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US Monthly Headline News August 2019 Page 5

By Sonam Sheth
A US official told CNBC on Friday that a photo of an Iranian launchpad that President Donald Trump tweeted out in the afternoon came from an intelligence briefing Trump received earlier in the day. The picture was attached to a tweet in which Trump said the US was not involved in the failure of an Iranian rocket launch on Thursday. "The United States of America was not involved in the catastrophic accident during final launch preparations for the Safir SLV Launch at Semnan Launch Site One in Iran," Trump tweeted. "I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened at Site One." Iran's rocket launch failed and blew up on the pad at a space center in Iran, an Iranian official said. A US official also confirmed the news. Shortly after Trump made his statement, military and national-security experts began sounding the alarm that the president likely tweeted out classified intelligence.

4 killed, 21 others injured in extended mass shooting in Odessa, Texas: Police originally appeared on abcnews.go.com Four people have been shot and killed and 21 others injured by a gunman who opened fire in a series of shootings near Odessa in western Texas, according to authorities. The suspect has been shot and killed, Midland Police officials said. Police said there were a total of 25 shooting victims, including police officers from three different departments. Police initially said five people were killed, but that number included the shooter. The first of the shootings began with a traffic stop by a Texas Department of Public Safety officer just after 3 p.m. local time, authorities said. The officer stopped a gold Honda with a traffic violation, according to police. It was not clear what led to the traffic stop. But after the vehicle came to a stop, the officer was shot, officials said. That's when the suspect fled along I-20 toward Odessa, and kept shooting at people in multiple locations, authorities said. When he reached 42nd Street, he struck several more people, authorities added. Along the way, the suspect ditched his car and allegedly stole a mail truck, police said. He then went toward Cinergy, a local entertainment center, and continued shooting. The suspect, described as a white man in his 30s, was shot and killed by responding officers, police said.

By Yusuf Khan
On Monday, Trump told reporters that he held "high-level talks" with China about the trade war, adding "this is the first time I've seen them where they really want to make a deal." Global stocks instantly reversed what looked to be another day of heavy losses, following the Dow's 600 point drop on the previous Friday. His comments soothed anxious investors. But China said that those talks never actually happened. And CNN reported that: "Instead, two officials said Trump was eager to project optimism that might boost markets and conflated comments from China's vice premier with direct communication from the Chinese." All leaders want their markets to do well, and exaggerating successes and wins is hardly a tactic exclusive to Trump. But markets are currently at a particularly precarious state, with multiple red flags warning of a potential recession. And traders may be beginning to wonder how long they can afford to play along with Trump's optimism. "I already think we're less responsive to these kinds of claims, but not entirely so," said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda to Markets Insider in an email. "As ever with these things, it's difficult to know to differentiate between truth, lies, and exaggeration. Markets will often give more credence to reports that have come from credible sources or been verified but there are circumstances like this when we're left guessing." So it might not be long before traders stop playing to Trump's optimism — Erlam added: "It's difficult to say how long that will last, but the more his claims go unverified or denied, the more they'll fall on deaf ears." Also, the trade war shows no signs of abating, no matter what Trump says. That's why Trump's "rhetoric" should be viewed "with the utmost caution," Han Tan, Market Analyst at FXTM, said in an email to Business Insider on Monday, when markets rallied on the Trump tweets. "Investors are well aware that multiple rounds of trade talks have only led to the current dismal situation, whereby repeated tariff threats have become the norm."

By Nicole Gaouette, Barbara Starr, Zachary Cohen and Alex Marquardt, CNN
Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump claimed Friday that the US had nothing to do with the explosion of an Iranian rocket Thursday, tweeting a photo of such high resolution that it prompted questions about whether the President had publicly released classified imagery. "The United States of America was not involved in the catastrophic accident during final launch preparations for the Safir SLV Launch at Semnan Launch Site One in Iran," Trump wrote, and added what appeared to be a sarcastic sign off. "I wish Iran best wishes and good luck in determining what happened at Site One." Even as geospatial analysts observed that the granular level of detail in the image appeared far superior to capabilities the US has published previously or publicly admitted to in the past, casual observers were pointing to another anomaly. A shadow on the image and a bright spot of light seemed to suggest someone -- possibly the President -- had taken a photo of the image that very probably was not meant for public consumption. 'The absolute right' Trump himself sidestepped questions about whether the imagery was meant for public consumption. Asked by CNN's Kaitlan Collins on Friday if he had released a classified photo, Trump replied, "I just wish Iran well. They had a big problem. I released a photo, which I had the absolute right to do." And he repeated the message in his tweet, that the US had nothing to do with the failed launch. A US official told CNN that the image appeared to come from a satellite operated by the US intelligence community and noted that it was less likely the image was from a drone. The US was not likely to send a drone or manned aircraft into Iranian airspace, given regional tensions, this official said. John Sipher, a former CIA officer, told CNN that the image is "consistent with a standard classified product. I'm sure it was." Referring to the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Sipher added that "it may have been a low classification, though. NGA can provide products at all classification levels, even unclassified."

President Donald Trump on Friday appeared to accuse companies of falsely claiming that they've been hurt by his escalating trade war with China, instead saying they're mismanaging their businesses. “If the Fed would cut, we would have one of the biggest Stock Market increases in a long time. Badly run and weak companies are smartly blaming these small Tariffs instead of themselves for bad management...and who can really blame them for doing that? Excuses!” Trump wrote on Twitter Friday. Trump’s comments come just days before the U.S. is set to impose new tariffs on China in two rounds, with the first due to start on Sept. 1. The 10 percent tariff on approximately $112 billion of Chinese goods would likely raise prices for consumer items like electronics and shoes. In one example of corporate America complaining about Trump's trade war, the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America wrote a letter to the president this week stating that the planned tariffs would drive up costs for consumers. “Imposing tariffs in September on the majority of all footwear products from China — including nearly every type of leather shoe — will make it impossible for hardworking American individuals and families to escape the harm that comes from these tax increases,” the group wrote. “This uncertainty the China trade war has brought to our industry is stifling U.S. growth and halting capital investment in jobs, infrastructure, technologies, and more competitive pricing for our customers.” In an interview with CNN’s Richard Quest, White House trade adviser Peter Navarro vigorously defended his boss’s use of tariffs.

By Kevin Stankiewicz
Basic Fun, the company behind Lincoln Logs, mini retro arcade games and other toys, plans to keep its production in China, CEO Jay Foreman told CNBC on Friday. Foreman suggested that President Donald Trump is too unpredictable for the company to just pick up and leave China, where Florida-based Basic Fun makes about 90% of its products. “As soon as that happens and we start to move, he’s going to put a target on somebody else’s back, and where do we go from there?” Foreman said on “Squawk on the Street,” questioning Trump’s tweet a week ago that “hereby” ordered American companies to “immediately start looking for an alternative to China.” “Without a rationalization in this trade policy, there is really no way to plan,” added Foreman. Foreman took aim at the president less than two days before the first batch of new tariffs on additional Chinese imports were set to go into effect. The tariffs, initially announced at a 10% rate and later increased to 15%, are due to kick in Sunday on goods including apparel, footwear, consumer electronics and toys. The second wave of those new duties, covering items including smartphones and laptops, is scheduled for Dec. 15. A total of about $300 billion worth of Chinese imports would be affected by these two moves, on top of the threatened tariff rate increase to 30% on Oct. 1 on $250 billion of goods already subject to levies at 25%. Trump’s tweet last Friday also urged American companies to avoid the tariffs by finding alternative production locations, including manufacturing in the United States. But Foreman said Trump’s wishes are, at least for his company, impractical. Not only has Basic Fun developed efficient supply chains in China, but Foreman said there are not viable alternative locations for toy manufacturing. “I’m not really sure the American consumer is ready to start making toys in the kind of conditions you might see in factories in India, and there’s no labor here in the United States to manufacture toys,” said Foreman.

By Franco Ordoñez
The Trump administration's decision to shift more than $100 million of federal disaster aid to help pay for more detention beds for migrants has set off an outcry just as Florida is bracing for Hurricane Dorian. But the move, which also includes transferring money away from other department priorities, is also raising uncomfortable questions about whether the Department of Homeland Security is overly focused on border and immigration enforcement at the expense of other parts of its mission, potentially leaving the United States vulnerable to other threats. David Lapan, a former Trump official and press secretary at the Department Homeland Security, said prioritizing border security above other important aspects of the department sends a clear message to the country and the DHS workforce about what's really important and what's not. "This is where you get to the point that the Department of Homeland Security, which has all of these various missions to secure the homeland, has turned into under President Trump the Department of Border Enforcement, or the Department of Immigration Enforcement, if you will," Lapan said. In total, DHS told Congress that it plans to re-allocate $271 million to to fund more detention beds for migrants who were caught after crossing the border illegally. In addition to shifting money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster relief fund, the Trump administration is transferring another $24 million away from the U.S. Coast Guard, $24 million from the Transportation Security Administration and more than $4 million from the newly-established Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency.

By Ephrat Livni
US senators, Democrats and Republicans alike, are in a huff over a Second Amendment case in the Supreme Court. The gun-rights matter, raised by the New York Rifle and Pistol Association and stemming from a New York City law, is inspiring unusual writing from both sides of the political aisle. The latest missive to the court, submitted yesterday, comes in the form of a letter from Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and 52 colleagues. It is basically about politics, not the law. In fact, McConnell expresses no opinions about the issues in the case but reminds the justices that they are an independent body, not subject to pressure from politicians (a fact that they are surely aware of and an assertion that seems suspect coming from that particular writer). McConnell’s letter isn’t so much to the justices, however, despite being addressed to the court. It’s really a response to an amicus brief filed earlier in the month by five Democratic senators who believe the high court should consider the case moot.

Presidential hopeful Joe Biden is on the defensive after reportedly mistelling a story on the campaign trail about a heroic Navy captain. Biden has been telling some version of the story for years. "This guy climbed down a ravine, carried this guy up on his back under fire," the former vice president said during a campaign stop in New Hampshire last week. "The general wanted me to pin the Silver Star on him. I got up there, and this is the God's truth, my word as a Biden. He stood at attention. I went to pin it on him. He said, 'Sir, I don't want the damn thing. Do not pin it on me, sir. Please, sir, do not do that. He died! He died!'" But according to the Washington Post, who spoke to more than a dozen military and campaign sources, "Biden got the time period, the location, the heroic act, the type of medal, the military branch and the rank of the recipient, as well as his own role in the ceremony" wrong. Biden's story appears to have some truthful elements. In 2011, Biden did award a medal to Army Staff Sergeant Chad Workman after the soldier tried to retrieve a dying comrade from a burning vehicle. Workman told the Post he felt Biden "really understood" his situation. But the soldier at the center of Biden's searing campaign story received the Medal of Honor from President Obama. Biden is unapologetic, telling reporters the essence of the story, about military bravery, loss and guilt, is true. In an interview Thursday, Biden called the criticisms "ridiculous," saying, "...The central point is it was absolutely accurate what I said ... The story was that he refused the medal because the fella he tried to save, and risked his life saving, died. That's the beginning, middle and end."

By Aris Folley
Former Canadian Prime Minister Kim Campbell on Friday issued an apology and deleted a tweet after she was criticized for saying she hopes the hurricane headed toward Florida this week makes a “direct hit” on President Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort. “I have deleted my tweet about the hurricane & Mar a Lago and sincerely apologize to all it offended,” Campbell, who was Canada’s first female prime minister, wrote in the tweet. “It was intended as sarcasm-not a serious wish of harm. Throwaway lines get a life of their own on Twitter. I shd know better. Mea culpa,” she continued. Campbell prompted criticism on Twitter after tweeting earlier this week that she was “rooting” for Hurricane Dorian to make “a direct hit on Mar a Lago!” Her remarks follow reports that Dorian is expected to make landfall as possibly as high as a Category 4 hurricane around Melbourne, Fla., which is 115 miles away from the president’s resort in Palm Beach. Campbell, who has a history of being critical of the president, had also taken a shot at Trump over the issue of climate change earlier this week, saying on Thursday that not everyone in the hurricane's path would be in a "fortress" like Mar-a-Lago and that Trump would "not bear the cost of his immoral abdication of the climate challenge."  Campbell served as Canada's prime minister for a little more than four months in 1993 after Prime Minister Brian Mulroney resigned. Her comments come as Dorian barrels toward Florida.   

By Lauren del Valle
(CNN) - Authorities arrested 35 people and seized enough fentanyl to kill roughly 14 million people in a three-state drug bust announced on Thursday by the US Justice Department. The alleged drug trafficking ring is an example of fentanyl coming to the US from China, said US Attorney G. Zachary Terwilliger of the Eastern District of Virginia. "The illicit fentanyl that's coming in, the vast majority is from China and a lot of it is coming in through the mails," he said at a press conference announcing the arrests. At least one suspect ordered fentanyl from a vendor in Shanghai that was successfully mailed through US Postal Service to Newport News, Virginia, according to the indictment. "The last thing we want is for the US Postal Service to become the nation's largest drug dealer and there are people way above my pay grade working on that, but absolutely it's about putting pressure on the Chinese," Terwilliger said. A grand jury charged 39 co-conspirators with 106 counts for their involvement in an alleged drug trafficking conspiracy that began in March 2016, according to the indictment. The alleged suspects range in age from 19 to 63 years old. One individual charged had been deported in 2014 and reentered the US illegally. Officers seized 24 firearms, 30 kilograms of heroin, 5 kilograms of cocaine and more than $700,000 in cash along with 30 kilograms of fentanyl, according to a press release from the US attorney's office. More than 120 law enforcement officers from 30 law enforcement agencies in Virginia, North Carolina and Texas executed the three-day targeted arrest operation dubbed Operation Cookout.

By Susan Scutti, CNN
(CNN) - Sexual orientation cannot be predicted by a single "gay gene," new research indicates. Instead, a host of genetic and environmental factors play a role, according to a study published Thursday in Science Magazine. The findings provide insight into the complex genetics underlying human sexuality. But they do not explain it, wrote the international team of researchers who analyzed genetic data gathered from almost half a million people.
The complexity of sexuality. "Across human societies and in both sexes, some 2% to 10% of individuals report engaging in sex with same-sex partners, either exclusively or in addition to sex with opposite-sex partners," wrote the study authors.' Same-sex attraction appears to run in families, and identical twins are more likely to be aligned in their sexuality than either fraternal twins or other siblings, noted the researchers. Both these factors suggest genetic influences are at play.

The vast majority of the cases began while migrants were detained, not beforehand.
By Amy Russo
Within the past year, nearly 900 immigrants housed in U.S. detention centers were sick with the mumps and the overwhelming majority of the cases were contracted within the facilities, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Thursday. From September 2018 to August 2019, there were 898 confirmed and probable mumps cases among adults across 57 facilities, four of which are run by Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the CDC said. Others are jails and privately operated facilities. The illness hit centers in 19 states, and impacted an additional 33 staff members. Of the total number of cases, 44% were detected in Texas. More than 80% of the immigrants who had the mumps were exposed to it while living inside the facilities. The high rate of infection is almost certainly a result of the government’s refusal to provide detainees with MMR vaccines, which the CDC says ward off most mumps cases. Among Americans, the mumps is largely a disease of the past. Before vaccinations against the mumps became routine in the 1960s, it was common for the illness to be contracted during childhood, though vaccinations have cut down on cases by more than 99% across the country. While mumps outbreaks can still occur among at colleges and other places where communities have prolonged close contact, vaccination coverage can limit the duration and spread. Within detention centers, mumps aren’t the only problem: severe overcrowding, general squalor, a lack of beds and inadequate personal hygiene products have also been reported. In June, the Department of Homeland Security’s Office of the Inspector General released a report warning of “egregious violations of detention standards” found in New Jersey and California facilities housing ICE detainees, including “inadequate medical care.”  The report found that migrants were fed expired food (thus raising the risk of illness), received insufficient mental health care, and were fashioning nooses out of bedsheets.

By Sonam Sheth
Current and former spies are floored by President Donald Trump's fervent defense of Russia at this year's G7 summit in Biarritz, France. "It's hard to see the bar anymore since it's been pushed so far down the last few years, but President Trump's behavior over the weekend was a new low," one FBI agent who works in counterintelligence told Insider. At the summit, Trump aggressively lobbied for Russia to be readmitted into the G7, refused to hold it accountable for violating international law, blamed former President Barack Obama for Russia's annexation of Crimea, and expressed sympathy for Russian President Vladimir Putin. One former senior Justice Department official, who worked closely with the former special counsel Robert Mueller when he was the FBI director, told Insider Trump's behavior was "directly out of the Putin playbook. We have a Russian asset sitting in the Oval Office." A former CIA operative told Insider the evidence is "overwhelming" that Trump is a Russian agent, but another CIA and NSA veteran said it was more likely Trump was currying favor with Putin for future business deals.Meanwhile, a recently retired FBI special agent told Insider that Trump's freewheeling and often unfounded statements make it more likely that he's a "useful idiot" for the Russians. But "it would not surprise me in the least if the Russians had at least one asset in Trump's inner circle."  "It's hard to see the bar anymore since it's been pushed so far down the last few years, but President Trump's behavior over the weekend was a new low." That was the assessment an FBI agent who works in counterintelligence gave Insider of President Donald Trump's performance at this year's G7 summit in Biarritz, France. The agent requested anonymity because they feared that speaking publicly on the matter would jeopardize their job. Trump's attendance at the G7 summit was peppered with controversy, but none was more notable than his fervent defense of Russia's military and cyber aggression around the world, and its violation of international law in Ukraine.

MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell on Wednesday retracted his story about supposed Russian ties to President Trump's finances and apologized for reporting it — just as Mr. Trump's lawyer demanded. O'Donnell said, however, he still doesn't know whether or not the story is true. His public pull-back unfolded quickly in the opening minute of "The Last Word," where 24 hours earlier the cable news host said a source had told him that Deutsche Bank documents showed that Russian oligarchs had co-signed a loan application for Mr. Trump. O'Donnell reported the story, based on a single source he did not identify, even as he couched it with the qualifier "if true" and admitted it had not been verified by NBC News.

By AL.com staff
Gov. Kay Ivey is contacting state legislators, and apologizing for her role in a racist student skit from her time as an Auburn student. Ivey was president of her Alpha Gamma Delta pledge class at Auburn. Photos of her sorority sisters in blackface emerged earlier this year. None showed the governor. But Thursday she apologized after audio emerged of a skit at a Baptist Student Union Party. The audio is a radio interview of Ivey and her then-fiance, Ben LaRavia. He describes Ivey as wearing blue coveralls and said she “had put some black paint all over her face.” LaRavia in the interview said they were acting out a skit called “cigar butts” that “did not require a lot of talent, as far as verbal talent, but did require a lot of physical acting, such as crawling around on the floor looking for cigar butts and things like this, which certainly got a big reaction out of the audience.”

When the Supreme Court and lower courts interpret the Constitution and laws, their decrees are public, accessible and subject to debate. In some instances, if an interpretation of the law doesn’t sit well with the public, Congress can respond by amending the law, effectively nullifying a court’s decision. Or if a ruling on a constitutional question is especially egregious, a constitutional amendment, though unlikely, remains an option. But it turns out there’s a whole category of American law that is above such checks and balances. The public knows nothing about it and there’s no way to challenge it in court, let alone debate it in the halls of Congress. For decades, the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel has flexed its interpretive power as the ultimate arbiter of what the law is for the executive branch, building a whole body of secret law that remains shielded from public view. Very little is known about these opinions—which carry the force of law, resolve disputes between agencies, direct the conduct of federal officials and can even affect civil rights and liberties. In the view of one scholar, these opinions date “to the beginning of the Republic” and can even “rival the opinions of the Supreme Court.” These decisions number in the thousands, and the few that become public see the light of day at the discretion of the Justice Department. But the vast majority stay secret—binding executive branch officials and activities across administrations. Because almost everyone who isn’t a lawyer in the office is kept in the dark about these legal conclusions, Congress and the public can’t debate them or seek amendments in the event of abuses. Courts are of no help either. Indeed, without transparency to test these legal opinions in a court of law or the court of public opinion, it is often the case that the Justice Department has the final say on the actions of federal agencies and officers, and there’s not much anyone can do about it. From Robert Mueller’s decision to follow a 1973 Justice Department recommendation that a president can’t be indicted while in office to numerous pronouncements shielding Donald Trump or officials in his administration from congressional oversight, the Office of Legal Counsel makes law that holds tremendous sway over issues of public concern.

By Doug Stanglin, USA TODAY
A 19-year-old freshman arrested in his dorm room at a North Carolina university with two firearms was obsessed with mass shootings and told police he planned to kill his roommate and himself if he failed to get into a fraternity, prosecutors said. Paul Steber of Boston was arrested Tuesday after other students alerted High Point University campus security that he had a 9mm semi-automatic pistol and a double-barrel, 12-gauge shotgun in his room. He was charged with possession of weapons on campus and making threats of mass violence, the High Point Police Department said in a statement. Assistant District Attorney Lori Wickline told the court Wednesday that Steber had bought the guns over the weekend. She said Steber told officers he had been planning a shooting spree since last Christmas and was "not going to be an outcast any longer" at the university. Wickline said that Steber was trying to get into a fraternity and that "if his roommate got into a fraternity and he didn't, he had a plan to kill his roommate and himself." The prosecutor said Steber had recently been watching videos of mass shootings, including the attack on a black church in Charleston in 2015 that left nine people dead, "so that he could learn what to do and what not to do."

By Jeremy Stahl
On Thursday, the Department of Justice Office of the Inspector General released its long-awaited report on James Comey’s handling of a series of memos documenting alleged obstruction of justice by President Donald Trump. The IG found “no evidence” that Comey had leaked classified information to the media as the president has repeatedly and falsely alleged. It was reported earlier this month that the DOJ would not be bringing any charges against Comey. Because the principal conclusion clears Comey, Trump’s defenders are understandably focused on the IG report’s second main finding: That Comey’s handling of the memos “violated Department and FBI policies concerning the retention, handling, and dissemination of FBI records and information, and violated the requirements of Comey’s FBI Employment Agreement.” “[F]ormer FBI Director put partisanship and personal ambition over patriotism and his legal obligations to the American people,” Rep. Doug Collins, the ranking minority on the House Judiciary Committee, said in a statement.  “I appreciate the time and effort [Inspector General Michael] Horowitz and his team spent documenting the off-the-rails behavior of Mr. Comey regarding the leaking of law enforcement materials to the media,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee. If you actually read the 61-page IG report in full, though, it makes clear that not only did Trump fabricate the principal charge that Comey leaked classified information, but the secondary charge for which the IG has now slapped Comey’s wrist is mind-numbingly dumb.

By Emma Newburger
The Trump administration announced plans on Thursday to weaken regulation on climate-changing methane emissions, drawing immediate backlash from critics who say the rule will harm the environment and exacerbate global warming. The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed rule would loosen restrictions on oil and gas sites to monitor and repair methane leaks from pipelines and storage facilities. The standards enacted under former President Barack Obama required oil and gas companies to install controls to curb those emissions. The new rule would be the latest move by the Trump administration to roll back Obama-era emission regulations on major oil and gas industries, which are the main source of methane emissions in the U.S. Carbon dioxide is the most substantial greenhouse gas, and methane is the second. However, methane has 80 times the heat-trapping capability of carbon dioxide during the first 20 years in the atmosphere and accounts for nearly 10% of the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.

The #TrumpHatesMilitaryFamilies is trending on Twitter this morning after a terrible new policy was released by the US Citizenship and Immigration Services. Trump’s new policy eliminates automatic citizenship for children born to some of the US military and government workers that are stationed overseas. The new rule mainly affects naturalized citizens that are posted in other countries for an extended period of time, and it does not currently impact anyone that was or will be born in the United States. But the language in the policy is vague and confusing, so it is causing many military members and their spouses undue stress. A spokesperson for the USCIS explains a bit of the policy: “The policy change explains that we will not consider children who live abroad with their parents to be residing in the United States even if their parents are US government employees or US service members stationed outside of the United States, and as a result, these children will no longer be considered to have acquired citizenship automatically.” The new rules will have the most impact on those that are serving in the military but not citizens of the United States. There are about 5,000 permanent residents that enlist each year, and serving in the military is one way to gain citizenship. Now, if a non-citizen service member has a child while stationed abroad, that child will no longer automatically become a US citizen. Former VP Joe Biden has promised to undo the policy if elected President:

"I don't think they're lies. ... I think the President communicates in a way that some people, especially the media, aren't necessarily comfortable with. A lot of times they take him so literally. I know people will roll their eyes if I say he was just kidding or was speaking in hypotheticals, but sometimes he is. What I've learned about him is that he loves this country and he's not going to lie to this country." So. Here we are. Or, here we are again. After all, White House senior counselor Kellyanne Conway made this same argument in the earliest days of Trump's presidency, when she told NBC's Chuck Todd this about the false claim that Trump's inauguration drew the largest crowd ever: "You're saying it's a falsehood. And they're giving -- Sean Spicer, our press secretary -- gave alternative facts." Make no mistake about what is happening here. This is lying about lying. Plain and simple. Let me prove that -- anecdotally and with bigger data. First, an example from just the last few days. During a press conference at the G7 on Monday, Trump was asked about his previous claim that there were phone calls being exchanged by top-level US and Chinese aides over a possible end to the trade war. Here's how he responded:

By AJ Willingham and Brandon Miller, CNN
(CNN) - Hurricane Dorian is gaining strength and could be a Category 3 storm by the time it approaches Florida's Atlantic coast over the Labor Day weekend. But there's another phenomenon that could contribute to Dorian's destruction. READ MORE: The latest updates on Hurricane Dorian
Friday marks the beginning of Florida's King Tides, a term that refers to the highest tides in any given period. These high tides follow a cycle — after all, tides are caused by the moon and follow a predictable pattern. King Tides, sometimes called Spring Tides, typically appear in the spring and fall. Though the term "Spring Tides" refers to spring as in the action, not the season). However, this latest round of King Tides in Florida will be strengthened by a dangerous alignment of factors: One, the moon will be especially close to the earth, an event called "perigee." (Remember, the moon orbits the Earth in an elliptical pattern, so its distance isn't always the same.) Two, fall tides in Florida are generally the highest of the year because the water is at its warmest point.

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN)James Comey hated Donald Trump so much that he went rogue as FBI director to try to bring the President down -- and, in so doing, broke important rules that the FBI lives by. OR Donald Trump repeatedly lied about James Comey, saying he leaked classified information in memos to the media. Either one of those statements could be the BIG story out of Thursday's release of a Justice Department Inspector General's report about Comey's conduct before and after he was fired as the FBI director by Trump in the spring of 2017. Which one do you think is the "real" story? That, like almost everything else having to do with Comey, depends on which political side you stand. Let's go through some facts from the 83-page IG report first. The report makes clear that Comey set a "dangerous example" in his use of the memos as a way to trigger a special counsel investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Comey wrote seven total memos about his interactions with Trump in the early days of the administration and had sent some of the documents to a friend, Dan Richman, with the express purpose of that friend leaking the details to the media. Comey's hope in all of that was that the information provided -- including Comey's allegation that, in a private meeting with Trump the President had asked the then FBI director to drop the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with the Russians -- would force the Justice Department to open a special counsel investigation. Which it did. Concludes the IG report: "Comey had several other lawful options available to him to advocate for the appointment of a Special Counsel, which he told us was his goal in making the disclosure. What was not permitted was the unauthorized disclosure of sensitive investigative information, obtained during the course of FBI employment, in order to achieve a personally desired outcome." But the report is also clear that what Comey sent to be leaked contained no classified information, a finding that runs directly counter to Trump's insistence that Comey broke the law by leaking classified materials.

New Trump-Pence campaign logo, seemingly borrowed from overt racists, is another in a long line of "coincidences"
By Amanda Marcotte
Oh boy, it's time for another round of Let's Pretend the President Isn't Air-Kissing White Nationalists. This time, the instigating incident is the discovery that a fan video tweeted by Donald Trump featured a logo — a lion's face built out of red stripes and blue stars — that was apparently, um, "borrowed" from a white supremacist group so unhinged that it managed to get banned from Twitter, a site that is always reluctant to boot fascists. Mediaite has a detailed account of the internet sleuths, including Brooke Binknowski of Snopes, who pieced together the apparent source of this lion logo. It has been used by the white supremacist site VDare, which also happens to be the same site whose articles the Department of Justice recently forwarded to immigration court employees, launching a minor scandal. The logo has been traced back to a pro-Trump fascist group called the "Lion Guard." The group's name, and apparent ethos comes from a quote from Benito Mussolini that Trump approvingly tweeted in 2016: "It is better to live one day as a lion than 100 years as a sheep." Back then, Trump claimed it was an accident born of ignorance that he approvingly quoted Mussolini, just as the DOJ claims it was an unfortunate accident that it mailed out links to white supremacist sites. That's the strategy in play: Wink at the fascists, and whenever you get called out on it, play innocent. - Was it an accident or was it on purpose?

Republicans hit back after Democratic senators sent a brief warning voters may eventually demand the high court be restructured.
Mitch McConnell is at war with Senate Democrats over the Supreme Court all over again. The Senate majority leader and his 52 GOP colleagues sent a letter to the Supreme Court on Thursday pushing back against a Democratic amicus brief urging the court not to take up “political ‘projects” like a new challenge to New York City’s gun laws.  Led by Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, five Democratic senators argued earlier this month that the case was part of a drive to install a conservative majority on the court and strike down gun laws. The Democrats closed their letter by suggesting that voters may eventually demand the Supreme Court be “restructured in order to reduce the influence of politics” if it continues on its current course. McConnell (R-Ky.) and the Senate GOP said the effort “openly threatened this court with political retribution if it failed to dismiss the [New York] petition as moot.” “The implication is as plain as day: Dismiss this case, or we’ll pack the court,” the Republicans wrote in the letter, first reported by the Washington Post, adding that they would fight against any restructuring plans. “We share Justice Ginsburg’s view that ‘nine seems to be a good number,’ they said. “And it will remain that way as long as we are here.” The letter to the court is the latest turn in the battle between McConnell and the Democratic minority over the fate of the Supreme Court. - Mitch McConnell believes it is only ok of for Republicans to pack the court.

The criminal case's end does not affect any civil claims brought against Epstein's estate or the investigation into circumstances surrounding his death.
By Tom Winter and Adiel Kaplan
A federal judge formally closed the criminal case against Jeffrey Epstein on Thursday. Prosecutors previously asked Judge Richard Berman to end the sex trafficking case since Epstein died by suicide earlier this month. Dismissing an indictment against a deceased individual is typically a formality, but Berman took the unusual step to first schedule a hearing where he invited alleged victims and their lawyers to speak. On Tuesday, 23 victims testified about the alleged abuse at the hands of Epstein. His suicide "robbed" his victims of the chance "to confront him one by one" in court, said Courtney Wild, the first accuser to speak at the hearing. "For that, he is a coward."

By Mark Hosenball
(Reuters) - Two cameras that malfunctioned outside the jail cell where financier Jeffrey Epstein died as he awaited trial on sex-trafficking charges have been sent to an FBI crime lab for examination, a law enforcement source told Reuters. Epstein’s lawyers Reid Weingarten and Martin Weinberg told U.S. District Judge Richard Berman in Manhattan on Tuesday they had doubts about the New York City chief medical examiner’s conclusion that their client killed himself. The two cameras were within view of the Manhattan jail cell where he was found dead on Aug. 10. A source earlier told Reuters two jail guards failed to follow a procedure overnight to make separate checks on all prisoners every 30 minutes. He had been taken off suicide watch prior to his death. The cameras were sent to Quantico, Virginia, site of a major FBI crime lab where agents and forensic scientists analyze evidence. The Washington Post reported on Monday that at least one camera in the hallway outside Epstein’s cell had footage that was unusable. The newspaper said there was other usable footage captured in the area.

By David Shortell, Katelyn Polantz, Jeremy Herb and Sara Murray, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Former FBI Director James Comey violated agency policies when he retained and leaked a set of memos he took documenting meetings with President Donald Trump early in 2017, the Justice Department's inspector general said in a report released Thursday. Comey set a "dangerous example" for FBI employees in an attempt to "achieve a personally desired outcome," the report states. However, the IG found "no evidence that Comey or his attorneys released any of the classified information contained in any of the memos to members of the media." The inspector general's office referred the findings of its report to the Justice Department for potential prosecution earlier this summer. Prosecutors declined to bring a case, the report says. CNN has previously reported that the Justice Department prosecutors didn't believe there was evidence to show Comey knew and intended to violate laws on dealing with classified information. The seven memos, which offer up stark examples of Trump's early attempts to disrupt a federal probe into his inner circle, became a catalyst for the special counsel investigation when the contents of one first appeared in The New York Times. Comey testified in a 2017 Senate hearing that he had sent documents to a friend, Columbia University law school professor Daniel Richman, and directed him to share the substance with a reporter. Trump has blasted Comey as a "leaker" for Comey's actions. In one of the most consequential memos -- the one which Comey asked Richman to detail to a reporter -- Comey described a one-on-one meeting he had with Trump in the Oval Office where the President suggested he scuttle the federal investigation into Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser.

Ten years after a summer of rage over spending, trillion-dollar deficits are back.
By Jeremy W. Peters
In the late summer of 2009, as the recession-ravaged economy bled half a million jobs a month, the country seemed to lose its mind. Lawmakers accustomed to scheduling town hall meetings where no one would show up suddenly faced shouting crowds of hundreds, some of whom brought a holstered pistol or a rifle slung over the shoulder. One demonstrator at a rally in Maryland hanged a member of Congress in effigy. A popular bumper sticker at the time captured the contempt for the federal bailout of certain homeowners. “Honk if I’m Paying Your Mortgage,” it said. Organizers convened mass gatherings across the country called “tea parties,” and they had a specific set of demands: Stop President Barack Obama’s health care law; tame the national deficit; and don’t let the government decide which parts of the economy are worth rescuing. Ten years since that summer of rage, the ideas that animated the Tea Party movement have been largely abandoned by Republicans under President Trump. Trillion-dollar deficits are back and on track to keep growing. The Affordable Care Act has never been repealed, and Republicans concede it may never be. When Congress approved $320 billion in new spending this month as part of its latest budget deal, most Republicans in the Senate voted yes, prompting a lament from Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky, who was first elected in 2010 as a slash-and-burn fiscal conservative.

By Joel Rose
The children of some U.S. military members and government workers overseas will have a harder time getting citizenship under a Trump administration policy announced Wednesday. The changes will affect a relatively small number of people. But the announcement touched off widespread confusion and outrage — with immigrant and veterans' advocates questioning why the administration would change the rules for people who are serving their country. The administration scrambled to clarify that the vast majority of children born to U.S. citizens while they are are serving or working abroad will still get citizenship automatically. For certain other groups, under the new policy, there will be a more complicated application process. In some cases, parents will have to apply for a visa in order to legally bring their child to the U.S., and establish residency before applying for citizenship.

By Mark Sumner Daily Kos Staff
The first section of Donald Trump’s hideous monument to xenophobia and ego is currently going up—right in the middle of an ecologically sensitive national monument—but The Washington Post is reporting that Trump is willing to do far more than turn an area selected for protection for its natural beauty into an eyesore. Desperate to demonstrate that he got some amount of his multi-billion-dollar picket fence completed before he has to face the bigots who put him in office, Trump authorized his aides to fast-track funds for building the barrier and to “aggressively seize private land and disregard environmental rules,” saying that he would pardon them of any crime. Trump has promised his rally-chanters that he will have 500 miles to show off by Election Day, but so far all that’s been achieved is remodeling of 60 miles of existing fence. No matter how many times Trump repeats it in front of a helicopter, or what he tells the lock-her-up gaggles, or what fake videos he posts to his Twitter account, almost nothing new has been put in place. Everything is in areas where barriers already existed. Despite declaring a “national emergency” and using extraordinary powers to steal funds that were supposed to provide military housing, schools, and hospitals, the actual installation of Trump’s “wall” has been delayed. Delayed because designs selected by Trump turned out to be unworkable; much of the land where the wall would run is in private hands; and many of Trump’s orders on the whole national uglification project were either impossible, illegal, or both. But sources are reporting that Trump isn’t about to let things like stealing private property or violating any other law get in his way. Instead, he told his officials, “Don’t worry, I’ll pardon you.” Which would make an excellent slogan for any lawless regime. And a very nice article of impeachment. - Trump is a lawless president; offering pardons for people to commit crimes is against the law and is an abuse of power.

Republicans will now be forced to defend two seats in an emerging swing state.
Democrats' path to a Senate majority after the 2020 elections got a little wider on Wednesday. Sen. Johnny Isakson's (R-Ga.) announcement that he will resign later this year due to health problems puts Republicans on defense, with another competitive seat on the ballot in an emerging swing state. Democrats need to flip three states to win back the Senate if they also capture the White House. Only two Republicans are up in states President Donald Trump lost in 2016 — Colorado and Maine — meaning Democrats will have to win in red states to control the chamber. Republicans now have to defend two seats in Georgia — which is also likely to be competitive in the presidential race — increasing the attention and money required to hold their grip on the rapidly shifting state. Democrats haven't won a Senate race in Georgia in two decades, and the party had already struggled to recruit top-tier talent to the race after Stacey Abrams passed on running earlier this year. Abrams said Wednesday she won’t run in a special election, either. But new Democrats could consider jumping in to run in the special election, and if the party is able to put the state in play, it gives them a two-for-one opportunity.

By Molly O’Toole
From the roadside, Oswaldo Ortiz-Luna offered a box of candy to the cars idling in the golden dust of northern Mexico. His wife hawked another box of sweets farther up the line of traffic, perching their 18-month-old daughter on one hip. Sticky fruit and tears smudged the baby’s cheeks. As the sun went down, Oswaldo and his family of six hadn’t yet sold enough candy for the roughly $6 they needed to spend the night at a nearby shelter. They are among the thousands of asylum seekers trapped just beyond the border under the Trump administration’s signature policy — “Remain in Mexico.” Under the Migrant Protection Protocols — better known as Remain in Mexico — Trump administration officials have pushed 37,578 asylum seekers back across the U.S. southern border in roughly seven months, according to Homeland Security Department reports reviewed by the Los Angeles Times. One-third of the migrants were returned to Mexico from California. The vast majority have been scattered throughout Mexico within the last 60 days. While their cases wind through court in the United States, the asylum seekers are forced to wait in Mexico, in cities that the U.S. State Department considers some of the most dangerous in the world. They have been attacked, sexually assaulted, and extorted. A number have died. In dozens of interviews and in court proceedings, current and former officials, judges, lawyers and advocates for asylum seekers said that Homeland Security officials implementing Remain in Mexico appear to be violating U.S. law, and the human cost is rising. Testimony from another dozen asylum seekers confirmed that they were being removed without the safeguards provided by U.S. law. The alleged legal violations include denying asylum seekers’ rights and knowingly putting them at risk of physical harm — against federal regulations and the Immigration and Nationality Act, the foundation of the U.S. immigration system. U.S. law grants migrants the right to seek protection in the United States.

The president on Wednesday morning had a tantrum about the network giving coverage to Democrats. Fox News, he said, “isn’t working for us anymore!”
By Justin Baragona
Several Fox News personalities pushed back Wednesday against President Donald Trump after he escalated his public attacks on the right-leaning outlet for its occasional anti-Trump voices. In the middle of a typically chaotic tweetstorm spurred on by his morning TV viewing habits, the president took aim at Fox News anchor Sandra Smith for having the audacity to bring on the Democratic National Committee’s communications director Xochitl Hinojosa to discuss the upcoming Democratic primary debate. “Just watched @FoxNews heavily promoting the Democrats through their DNC Communications Director, spewing out whatever she wanted with zero pushback by anchor, @SandraSmithFox,” Trump tweeted on Wednesday. “Terrible considering that Fox couldn’t even land a debate, the Dems give them NOTHING! @CNN & @MSNBC are all in for the Open Border Socialists (or beyond).” Besides blasting the America’s Newsroom co-anchor, Trump went after a few other Fox News stars who he has recently singled out for not carrying his water on-air. “Fox hires ‘give Hillary the questions’ @donnabrazile, Juan Williams and low ratings Shep Smith. HOPELESS & CLUELESS! They should go all the way LEFT and I will still find a way to Win - That’s what I do, Win,” he wrote. “Too Bad!” The president concluded his online tantrum by complaining that Fox News was “letting millions of GREAT people down” and that he needs to “start looking for a new News Outlet” since the one-time “Fair & Balanced” channel “isn’t working for us anymore!” Almost immediately after the president’s tweets, Fox News senior political analyst and former news anchor Brit Hume sounded off: “Fox News isn’t supposed to work for you,” he wrote.

By Shane Croucher
The White House counsel to President Richard Nixon said President Donald Trump looks "extremely nervous" about the release of his tax returns after Deutsche Bank implied that it holds copies of the documents sought by Congress. Deutsche Bank said in a filing at a New York federal appeals court that it holds tax returns relating to the subject of congressional subpoenas, but redacted the name, citing client confidentiality and contractual agreements. Trump has long had a relationship with Deutsche Bank. "In addition, the Bank has such documents related to parties not named in the subpoenas but who may constitute 'immediate family' within the definition provided in the subpoenas," the filing stated, in what is widely interpreted to mean President Trump and his children. "There could be a lot of trouble there for Mr. Trump," John Dean, who helped orchestrate the Watergate scandal and pleaded guilty to obstruction of justice during the affair, told CNN on Tuesday night. Dean speculated about what information could be contained within the tax returns, such as false and fraudulent financial statements about his wealth, that he has much less riches than he claims, or links to "unsavory people" who may have been collateral signatures on loans. "We don't know. But there's something there that makes him extremely nervous," Dean said on CNN host Don Lemon's show. "He, I think, knows enough that you don't really mess with those because you can get in serious trouble if you make substantial misrepresentations either on your financial statements or your tax returns. So that's a dangerous area." President Trump's attorney, the Trump Organization, and the White House did not respond immediately to Newsweek's requests for comment.

By Betsy Klein, CNN
Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump is already picking a fight with Puerto Rican officials as a tropical storm barrels toward the island, showing insensitivity to Americans still recovering from one crisis and facing another. "We are tracking closely tropical storm Dorian as it heads, as usual, to Puerto Rico. FEMA and all others are ready, and will do a great job. When they do, let them know it, and give them a big Thank You - Not like last time. That includes from the incompetent Mayor of San Juan!" Trump tweeted from the White House Wednesday morning. Later Wednesday, he continued to slam the territory's government and praise himself. "Puerto Rico is one of the most corrupt places on earth. Their political system is broken and their politicians are either Incompetent or Corrupt. Congress approved Billions of Dollars last time, more than anyplace else has ever gotten, and it is sent to Crooked Pols. No good!" he wrote, adding, "And by the way, I'm the best thing that's ever happened to Puerto Rico!" Trump's lack of empathy for Puerto Ricans has been at odds with his treatment of storm victims in the continental US during his tenure in office, prompting criticism of racism, including from some local officials defending their home.

By Paul R. La Monica, CNN Business
New York (CNN Busniess)Businesses and investors hate uncertainty. You've heard that before. But the Trump administration's chaotic approach to trade talks with China is more than just your garden-variety uncertainty. It's uncertainty squared. Or even cubed. Trump "hereby ordered" companies to look for suppliers outside of China in one of his many tweets Friday. He even went so far as to call Chinese President Xi Jinping an "enemy" — in a tweet where Trump also labeled his own hand-picked Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell an "enemy" for not cutting interest rates faster. But Trump appeared to take a more conciliatory tone regarding trade discussions (if not the Fed) over the weekend. On Monday, he tweeted that Xi is a "great leader & representing a great country. Talks are continuing!" Stocks rebounded a bit Monday on this news after plunging Friday.

By Jordain Carney
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) blasted the Trump administration on Tuesday over its decision to pull money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and other agencies to put toward immigration enforcement efforts. “The Trump administration’s plan to divert money away from FEMA at the start of hurricane season to continue its efforts to separate and jail migrant families is backwards and cruel," Schumer said in a statement. "Taking these critical funds from disaster preparedness and recovery efforts threatens lives and weakens the government’s ability to help Americans in the wake of natural disasters," he continued. "Congress appropriated these funds to meet the American peoples’ priorities and I strongly oppose this effort to undermine our constitutional authority." The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced Tuesday that it will reprogram $271 million to expand its immigration detention capacity and fund a program to return Central American migrants to Mexico. Of the total DHS funding reallocation, $116 million will go toward single adult detention beds, while $155 million will be used to cater to the Migrant Protection Protocols program. In addition to FEMA's Disaster Relief Fund, money will be taken from U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the Coast Guard and the Transportation Security Administration.

By Kevin Breuninger
President Donald Trump has told his officials to take new measures in a redoubled effort to build his long-promised border wall before the 2020 election — and has assured that he will issue pardons if his aides have to break laws to get the project done, according to The Washington Post. Current and former officials involved in the project told the newspaper that Trump has directed his officials to seize private land along the U.S.-Mexico border, ignore environmental regulations and quickly approve billions of dollars’ worth of construction contracts. Trump’s promise to build a “big, beautiful wall” along America’s southern border was a defining feature of his 2016 presidential campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton. He repeatedly claimed that Mexico would pay for the entire infrastructure project, and maintained that stance as president — even as he allowed the government to shut down in December after Democrats pushed back on a $5.7 billion proposal to fund it. Those funds would have only built about 234 miles of wall, according to a Jan. 6 letter from the Office of Management and Budget — far less than Trump has said he wants to build. At that time, Trump claimed the wall would be finished in two years. But experts have said that the project could take more than a decade to complete, and could cost tens of billions of dollars. The president has asserted as recently as this month that the wall “is under major construction.” But of the nearly 2,000-mile border, only about 60 miles of barrier have been built, and all as a “replacement” for aging structures that had already been built, the Post reported.

By Chris Sommerfeldt and Dave Goldiner
Bug off, Mr. President! A New Jersey insurance executive who sued and then settled over an itchy infestation at the “spectacular” resort where Trump hopes to host world leaders next year said Tuesday he’s “outraged” by the president’s attempt to deny bedbug reports. Eric Linder is bound by a confidentiality agreement not to discuss the settlement of his 2016 lawsuit — but he was plenty unhappy with the president’s tweet earlier in the day deriding bedbug claims about his Trump National Doral resort outside Miami. “I’m outraged by it,” Linder, 66, who lives in Fort Lee, told the Daily News. Trump’s morning tweet claimed there are “no bedbugs at Doral" and charged “Radical Left Democrats” had “spread that false and nasty rumor” after he on Monday proposed hosting the 2020 G7 summit at the resort.

By Marissa Brostoff
Last fall, speaking to a far-right Austrian magazine, the Iowa Republican congressman Steve King succinctly laid out his theory of Western decline. The problem, he suggested, was a demographic born at the nexus of reproduction and immigration. “If we continue to abort our babies and import a replacement for them in the form of young violent men, we are supplanting our culture, our civilization,” King said. King had already called attention to himself the previous year for retweeting a cartoon that depicted the nativist Dutch party leader Geert Wilders as a bulwark against invading Muslim hordes. “Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies,” King wrote. This month, King was back in the headlines. Speaking to a conservative group outside Des Moines about his support for a total ban on abortion, he asked: “What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled those people out that were products of rape and incest? Would there be any population of the world left if we did that?” King’s questions were startlingly direct in their implication that sexual violence, at least if it led to childbirth, was a good thing. His frank misogyny almost overshadowed another implication of his words: When King refers to world population, he’s not talking about everybody. King is only the most notorious of the politicians who have recently justified their opposition to abortion by linking it to their anti-immigration politics. Conservative lawmakers and right-wing vigilantes alike have adopted a seemingly new language for describing their antiabortion stance: the white nationalist discourse of the “great replacement,” a conspiracy theory that holds that nonwhite immigrants are demographically “replacing” whites throughout the West.

By Brett Samuels
President Trump on Wednesday tweeted that Fox News has become too hospitable to Democrats and "isn't working for us anymore," arguing his supporters "have to start looking for a new News Outlet." Trump lashed out in a trio of tweets after a spokeswoman for the Democratic National Committee (DNC) appeared on "America's Newsroom." The president cited her interview; the employment of former DNC Chairwoman Donna Brazile; Juan Williams, who is also a columnist for The Hill; and anchor Shepard Smith to claim the network is biased against him. "Just watched @FoxNews heavily promoting the Democrats through their DNC Communications Director, spewing out whatever she wanted with zero pushback by anchor, @SandraSmithFox. Terrible considering that Fox couldn’t even land a debate, the Dems give them NOTHING!" Trump tweeted. Trump blasted the network as "HOPELESS & CLUELESS" for hiring Brazile, Williams and Smith, each of whom have criticized the president at various times. "They should go all the way LEFT and I will still find a way to Win — That’s what I do, Win. Too Bad!" Trump continued. "I don’t want to Win for myself, I only want to Win for the people. The New @FoxNews is letting millions of GREAT people down! We have to start looking for a new News Outlet. Fox isn’t working for us anymore!"

Tensions between Russia and the Senate are rising after President Donald Trump's latest outreach to Moscow, with the Kremlin barring senators in both parties from visiting and Democrats urging Trump to keep Russia out of the G-7. Sens. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), both members of the Foreign Relations Committee, said Russia denied their visas as part of a congressional delegation. A third senator, Republican Mike Lee of Utah, is planning to travel to Russia next week but hasn't had his visa granted or denied yet, a spokesman said Tuesday afternoon. Those revelations were quickly followed by Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and other Democrats arguing to Trump that “under no circumstances” should Putin be allowed to take part in the meeting of the leaders of major industrial nations. In 2014, Russia was expelled from the organization, then known as the Group of Eight, after illegally annexing Crimea. Murphy warned in a statement Tuesday morning that denying visas to members of Congress could further stymie dialogue between the United States and Russia. He emphasized that it’s in the world’s best interest to prevent conflict between the two countries. “Unfortunately, the Russian government is further isolating their country by blocking our visit and several others in recent months,” Murphy said. “ With the collapse of recent arms control agreements and significant domestic opposition to Vladimir Putin’s authoritarian rule, this is potentially a perilous moment for our two nations’ fragile relationship.”

President Donald Trump says his belligerent, winner-takes-all negotiating tactics have “done well” for him over the years. But trade insiders say his aggressive moves with China are botching his chances for any long-term trade deal. Though Trump over the weekend ratcheted down the rhetoric and insisted that talks with Beijing are back on, the White House Tuesday released no new details about upcoming negotiations. And Chinese officials continued to insist that they hadn’t sought a return to the table. “It may have worked for his life as a New York businessman, but he has yet to conclude a deal that has significant gains for the United States,” said Jeff Moon, who was the top career-level China official at the U.S. Trade Representative’s office until just before the start of the Trump administration. “Trump’s goals are to win, but he lacks any underlying values or long-term strategy,” Moon added. A White House spokesperson disagreed in a written statement. There is "no doubt" what Trump considers a successful trade agreement, press spokesperson Judd Deere said in an email. "President Trump is the first president to stand up to China and send a clear message that the United States will no longer tolerate unfair trade practices," Deere said. "We expect concrete results because that's what the American people expect and deserve." Trump’s campaign of maximum pressure has manifested in a tit-for-tat tariff war with China that has left global markets reeling.

Trump's infomercials for his Doral National golf club, and his feud with the Fed, may be all about the Benjamins
By Heather Digby Parton
If I were a cynical person I might begin to wonder whether President Trump isn't hedging his bets a bit on the 2020 election. It's not that he doesn't exude his usual delusional confidence, of course. The man has suffered no loss of self-assurance despite the blazing Dumpster fire that is his presidency. Nonetheless, he's turned his focus a bit more obviously on his family business lately in a way that might suggest he feels that he'd better use his influence to boost his profits while he still has it. For instance, Salon's Shira Tarlo reported earlier this week on Trump's stunningly inappropriate announcement that he was planning to use his Trump National Doral golf club in Florida as the host site for next year's meeting of the G7. His comments sounded like nothing so much as one of those video pitches he and his daughter Ivanka used to sell the dodgy condo developments that inevitably ended up making money for the Trump Organization — and leaving the buyers and financial institutions holding the bag when the deals went south. During last weekend's G7 summit, Trump he acknowledged that the French did "a nice job architecturally" with Biarritz — one of the most renowned resorts in the world — and then began his spiel for his own golf club: Trump uses G7 to promote private Doral resort he still owns and profits from, which he says may host the G7 next year: "It's a great place. It's got tremendous acreage ... people are really liking it ... we haven't found anything that could even come close to competing with it."

CamScanner, an Android app that has been available since 2010, has recently started installing malware.
By Liam Tung
Google has removed the hugely popular CamScanner PDF creator Android app from the Google Play Store after learning that it recently started delivering malware. The CamScanner app, which is published by Shanghai-based CC Intelligence, has been downloaded over 100 million times from the Google Play store since it was first made available in 2010. The company specializes in optical character recognition (OCR). Beyond its CamScanner app with OCR text-reading functionality, it sells apps that capture text from business cards, including CamCard and CamCard for Salesforce. The company has relied on ads and in-app purchases to earn revenue from CamScanner. However, according to researchers at Russian antivirus firm Kaspersky, recent versions of the app included a new advertising library that contained a Trojan designed to deliver malware to Android devices. Kaspersky notes that the "malicious code may show intrusive ads and sign users up for paid subscriptions." Intrusive ads are pesky, but no consumer wants to pay for subscriptions they never signed up for.

By Frank Abagnale
Every year, millions of American consumers — nearly 7% of the population — are victims of scams and fraud. In 2017, the number of fraud victims in the US reached 16.7 million, with $16.8 billion lost. For more than 45 years, I’ve worked with, advised and consulted with the FBI and hundreds of financial institutions, corporations and government agencies around the world to help them in their fight against fraud. But my expertise began more than 50 years ago, in an unusual way: I was one of the world’s most famous con artists. While I’m ashamed of what I did as a young man — cheating, stealing and, along the way, deceiving and hurting people — I was grateful for the opportunity to turn myself around. My story, which is depicted in my 1980 memoir, “Catch Me If You Can,” gave me a wider audience to talk about fraud prevention. Protect your identity. Identity theft is the deliberate use of someone else’s identity (e.g., name, address, Social Security number, bank accounts) to get money and credit, obtain employment, steal property, falsify educational and other credentials, access healthcare and more. The worst-case scenario is when an identity thief drains your bank accounts, takes your property and sells or trades your sensitive information. In 2017, during talk I gave at Google, a young man posed a question that I’m often asked: “Given all the advancements in computing and technology, isn’t it harder for today’s criminals to steal your identity than it was back in the 1960s?” The answer, I told him, is no: It’s not harder. In fact, it’s about 4,000 times easier today than it was then.

By Eliza Relman
President Donald Trump derailed a major meeting with world leaders at the annual Group of Seven summit on Saturday evening after he insisted that Russia should be reinvited to the international gathering, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. At a dinner in Biarritz, France, the president interrupted talks of the fires in the Amazon and Iran's nuclear capacity by advocating for Russia to be readmitted to the gathering of industrialized nations. Russia was expelled from the group in 2014 over its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine that violated international laws and agreements. Trump's comments initiated a discussion at the dinner about "whether the leaders should assign any special weight to being a democracy," The Post reported, citing officials. While most of the world leaders staunchly believed they should, Trump didn't. A senior official at the meeting told The Post that Trump crossed his arms and appeared to take a more combative stance as multiple leaders rejected his comments. "The consequence is the same as if one of the participants is a dictator," an official told The Post. "No community of like-minded leaders who are pulling together."

Lung doctors said they had seen warning signs for years that vaping could be hazardous.
By Sydney Lupkin and Anna Maria Barry-Jester, Kaiser Health News
It was the arrival of the second man in his early 20s gasping for air that alarmed Dr. Dixie Harris. Young patients rarely get so sick, so fast, with a severe lung illness, and this was her second case in a matter of days. Then she saw three more patients at her Utah telehealth clinic with similar symptoms. They did not have infections, but all had been vaping. When Harris heard several teenagers in Wisconsin had been hospitalized in similar cases, she quickly alerted her state health department. As patients in hospitals across the country combat a mysterious illness linked to e-cigarettes, federal and state investigators are frantically trying to trace the outbreaks to specific vaping products that, until recently, were virtually unregulated. As of Aug. 22, 193 potential vaping-related illnesses in 22 states had been reported to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Wisconsin, which first put out an alert in July, has at least 16 confirmed and 15 suspected cases. Illinois has reported 34 patients, one of whom has died. Indiana is investigating 24 cases. Lung doctors said they had seen warning signs for years that vaping could be hazardous, as they treated patients. Medically it seemed problematic, since it often involved inhaling chemicals not normally inhaled into the lungs. Despite that, assessing the safety of a new product storming the market fell between regulatory cracks, leaving doctors unsure where to register concerns before the outbreak. The Food and Drug Administration took years to regulate e-cigarettes once a court determined it had the authority to do so. “You don’t know what you’re putting into your lungs when you vape,” said Harris, a critical care pulmonologist. “It’s purported to be safe, but how do you know if it’s safe? To me, it’s a very dangerous thing.”

By Susan Scutti, CNN
(CNN) - Millions of Contigo Kids Cleanable Water Bottles have been recalled because a silicone spout can detach and pose a choking hazard for children, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission stated Tuesday. Contigo, a Chicago-based company, has received 149 complaints, including 18 incidents in which the spout was discovered in a child's mouth. No injuries had occurred as of Tuesday. Recalled bottles should be immediately taken from children. The bottles, which cost between $9 and $24, were sold at Costco, Walmart, Target and other brick-and-mortar stores nationwide, as well as online between April 2018 through June 2019. About 5.7 million total bottles, including about 157,000 sold in Canada and about 28,000 sold in Mexico, were sold individually as well as in two-packs and three-packs. They come in three sizes (13 ounce, 14 ounce and 20 ounce) and four colors (solid, graphics, stainless steel and stainless steel solid). The word "Contigo" is printed on the rim and near the bottom at the front of the bottle. Contigo will supply a free replacement lid for faulty products, which have a black base and a black cover over the clear silicon spout. "Only black color spout base and spout cover models are included in this recall," according to the company website, which provides an online form so consumers can order a free replacement lid. A spokeswoman emphasized that the company recalled the lids voluntarily.

By Shawn Langlois
Nomura analyst Masanari Takada earlier this month warned of a “Lehman-like” plunge in the stock market. On Monday, he gave some urgency to that warning. ‘The U.S. stock market especially is facing its greatest test of the year.’ Bearish sentiment currently correlates well with sentiment before the collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers in 2008, Takada argues. So investors should prepare for carnage in the stock market due to “panic-selling by fundamentals-oriented investors and systematic selling by trend-following technical investors.” Takada told investors in a Monday note on that stock market sentiment hasn’t improved from when he first issued his bearish macro take, which CNBC cites as the most pessimistic on Wall Street. “The correlation between sentiment then and now remains quite high,” Takada said, referring to the Lehman collapse. “Even the passing risk-on phase after the initial shock of the yield curve inversion (this month)... and the risk-off mood that struck on 23 August neatly track the pattern recorded in 2008.”

By Brett Samuels
President Trump reportedly clashed with other leaders during a private dinner on the opening night of the Group of Seven (G-7) summit as he lobbied for Russia's readmission to the organization. The president spent the days prior to the summit suggesting Russia should be allowed to rejoin the group and restated his case throughout the weekend in Biarritz, France. CNN and The Washington Post reported that the president received pushback from other attendees during a dinner on Saturday night. CNN reported that German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister Boris Johnson were among those most opposed to the idea. The Washington Post reported that other leaders felt it should carry additional weight if member nations are democracies, while Trump disagreed. The White House declined to comment on the reports. French President Emmanuel Macron said Monday that the G-7 members had not reached a consensus on readmitting Russia, while Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Russia's continued aggression toward Ukraine made it ineligible to rejoin. Russia was expelled in 2014 from what was then the G-8 over its annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. - Why does Trump continue to do Putin’s bidding? What does Putin have on Trump?

By Tal Axelrod
The Iowa Corn Growers Association (ICGA) blasted the Trump administration on Tuesday, saying the government has put it in “one hell of a bad situation.” The trade association hammered President Trump for approving what it called 31 “unjustified” refinery waivers tied to ethanol, along with his year-plus trade war with China. Those two issues, combined with the effects of climate change, are forcing the value of Iowa corn to drop ahead of harvest season, the group said. “Agriculture is in one hell of a bad situation right now. The government put us in this situation, and they need to help us get out of it,” Vic Miller, a corn farmer from Fayette County, said in a statement. “It’s time for President Trump to make rural America and the [Renewable Fuel Standard] great again. He made promises to American farmers and now it’s time for him to keep them.” Trump has sought to cast himself as a staunch supporter of American farmers, a group that was part of his core supporters in the 2016 presidential race. But the U.S. agricultural community has been disproportionately harmed by the prolonged trade war between the world's two largest economies, as China targets farm products in an apparent attempt to hit some of Trump’s main backers.

By Zack Budryk
U.S. officials turned away a 17-year-old Palestinian incoming Harvard freshman last week after he was questioned about his friends’ social media posts, according to the Harvard Crimson. The 17-year-old, a resident of Tyre, Lebanon, was deported about eight hours after arriving at Logan International Airport in Boston and said in a written statement obtained by the Crimson that immigration officials questioned him for hours and searched his phone and computer. The teen, whom The Hill is not naming because he is a minor, said he was questioned on his religious practices and instructed to unlock his devices, according to the Crimson. After about five hours, he said, an immigration official “called me into a room, and she started screaming at me. She said that she found people posting political points of view that oppose the US on my friend[s] list,” according to the Crimson. “I responded that I have no business with such posts and that I didn't like, [s]hare or comment on them and told her that I shouldn't be held responsible for what others post ... I have no single post on my timeline discussing politics,” he added. The student’s visa was then canceled and he was told he would be deported, according to the newspaper. In an email to the Crimson, U.S. Customs and Border Protection spokesperson Michael McCarthy said "Applicants must demonstrate they are admissible into the U.S. by overcoming ALL grounds of inadmissibility including health-related grounds, criminality, security reasons, public charge, labor certification, illegal entrants and immigration violations, documentation requirements, and miscellaneous grounds." "This individual was deemed inadmissible to the United States based on information discovered during the CBP inspection," McCarthy added, according to the Crimson. The Hill has reached out to the Department of Homeland Security for comment. Harvard said the university is negotiating with immigration officials to resolve the matter before the Sept. 3 start of the fall semester. Two Harvard graduate students were similarly blocked in 2017 under the Trump administration’s initial travel ban, although they were eventually allowed into the U.S.

By Caroline Kelly and Tammy Kupperman, CNN
Washington (CNN)A federal judge on Tuesday blocked a Missouri law banning abortions after eight weeks from going into effect.
"The various sections specifying prohibitions on abortions at various weeks prior to viability cannot be allowed to go into effect on August 28, as scheduled," writes US District Judge Howard Sachs in an 11-page opinion. "However formulated, the legislation on its face conflicts with the Supreme Court ruling that neither legislative or judicial limits on abortion can be measured by specified weeks or development of a fetus; instead, 'viability' is the sole test for a State's authority to prohibit abortions where there is no maternal health issue," Sachs wrote. Tuesday's ruling comes after two other federal judges blocked similar abortion restrictions in Arkansas and Ohio earlier this summer, as a slew of state laws looking to challenge Roe v. Wade, the 1973 landmark ruling legalizing abortion nationwide, make their way through the courts. The Missouri law in question would penalize medical professionals who perform abortions after eight weeks into a pregnancy -- before many women know that they are pregnant, and well before the 24-week viability standard established by Roe -- with up to 15 years in prison. The law does not include exceptions for instances of rape or incest, only for instances of "medical emergency," such to prevent a pregnant woman's death or "substantial and irreversible physical impairment." Alexis McGill Johnson, acting president and CEO of Planned Parenthood, praised the ruling and vowed to continue to fight the law in court. "Today's decision blocks a harmful law that bans abortion before many know they're pregnant," she wrote in a statement. "What little abortion access in Missouri is left, will stay in place for the time being."

By Lauren Feiner, Paayal Zaveri
The U.S. Department of Justice filed a criminal indictment against ex-Google engineer Anthony Levandowski Tuesday. The DOJ announced the 33 charges of theft and attempted theft of trade secrets at a press conference in San Jose, alleging Levandowski took confidential information from Google to Uber. Levandowski had worked at Google’s self-driving car project which later became known as Waymo. But according to the indictment, he left in 2016 to launch his own self-driving truck company that was later acquired by Uber. Levandowski is scheduled to be arraigned on the charges Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. Eastern Time. The indictment alleges Levandowski downloaded thousands of files from Waymo’s predecessor, Project Chauffeur, in the months before he left Google. The files allegedly included “critical engineering information about the hardware used on Project Chauffeur self-driving vehicles,” and that Levandowski transferred files onto his personal laptop. Levandowski surrendered himself at the San Jose courthouse Tuesday morning, U.S. Attorney David L. Anderson said. Both Uber and Google cooperated with government officials, Anderson told reporters, acknowledging the investigation is ongoing.

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