US. Industry watchers have voiced disagreement, saying US consumers and companies are taking large hits as well. An August study from the New York Federal Reserve showed that tariffs and trade policies are seen pushing up prices and reducing profits for manufacturing and service businesses in the tri-state area. President Donald Trump said Friday that "the longer the trade war goes on, the weaker China gets and the stronger we get." But a new report published Friday from the New York Federal Reserve shows that may not be the case for businesses in New York, northern New Jersey, and southwestern Connecticut. In the supplemental questions to the Empire State Manufacturing and Business Leaders Survey, more manufacturers and business leaders said that tariffs and trade-war policy have pushed up prices and reduced profits compared to 12 months ago. "The data illustrate a considerably more widespread effect of higher input costs among service firms than in last year's survey," the NY Fed wrote in the report. This is an issue because it can weigh on profits, be passed along to the consumer, or both. President Trump has long said that China is paying the price for the increased tariffs, and that they're not hurting US consumers, workers, companies. But economists and analysts disagree. US consumers are paying more for products either imported from China or made with parts imported from there. Meanwhile, companies have said they would have to raise prices, and that downward pressure on earnings could lead to serious declines in stock prices. Some corporations are also hiring less amid escalating trade tensions, hurting US workers.

By Emily Shugerman
Jeffrey Epstein’s closest friend, French model scout Jean-Luc Brunel, is accused of preying on underage girls and farming them out to Epstein and others. Even as he was serially abusing underage girls, billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein managed to collect a stable of powerful, famous friends: former presidents, prime ministers, lawyers, and scientists with whom he could discuss his plans to improve the human race with his own DNA. But Epstein’s closest pal appears not to have been a prominent politician or top academic, but a sleazy, scandal-prone modeling agent with virtually limitless connections to underage women around the world. Jean-Luc Brunel, 72, is the former head of Karin Models and Mc2—two well-regarded international modeling agencies that launched the careers of cover girls like Ginta Lapina, Juana Burga and Sessilee Lopez. He has also been accused by former models of drugging and date-raping them, and by former employees of recruiting foreign, underage girls to be pimped out of Epstein’s New York apartments.

by Jeanine Santucci, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON -- Anthony Scaramucci, who was the White House communications director for 11 days back in 2017, threw the latest punch in his internet feud with President Donald Trump, predicting that he will drop out of the 2020 presidential race by March in a no-holds-barred interview with Vanity Fair published Friday. “It’s gonna become very clear that it’s impossible for him to win,” Scaramucci said. “And is this the kind of guy that’s gonna want to be that humiliated and lose as a sitting president? He’s got the self-worth in terms of his self-esteem of a small pigeon. It’s a very small pigeon.” The comments come following a week of tweeting back-and-forth and derogatory statements to the press between the two men. In a tweet Monday, the president said Scaramucci "had nothing to do with my Election victory." Trump also suggested Scaramucci's recent criticism was motivated by the fact that his former aide "is only upset that I didn’t want him back in the Administration (where he desperately wanted to be)." The president added that Scaramucci "just wanted to be on TV!" Scaramucci, who has been nicknamed “the Mooch,” had kicked off the war of words when he said on CNN he could no longer support the president after seeing his reactions to the mass shootings in Texas and Ohio.

By Sarah Westwood and Yon Pomrenze, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Workers at the Pennsylvania petrochemical plant where President Donald Trump spoke Tuesday were told that if they didn't attend the event, they either had to use paid time off or receive no pay for the day. At least some of the workers who attended the speech were instructed not to protest the President, who told the crowd of workers at the Royal Dutch Shell plant he would be imploring their union leaders to support his reelection.
The instructions to the workers came in a memo, a copy of which was obtained by CNN's Polo Sandoval from a congressional source. That source was given the memo by a person in Beaver County, Pennsylvania -- the site of the plant. "Your attendance is not mandatory. This will be considered an excused absence. However, those who are NOT in attendance will not receive overtime pay on Friday," read part of the memo. Shell spokesman Curtis Smith confirmed workers were told they would also miss out on some overtime pay if they skipped the event. Shell said it did not write the memo.

By Zeeshan Aleem
Trump did not address members of the alt-right gathering for a Portland rally, but did say he’s considering designating antifa an “organization of terror.” President Trump issued a stark warning to antifa, the collective of militant anti-fascist leftist groups, ahead of a rally on Saturday in Portland, Oregon, where antifa activists were widely expected to confront far-right activists. “Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an ‘ORGANIZATION OF TERROR,’” Trump tweeted. “Portland is being watched very closely. Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job!” Notably, the president did not warn or criticize the controversial right-wing group organizing the rally that antifa was planning to protest against. Organizers Joe Biggs and Enrique Tarrio, who did not receive a permit for the rally, are members of the Proud Boys, a group of self-proclaimed “Western chauvinists” with links to the white supremacist rally in Charlottesville in 2017 and a history of violence against left-wing activists. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated them as a hate group. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler told The Oregonian he believed members of the alt-right like Biggs and Tarrio come to Portland hoping to foment violence, well aware that it is home to a large antifa contingent, Rose City Antifa. “I think they come to Portland because it gives them a platform,” Wheeler said. “They know that if they come here conflict is almost guaranteed.” Of Trump’s tweet, Wheeler said, “Frankly, it is not helpful.” Trump’s disinterest in criticizing the Proud Boys is part of a longer trend in which he’s remained completely silent or, at most, has been mildly critical of the threat posed by white nationalist and white supremacist organizations, many of whom view his presidency as a boon for their cause and whose language echoes that of the president.

By Kumail Jaffer
DONALD TRUMP’S administration has reportedly developed a deadly new long-range hypersonic missile which could be a game-changer in the ongoing arms race with Russia and China. The US President may still be on a golfing trip, but back home a key weapons developer is set to release a new hypersonic missile which could counter Russia’s efficient S-400 systems. The Long-Range Hypersonic Weapon (LRHW) was announced this week after the group had worked closely with the US Army to develop the technology. It is set to be a huge upgrade on the Tomahawk cruise missiles used on Syria last year. According to a document detailing the weapon seen by Defense Blog, the mobility of the LRHW is part of a wider strategy to expand and modernise US military technology. It reads: “It will bring online a new class of ultra-fast, manoeuvrable, long-range missiles to neutralise enemy defensive weapons with rockets launched from trucks with Transporter Erector Launchers.”

By Kat Tenbarge
The New York Times reported that late, accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein spent his final days trying to use his wealth to manipulate his circumstances inside the Metropolitan Correctional Center, leading up to his death by suicide. Epstein avoided spending time in his cell by paying lawyers to visit him in a private meeting room for up to 12 hours a day, emptying vending machines at the facility during periods of legal counsel. The financier and convicted sex offender also deposited money in other inmates' commissaries to avoid their attention and seemingly devised a way to hang himself without drawing attention in the understaffed facility.  The mysterious circumstances surrounding the death by suicide of accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein while in federal custody have infuriated the Attorney General, incited the president to spread a baseless conspiracy theory, and intrigued the public. The New York Times investigated what really happened to Jeffrey Epstein behind bars at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in lower Manhattan, where the convicted sex offender continued to use his wealth to advantage himself, even while held without bail on charges of sex trafficking minors and conspiracy. Epstein's cell was cramped, musty, and likely infested with vermin, based on interviews with lawyers and other MCC inmates, and the financier may have encountered standing water, with overflowing urine and feces from the facility's faulty plumbing.

By Kevin Liptak and Kaitlan Collins, CNN
(CNN) - As President Donald Trump's trade advisers were searching last week for a strategy to forestall his threatened tariffs on China, they struck upon a novel approach: appeal to his Christmas cheer. Under pressure from retailers to prevent a move that would likely have caused prices of popular consumer goods to spike, the President's team came to him during a meeting last week with a warning. Applying new tariffs on all Chinese imports, they cautioned, could effectively "ruin Christmas," according to people familiar with the matter. It was a tactic that worked: Trump announced the tariffs would be delayed until December 15. It was one back-down amid a grueling trade war that Trump insists will eventually benefit Americans -- and will demonstrate his toughness on China. And while it caused markets to soar on Tuesday, the gains were erased a day later amid new fears of an impending recession. As signals mount of a global slowdown -- spurred partly by the trade war -- Trump and his advisers are increasingly looking for ways to prevent economic anxieties from reaching Americans before next year's presidential election.

By Erika Harlitz-Kern
Viking Age Scandinavians were immigrants who traded with the Muslim world and embraced gender fluidity—everything the alt-right despises. After the horrific mass shooting in El Paso on Aug. 3, it can no longer be denied that white supremacy is a deadly force in American society. The Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville in August 2017 wasn’t a culmination of events but the starting point of a series of acts of racist and extremist violence, which historian Kathleen Belew warns are not isolated incidents but calls for more similar acts. Belew points out that what unites many of these extreme acts of violence is the publishing of a manifesto before the crime is committed. In these manifestos, the perpetrators explain the reasons for their actions based in a worldview created out of what historian Michael Livingston calls a weaponization of history. Livingston mentions one book in particular that is referenced over and over—namely Might Is Right or the Survival of the Fittest published by the pseudonymous Ragnar Redbeard in 1896.

Roughly three tasks every minute
By Jay Peters
Not only does Microsoft have human contractors listen to some of your Skype and Cortana voice recordings, those contractors are paid poorly and given repetitive tasks, according to a report by Motherboard. And thanks to this new report, we now have an idea of what those contractors actually do with the Cortana recordings they listen to. Motherboard says contractors earning merely $12–$14 an hour are expected to transcribe and classify Cortana voice commands into more than two dozen topic areas, including gaming, email, communication, events, home automation, and media control. These transcribed recordings are used to help teach the Cortana assistant to better understand speech. Contractors are expected to work through a grueling 200 classification tasks an hour — that’s three a minute, or one every 18 seconds on average. They do have the potential to earn a bonus of an additional $1 an hour, according to contracts shared with Motherboard. Big tech companies have recently come under scrutiny for how they use human labor to power and train their services. The companies like to portray these tasks as accomplished by AI, but recent investigations have shown that it’s often repetitive work done by poorly-paid humans. Microsoft’s contractors listening to Cortana audio is one small example — content moderators at Facebook, on the other hand, are regularly exposed to extremely traumatic photos and videos and work in horrific conditions, as The Verge has reported.

By Nicole Acevedo
President Donald Trump tweeted about the demonstration, saying there is consideration to labeling Antifa an "organization of terror." A rally of far-right groups was met by a large counterdemonstration in Portland, Oregon, on Saturday. Fears that the showdown would turn violent prompted some downtown businesses to close and led to a massive police presence. At least 13 people were arrested, according to Lt. Tina Jones of the Portland Police Bureau. One person was taken to a hospital with unspecified injuries, police tweeted. The dueling demonstrations garnered national attention, including from President Donald Trump, who tweeted earlier Saturday in reference to self-described anti-fascists, some of whom are known collectively as antifa, “Major consideration is being given to naming ANTIFA an “ORGANIZATION OF TERROR.” Portland is being watched very closely. Hopefully the Mayor will be able to properly do his job!”

By Byryan j. foley, associated press
A judge on Friday sentenced the mastermind of the largest known organic food fraud scheme in U.S. history to 10 years in prison, saying he cheated thousands of customers into buying products they didn't want. U.S. District Judge C.J. Williams said Randy Constant orchestrated a massive fraud that did "extreme and incalculable damage" to consumers and shook public confidence in the nation's organic food industry. Williams said that, between 2010 and 2017, consumers nationwide were fooled into paying extra to buy products ranging from eggs to steak that they believed were better for the environment and their own health. Instead, they unwittingly purchased food that relied on farming practices, including the use of chemical pesticides to grow crops, that they opposed. "Thousands upon thousands of consumers paid for products they did not get and paid for products they did not want," Williams said. "This has caused incalculable damage to the confidence the American public has in organic products."

House Speaker Dennis Bonnen offers a masterclass in how to lose friends and alienate your allies in just a few easy steps. Have you ever seen slow-motion footage of an atomic bomb test? There’s a bright flash of light and an explosion that starts small, and you could be forgiven for thinking, Is that it? Then the mushroom cloud starts building to the size of a mountain, and the shockwave starts to radiate out, and it becomes clear that a lot of things in the immediate vicinity are probably not going to be okay. That’s what it’s been like to watch the developments in the widening scandal that centers on accusations made on July 25 by conservative activist Michael Quinn Sullivan who, like most assassins, goes by all three of his names. The initial flash came when MQS, as he’s known, claimed that House Speaker Dennis Bonnen offered to give media credentials to Sullivan’s right-wing advocacy group, Empower Texans, in exchange for help defeating ten Republican lawmakers on a hit list that Bonnen had assembled. For a while, there was public silence, as Sullivan’s initial post on his website contained extraordinary claims and allegations, and no one could figure out whether to trust him. (Usually, the answer is “no.”) But then it was revealed that Sullivan possesses a tape that he secretly recorded of his conversation with Bonnen and that backs up his allegations—and the mushroom cloud began to rise and swell. It’s clear that this is the most significant political scandal in Texas politics in many years, one with potentially far-reaching implications for everything from Bonnen’s political future to the redrawing of congressional districts.

By Ryan Browne and Kevin Liptak, CNN
ashington (CNN) - The Trump administration has informally greenlit a potential major arms sale to Taiwan involving dozens of new F-16 fighter jets, according to administration officials and others familiar with the matter. The decision comes amid heightened tensions with China as a trade war wages on and a crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong draws US criticism. The new weaponry -- the largest US sale to Taiwan in several years -- could further erode ties, since Beijing views the self-governing island as part of China. Congress was notified informally of the potential sale on Thursday, according to a senior administration official and others familiar with the matter. It's expected to be reviewed and approved by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

By Bynomaan merchant, associated press
A federal appeals court on Friday cleared the way for the U.S. government to forbid Central American immigrants from seeking asylum at the two busiest stretches of the southern border in a partial legal victory for the Trump administration. The ruling from the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allows President Donald Trump to enforce the policy in New Mexico and Texas, rejecting asylum seekers who cross from Mexico into either state. Under Friday's ruling, U.S. District Judge Jon Tigar's July 24 order stopping the policy would apply only in California and Arizona, which are covered by the 9th Circuit. The two busiest areas for unauthorized border crossings are in South Texas' Rio Grande Valley and the region around El Paso, Texas, which includes New Mexico. Nearly 50,000 people in July crossed the U.S. border without permission in those two regions, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.

By Bykate brumback, associated press
Georgia election officials have for years ignored, downplayed and failed to address serious problems with the state's election management system and voting machines, a federal judge said in a scathing order this week. U.S. District Judge Amy Totenberg said those problems place a burden on citizens' rights to cast a vote and have it reliably counted. She called Georgia's voting system "antiquated, seriously flawed, and vulnerable to failure, breach, contamination, and attack." Despite those findings, Totenberg ruled Thursday that Georgia voters will use that same election system this fall because of the short time before the next election. Plaintiffs in a lawsuit challenging Georgia's system had asked Totenberg to order an immediate switch to hand-marked paper ballots for special and municipal elections this fall. But she declined, citing worries about the state's capacity to manage an interim switch while also implementing a new system that is supposed to be in place for the March 24 presidential primaries.

By Andrew Kaczynski, CNN
(CNN) - Ken Cuccinelli, the acting director of US Citizenship and Immigration Services, was a founding member of a group more than a decade ago that described undocumented immigrants as "foreign invaders" responsible for "serious infectious diseases, drug running, gang violence, human trafficking, terrorism." The group, State Legislators for Legal Immigration, was established in 2007, when an immigration revamp was being hotly debated in Congress. Its founding principle was that undocumented immigration represented an invasion of the United States on par with foreign invasion that should justify invoking war powers under the Constitution -- extreme rhetoric Cuccinelli has continued to use in recent years, and that has been adopted by President Donald Trump and other Republicans. Speaking with Breitbart radio in October of last year, Cuccinelli argued that states could use "war powers" to block Central American migrants, many of whom were reportedly planning to seek asylum in the US and who'd formed a so-called caravan, from coming across the border. "We've been being invaded for a long time, and so the border states clearly qualify here to utilize this power themselves. And what's interesting is they don't need anyone's permission," Cuccinelli said. "They can do it themselves. And because they're acting under war powers, there's no due process. They can literally just line their National Guard up with, presumably with riot gear like they would if they had a civil disturbance, and turn people back at the border. Literally, you don't have to keep them, no catch and release, no nothing. You just point them back across the river and let them swim for it."

Patriot Prayer leader Joey Gibson surrenders but Proud Boys to fore in event expected to attract ‘antifa’ counter-protest. As Portland prepared for what may be one of the biggest political demonstrations of the US summer, longtime rightwing leader Joey Gibson turned himself in to city authorities. How Portland's liberal utopia became the center of a rightwing war in the US. Outside the Multnomah County Justice Center, Gibson told reporters, and his supporters via Facebook, the arrest warrant against him was “without a doubt an assault on the first amendment”. “I have never been violent,” he said. The 35-year-old is one of six men associated with rightwing rallies in the Oregon city to be arrested or charged since 7 August, relating to a violent incident on 1 May at Cider Riot, a bar favored by the left. Video shows men who have attended Gibson’s Patriot Prayer rallies in the city, and who arrived at the bar in his company, exchanging pepper spray with bar patrons, striking people with batons and fighting. Gibson claimed the charges against him were “completely political. This is [Portland mayor] Ted Wheeler doing everything he can because he’s been caught.” He accused Wheeler of “coordinating with” and “protecting” anti-fascist demonstrators or “antifa”, a refrain in his speeches since 2017.

Published Thu, Aug 15 2019 1:31 PM EDTUpdated Thu, Aug 15 2019 3:09 PM EDT
Brian Schwartz
Gun control advocacy groups have dedicated more than $2 million on digital and TV ads, widely outspending the National Rifle Association, since the mass shootings weeks ago in California, Texas and Ohio that left more than 30 dead. Everytown for Gun Safety — funded mostly by Michael Bloomberg, the billionaire and former New York mayor — is leading the way with a $935,000 ad campaign. Its digital and TV ads call on Congress to require tougher background checks for gun sales along with strong red-flag laws, which are meant to take firearms away from those deemed a threat to themselves or others. The NRA has spent just $14,000 on Facebook ads since last week. Instead, the group focused its recent advocacy on tweeting and being in direct contact with President Donald Trump. Gun control advocates say the NRA may not spend as much for lobbying going forward because they have Trump’s ear.

By Sophie Lewis
Four black teenagers were going door to door early this month, looking to raise money for their high school football team in Wynne, Arkansas. When they approached the home of Jerri Kelly, she held them on the ground at gunpoint until police arrived. Kelly, who is married to a county jail administrator, was arrested and charged with four accounts of aggravated assault, false imprisonment and endangering the welfare of a minor, Wynne County police told CBS News Friday. Police arrived at Kelly's house on Wednesday, August 7 at around 10 a.m., responding to a report of "suspicious persons," to find the four boys on the ground, with Kelly, who is white, standing over them with a gun.

The Fresno Bee published an article scrutinizing Nunes' latest effort to defend his claim of the title "farmer"
By Cody Fenwick
Democratic critics of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) — the controversial congressman who acted as President Donald Trump’s stooge when he led the House Intelligence Committee — have long accused him of being a “fake farmer,” and some even pushed an effort to strip his claim to the profession from the 2018 ballot. Now, local paper the Fresno Bee, which once endorsed Nunes, has published an article scrutinizing his latest effort to defend claiming the title of “farmer.”  It’s a pretty a hilarious read. The article pointed out that in a new financial disclosure form, Nunes claimed to own a “farm that generates no income for him and is worth less than $15,000.” He’s never claimed to own such a farm before in over ten years of financial disclosures, the Bee reported. It continued:

By Veronica Stracqualursi, CNN
Washington (CNN)Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, the first and only Jewish candidate on a major party's presidential ticket in US history, called it a "serious mistake" for Israel to bar the first two Muslim women elected to Congress from visiting the country. "It's a serious mistake because it's contrary to the values of the state of Israel, the values to the United States of America which has been the underlying foundation of our relationship," Lieberman, who was Al Gore's running mate in 2000, told CNN's John Berman on "New Day" Friday. On Thursday, Israel announced it was banning Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota because of their support of a boycott against Israel -- and after President Donald Trump said Israel would be showing "great weakness" by allowing the two lawmakers to enter the country. Trump has previously criticized Omar and Tlaib but his comments about their trip were a remarkable step both by him and his ally, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, to punish political rivals. "This kind of behavior by both leaders, I would say with respect, jeopardizes that tradition of nonpartisanship and American support of Israel," Lieberman, who has been a pro-Israel advocate and supportive of Trump's past actions on US-Israel relations, said.

By Maxwell Tani
The new bosses in charge of what used to be the Gawker network of websites have drastically upended the culture, Greenwell said, leaving her no choice but to resign. Deadspin’s editor in chief has left the company, saying the new leadership of parent company G/O Media have made it “impossible” for her to continue working there. “I have been repeatedly undermined, lied to, and gaslit in my job,” Megan Greenwell said in a brief phone call with The Daily Beast on Friday. G/O Media was formed earlier this year when Gizmodo Media Group, the former Gawker Media company that included sites including Deadpsin, Gizmodo, and Jezebel, among others, was purchased from Univision by private equity firm Great Hill. As The Daily Beast previously reported, G/O’s new leadership have occasionally clashed with some of the company’s famously independent and outspoken editorial staff. Greenwell said Friday that she feels “heartbroken” about leaving and that, while she does not want to be seen as a victim, recent decisions by company brass left her with few options.

By Kelly Weill.  
The Proud Boys, Patriot Prayer and other groups plan to square off against antifa Saturday. But arrests and drop-outs on the right are complicating things.  The outlook of a Saturday far-right rally in Portland, Oregon is uncertain after some of its key organizers dropped out or faced arrest. The rally, organized by the far-right ultranationalist group the Proud Boys, is billed as a “protest” against anti-fascists, commonly known as “antifa.” The Proud Boys and other proto-fascist groups have previously brawled with anti-fascists in Portland, notably during a series of bloody rallies last summer. With members of the far right announcing their intention to travel from out of state to commit violence, Saturday’s rally has loomed as a potential powder keg. But after a series of arrests and warnings, some of the best-known agitators might not be attending.

A former FBI intelligence officer said Thursday that combating right-wing extremism and white nationalism poses a serious challenge for security officials going into 2020. “If you want intelligence to be good on the current wave of domestic terrorism — what people call right-wing extremism, Neo-Nazi extremism — I don’t think people realize how tough that target is,” Philip Mudd, who is now a counterterrorism analyst, told Hill.TV in response to a question about how security officials should prepare for the future. “It’s dispersed, that’s people in every state, but it’s also a civil liberties issue,” he added. Mudd said the first step towards combating white nationalist-fueled violence is re-evaluating the nation's political rhetoric. “Either side of the political spectrum, you cannot validate their anger,” he said in reference to members who identify as part of the Neo-Nazi movement. “You can’t even get close to saying it’s appropriate to look at a foreigner in this country or an immigrant or an asylum seeker and say that person is less than you,” he added. “It’s not a political statement, it’s what I saw with Al-Qaeda.” Mudd also said lawmakers need to take congressional action against homegrown hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan. “That means laws that say, ‘hey, groups that committed acts of violence — how about the KKK, you want to go after them? They’ve committed acts of violence for political reasons — that’s terrorism,” he said. “The politicians have to provide cover.” The mass shooting in El Paso, Texas has renewed calls to address the rise of domestic terror attacks. Federal authorities believe the suspected shooter, who killed 22 people, was motivated by hatred of Hispanics and immigrants. Republican Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) is now putting forward a bill that would effectively close a loophole to make domestic terrorism a separate federal crime.

When Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu denied two congresswomen entry into Israel, he criticized the fact that Miftah was funding their trip. But Miftah has sponsored trips for members of Congress in the past, and Israel has let them in the country. NOW, SHE’S OUT … AFTER ASKING FOR AND SECURING permission to visit her elderly grandmother in the West Bank, Rep. RASHIDA TLAIB (D-Mich.) now says she will not go to Israel. -- TLAIB: “Visiting my grandmother under these oppressive conditions meant to humiliate me would break my grandmother's heart. Silencing me with treatment to make me feel less-than is not what she wants for me – it would kill a piece of me that always stands up against racism and injustice.”

By Sophie Tanno For Mailonline
The internet has been flooded with hilarious memes, after it was revealed President Donald Trump is eyeing up the island of Greenland. Two sources told the Wall Street Journal that Trump has repeatedly asked his advisers with 'varying degrees of seriousness' if it would be possible for the U.S. to acquire the autonomous Danish territory for its resources and geopolitical significance. It's unclear how exactly the US would go about buying the largest island in the world following previous unsuccessful attempts by the US in 1946 and 1867. 'What do you guys think about that?' Trump asked a table of associates last spring when the idea of buying the island first came to be, a source told the Wall Street Journal. 'Do you think it would work?' Twitter users have had a field day at the news.

By Chuck Todd, Mark Murray and Ben Kamisar
First Read is your briefing from "Meet the Press" and the NBC Political Unit on the day's most important political stories and why they matter. WASHINGTON — For all of the focus this week on the state of the economy, Trump’s tariffs and the 2020 Democratic horserace, there’s been an even more significant story staring us in the face. The president and his administration are trying to rewrite the story of America. Earlier this week, for example, you had acting U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services Director Ken Cuccinelli revising Emma Lazarus’ poem on the Statue of Liberty: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free.” "Give me your tired and your poor who can stand on their own two feet and who will not become a public charge," Cuccinelli said, announcing the Trump administration’s policy to deny green cards to legal immigrants who use government benefits. Then yesterday, you had the president of the United States urging Israel to bar two Democratic lawmakers from entering Israel. “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep.Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds. Minnesota and Michigan will have a hard time putting them back in office. They are a disgrace!”

By John Bowden
Former President Obama has taken an active interest in Joe Biden's presidential campaign, even holding a lunch with his former vice president last month, according to a report in The New York Times. Obama also summoned top members of Biden's campaign to his Washington, D.C., home earlier this year for a briefing on Biden's communications and digital media strategies ahead of the former vice president's campaign launch. Obama is not endorsing a candidate in the Democratic presidential primary, where polls show Biden is the front-runner. He has pledged to stay neutral in the race and has made few forays into political life. An exception came last month when Obama warned against political leaders who give support to white supremacy and white nationalists, remarks that came after a deadly shooting in El Paso, Texas. The suspect in that shooting allegedly targeted Hispanics. But the Times report states that Obama is watching Biden's campaign closely and has offered advice at different times. The former president has reportedly urged Biden's campaign to include younger advisers, and the Times reported that Obama is frustrated with some of Biden's closest advisers, who he perceives as out of touch with the younger activist base of the Democratic Party. Obama asked two Biden aides — spokeswoman Kate Bedingfield and former White House communications adviser Anita Dunn — to visit with him in March for a briefing on its strategy. Afterwards, the Times reported that Obama told the aides they should make sure that Biden does not “embarrass himself” or “damage his legacy” while running for president.

By Jeff Cox
President Donald Trump wants the Federal Reserve to help head off a feared economic slowdown, but it’s not clear the central bank has enough firepower left to do so. Besides, some economists say, there’s really not much reason for the Fed to act any more aggressively than it already plans, considering that growth signs remain intact, though dinged a little bit, by worries over tariffs and a slowdown in some other areas outside the U.S. “Federal Reserve officials have some explaining to do when it comes to cutting interest rates and driving down the yields on safe investments like Treasury bonds and notes to near record low levels,” Chris Rupkey, chief financial economist at MUFG, said in a note following a raft of positive economic data on Thursday.  “They don’t need to explain their rate cuts to voters or to the Trump economics team, but they will have to explain themselves to the history books. The Fed’s interest rate cut looks more out of line than ever given the strength of the economy,” he added. “Recession? What recession? That’s what we want to know.” Still, Trump continues to clamor for rate cuts, and the market anticipates at least two more this year. That will leave the Fed with only scant room to cut further, as it currently is targeting its benchmark rate between 2% and 2.25%.

By Matthew J. Belvedere
The allegations by Madoff whistleblower Harry Markopolos of a $38 billion fraud at General Electric are “at best disingenuous” and “at worst highly inaccurate,” according to Nick Heymann, co-group head of global industrial infrastructure at the William Blair financial services firm. “You got the stock on sale yesterday for absolutely no basis. This is why all the insiders are buying,” Heymann told CNBC on Friday, one day after GE shares tanked 11% to $8.01 per share, in their worst trading session in more than a decade. GE stock on Friday regained most of the losses after the troubled conglomerate late Thursday revealed that CEO Larry Culp purchased nearly $2 million worth of shares. The purchase was made after Markopolos called the company “a bigger fraud than Enron.” Culp, who became chairman and CEO of GE last year, said the Markopolos accusations were false and driven by market manipulation. Leslie Seidman, a GE board director and audit committee chair, also pushed back on the Markopolos report, telling CNBC on Thursday that it “does not reflect the GE that I know.” She added that the report is “full of misleading, inaccurate and inflammatory statements.”

By John Harwood
If ever the U.S. economy could use a strong tax cut tail wind, it could use one now as conditions weaken around the world. But the tail wind isn’t there. Instead, benefits from what President Donald Trump called “the biggest reform of all time” to the tax code have dwindled to a faint breeze just 20 months after its enactment. Half of corporate chief financial officers surveyed by Duke University expect the economy to shrink by the second quarter of 2020. Two-thirds expect a recession by the end of next year. Corporate executives blame the darkening outlook on Trump’s trade war with China. The president blames mismanagement by Jerome Powell, the Federal Reserve chairman he appointed. But economists who have examined the impact of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act say it isn’t helping much in any of the ways advocates once advertised: overall growth, business investment, or worker pay. The strongest current case for the law’s economic benefits is that it remains too early to see them.

By Faith Karimi and Amanda Watts, CNN
(CNN) - An Indiana state representative was charged with drunken driving and impersonating an officer after he tried to buy cocaine "party favors" at a local bar, court documents show. Democratic lawmaker Dan Forestal, 36, was elected in 2012. He was charged with one count of operating a vehicle while intoxicated, resisting law enforcement and impersonating a public servant, the Marion County Sheriff's Department said Thursday. His encounter with real officers happened Saturday night, after a resident called 911 to report someone impersonating an officer in in Indianapolis. Forestal told the person he's an officer doing a drug bust in the area, a probable cause affidavit says. He allegedly asked where the "people selling drugs" lived and flashed a badge on a silver chain. When officers arrived, they found him in his car. He held onto the steering wheel and refused to step out, and was handcuffed after a brief struggle, the probable cause affidavit says.

Donald Trump is due to visit Copenhagen in September and the Arctic will be on the agenda during meetings with the prime ministers of Denmark and Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory. Copenhagen: Danish politicians on Friday poured scorn on the notion of selling Greenland to the United States following reports that President Donald Trump had privately discussed the idea of buying the world's biggest island with his advisers. Trump is due to visit Copenhagen in September and the Arctic will be on the agenda during meetings with the prime ministers of Denmark and Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory. "It has to be an April Fool's joke. Totally out of season," former prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said on Twitter. The notion of purchasing the territory has been laughed off by some advisers as a joke but was taken more seriously by others in the White House, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters on Thursday. Talk of a Greenland purchase was first reported by the Wall Street Journal. "If he is truly contemplating this, then this is final proof, that he has gone mad," foreign affairs spokesman for the Danish People's Party, Soren Espersen, told broadcaster DR.

By Jessica Taylor
At his first campaign rally after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, President Trump appeared to back away from supporting a possible expansion of background checks in favor of a push for more attention to mental illness. "There is a mental illness problem that has to be dealt with. It's not the gun that pulls the trigger — it's the person holding the gun," Trump said to roars and a standing ovation from the Manchester, N.H., crowd. At his first campaign rally after mass shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, President Trump appeared to back away from supporting a possible expansion of background checks in favor of a push for more attention to mental illness. "There is a mental illness problem that has to be dealt with. It's not the gun that pulls the trigger — it's the person holding the gun," Trump said to roars and a standing ovation from the Manchester, N.H., crowd.

By Justin Baragona
“Got a bigger problem than I do. Got a bigger problem than all of us,” Trump yelled. President Trump ridiculed the physical appearance of a man in the crowd of his Keep America Great rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday night, telling the guy and everyone watching at home that he had a “serious weight problem” and should get some exercise. Midway through a rally that had already featured him claiming that the stock market would crash if he weren’t re-elected, Trump’s typically off-the-rails speech was interrupted by demonstrators, and an apparent Trump supporter got up and grabbed a banner from their hands. Trump, appearing only to spot the general commotion, saw the apparent supporter in the melee and the president took some potshots at the man after it seems he wrongly identified him as a protester. “That guy has got a serious weight problem,” Trump yelled. “Go home, get some exercise!” After demanding security escort the man out of the arena, the president appeared briefly self-conscious before returning to his taunts: “Got a bigger problem than I do. Got a bigger problem than all of us. Now he goes home and his mom says ‘What the hell have you just done?’” The Daily Mail identified the man who Trump mistakenly identified as a protester as Frank Dawson, and reported that he had no ill will toward Trump. Everything’s good!” Dawson told Fox News. “I love the guy! He’s the best thing that ever happened to this country.” Trump has reportedly called and spoken with Dawson. The interruption appeared to be led by a group of three young people holding two banners reading “Jews Against the Occupation,” according to a report from The Washington Post.

By Asawin Suebsaeng, Justin Baragona
Trump has long feared a possible recession and what it could do to his re-election chances—so amid talk of a downturn, he and his defenders are naming a scapegoat and motive. For years, President Trump has discussed with his advisers—with a hint of worry—the possibility of an economic recession occurring on his watch. Ever since early 2017, he’s made it plain to aides that he understands how a recession can cripple, or destroy, a presidency. Trump has also long made it abundantly clear that if a recession does happen, he knows exactly whom to blame: chiefly, his enemies in the media, and a Federal Reserve chairman whom he’s privately compared to an inept golfer. According to three people who’ve spoken to Trump about recessions and the American economy since 2017, the president has repeatedly voiced concerns—or bitter annoyance—about what he views as media outlets’ ability, or even alleged desire, to help create economic recession through self-fulfilling prophecy. One of these sources said they’ve heard Trump say at least three times over the past two and a half years that the media would “love it if” a recession occurred during his first term, seriously harming his chances at re-election in 2020. Since his inauguration, the president has brought up the subject of possible recession, sometimes as an unprompted tangent, in various policy and messaging discussions, including on health care, taxes, and trade.

By The Times Editorial Board
Last we checked, both the United States and Israel were democracies — and allies. Yet on Thursday the leaders of both countries sounded more like crazy autocrats with a penchant for silencing their critics. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to prohibit U.S. Reps. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) and Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) from entering Israel on an official congressional visit not only smacks of tin-pot authoritarianism, it elevates his critics. Netanyahu justified this shameful decision by citing a recent bit of daft legislating, an Israeli law prohibiting foreign nationals who back boycotts against Israel or its West Bank settlements from entering the country. That’s bad enough. Even more outrageous is that President Trump appears to have goaded Netanyahu into making this decision. Not content to call for Omar and Tlaib (and their two progressive Democratic colleagues on the so-called “squad”) to leave the United States, Trump has been pressing Israel publicly not to let them into that country. To quote his tweet Thursday: “It would show great weakness if Israel allowed Rep. Omar and Rep. Tlaib to visit. They hate Israel & all Jewish people, & there is nothing that can be said or done to change their minds.” He added, “They are a disgrace!” The only disgrace here is Trump’s behavior.

By Paul R. La Monica, CNN Business
New York (CNN Business) - American farmers are nervous about the US trade war with China. That's a big problem for Deere.
The agricultural equipment company reported earnings and sales that missed Wall Street forecasts Friday, and Deere lowered its outlook. Overall revenue fell 3% from a year ago. The results "reflected the high degree of uncertainty that continues to overshadow the agricultural sector," said Samuel Allen, Deere's CEO, in a statement. Allen didn't cite China specifically as a reason for the shortfall. But he alluded to the trade war, saying that "concerns about export-market access [and] near-term demand for commodities such as soybeans," were among the reasons that farmers decided to postpone buying tractors and other equipment.

NBC New York
A third pressure or rice cooker-looking device found near a trash can in Chelsea Friday morning has been deemed safe, the NYPD said. The third device was found seconds after NYPD gave the all clear at the Fulton Street subway station, where two similar objects were found. No injuries have been reported, but the morning commute was heavily disrupted for tens of thousands of subway riders. Jonathan Dienst reports.

Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Actresses America Ferrera and Eva Longoria are leading a group of more than 150 writers, artists and leaders who have written a public "letter of solidarity" to U.S. Latinos after the mass shooting in El Paso, Texas, and an immigration raid in Mississippi. The letter, published Friday in The New York Times and in a handful of Spanish-language newspapers, says the signers stand with U.S. Latinos who may feel "terrified, heartbroken and defeated by the barrage of attacks," citing the shooting in El Paso, which targeted Hispanics, and another shooting in Gilroy, California. The two attacks killed nearly two dozen Latinos.

By Suzanne Gamboa
“This violence against Latinos and immigrants has a long history since the founding of the country,” says a Texas state senator. EL PASO, Texas — For many years, Texas’ westernmost city has been a place where Latinos have felt comfortable in their skin. While El Paso hasn't been spared racism and conflicts over immigration crackdowns, its residents have relished in the border city’s bicultural, bilingual and binational essence, their embrace of diversity as well as its low violent crime rate, at or below the national average since about 2012. Then El Paso ended up in the crosshairs of a man who opened fire in a Walmart on Aug. 3, leaving 22 people dead and dozens more injured. After his arrest, the suspected gunman told authorities that he wanted to kill Mexicans. Before the attack, the suspect is believed by authorities to have posted a hate-filled diatribe decrying a "Hispanic invasion."

By Reuters
Danish politicians on Friday poured scorn on the notion of selling Greenland to the United States following reports that President Donald Trump had privately discussed the idea of buying the world's biggest island with his advisers. Trump is due to visit Copenhagen in September and the Arctic will be on the agenda during meetings with the prime ministers of Denmark and Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory. "It has to be an April Fool's joke. Totally out of season," former prime minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said on Twitter. The notion of purchasing the territory has been laughed off by some advisers as a joke but was taken more seriously by others in the White House, two sources familiar with the situation told Reuters on Thursday.

By David Reid
President Donald Trump’s surprising suggestion to buy Greenland has been rejected by the country’s foreign ministry. The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that Trump has on more than one occasion, and with “varying degrees of seriousness,” floated the idea of buying the autonomous Danish territory. Dampening down the prospect of the country’s sale in a post on Twitter, Greenland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs official account said Friday: “We’re open for business, not for sale.”

By Debra Shushan
The much-touted shared values between the U.S. and Israel no longer seem to include liberal protections for free speech. The U.S.-Israel relationship suffered a profound setback Thursday. Israeli Interior Minister Aryeh Deri confirmed that Israel would bar two members of Congress, Democratic Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, from entering Israel because of their support for the BDS movement, which calls for boycotts, divestment and sanctions on Israel. Thursday’s decision to deny Tlaib and Omar entrance to Israel reversed the earlier position expressed by Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. Ron Dermer, who in July said that “Out of respect for the U.S. Congress and the great alliance between Israel and America, we would not deny entry to any member of Congress into Israel.”

Greenland has said it is "not for sale" following reports that US President Donald Trump has spoken about buying the world's biggest island. The president is said to have discussed the idea of purchasing Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory, during dinners and meetings with advisers. But Greenland's foreign ministry dismissed the idea, saying: "We're open for business, not for sale." Mr Trump's reported plans have also been quickly dismissed by politicians in Denmark. "It must be an April Fool's Day joke...but totally out of [season]!", tweeted former Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen. The Wall Street Journal (WSJ), which first reported the news, said Mr Trump had spoken about the purchase with "varying degrees of seriousness". Sources quoted in other media differed over whether the president was joking or seriously hoping to expand US territory. The White House has not commented on the reports.

By Yen Nee Lee
Hedge fund titan Ray Dalio said he wouldn’t rule out China using its Treasury holdings to gain an upper hand against the U.S. in the trade war — a view that contrasts with many other observers. “We have a debtor-creditor relationship, not just a trade relationship. And (that) can be a dangerous thing,” Dalio, founder of the world’s largest hedge fund Bridgewater Associates, told CNBC’s “Managing Asia” in Singapore. When repeatedly pressed on whether Beijing could weaponize its ownership of U.S. Treasurys, Dalio responded: “I wouldn’t rule it out.” Analysts and investors have said that amid escalating trade conflict between the world’s two largest economies, China could resort to the so-called nuclear option to hurt the U.S.: Selling its large Treasury holdings. But many dismissed that suggestion, saying such a move will harm China too. China was the largest foreign holder of U.S. Treasurys until June, when it was surpassed by Japan. According to data by the U.S. Treasury department, China held $1.11 trillion of U.S. debt in June.

By Betsy Woodruff
The gun group used donor funds to fly Susan LaPierre’s favorite stylists around the country and put them up in style. The NRA spent tens of thousands of dollars bringing hair and makeup artists around the country for the wife of its CEO, two sources told The Daily Beast. The expenses–which included plane flights and luxury hotel stays for the stylists–are bound to fuel an already-raging debate over what some see as a spendthrift culture in the NRA’s upper echelons. The NRA, meanwhile, called it a “non-story,” and said their ex-ad firm was responsible for any such expenses. Susan LaPierre, the wife of longtime NRA chief Wayne LaPierre, is one of the gun organization’s many public faces, and co-chairs its Women’s Leadership Forum. She often speaks at that group’s annual gatherings for female NRA supporters. And for years now, the NRA has paid for a makeup artist and a hair stylist, both based in Nashville and plugged in to the country music scene, to do LaPierre’s hair and make-up at events around the country, according to two sources familiar with the arrangements.

By William D. Cohan
A few days into his jihad against his former boss, Anthony Scaramucci discusses his view of Trump’s increasing mental problems, his racist tactics, and why he hopes an Arya Stark will rise up to kick him out of office. New York financier Anthony Scaramucci, aka the Mooch, had his 15 minutes of fame back in the summer of 2017 when he spent 11 days as Donald Trump’s communications director in the White House. Even after John Kelly, then the chief of staff, fired him in the aftermath of his profanity-laced diatribe against other members of the White House staff that appeared in the New Yorker, Scaramucci stayed loyal to Trump, defending him publicly on TV spot after TV spot. But now, nearly two years later, the Mooch has soured bigly on Trump—and vice versa. It all broke into the open a week ago during the Mooch’s appearance on the Bill Maher show. Trump retaliated with a stream of tweets directed Scaramucci’s way. But the Mooch says that the president has met his match. A Harvard Law School graduate with working-class roots from Port Washington, Long Island, he’s not one to back down and is happy to go toe-to-toe with the most powerful man on Earth. I’ve been reporting on the Mooch for years, and so was curious about just what he is up to this time. What follows is a lightly edited and condensed version of our recent conversation, now that Scaramucci has decided to throw cold water on the man he calls “The Wicked Witch of the West Wing.” William D. Cohan: You’ve had quite the last few days. Anthony Scaramucci: Oh my god, this jackass. You know, it’s all good. I mean, it could be the best three or four days ever, actually.

President Donald Trump on Thursday praised a New Hampshire Republican who previously called for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to be shot by firing squad. Speaking at a rally in Manchester, N.H., Trump gave a shoutout to state Rep. Al Baldasaro, who had previously served as an informal adviser during his 2016 campaign. Baldasaro had been diagnosed with cancer, Trump said during the rally, and he added that his apparent recovery and successful treatment were a testament to the changes to the Veterans Choice Program that Trump signed into law last year.

By Pamela Brown, Jim Acosta and Caroline Kelly, CNN
(CNN) - President Donald Trump has on multiple occasions brought up buying Greenland from the Danish government and the White House counsel's office has looked into the possibility, two sources told CNN on Thursday. Trump's interest in buying Greenland was first reported on Thursday by The Wall Street Journal. The Journal reported that people familiar with the deliberations said the President has raised the issue during meetings and dinners, asking aides and listening seriously about the possibility and advantages of owning Greenland. He also asked his White House counsel to research the matter, according to two of the people. Two of the people also told the Journal that Trump's aides were divided on the issue, with some praising it as solid economic strategy and others dismissing it as a passing fancy. CNN has contacted the White House and the State Department for comment. Greenland, an autonomous Danish territory, is home to Thule Air Base, the US military's northernmost base, located about 750 miles above the Arctic Circle and built in 1951. The radar and listening post features a Ballistic Missile Early Warning System that can warn of incoming intercontinental ballistic missiles and reaches thousands of miles into Russian territory. Aides expressed both expectation and reservation at the President's still-unclear interest in the idea and had questions about the island's military and research potential, the Journal reported. They pointed to those outside the administration floating a Greenland purchase as a potential legacy-builder for Trump, similar to President Dwight Eisenhower's statehood for Alaska, the paper added.

By Toluse Olorunnipa
By pressuring the Israeli government to bar entry by two members of Congress, President Trump once again used the power and platform of his office to punish his political rivals. It’s a pattern that has intensified during the first two and a half years of Trump’s presidency, as he has increasingly governed to the tune of his grievances. The president has grounded a military jet set for use by the Democratic House speaker, yanked a security clearance from a former CIA director critical of him, threatened to withhold disaster aid from states led by Democrats, pushed to reopen a criminal investigation targeting Hillary Clinton and publicly called for federal action to punish technology and media companies he views as biased against him. Taken as a whole, Trump’s use of political power to pursue personal vendettas is unprecedented in modern history, said Matthew Dallek, a political historian who teaches at George Washington University.

There may be some limitations to the U.S. government’s borrowing after all. An anticipated surge of U.S. borrowing in the global debt markets in the second half of this year is starting to create concern as Treasury is expected to ramp up its issuance of bills, notes and bonds to fund a soaring $1 trillion budget deficit. The U.S. government’s budget gap has widened 27% compared to the first 10 months of fiscal 2018, as spending has risen 8% and receipts have grown by 3%. The federal fiscal year runs October through September. The Trump administration recently forecast a $1 trillion full-year shortfall, while the Congressional Budget Office is slightly more conservative, putting it at $896 billion. Last month the U.S. Treasury laid out its plans to borrow $814 billion between July and December, after the Trump administration and Congress agreed to a two-year postponement of the U.S. debt ceiling, ensuring no government shutdown or a federal default. Not only does the Treasury needs to borrow to cover the fiscal deficit created by Trump’s 2017 tax cuts and the inability of Congress to agree on spending cuts, but Treasury needs to rebuild its cash balance which was run down to pay the governments bills when the debt ceiling was hit in May.

By Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju, CNN
(CNN) - Hope Hicks' attorney told the House Judiciary Committee on Thursday that the former White House communications director does not need to clarify her testimony, after FBI documents related to Michael Cohen's case released last month raised questions about her answers. The committee had asked Hicks if she needed to clarify her testimony about the hush-money payments made during the campaign to two women, Karen McDougal and Stephanie Clifford, who alleged affairs with Trump. "The information in the search warrant affidavit is not inconsistent with Ms. Hicks' testimony, and does not establish any lack of candor on her part," wrote attorneys Robert Trout and Gloria Solomon. "She knows precisely when and how she first learned about Karen McDougal, Ms. McDougal's agreement with American Media, and 'hush money' payments to Story Daniels (Stephanie Clifford). It was all from press inquiries," the attorneys said. "Her testimony about those subjects before the Judiciary Committee, like the information she provided to the United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York and the Office of Special Counsel, was truthful and accurate." The committee had raised questions about Hicks' testimony after the documents the FBI released about Cohen showed he had spoken on the phone with then-candidate Donald Trump and Hicks, and the conversations were apparently about Clifford and McDougal. But Hicks' attorneys argued there were no specifics about the contents of those calls. He says of three October 8, 2016, phone calls the committee cited, including one with Trump, that Hicks "is quite certain that none of her calls that day with Mr. Cohen related to any agreement with or payments to Stormy Daniels." In a letter last month, House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler, a New York Democrat, wrote that the new information "raises substantial questions about the accuracy" of her statements to the committee.
Hicks testified in June that she had no information about Clifford other than what she learned from reporters.

By Kate Sullivan and David Shortell, CNN
Washington (CNN) - A former Internal Revenue Service analyst pleaded guilty on Wednesday to illegally disclosing confidential reports about President Donald Trump's former lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen's bank records. John C. Fry, who worked as an investigative analyst for the IRS's law enforcement arm, admitted he knowingly and willingly disclosed confidential information to celebrity attorney Michael Avenatti, his plea agreement says, according to a statement from the US attorney's office in the Northern District of California. Fry faces a maximum of five years in prison and a $250,000 fine, according to the Justice Department. US District Judge Edward M. Chen scheduled Fry's sentencing for December 18, 2019. The former analyst admitted to accessing a private government database from his work computer on May 4, 2018, and downloading five suspicious activity reports, or SARs, related to Michael Cohen and his company Essential Consultants, authorities say. Banks file a SAR when they review transactions that raise red flags. Fry, who admitted he had no official reason to disclose the records, then called Avenatti twice from his personal cell phone and verbally provided information about the contents of the reports, according to the Justice Department. Fry also sent email screenshots of the reports to Avenatti from a personal email account. Days later, on May 7, 2018, authorities say Fry conducted additional searches on Cohen and his company on the database and called Avenatti and again verbally provided his findings to him. Cohen's bank transactions became public last May when Avenatti posted a memo online outlining numerous payments to Cohen from a company linked to a Russian oligarch, pharmaceutical giant Novartis, AT&T, which owns CNN, and others.

Donald Trump and his minions keep hiding behind euphemisms. What they clearly want is to make America whiter
By Amanda Marcotte
How many euphemisms can Donald Trump's allies and members of his administration come up with for "white" when trying to explain their preferences for what the population of the United States should look like? There's "Western civilization," which Trump has declared superior to "the South or the East," because people from the magical lands of the West apparently "pursue innovation" while others do not. (Someone should tell the tech-driven economies of South Asia and East Asia about that.) The language, sometimes modified to "Western values," was picked up by much of right-wing media. Then there's "culture and demographics", a euphemism for whiteness preferred by folks like Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, who is beyond any serious doubt the most racist member of Congress.

By Amita Kelly
Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper dropped his bid for president Thursday. "Today, I'm ending my campaign for president. But I will never stop believing that America can only move forward when we work together," Hickenlooper tweeted. He had been urged to run for Senate in Colorado, challenging Sen. Cory Gardner. In a video attached to his tweet, he said he would give that "serious thought" but made no announcement. As a presidential candidate, Hickenlooper had painted himself as a relative centrist in the crowded, mostly progressive presidential field of more than 20 candidates. But he wasn't able to gain much traction. He had not met the polling or fundraising requirements to participate in the September debate.

Posted By Tim Hains
Lou Dobbs and GOP strategist Ed Rollins expressed great concern about the White House staff on Wednesday's edition of FOX Business Network's "Lou Dobbs Tonight," wondering which "idiots" are pushing him to embrace gun control and increase legal immigration. "Whoever is advising this president to compromise with radical Dems, you know, you need to get your head straight because this is just nuts and a bad political idea," Dobbs said. "Some of the president's misguided advisors appear to be pushing the president to roll back the Second Amendment or to support Mitch McConnell's Senate bill to double the number of H-1B visas -- nearly all would be for Indian and Chinese workers who would be in direct competition with American workers." Ed Rollins, who worked in the Nixon and Reagan administrations, said that his main concern was the lack of political experience among the White House staff: "It is now a group of young people who have never had any experience in life or politics... The reality is now you've basically got a group of young people who are all about the Hill. They're not about the president and they're not about the president's programs. They're trying to please everybody on the Hill."

By Domenico Montanaro
Following two recent mass shootings, about half a dozen Democratic presidential candidates are not mincing their words when it comes to President Trump. They're calling him a "white supremacist." "He is," former Rep. Beto O'Rourke said on MSNBC. He had already called Trump a "racist" and was asked whether he thought Trump was a white supremacist. "He is a dehumanizer. ... He has been very clear about who he prefers to be in this country and who he literally wants to keep out with walls and cages and militarization and torture and cruelty. And again, we in El Paso have born the brunt of all of that." Twenty-two people were killed in El Paso, Texas, earlier this month when a gunman opened fire in a Walmart. People from both sides of the U.S.-Mexico border were killed, and the shooter is believed to have written a screed deriding immigrants as invaders. The language in that manifesto is similar to the kind of language Trump has used, leading many to blame the president for using irresponsible rhetoric that could inspire people at the fringes. The progressive left has pressed candidates — and the media — to call Trump a "liar" and a "racist." In fact, in a recent Quinnipiac poll, more than half of Americans said they believe the president is a racist – and the country has been bitterly divided, through partisan lenses, on race in this country.

By Nicholas Wu, USA TODAY
A Republican congressional candidate in Georgia has dropped out of the congressional race after calling himself a "white nationalist." Donnie Bolena, a longshot candidate running to challenge Rep. Lucy McBath, D-Ga., said in a 22-minute long Facebook video that the local Fulton County Republican Party had pressured him to exit the race, reported the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Two days before he posted the video on August 10, Bolena had called himself a "white nationalist," according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Bolena doubled down on his remarks in the video and discussed the post he had previously made. “I said I was a proud white nationalist," he said while wearing a red Trump hat. "Due to the shootings that happened in Dayton, Ohio, and El Paso, Texas, I was very aggravated and very mad at the way the liberal media comes after conservatives. It comes after our Second Amendment.”

By Associated Press
The government had argued authorities weren't required to provide certain accommodations, like soap, under a requirement that facilities be "safe and sanitary." SAN FRANCISCO — A panel of judges on Thursday dismissed an appeal by the U.S. government that contended detained immigrant children might not require soap during shorter stints in custody under a longstanding settlement agreement. A three-judge panel for the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco dismissed a challenge to a lower court decision that authorities had failed to provide safe and sanitary conditions for the children under the 1997 settlement. The U.S. government had argued that authorities weren't required to provide specific accommodations, such as soap, under the agreement's requirement that facilities be "safe and sanitary" and asked the panel to weigh in. The appellate judges disagreed and dismissed the government's case. "Assuring that children eat enough edible food, drink clean water, are housed in hygienic facilities with sanitary bathrooms, have soap and toothpaste, and are not sleep-deprived are without doubt essential to the children's safety," the panel wrote. The ruling followed a June hearing where a U.S. government lawyer said the agreement was vague and didn't necessarily require that a toothbrush and soap be provided to children during brief stays in custody.

That’s Euro Pacific Capital’s Peter Schiff explaining to Fox Business following the Dow Jones Industrial Average’s DJIA, +0.39% nasty plunge on Wednesday how he sees this turbulent market ultimately playing out. “The dollar DXY, +0.18% is going to go through the floor and it’s going to take the bond market with it and the next crisis, it’s not subprime mortgages, it’s going to be in the Treasury market,” he added. “This trade war is lost,” he said. “The only question is when do we surrender and how do we admit defeat. Again, I don’t think we’re going to get any kind of deal.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should explain why he blocked a bipartisan denunciation of Russian interference in our election before voters went to the polls. Americans deserve to hear why McConnell did not trust them with the evidence that he and 11 other congressional leaders received in a confidential briefing in September. The Washington Post reports that during that briefing McConnell “made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.” McConnell also questioned the veracity of the intelligence, according to the Post, based on information from unidentified officials present at the September briefing. On Monday, McConnell said he had the “highest confidence” in U.S. intelligence agencies. But McConnell would not answer reporters’ questions about the Post’s account. He passed up the opportunity to deny that he torpedoed the administration’s request for a bipartisan pre-election statement calling out the Russians. Now McConnell and other Republicans are saying the integrity of our elections is too important for partisanship. But before the election McConnell appears to have put partisan concerns first. It’s impossible to say whether the outcome would have changed if Republicans and Democrats in Congress had united to publicly rebuke Russia.

By Tom Hamburger and Rosalind S. Helderman
In January, as the Senate debated whether to permit the Trump administration to lift sanctions on Russia’s largest aluminum producer, two men with millions of dollars riding on the outcome met for dinner at a restaurant in Zurich. On one side of the table sat the head of sales for Rusal, the Russian aluminum producer that would benefit most immediately from a favorable Senate vote. The U.S. government had imposed sanctions on Rusal as part of a campaign to punish Russia for “malign activity around the globe,” including attempts to sway the 2016 presidential election. On the other side sat Craig Bouchard, an American entrepreneur who had gained favor with officials in Kentucky, the home state of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Bouchard was trying to build the first new aluminum-rolling mill in the United States in nearly four decades, in a corner of northeastern Kentucky ravaged by job losses and the opioid epidemic — a project that stood to benefit enormously if Rusal were able to get involved.

By Kate Sullivan, CNN
Washington (CNN) - The prominent pro-Israel group American Israel Public Affairs Committee suggested Thursday it opposed a move by Israel -- and supported by President Donald Trump -- to bar Democratic Reps. Ilhan Omar and Rashida Tlaib from entering the country. AIPAC, which advocates for a staunch alliance between the US and Israel, has frequently sided with Trump administration policies that have supported Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government, making its opposition especially notable. "We disagree with Reps. Omar and Tlaib's support for the anti-Israel and anti-peace BDS movement, along with Rep. Tlaib's calls for a one-state solution. We also believe every member of Congress should be able to visit and experience our democratic ally Israel firsthand," AIPAC tweeted early Thursday afternoon. Omar and Tlaib, the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, have frequently criticized Israel's treatment of Palestinians and expressed support for the Boycott, Divest, and Sanctions movement, which aims to end international support for Israel because of its policies toward Palestinians. That support was cited by the Israeli government as the basis for blocking them from entering the country. The two congresswomen have previously been criticized by AIPAC. Omar drew controversy earlier this year for suggesting Republican support of Israel is fueled by donations from AIPAC. The Minnesota Democrat later apologized, but reaffirmed what she called the "problematic role of lobbyists in our politics," including AIPAC. She insinuated pro-Israel groups were pushing "allegiance to a foreign country." Netanyahu spoke at the annual AIPAC conference via video earlier this year and condemned Omar's comments, saying, "it's not about the Benjamins" and that the "reason the people of America support Israel is not because they want our money, it's because they share our values."

By Marik von Rennenkampff, Opinion Contributor
Republicans have labeled the rising national debt a dire threat to national security. Indeed, an ever-increasing federal debt constrains future defense budgets and severely limits the government’s ability to respond to future conflicts or economic crises. Moreover, China is the single largest foreign holder of U.S. debt. Ironically, however, virtually every one of the GOP voices now citing the national debt as a major national security threat voted for the 2017 tax cut, which is forecast to balloon the debt. Nearly two years following the passage of the tax law, its dramatic effects are coming into focus. Normally, in a reasonably strong economy, the government collects more tax dollars year-over-year. In short, economic growth and a larger pool of taxpayers from the previous year generate higher tax receipts. As a direct result of the GOP tax cut, however, 2018 was the first year that tax revenues actually declined in a relatively strong economy. When accounting for inflation, this unprecedented drop in revenues is even starker. But it gets worse. The actual decline in tax receipts was partially hidden by a surge in government revenues – amounting to the largest tax increase in decades – due to the Trump administration’s ongoing trade wars. To put all of this into perspective, the last time that the unemployment rate was as low as it is today, federal revenues increased by a whopping 22 percent over the previous year. It should come as little surprise, then, that nonpartisan sources have forecast trillions of dollars in debt over the next decade due to the 2017 GOP tax cut. Despite the Republican mantra that “spending is the problem,” these forecasts account for modest spending scenarios. All told, the 2017 GOP tax law is a fiscal disaster with clear implications for national security. Moreover, the tax cuts did not “pay for themselves,” as the Trump administration repeatedly promised. Spending, meanwhile, spiraled out of control, despite Republican control of the White House and both chambers of Congress.

By Kaitlan Collins, CNN
(CNN) - White House officials have been engaged in preliminary discussions about invoking executive privilege to limit former campaign aide Corey Lewandowski from complying with a congressional subpoena, despite Lewandowski never serving in any role in the administration, according to three sources. House Democrats authorized a subpoena for Lewandowski last month, and served it Thursday. The White House has invoked executive privilege in the past to block former aides such as Don McGahn from complying with similar congressional subpoenas. While testifying in June, Hope Hicks declined to answer nearly every question about her time in the West Wing, citing instructions from President Donald Trump that she was "absolutely immune" from answering. Annie Donaldson, McGahn's deputy, also did not answer more than 200 questions in her written responses to the House Judiciary Committee, citing similar immunity. But this would be the first time Trump has tried to invoke privilege for someone who has never worked in the administration. McGahn, Hicks and Donaldson all held titles in the West Wing; Lewandowski has only informally advised Trump since his work on the 2016 campaign ended.

By Kate Rooney
GE’s CEO said the accusations of fraud by Madoff whistleblower Harry Markopolos are false, and driven by market manipulation. “GE will always take any allegation of financial misconduct seriously. But this is market manipulation – pure and simple,” Lawrence Culp, chairman and CEO of GE said in a statement. “Mr. Markopolos’s report contains false statements of fact and these claims could have been corrected if he had checked them with GE before publishing the report.” Culp said the fact that Markopolos never talked to company officials before publishing the report “goes to show that he is not interested in accurate financial analysis, but solely in generating downward volatility in GE stock so that he and his undisclosed hedge fund partner can personally profit.” Markopolos on Thursday targeted GE in a 175-page report, accusing the conglomerate of issuing fraudulent financial statements to hide the extent of its accounting problems. A U.S. hedge fund, that Markopolos wouldn’t name, paid Markopolos to research and publish his report, and Markopolos told CNBC that he was getting a “decent percentage” of profits that the hedge fund would make from betting against GE.

By Paul R. La Monica, CNN Business
New York (CNN Business)Harry Markopolos is famous for blowing the whistle on Bernie Madoff's Ponzi scheme, which blew up in 2008. Now the accounting investigator has his sights set on a new target: General Electric. He accuses the troubled company of orchestrating a massive fraud. Markopolos said in a report released Thursday that GE was hiding nearly $40 billion of losses in its insurance business. He said this is the largest case of accounting fraud he and his team have investigated. "In fact, GE's $38 billion in accounting fraud amounts to over 40% of GE's market capitalization, making it far more serious than either the Enron or WorldCom accounting frauds," Markopolos wrote in the report, referring to the scandals that eventually helped bankrupt energy giant Enron in 2001 and long-distance telco WorldCom in 2002. GE strongly denied Markopolos' allegations.

By Jeremy Herb and Manu Raju, CNN
(CNN) - The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday issued subpoenas to former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski and a former White House official as it ramps up its investigation to determine whether to impeach President Donald Trump. The committee issued the subpoenas Thursday to Lewandowski and former White House aide Rick Dearborn, requesting they testify publicly before the committee. Both Trump aides were cited extensively in the obstruction of justice section of special counsel Robert Mueller's report. The subpoenas don't come as a surprise — the duo was included when the committee authorized subpoenas to 12 individuals last month — but they signal the direction the committee is taking as it looks to quickly gather evidence that could lead to pursuing impeachment. The House has not voted on a formal impeachment inquiry, but House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler says his committee's investigation constitutes "formal impeachment proceedings" and the committee has a goal of deciding whether to recommend articles of impeachment by the end of the year. "It is clear that any other American would have been prosecuted based on the evidence Special Counsel Mueller uncovered in his report," Nadler said in a statement. "Corey Lewandowski and Rick Dearborn were prominently featured in the Special Counsel's description of President Trump's efforts to obstruct justice by directing then-White House Counsel Don McGahn to fire the Special Counsel, and then by ordering him to lie about it."

By Paul P. Murphy, CNN
(CNN) - The Department of Justice says one of its own "repeatedly" helped the Bloods street gang protect its interests by identifying and exposing informants and cooperating witnesses. Tawanna Hilliard works in an administrative role for the US Attorney's Office for the District of New Jersey, court documents say. According to the US Attorney for the Eastern District of New York, over a period of more than two years, Hilliard used her access to information to help her son Tyquan Hilliard, 28, and his gang, the 5-9 Brims set of the Bloods. Authorities have charged the Hilliards with six felony counts: witness tampering and harassment, obstruction of justice and conspiracy to tamper with a witness. Each carries a maximum 20-year prison sentence. Tawanna Hilliard is also charged with illegally obtaining information from a protected government computer. The Hilliards' lawyer has not responded to a request for comment. Court records show that Tawanna Hilliard pleaded not guilty to the charges and is out on $75,000 bail. Tyquan Hilliard has not yet be arraigned on the charges; he's currently in a New York state prison serving the remainder of an 11-year sentence for robbery and assault. The indictment says that the crimes began in 2016, when "a high-ranking member" of the gang told Hilliard to use her access at work to determine whether people were cooperating with law enforcement. Officials found out about it only because Tawanna Hilliard called Tyquan Hilliard while he was serving a six-year sentence in a New York state prison for possession of a loaded firearm, according to court documents. Prison phone calls are recorded and monitored.

By emily shapiro
A dramatic, hours-long shootout and standoff between a gunman and Philadelphia police ended overnight with the suspect in custody and all six officers who were shot surviving. The North Philadelphia neighborhood of Tioga-Nicetown is littered with evidence markers and crime scene tape Thursday as the police department recovers from the attack, which ended after the district attorney and police chief tried to calm down the suspect in "unorthodox" phone conversations. Officers were serving a narcotics warrant on suspected shooter Maurice Hill and had entered the home when gunfire erupted around 4:30 p.m. Wednesday, authorities said.  Hill, armed with multiple guns, allegedly barricaded himself inside and fired from the first floor as he held two officers and three civilians hostage on the second floor, police said.Gunfire rained down on police for hours. Gunshots ricocheted off sidewalks and homes as officers crawled and crouched behind cars to avoid getting hit.

By Larry Celona and Chris Perez
It’s certainly a conversation starter. Jeffrey Epstein had an oil painting of Bill Clinton in a blue dress — lounging on a chair in the Oval Office — hanging up in his Manhattan townhouse, according to law enforcement sources. “It was hanging up there prominently — as soon as you walked in — in a room to the right,” a source told The Post. “Everybody who saw it laughed and smirked.” But the bizarre home decor didn’t stop there. Epstein, 66, also kept a mannequin hanging from the ceiling — dressed up in a wedding gown, the source said, noting how the doll was situated above a staircase. A woman who visited Epstein’s $56 million home confirmed the existence of the Clinton painting to the Daily Mail, but didn’t mention the mannequin. She was able to snap a picture of the painting, which was posted online Wednesday. In it, the former president can be seen lounging on a chair in the Oval Office — pointing toward the viewer — while wearing red heels and a blue dress similar to the one Monica Lewinsky famously donned during their White House hookup.

By Tara Bahrampour
When the government announced plans last year to ask about citizenship on the 2020 Census, analysts inside and outside the Census Bureau warned it could scare many immigrants from being counted. The question was ultimately blocked by legal challenges. But the fight over the census citizenship question seems to have been just one skirmish in a larger war over who deserves to be part of America’s democracy. Over the course of Donald Trump’s presidency, administration officials have signaled a desire to fundamentally alter the country’s system of representation, making it far more restrictive than ever before. In doing so, some have alluded to a lawsuit that, even if it fails, may still succeed in shaping the debate over representation. Filed last year by the state of Alabama and Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) against the Commerce Department and the Census Bureau, it argues that the current system of apportioning congressional seats gives an unfair electoral advantage to states with more undocumented immigrants. It says immigrants should not be counted for apportionment or federal funding if they are not in the United States legally, even if they do fill out the decennial survey. A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 6.

By Sara Mazloumsaki and Lauren Said-Moorhouse and Vasco Cotovio, CNN
(CNN) - A seized oil tanker at the center of a standoff between the UK and Iran is free to set sail, despite eleventh-hour efforts by the United States to halt the move to release it. The Supreme Court in the British territory of Gibraltar approved the release of the Grace 1, which was seized off the country's coast by authorities last month, after officials said they no longer wished to detain it. Gibraltar said it had received assurances from Iran and the owners of the oil that, were the tanker to be released, its cargo would not be taken to Syria, which would be in breach of European Union sanctions. The ship was seized six weeks ago as it passed through Gibraltar's territorial waters. Two weeks later, Iran seized a British ship in the Gulf, in what was widely regarded as a tit-for-tat operation. As tensions increased, the two sides conducted delicate negotiations in London. "Gibraltar has taken a very careful approach to the detention of Grace 1," Gibraltar's Chief Minister Fabian Picardo told CNN "We only acted in July when we had evidence that the cargo aboard the vessel was going to Syria." "What we found aboard the vessel has confirmed the view that we took was the correct view. We have only released the vessel... when we have been convinced that the vessel is not now going to Syria," he added. A last-minute intervention by the US threatened to scupper the deal to release the Grace 1. In a court hearing Thursday morning, instead of announcing the release of the tanker, the Gibraltar attorney general's lawyer Joseph Triay said the US Department of Justice had applied to extend its seizure. The basis of Washington's legal efforts was unclear Thursday. The State Department referred CNN to the Department of Justice, which declined to comment.

By Zoe Tillman - BuzzFeed News Reporter
Trump, his campaign, and his companies have used arbitration to try to move potentially damaging and embarrassing claims out of the public court process. WASHINGTON — Jane Doe, a hospice worker from California, was still undecided midway through an investor recruitment meeting in 2014 for a multilevel marketing company, ACN. But the promotional video she watched featuring Donald Trump — still in the midst of his run as star of The Celebrity Apprentice — won her over. Trump’s assurances that ACN was “one of the best businesses” were convincing. He already had so much money, Jane Doe told herself, he wasn’t trying to scam her. She paid the $499 registration fee. She spent thousands of dollars attending ACN conferences, hosting recruitment events to sign up other investors, and attending local meetings, all while trying to sell ACN’s video conferencing and telecommunications products. In the end, according to a lawsuit Jane Doe and other aggrieved ACN investors filed under pseudonyms against now-president Trump last year, she received one check. She earned $38. The investors are accusing Trump — who appeared in multiple promotional materials for ACN and spoke at the company's investor conferences — of fraud. They claim that he falsely touted ACN as a profitable and low-risk investment, even though he knew or should have known it was a bad investment, and that neither he nor ACN disclosed that he was being paid to endorse the company. Jane Doe now finds herself in a situation familiar to Stormy Daniels, former Trump campaign and White House staffers, employees who worked for Trump’s companies, and investors who put money into his businesses: Trump is arguing to move the lawsuit out of court — where evidence, arguments, and hearings generally are a matter of public record — and into the more secretive private justice system he has used for more than a decade to keep these kinds of unflattering allegations quiet, known as arbitration. Of the thousands of lawsuits filed by or against Trump and his companies over the years — a USA Today investigation identified at least 3,500 cases — the vast majority have played out in court. But in a small number of cases in which Trump, his 2016 campaign, or his businesses have been accused of discrimination, shady business practices, and other bad acts, the president and his lawyers have invoked clauses in contracts that give them the power to force these disputes behind closed doors.

By Lindsey Ellefson
The conservative talk radio host also apologizes for supporting Trump in 2016 — and his own history of “personal attacks”
Former Tea Party congressman Joe Walsh has called for President Trump to face a primary challenge from Republicans ahead of the 2020 election. “I apologize for the role that I played in putting an unfit conman in the White House,” the radio host said Thursday on CNN, where he was discussing an op-ed he wrote for the New York Times Wednesday arguing for a challenger. He called Trump “bad for the country” and cautioned that if Republicans don’t “stand up right now,” the party will “get wiped out in 2020.” In his op-ed for the New York Times, Walsh, once a strong Trump supporter himself, wrote, “Fiscal matters are only part of it. At the most basic level, Mr. Trump is unfit for office. His lies are so numerous — from his absurd claim that tariffs are “paid for mostly by China, by the way, not by us,” to his prevarication about his crowd sizes, he can’t be trusted.”

By Caroline Linton
A suspect is in custody in Philadelphia after an hourslong standoff and shootout that left six officers shot and another injured in a related vehicle crash, authorities said. Two officers and three other people who had been trapped in the building with the shooter were freed after several hours. Philadelphia District Attorney Larry Krasner identified the suspect as 36-year-old Maurice Hill. The alleged gunman surrendered shortly after midnight. Philadelphia Police Commissioner Richard Ross told reporters it was teargas that got the suspect to give up. Attorney Shaka Johnson said Hill called him to the scene of the standoff while he was barricaded inside. "Maurice called me in a panic, obviously," Johnson told CBS Philadelphia. "He did not want this to end violently and he really was sort of taking an opportunity to speak his peace. I told him, 'You gotta surrender, man."'

BEIJING/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - China on Thursday vowed to counter the latest U.S. tariffs on $300 billion of Chinese goods but called on the United States to meet it halfway on a potential trade deal, as U.S. President Donald Trump said any pact would have to be on America’s terms. The Chinese finance ministry said in a statement that Washington’s tariffs, set to start next month, violated a consensus reached between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping at a June summit in Japan to resolve their disputes via negotiation. In a separate statement, China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman, Hua Chunying, said, “We hope the U.S. will meet China halfway, and implement the consensus of the two heads of the two countries in Osaka.” China hopes to find mutually acceptable solutions through dialogue and consultation on the basis of equality and mutual respect, she added. Trump, who is seeking re-election in 2020 and had made the economy and his tough stance on China a key part of his 2016 campaign for the White House, on Thursday said any agreement must meet U.S. demands.

By Carol D. Leonnig and Aaron C. Davis
An autopsy found that financier Jeffrey Epstein suffered multiple breaks in his neck bones, according to two people familiar with the findings, deepening the mystery about the circumstances around his death. Among the bones broken in Epstein’s neck was the hyoid bone, which in men is near the Adam’s apple. Such breaks can occur in those who hang themselves, particularly if they are older, according to forensics experts and studies on the subject. But they are more common in victims of homicide by strangulation, the experts said. The details are the first findings to emerge from the autopsy of Epstein, a convicted sex offender and multimillionaire in federal custody on charges of sex trafficking. He died early Saturday morning after guards found him hanging in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan and he could not be revived.

By Mona Eltahawy
From King's Twitter feed to the manifesto of the El Paso shooter, white supremacists and white nationalists are obsessed with falling birth rates.
On Wednesday, Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, catapulted into the news again after musing that humanity might not exist if not for rape and incest. These cruel and highly offensive remarks were in service of the argument that even sexually assaulted women should be denied abortions. But King’s comments were just the latest reminder of the way sexism and white supremacy so often go hand in hand. Whether in Europe or in the United States, white supremacists and white nationalists are obsessed with falling birth rates, and by extension they are obsessed with the recruitment — and total control — of women’s wombs. In 2017, when the far-right, anti-Islam and anti-immigrant Dutch politician Geert Wilders was polling in second place in the Netherlands’ national elections, Breitbart’s European sister site Voice of Europe tweeted an image of Wilders plugging a hole in a wall labeled “Western Civilization.” King approvingly retweeted that image, noting that “Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies. King doubled down on this sentiment after an outcry, telling CNN's Chris Cuomo on "New Day": "You cannot rebuild your civilization with somebody else's babies. You've got to keep your birth rate up, and that you need to teach your children your values. ... In doing so, you can grow your population, you can strengthen your culture, and you can strengthen your way of life." - Sounds like from King's statement he supports rape and incest and explains why he does not support abortion.

By mark osborne
Chaos broke out at the protest of an Immigration and Customs Enforcement facility in Rhode Island late Wednesday when a truck tried to drive through protesters and corrections officers ended up pepper-spraying the crowd.  The protest outside the Wyatt Detention Center in Central Falls, Rhode Island, less than 10 miles north of Providence, was led by members of the "Never Again" movement, which likens undocumented immigrants being imprisoned to the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust. Protesters have been organizing outside the ICE facility since early July. About a dozen people were treated for irritation due to the pepper spray Wednesday, while one person was taken to the hospital for a minor injury, Providence ABC affiliate WLNE reported.

Associated Press
NEWARK, N.J. – An initial shipment of bottled water for Newark residents affected by potentially high lead levels has been found to be past its "best by" date – but state officials say no one is at risk. Twenty-thousand cases were distributed Monday after tests showed lead in a few homes where residents have been using filters. The state ordered 20,000 replacement cases and 50,000 more that were to be delivered Tuesday. With no timetable on when a solution could be found, New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy has called on the federal government to provide aid. "We need the federal government to do its share and punch its weight,'' Murphy said in a Newark news conference Wednesday.

By E.A. Crunden
The findings out Tuesday show that air pollution can accelerate lung disease as much as a pack of cigarettes a day. Air pollution, especially one type that is worsening with global warming, can accelerate lung disease as quickly as smoking a pack of cigarettes a day, new research released Tuesday shows. The study published on August 13 in the journal JAMA by researchers at the University of Washington, Columbia University, and the University at Buffalo, doubles down on the link between air pollutants and lung disease. It also emphasizes the connection between the lung ailment emphysema and pollution from ground-level ozone, the main ingredient in smog (not to be confused with the ozone layer). Air pollutants have long been associated with both cardiovascular and respiratory diseases. Chronic lower respiratory disease is the fourth leading cause of death in the United States, and the third leading cause worldwide. But Tuesday’s study, funded by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), showed an increase in emphysema after exposure to pollutants like PM2.5 — fine particulate matter already linked to a staggering number of deaths — as well as black carbon. - Environmental regulations save American lives Trump and the GOP have reduced environmental regulations and profits for business above the lives of Americans.

By Katie Hunt and Jen Christensen, CNN
(CNN) - Long-term exposure to air pollution, especially ground-level ozone, is like smoking about a pack of cigarettes a day for many years, a new study says, and like smoking, it can can lead to emphysema. The study, published Tuesday in the medical journal JAMA, is the largest of its kind. It looked at exposure to air pollution -- specifically to ground-level ozone, fine particulate matter, nitrogen oxide and black carbon. The study looked at more than 7,000 adults ages 45 to 84 for over a decade in six US metropolitan areas -- Baltimore, Chicago, Los Angeles,  New York City, St. Paul, Minnesota, and Winston-Salem, North Carolina. Using a CT scan, researchers were able to see that that exposure to each of the pollutants was associated with the development of emphysema, a lung condition that causes shortness of breath, and is usually associated with cigarette smoking. It's a debilitating chronic disease that shrinks the amount of oxygen that reaches your bloodstream. Scientists were able to show a decline in lung function with a spirometry, a simple test that measures how much air you can breathe out in one forced breath. The patients were all healthy when they started the study, and researchers controlled for factors that could compromise lung health, including age and whether the person was a smoker or was regularly exposed to secondhand smoke. The strongest association between a pollutant and emphysema was seen with exposure to ozone, which was the only pollutant associated with an additional decline in lung function. - Environmental regulations save American lives Trump and the GOP have reduced environmental regulations and profits for business above the lives of Americans.

By Rene Marsh and Ellie Kaufman, CNN
(CNN) - The Environmental Protection Agency "exceeded" its goals in cutting back environmental regulations during the first two years of the Trump administration, according to an internal watchdog report. The EPA's inspector general evaluated how the agency responded to an executive order from President Donald Trump issued in January 2017 mandating federal agencies control costs by cutting regulations. The EO asked that for every one regulation an agency issued, two regulations be cut. The EPA cut 26 regulations, saving the agency more than $96 million, and created four new regulations -- far more than the 2-to-1 ratio the White House had requested, according to the report. The agency saved roughly $6 million more than the Office of Management and budget requested. In the administration's first year, "the EPA had the highest number of deregulatory actions of any federal agency," according to the report. These actions include rollbacks of environmental regulations that govern water, air and greenhouse gas emission levels.
In the past two years, the EPA changed what waters are protected under the Clean Water Act, rolled back an Obama-era plan that would have reduced carbon emission from coal-fired power plants, and proposed a rule that would allow fewer restrictions on hazardous air pollutants, among other changes. The inspector general's report gives a fuller picture of how aggressively the agency has been in slashing regulations; the data shows the EPA has been the most successful in this goal. While the inspector general evaluated the agency's regulatory rollbacks, it "did not evaluate human health and environmental impacts or trends," the report said. - Environmental regulations save American lives Trump and the GOP have reduced environmental regulations and profits for business above the lives of Americans.

by Joseph Zeballos-Roig
Throughout its trade war with China, the Trump administration has consistently struck the same message: They're paying the entirety of the tariffs, and not the United States. But early on Wednesday, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross went on CNBC to explain the administration's decision to delay a portion of the planned tariffs until December 15, which would have affected the rest of Chinese imports into the United States. He cited a desire to protect shoppers from any adverse effects during the holiday season, given the goods affected had included laptops, cellphones, toys and video game consoles among others. "Nobody wants to take any chance at disrupting the Christmas season," Ross said.  It's a tacit, yet remarkable admission that the ongoing trade war with China is threatening the pockets of American consumers. Just over a year ago, Ross staunchly defended Trump's massive tariffs as being "no big deal" on CNBC — and held up cans of soup, beer, and soda to illustrate his point. President Donald Trump has also started to publicly recognize the cost of the trade war on Americans. Asked by reporters about the delay on implementing tariffs on Monday, Trump said, "We're doing this for the Christmas season."

By Christina Zhao AND Matt Keeley
A man, allegedly a correctional officer, drove a pickup truck into a group of Jewish peaceful demonstrators protesting outside the Wyatt Detention Center in Rhode Island on Wednesday night. Hundreds of Jewish protesters, mostly members of Never Again Action, a group that advocates for the rights of migrants detained by ICE, gathered outside the Donald W. Wyatt Detention facility in Central Falls on Wednesday evening. The protesters stood blocking the entrance of the facility, linking arms while chanting for the abolition of ICE and the end to America's harsh immigration policies. At around 10 p.m. local time, a dark-colored pickup truck drove slowly up to a group of roughly 40-50 protesters blocking the entrance to the location's parking lot, before driving straight through the crowd, according to a video uploaded to Twitter.

The companies complying with subpoenas for the documents include Deutsche Bank, which has financed the Trump Organization.
By Casey Michel
A number of major Wall Street banks have handed over thousands of documents to congressional committees pertaining to Russian figures who may have had links to President Donald Trump, his family, or the the Trump Organization, the Wall Street Journal reported.  The firms, including Bank of America, Citigroup, and JPMorgan Chase, passed along the documents subpoenaed by investigators with both the House Finance Committee and House Intelligence Committee. The banks are complying with subpoenas sent to them in April. The specific details of the documents remain scarce, as do the identities of the Russian figures or entities specifically mentioned in the material. Deutsche Bank is also now reportedly complying with subpoenas sent by office of New York Attorney General Letitia James, who filed a civil subpoena earlier this year demanding emails, loan agreements, and other documents.

By Oliver Darcy, CNN Business
New York (CNN Business) - CNN anchor Chris Cuomo apologized Tuesday morning for a heated altercation he had with an unidentified person, which was captured in video released online Monday night. "Appreciate all the support but - truth is I should be better than the guys baiting me," Cuomo tweeted. "This happens all the time these days. Often in front of my family. But there is a lesson: no need to add to the ugliness; I should be better than what I oppose." In a profanity-laced video, posted online Monday night by a YouTube channel called "THAT'S THE POINT with Brandon," an animated Cuomo was seen clashing with an unidentified person who appeared to have called him "Fredo." "Fredo" is a reference from "The Godfather" used to describe the least successful sibling in the movie's Mafia family. Cuomo compared the terminology to the n-word for Italians and asked, "Is that a cool f***ing thing?" Needling Cuomo more, the person responded, "You're a much more reasonable guy in person than you seem to be on television." The person then claimed that he didn't want a problem. "You called me Fredo," Cuomo responded. "It's like I called you a punk b***h. You like that?" The altercation continued to heat up. Cuomo warned the person that he was going to have a "f***ing problem." An unidentified person shouted, "What are you going to do about it?" Cuomo responded, "I'll f***ing ruin your s**t. I'll f***ing throw you down these stairs like a f***ing punk." Eventually, the altercation was broken up.

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