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US News July 2019: Get the latest monthly headline news from multiple news sources and news links. Get real facts, real news from major news originations.  

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar have been talked about a lot more on Fox than on other cable news channels this year. The freshmen have even been getting more attention on cable than seasoned leaders of the Democratic Party.

By Morgan Chalfant
The Justice Department on Monday told former special counsel Robert Mueller that he should limit his Wednesday testimony before Congress to the four corners of his public report on Russian interference. “Any testimony must remain within the boundaries of your public report because matters within the scope of your investigation were covered by executive privilege, including information protected by law enforcement, deliberative process, attorney work product, and presidential communications privileges,” Associate Deputy Attorney General Bradley Weinsheimer wrote in a letter to Mueller that was obtained by The Hill. “These privileges would include discussion about investigative steps or decisions made during your investigation not otherwise described in the public version of your report,” Weinsheimer wrote. “Consistent with standard practice, Department witnesses should decline to address potentially privileged matters, thus affording the Department the full opportunity at a later date to consider particular questions and possible accommodations that may fulfill the committees’ legitimate need for information while protecting Executive Branch confidentiality interests,” he added. It was already expected that Mueller was unlikely to speak beyond what is spelled out in the redacted version of his 448-page report on Russian interference into the 2016 election and possible obstruction of justice by President Trump. The new letter all but guarantees that.

The president endorsed a bipartisan budget deal without any of the spending restraints previously demanded by Republicans. President Donald Trump may have to hand out some new nicknames — for himself — after endorsing a bipartisan budget deal with Congress: “Trillion Dollar Trump?” “Deficit Don?” With a new bipartisan budget deal that does nothing to cut federal spending, Trump is on track for another $1 trillion deficit this year. And there’s no reason to believe the following fiscal year will be any different, with ballooning deficits from higher spending, the 2017 tax cuts — Trump's signature legislative achievement, which slashed revenue — and none of the entitlement reforms long preached by Republican leaders on Capitol Hill.  Candidate Trump bragged that he would pay off the entire federal debt in eight years, but President Trump is governing as if deficits don't matter. In fact, Trump is approaching the level of red ink from President Barack Obama’s first term, when Obama racked up trillion-dollar deficits four years in a row. Trump is on pace to do the same, starting with this year's yawning deficit of more than $1 trillion, according to budget estimates. But there are huge differences: Trump has a growing economy with historically low unemployment and a soaring stock market, while Obama was battling a brutal downturn in the economy during the worst recession in 80 years, making it much harder to curb federal spending. Though Trump’s administration has repeatedly proposed massive cuts in its annual budget plans, lawmakers in both parties have laughed off the proposals. Now Trump has agreed to a second sweeping budget deal with Democrats that increases spending by more than $300 billion.

The Trump administration has finalized a plan to bypass immigration courts and deport undocumented immigrants who cannot prove they’ve been present continuously in the U.S. for two years or more, according to an announcement Monday. The Department of Homeland Security will publish a notice in the Federal Register Tuesday that aims to use the department’s full statutory authority to employ “expedited removal” to a wider range of undocumented immigrants who cross the border illegally. The expansion is the latest move in President Donald Trump’s crackdown on legal and illegal immigration. Last week, the administration published a regulation that will bar migrants who pass through another country en route to the U.S. from seeking asylum. POLITICO also reported Thursday that an administration official last week pressed to lower the annual refugee admission ceiling to zero, although those deliberations remain ongoing. The hard-line measures come as Trump appears poised to make immigration a focus of his 2020 reelection campaign. The American Civil Liberties Union — which has led legal battles against many of Trump‘s restrictive immigration policies — pledged to fight the new measure in court.

By Christopher Brito
A state Republican group apologized Sunday after sharing a meme calling four Democratic congresswomen the "The Jihad Squad." The post showed a faux movie poster featuring Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar –– progressive lawmakers known as "the Squad" who were the target of attacks from President Trump last week. The Illinois Republican County Chairman's Association (RCCA), a group that helps elect Republicans in the state, drew widespread criticism from both sides of the aisle after it posted a photoshopped image of the four congresswomen with guns, labeled "The Jihad Squad." A logo for the RCCA appeared at the bottom. The association's president, Mark Shaw, apologized in a statement Sunday night for the meme. "I condemn this unauthorized posting and it has been deleted," Shaw wrote. "I am sorry if anyone who saw the image was offended by the contents."

By Kate Sullivan, CNN
Washington (CNN) - House Judiciary Chairman Jerry Nadler on Sunday said Robert Mueller's report presents "very substantial evidence" that President Donald Trump is "guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors" -- an impeachable offense. "We have to ... let Mueller present those facts to the American people, and then see where we go from there, because the administration must be held accountable," Nadler, whose committee would lead impeachment proceedings, said on "Fox News Sunday." Mueller, the former special counsel for the Department of Justice and former director of the FBI, will testify before Congress on July 24 after House Democrats issued a subpoena for his appearance. Earlier this year, Mueller concluded a nearly two-year-long investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Democrats are deeply divided on whether to pursue an impeachment inquiry, and Mueller's public testimony may provide an opportunity for the party to unify and decide whether impeachment proceedings should go forward or not. More than 80 House Democrats have called for starting an impeachment inquiry into the President -- the first step in a lengthy process, but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Nadler have so far resisted the pressure to open an inquiry. Behind the scenes, Nadler has lobbied Pelosi to open an inquiry. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said Sunday most Americans haven't read the dense 448-page Mueller report. Schiff said on CBS "Face The Nation" that the report contains "a pretty damning set of facts," and said, "Who better to bring them to life than the man who did the investigation himself." "We want the people to hear it directly from him," Schiff said. Mueller said in a rare and remarkable public statement in May his investigation could not clear Trump of obstruction of justice, and that charging the President was not an option his office could consider.

By Josh Israel
Chris Wallace did not let Stephen Miller gaslight his viewers. Stephen Miller, a top White House adviser said to be the architect of the administration’s cruel anti-immigrant policies, went on Fox News Sunday to defend President Donald Trump’s latest round of racist and hypocritical attacks on congresswomen of color. The interview went rather poorly for him. Host Chris Wallace began the interview by asking Miller about Trump’s recent tweets attacking Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY), Ilhan Omar (D-MN) Ayanna Pressley (D-MA), and Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) and demanding that they go back to their home countries (Omar was born in Somalia and came to the United States as a child, the other three are natural-born citizens). Miller responded that the president isn’t a racist because the jobless rate has been falling for racial minorities. “I think the term ‘racist,’ Chris, has become a label that is too often deployed by left/Democrats in this country simply to try to silence and punish and suppress people they disagree with, speech that they don’t want to hear,” Miller began, asserting that Trump “has been a president for all Americans” because of “historically low black unemployment rates, historically low Hispanic unemployment rates,” and his crackdown on immigration “to protect safety, security, rising wages for all American citizens.” Wallace responded that Trump’s claims that Mexican immigrants are mostly rapists and drug dealers and his proposed total ban on Muslims were “not protecting the American people” but “playing the race card.”

By Samantha Putterman
Some posts on social media are countering the accusations of racism against President Donald Trump after his tweet that a group of Democratic congresswomen should "go back" to the "crime infested places from which they came." (All four are citizens, and only one, Rep. Ilhan Omar, was born outside of the U.S. before arriving when she was 10.) One post points to Trump’s business history in New York as evidence that he looks out for minorities. The post, in full, reads: "There are only 3 people that won the Ellis Island Award for their work within the black community … 1. Rosa Parks 2. Muhammad Ali 3. Donald Trump … yet ‘squad’ wants you to believe he’s racist." The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.) This claim gets one major thing wrong: While Donald Trump did win the award, called the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, it was not for "work within the black community."

By Holly Aguirre
Locals say Epstein was flying in underage girls long after his conviction for sex crimes—and authorities did nothing to stop him. “It was like he was flaunting it,” says an employee at the airstrip on St. Thomas. “But it was said that he always tipped really well, so everyone overlooked it.” Ever since billionaire Jeffrey Epstein was arrested on July 6 on charges of sex trafficking, the media have been scrambling to make sense of what happened on Little St. James, his 70-acre private island in the Caribbean. But on nearby St. Thomas, locals say Epstein continued to bring underage girls to the island as recently as this year—a decade after he was forced to register as a convicted sex offender—and that authorities did nothing to stop him. Two employees who worked at the local airstrip on St. Thomas tell Vanity Fair that they witnessed Epstein boarding his private plane on multiple occasions in the company of girls who appeared to be under the age of consent. According to the employees, the girls arrived with Epstein aboard one of his two Gulfstream jets. Between January 2018 and June 2019, previously published flight records show, the jets were airborne at least one out of every three days. They stopped all over the world, sometimes for only a few hours at a time: Paris, London, Slovakia, Mexico, Morocco. When they left St. Thomas, the employees say, they returned to airports near Epstein’s homes in Palm Beach and New York City.

By Josh Israel
The president's Sunday morning was spent whining about a negative story from 2:43 p.m. on Saturday. President Donald Trump spent Sunday morning stewing over a nearly day old Washington Post story on aides’ concerns regarding his racist tweets about four congresswomen of color. Echoing his standard smear of news stories that are unfavorable to him, Trump attacked the story as “Fake News” with “phony sources who do not exist,” despite its reliance on on-the-record quotes from key supporters.

New information raises questions about whether former White House communications director misled the Judiciary Committee during a closed-door interview last month. The House Judiciary Committee on Thursday demanded Hope Hicks return for a second round of questioning within the next month to clarify what it described as "inconsistent" testimony she gave about Donald Trump's hush-money payments to an adult film actress. Democratic panel chairman Jerry Nadler in a five-page letter cited newly released court documents that raise questions about whether the former White House communications director and longtime Trump aide misled his panel about her role in the scheme during a closed-door interview last month. "As I reminded you at the outset of your interview, anything other than complete candor can have very serious consequences," Nadler said in the letter to Hicks, which set an August 15 deadline for her to voluntarily return for additional questioning otherwise he'd issue a subpoena. At issue is testimony Hicks gave in June before Nadler's panel about what she knew concerning the payments made to the actress, Stormy Daniels, in a bid to silence her story before Election Day 2016. Hicks told the committee she had no direct knowledge of the payments and that she didn't have any contact during the presidential campaign with several of the key participants, including Keith Davidson, a lawyer for Daniels, and executives at American Media, Inc., the parent organization of the National Enquirer that was planning to buy the actress's story to bury it. She also told the House panel that she was never present for discussions about the issue involving Trump and Michael Cohen, the Trump attorney who is now serving a three-year prison sentence in part for his role in violating campaign finance laws tied to the payments to Daniels.

By Ellen Knickmeyer, Associated Press
WASHINGTON – The Environmental Protection Agency rejected a key legal challenge Thursday to a pesticide linked to brain damage in children, saying environmental groups had failed to prove that a ban was warranted. The agency’s defense of continued use of the widely used bug-killer chlorpyrifos could set the stage for a pivotal federal court decision on whether to overrule the EPA and force the agency to ban it. “To me, this starts the clock on the use of chlorpyrifos on food crops in the US,” said former senior EPA attorney Kevin Minoli. Scientists say studies have shown that chlorpyrifos damages the brains of fetuses and children. The pesticide has been used nationally on dozens of food crops, but California – the nation’s largest agricultural state – and a handful of other states have recently moved to ban it. - Trump’s EPA is not protecting Americans, how many American will die because of Trump and the GOP push to reduce regulations?

By Susan Phillips
In the predawn hours of June 21, explosions at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery in South Philadelphia shook houses, sent fireballs into the air and woke up nearby residents. "Three loud explosions, one after the other, boom, boom boom!" says David Masur, who lives about two miles from the plant and has two young kids. "It's a little nerve-wracking." Masur watched as the refinery spewed black smoke above the city, easily visible from his home. But what he didn't know at the time was just how close he and his family came to getting exposed to hydrogen fluoride, one of the deadliest chemicals used by refiners and other industrial manufacturers. Philadelphia Energy Solutions knows that's a possibility. Its worst-case disaster scenario includes 143,262 pounds of hydrogen fluoride released over 10 minutes, which could travel as a toxic cloud for more than 7 miles and impact more than a million people, including in schools, homes, hospitals, prisons, playgrounds, parks and a wildlife sanctuary. City, state and federal officials say none of the air monitors in or around the refinery — or the air samples collected by the city's health department — detected the chemical, often referred to as HF. And a spokeswoman for Philadelphia Energy Solutions says no workers were exposed. The explosion destroyed the refinery's alkylation unit, where crude oil is converted to high octane gas, and led to the planned closure of the financially troubled plant. But two other refineries in the Philadelphia region also use HF, as do some four dozen around the country. The Philadelphia explosions, along with similar accidents in the past four years, are reviving concerns about inadequate safety measures and calls to end the use of the deadly chemical.

By Kevin Johnson and Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors' decision to end an investigation into hush money payments to women claiming affairs with Donald Trump relied at least in part on long-standing Justice Department policy that a sitting president cannot be charged with a crime, a person familiar with the matter said Thursday. The Justice Department told a federal judge on Monday that it had "effectively concluded" its investigation into efforts to silence the women in the final months of the 2016 campaign, but did not explain why it had done so. Prosecutors have said the payoffs violated a federal law that restricts campaign donations. A person familiar with the case, who was not authorized to discuss it publicly, said it was unclear whether prosecutors made a determination that they had sufficient evidence to bring a case against Trump or anyone other than his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, who pleaded guilty last year. But the Justice Department's opinion that a president cannot be indicted factored into the decision to end the probe, the person said. Federal prosecutors had repeatedly placed Trump at the center of the effort to silence pornographic actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal during the chaotic run-up to the 2016 election. Last year, they alleged in a court filing that Cohen had orchestrated illegal hush-money payments "in coordination with and at the direction of" Trump. And it revealed in unsealed court records on Friday that Trump participated in phone calls about the payments to Daniels. The judgment by federal prosecutors in New York to take no further action in the wide-ranging inquiry tracks a decision earlier this year by former special counsel Robert Mueller, who cited the same Justice Department policy when he declined to make a determination about whether Trump's efforts to derail that investigation amounted to a crime. The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel concluded in 2000 that "a sitting President is constitutionally immune from indictment and criminal prosecution." That view has never been tested in court but is binding on federal prosecutors.

Donald Trump took part in phone calls with his then-personal lawyer Michael Cohen as the attorney and other aides scrambled to arrange hush payments to a woman in 2016 to buy her silence about an alleged sexual relationship with Trump. Those details come from hundreds of pages of court papers — warrant applications, affidavits and other related materials — made public on Thursday. Federal Judge William Pauley of the Southern District of New York ordered the documents unsealed after prosecutors said they had concluded their investigation into the scheme and any related campaign finance violations. Cohen pleaded guilty to campaign finance charges related to payments made shortly before Election Day in 2016 to former Playboy model Karen McDougal and adult film star Stephanie Clifford, whose stage name is Stormy Daniels. Cohen has said that he made the payments in coordination with and at the direction of Trump. Cohen is now serving a three-year prison sentence after he admitted that and other crimes in court. Cohen remains the only person to be charged in connection with the payments, although two individuals struck non-prosecution agreements with the government in exchange for their testimony.

By Chris Riotta
FBI agents allege in newly-unsealed documents the president directly oversaw hush money agreement with adult film actress. Donald Trump, Michael Cohen and Hope Hicks reportedly held a series of phone calls during the 2016 presidential election discussing how to keep adult film actress Stephanie Clifford, known as Stormy Daniels, from going public with her story of an alleged affair. The calls were revealed on Thursday morning after a year-old unredacted search warrant application for Cohen was released to the public following the close of his federal case. The FBI said the calls also included David Pecker and Dylan Howard, both executives from American Media, Inc. Three days after one of those calls, Stormy Daniels signed a hush money agreement that would keep her from revealing her alleged affair with Mr Trump until after he secured the Oval Office. “Based on the timing of these calls, and the content of the text messages and emails, I believe that at least some of these communications concerned the need to prevent Clifford from going public, particularly in the wake of the Access Hollywood story,” the FBI agents wrote, referring to the controversial leaked Access Hollywood tapes that feature Mr Trump openly discussing groping women without consent. Though FBI agents do not know the substance of the phone calls between Cohen and Mr Trump, there were back-to-back calls on 26 October, the same time the president’s self-titled “fixer” was creating a bank account to transfer $130,000 (£104,108) to the adult film actress.

By Ephrat Livni & David Yanofsky
In between stints as US attorney general for George HW Bush in the early 90s and now for Donald Trump, while making millions as an executive at Verizon and a lawyer at Kirkland & Ellis, William Barr sent hundreds of thousands of dollars to various Republicans and their causes. Most of those donations made between 1993 and 2019 were occasional at best. But in the lead up to his Senate confirmation hearings for attorney general earlier this year, his giving habits suddenly changed. Barr’s donations became far more frequent, notable for their size, recipients, and possible utility to him. In total, Barr gave $51,000 to the National Republican Senatorial Committee (NRSC)—a group that raises money to help elect Republicans to the Senate—in the months leading up to the Senate’s confirmation of his nomination.

By Tom Winter and Adam Edelman
The release of the previously redacted documents came one day after the judge in the case disclosed that prosecutors had concluded their probe into Cohen’s campaign finance crimes. The FBI believed then-candidate Donald Trump was closely involved in a scheme to hide hush-money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels, who claimed to have had an affair with Trump, court documents from the closed campaign finance case against former Trump-fixer Michael Cohen show. The documents, released Thursday, describe a “series of calls, text messages, and emails” among Cohen, Trump, Trump campaign aide Hope Hicks, Keith Davidson — an attorney for Daniels, whose legal name is Stephanie Clifford — and David Pecker, an executive of the company that published the National Enquirer. “I have learned that in the days following the Access Hollywood video, Cohen exchanged a series of calls, text messages and emails with Keith Davidson, who was then Clifford’s attorney, David Pecker and Dylan Howard of American Media Inc. (“AMI”), the publisher of the National Enquirer, Trump, and Hope Hicks, who was then press secretary for Trump’s presidential campaign,” an FBI agent investigating the matter wrote in the released documents. “Based on the timing of these calls, and the content of the text messages and emails, I believe that at least some of these communications concerned the need to prevent Clifford from going public, particularly in the wake of the Access Hollywood story,” the agent said.

By Weijia Jiang CBS News
Washington — CBS News has learned President Trump took a lot of heat from his own family over the racist chants at a campaign rally in Greenville, North Carolina. He heard from first lady Melania Trump, his daughter Ivanka and Vice President Mike Pence. From the Oval Office Thursday, Mr. Trump disavowed the chant of "send her back" and said he tried to stop it. "Well, number one I think I did, I started speaking very quickly," he said. But the video tells a different story. The president stands in silence for nearly 15 seconds at the rally on Wednesday, looking around the arena. When Mr. Trump resumed his speech, he made no mention of the chant, which started after he attacked Rep. Ilhan Omar. She's one of the four Democratic congresswomen of color who Mr. Trump told to "go back" to their original countries in a racist tweet. All are U.S. citizens and only Omar was born outside the U.S. Mr. Trump was asked Thursday why his supporters yelled "send her back."

By Kevin Liptak, CNN
Washington (CNN) - President Donald Trump claimed Thursday to be unhappy that his rally crowd broke out into chants of "send her back" as he denigrated a Democratic lawmaker he'd previously said should leave the US. "I was not happy with it. I disagree with it. But again, I didn't say that, they did," Trump said at the White House a day after the rally, when a crowded arena in North Carolina began the thundering chant as he assailed Rep. Ilhan Omar, a freshman Minnesota Democrat. Trump's apparent disavowal came after expressions of concern from Republicans and outright outrage from Democrats, who accused the President of stoking racist sentiments among his white working class base. It's the latest in a multi-day controversy involving Trump and a foursome of first-term congresswomen of color, who Trump has repeatedly denigrated as he works to paint them as the face of the Democratic Party. Speaking to reporters, Trump claimed to have attempted to stop the chant Wednesday night by resuming his speech, though he waited 12 seconds before speaking as the crowd loudly shouted the three words. In the lull, Trump appeared to listen, letting the chant gain momentum, before resuming his speech, which continued with a litany of complaints against Omar and the other lawmakers. Later in his remarks, Trump encouraged his audience to "tell them to leave" the US if they continue to criticize him. "They are always telling us how to run it, how to do this. You know what? If they don't love it, tell them to leave it," Trump said. In the Oval Office on Thursday, Trump said he "felt a little bit badly" about the chant and claimed the hall where he spoke was noisy and hectic. Still, he said he would "certainly try" to prevent such a chant from breaking out again.
"It was quite a chant," Trump said.

By Clare Foran, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Republican Rep. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois on Thursday morning called a chant that broke out at President Donald Trump's rally the previous night -- when the crowd yelled "send her back" as the President targeted Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota -- "ugly" and "wrong" and said it "would send chills down the spines of our Founding Fathers." "I deeply disagree with the extreme left & have been disgusted by their tone. I woke up today equally disgusted - chants like 'send her back' are ugly, wrong, & would send chills down the spines of our Founding Fathers. This ugliness must end, or we risk our great union," Kinzinger said in a tweet on Thursday morning. The crowd broke out with chants of "send her back," after the President went on the attack during a rally in Greenville, North Carolina, against Omar, the first Somali-American member of Congress, who came to the US as a refugee over two decades ago. Omar also made history alongside Rep. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan at their swearing in as the first two Muslim women to serve in Congress. Omar responded to the rally last night, saying on Twitter, "I am where I belong, at the people's house and you're just gonna have to deal!" Omar's message appeared next to a picture of her on the House floor with the American flag in the background.

By Ian Schwartz
CNN's Fareed Zakaria reacted to President Trump's campaign rally in Greenville and said the message the president is sending to brown people is "shut up and stand in line." In an interview with Anderson Cooper on CNN Wednesday night, Zakria said Trump was singular and unique in the way he campaigned in 2016 "trashing America." Trump's message, according to Zakaria, was America is a terrible place and cited Trump's inauguration address where he used the phrase "American carnage." The CNN host pointed out the president's slogan is still 'Make America Great Again' which means America is not great. Zakaria says Trump understands immigration in a "base way" and knows how to manipulate his base and scratch their belly. He also accused Trump of taking advantage of "cultural anxiety" and making promises like to take people back to a time before we had "uppity women." "But it's manipulation. They can't see that they're being manipulated. Maybe they don't care," CNN's Don Lemon said of Trump supporters. "That's why his slogan is 'Make America Great Again,'" Zakaria said of Trump. "'I'm going to take you back to this world before there were these uppity women, before there were these people of color telling you what's wrong with the country.'"

By Tracy Connor
His lawyers say he got it from a friend and that it had already been used. Jeffrey Epstein’s lawyers said Thursday that the fake, foreign passport found in his safe was given to him by a friend and had already been used when he got it. Their claim, in a letter to the judge who will decide if Epstein gets bail, came in response to a prosecution filing that revealed the passport contained stamps from France, Spain, the United Kingdom, and Saudi Arabia. Prosecutors have cited the passport—which was issued in Austria but had a Saudi Arabia address, a fake name and Epstein’s photo—as evidence that the accused sex trafficker is a flight risk.

By Sunny Kim, Kevin Breuninger
House Democrats on Wednesday voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt of Congress for defying subpoenas related to President Donald Trump’s push to adding a citizenship question to the 2020 census. The resolution, which passed by a vote of 230-198, marks the latest escalation in the ongoing fight between Democrats, who have claimed their oversight duties require launching a slew of subpoenas and information requests from the Trump administration, who has vowed to fight “all the subpoenas” from the House. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee last month voted to recommend that the entire House hold Barr and Ross in contempt for “refusing to comply” with their subpoenas for information about the census controversy. “It begs the question: What else is being hidden from the American people?” Oversight Chairman Elijah Cummings, D-Md., said in a press release at the time. Ross responded in a statement Wednesday saying “House Democrats never sought to have a productive relationship with the Trump Administration, and today’s PR stunt further demonstrates their unending quest to generate headlines instead of operating in good faith with our Department.”

By Berkeley Lovelace Jr.
The House voted Wednesday night to pass a bill that would scrap Obamacare’s so-called Cadillac tax, an inactive provision of the health law meant to help control health-care spending. The tax, set to go into effect in 2022, is unpopular with both Republicans and Democrats, who say it punishes the middle class. The “Middle Class Health Benefits Tax Repeal Act of 2019” had more than 350 co-sponsors and was expected to pass the Democratic-controlled House on Wednesday afternoon. Rep. Joe Courtney, D-Conn., who introduced the bill earlier this year and has spent years trying to repeal the provision in the health law, has said the tax would put workers and their families’ health coverage at risk. The bill easily passed with 419 lawmakers voting yes. “Passage of this bill will lift the shadow that overhangs employer-sponsored plans and stop the high deductible trend from worsening,” Courtney said Wednesday afternoon before the vote. “I am hopeful an overwhelming tally tonight will send a laser light message to the Senate to adopt this bill as soon as possible.”

By Jean Casarez and Eric Levenson, CNN  
(CNN)Massachusetts prosecutors on Wednesday dropped a criminal case against actor Kevin Spacey, a week after a man who accused him of assault pleaded the fifth on the witness stand. Cape and Islands District Attorney Michael O'Keefe said the decision was made "due to the unavailability of the complaining witness," according to a court filing. Spacey, 59, had faced criminal charge of indecent assault and battery in connection with a July 2016 incident where he was accused of groping a young man at a Nantucket bar. The former "House of Cards" star had pleaded not guilty and faced up to five years in prison, if convicted. The alleged victim, who CNN is not naming, exercised his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination in a July 8 pre-trial hearing focused on the disappearance of a cell phone he used the night of the alleged assault and questions about whether he deleted text messages. "My client and his family have shown an enormous amount of courage under difficult circumstances," Mitchell Garabedian, the attorney who represented the young man, said Wednesday. Spacey's attorney, Alan Jackson, did not immediately return a telephone call and email seeking comment Wednesday. Key piece of evidence missing: The accuser's missing cell phone was a key piece of evidence. During the alleged assault, the accuser sent text messages on his phone, including a less-than-one-second-long video, to his girlfriend. A Nantucket judge had ordered Spacey's accuser, his mother -- Heather Unruh, a former TV news anchor in New England -- and their attorney to turn over the phone so defense experts could examine it. The accuser and Unruh testified the last time they saw the phone was before Unruh delivered it to prosecutors in December 2017.

By Christal Hayes, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – The House voted to kill a measure seeking to impeach President Donald Trump — the first vote on such a measure since Democrats took the majority and since the release of former special counsel Robert Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election. The 332-95 vote included a majority of Democrats voting along with Republicans to kill the measure — a win for conservatives and the president. But the 95 Democrats who voted against casting aside the measure shows there has been an increase in support for taking up the issue. The articles, included in a resolution by Rep. Al Green, D-Texas, were filed Tuesday evening and declare that Trump is "unfit to be president, unfit to represent the American values of decency and morality, respectability and civility, honesty and propriety, reputability and integrity." The vote forced Democrats to take on the issue of impeachment and go on the record as to whether they support taking it up in the House after months of speculation over how Democrats would respond to the findings outlined in Mueller's report. Many expected lawmakers to get around the full vote on impeachment by either referring the resolution to the House Judiciary Committee, where impeachment proceeding would have to start, or simply tabling the measure — effectively killing it.

By Andrew Freedman and Jason Samenow, The Washington Post
A potentially deadly combination of heat, humidity and stagnant, polluted air has engulfed more than half of the Lower 48 states, with air temperatures climbing toward the century mark everywhere from the Plains to the Midwest, Mississippi River Valley, and eastward to the heavily populated Washington to Boston corridor. "A widespread and dangerous heat wave is building in the central and eastern U.S.," the National Weather Service said Thursday. Heat advisories and warnings affect 154 million Americans. In many major population centers, the heat index - how hot it feels factoring in the humidity - is forecast to peak around 110 degrees between Friday and Sunday. The actual air temperature is expected to reach at least 95 for over half the population of the Lower 48 over the next several days. The trigger for this heat wave is a sprawling, strong high pressure area, also known as a "Heat Dome," building across the U.S. Another high pressure area in the Western Atlantic, which is known as the "Bermuda High," is also a key player, since the circulation around these weather features is pumping hot and humid air from south to north.

By Devan Cole, CNN
Washington (CNN) - A white Republican congressman said Tuesday that he isn't offended by President Donald Trump's racist attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color because he's "a person of color." "You know, they talk about people of color. I'm a person of color. I'm white. I'm an Anglo Saxon. People say things all the time, but I don't get offended," Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania told Vice News. The statements were made as the House was considering a resolution condemning the racist language Trump used on Sunday in a series of tweets in which he told Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Illhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley to "go back" to their home countries. The comments touched off a firestorm, though House Republicans have largely defended Trump and overwhelmingly voted Tuesday night to oppose the resolution. Kelly was responding to questions by a reporter from the outlet who asked if anybody has ever told him "to go back to (his) country," a remark he said he's been told before. "With a name like Mike Kelly, you can't be from any place else but Ireland," he told Vice. Kelly said in a statement provided to CNN Wednesday that his "broader point in the five-minute-long exchange was that we're all created equal and it's time to stop fixating on our differences -- particularly our superficial ones -- and focus on what unites us." "Attempts by Democrats and the media to divide and define us by race are harmful. We need to elevate our level of discussion," Kelly said in the statement. The resolution to condemn racist language from the President passed the House by a vote of 240 -187, with four Republicans and one independent voting for it. Kelly was among the GOP members who opposed the measure.

By Gabriel Sherman
The disgraced financier “collected people,” said a source. Could some of them be implicated in his crimes? Meanwhile, Alan Dershowitz (“He’s a bad person”) and David Boies (“He’s a liar”) are already at war over the case. The Jeffrey Epstein case is an asteroid poised to strike the elite world in which he moved. No one can yet say precisely how large it is. But as the number of women who’ve accused the financier (at least, that’s what he claimed to be) of sexual assault grows to grotesque levels—there are said to be more than 50 women who are potential victims—a wave of panic is rippling through Manhattan, DC, and Palm Beach, as Epstein’s former friends and associates rush to distance themselves, while gossiping about who might be ensnared. Donald Trump’s labor secretary, Alexander Acosta, architect of the original 2007 non-prosecution agreement that let Epstein off with a wrist slap, has already been forced to resign. The questions about Epstein are metastasizing much faster than they can be answered: Who knew what about Epstein’s alleged abuse? How, and from whom, did Epstein get his supposed $500 million fortune? Why did Acosta grant Epstein an outrageously lenient non-prosecution agreement? (And what does it mean that Acosta was reportedly told Epstein “belonged to intelligence”?) But among the most pressing queries is which other famous people might be exposed for committing sex crimes. “There were other business associates of Mr. Epstein’s who engaged in improper sexual misconduct at one or more of his homes. We do know that,” said Brad Edwards, a lawyer for Courtney Wild, one of the Epstein accusers who gave emotional testimony at Epstein’s bail hearing. “In due time the names are going to start coming out.” (Attorneys for Epstein did not respond to a request for comment.)

By Jordain Carney
Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) on Wednesday blocked an attempt by Democrats to pass an extension of the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) tried to win the Senate's consent to approve the House-passed bill, which would reauthorize funding until fiscal 2090. The bill cleared the House in a 402-12 vote last week. But Paul objected, pointing to the country's growing debt and arguing that any new spending should be offset by cuts to other spending. "It has long been my feeling that we need to address our massive debt in the country," he said. "And therefore any new spending …  should be offset by cutting spending that's less valuable. We need to at the very least have this debate." He added that if the House bill was brought up for a vote in the Senate he is planning to offer an amendment "but until then I will object." Under Senate rules, any one senator can try to get consent, which requires the sign-off of the entire chamber, to pass a bill or resolution, but one senator can also block that request. Gillibrand, after Paul objected, said she was "deeply disappointed" in his decision, adding "enough of the political games." "I am deeply disappointed that my colleague has just objected to the desperately needed and urgent bill for our 9/11 first responders," she added.

By Lia Eustachewich
The US House of Representatives ordered a probe into whether the Pentagon tried to use ticks and other bugs as biological weapons over a 25-year period. Lawmakers passed an amendment last week that calls on the Department of Defense’s inspector general to investigate. Text of the amendment, which was proposed by Rep. Chris Smith (R-NJ), says the inspector general will “conduct a review of whether the Department of Defense experimented with ticks and other insects regarding use as a biological weapon between the years of 1950 and 1975.” During a debate on Thursday, Smith said “for years, books and articles have been written suggesting that significant research had been done at US government facilities, including Fort Detrick and Plum Island, to turn ticks and other insects into bioweapons.” He then cited a new book, “Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons,” that contains interviews with Dr. Willy Burgdorfer, who discovered the bacterium that causes Lyme disease. “It turns out Dr. Burgdorfer was also a bioweapons specialist,” Smith said. “The interviews combined with access to Dr. Burgdorfer’s lab files reveal that he and other bioweapons specialists stuffed ticks with pathogens to cause severe disability, disease and even death to potential enemies.” Smith added, “I believe Americans have a right to know whether any of this is true.”

By Doyle Rice, USA TODAY
Tens of millions of Americans will swelter through the hottest weather of the summer over the next few days as a record-breaking heat wave builds across much of the central and eastern U.S. "A dangerous and widespread summer heat wave is expected through this upcoming weekend across much of the central and eastern U.S.," the National Weather Service said. "A large dome of high pressure will allow high temperatures to surge into the 90s and 100s in many locations, while heat indices will top 100 and approach 110 degrees or higher." In all, over 115 million Americans live where some level of heat alert is in effect, according to the weather service. And a total of 290 million will see high temperatures of at least 90 degrees at some point in the next week, BAM Weather meteorologist Ryan Maue tweeted. Trump always dismisses climate change when it’s cold, where are his comments when it hot?

By Robert Farley and Lori Robertson
President Donald Trump accused Rep. Ilhan Omar of professing a “love” for al Qaeda and talking about “how great” and “how wonderful” al Qaeda is. That is false. Trump also misleadingly claimed polls showed Omar only has 8% support, not mentioning that a similar figure is from a poll of white likely general-election voters without a bachelor’s degree. Responding to press questions about his tweets on July 14 telling four progressive Democratic congresswomen known as “the squad” to “go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested [countries] from which they came,” Trump doubled down, claiming the women “hate our country” and that “if they’re not happy here, they can leave.” False al Qaeda Claims: In his comments, Trump repeatedly singled out Minnesota Rep. Omar — a Somali American who became one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress in November — claiming, falsely, that she has made statements supporting al Qaeda. Trump said that Omar has talked about “how great” and “how wonderful al Qaeda is.” He claimed that Omar had said, “‘When I think of al Qaeda, I can hold my chest out.'” There’s no evidence Omar has said any of those things.

By David Masciotra
Trump's racist outburst contained blind, accidental honesty. This is the struggling country that needs help. President Trump often puts thoughtful Americans in the position of choosing whether to concentrate on his racism or stupidity. Since the two mental pathologies typically interlock, the choice is not binary. The latest incident of imbecility from the White House — as almost everyone knows by now — has Trump excoriating four congresswomen (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib), three of whom were born in the United States, to go back to the countries where they came from. Rep. Omar of Minnesota, the only non-native born citizen in the group, arrived in America as a refugee at age 10, and has studied, worked and lived here ever since. Stumbling and sputtering under the blindness of his own hatred and ignorance, Trump might have actually fallen into an honest and accurate assessment of the United States. He not only told the congresswomen to go back to their countries of origin — for three of them that means staying right where they are — but described those places as “broken and crime infested.” Unique in the developed world, thousands of Americans die every year for lack of health insurance and medical debt is the No. 1 contributor to bankruptcy in the United States. The “greatest nation in the world,” to use Trump’s phrase from his recent exercise in derangement (otherwise known as a press conference), also has a higher infant mortality rate than every other comparably wealthy country, and even higher than many countries with far fewer resources, like Bosnia, Taiwan and Malta. Deaths from suicide, alcoholism and drug addiction have all dramatically escalated in the United States, especially among the poor. The majority of American families living below the poverty line qualify for the classification of “working poor,” meaning that one or more members of the household are employed. Income is often attached to educational attainment, and the United States currently ranks seventh in literacy among the world’s nations. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development found that 50 percent of U.S. adults cannot read a book written at an eighth-grade level.

Paul Brandus, Opinion contributor
Why does Trump hate the things that make our country great? And how do the rest of us get beyond this hatred and ignorance? It was amusing at the start of the great racist tweet controversy to hear the media asking, “Is President Donald Trump a racist?” We are well beyond such questions. “I am the least racist person you have ever met,” he has said on numerous occasions. If you were living solo on a deserted island and he showed up, that might be true, but for everyone else, it’s just another one of his delusional claims. In fact, I have met the president myself, and he’s off by one word. He is not the least racist person I’ve ever met — he is the most. Trump supporters reading this will probably get upset and melt like snowflakes.Yet since October 1973, when Richard Nixon’s Justice Department sued Trump and his father Fred for barring blacks from their apartment buildings, it has been known that the president is a racist — and a congenital one at that. Trump racism goes back decades. The least racist person you have ever met? You don’t know the history of the Central Park Five (Trump called for the death penalty for the accused teens), or the history of blacks who worked at his casinos (fine paid for discrimination, and much more) in Atlantic City. The least racist person you have ever met? “Laziness is a trait in blacks. It really is, I believe that. It’s not anything they can control,” he said in a 1997 Playboy interview. The least racist person you have ever met? Mexicans? “they’re rapists.” White supremacists waving swastikas in Charlottesville? “very fine people on both sides.” On and on and on. Before we move on, here’s my favorite. Remember when Trump (you know, the least racist person you’ve ever met) said that Haitian immigrants “all have AIDS” and that many African nations were “s---hole countries?”

By Kristine Phillips, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors in New York have concluded their investigation of hush-money payments President Donald Trump's former personal lawyer orchestrated to quiet potential sex scandals in the final months of his campaign, a judge said Wednesday. Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen, said he engineered payments to two women who claimed to have had extramarital affairs with Trump to silence them before the 2016 presidential election. Prosecutors said those payments violated federal campaign finance laws, and both they and Cohen have said publicly that Cohen arranged them at Trump's direction. U.S. District Judge William Pauley revealed the end of the probe in a brief order on Wednesday, in which he instructed the government to make public some of the search warrants it used when investigating Cohen. Prosecutors had previously asked to keep documents under seal, indicating that the investigation into the campaign finance violations were ongoing. Pauley said they changed that position in a sealed filing on Monday, and that as a result, the search warrant materials should become public. “The campaign finance violations discussed in the Materials are a matter of national importance. Now that the Government’s investigation into those violations has concluded, it is time that every American has an opportunity to scrutinize the Materials,” Pauley wrote. Pauley ordered the government to make them public Thursday morning.

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN) - On Tuesday night, the Democratic-controlled House did something very rare: They voted to condemn President Donald Trump for his Sunday tweets in which he urged four Democratic congresswomen to return to the countries they came from. It's been more than 100 years since Congress offered a formal rebuke of a sitting President and so the vote, in and of itself, is newsworthy and noteworthy. But don't fool yourself: There's no next step, no further action that Congress can or will take against Trump. And even the House vote, while historic, has no real-world implications for the President. See, the resolution of rebuke is non-binding, which means that there will be no actual penalties paid by Trump for the House's determination that he used racist language in attacking Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (New York), Ayanna Pressley (Massachusetts), Ilhan Omar (Minnesota) and Rashida Tlaib (Michigan) over the weekend. And the Senate remains in the hands of Republicans, who have shown zero willingness to cross Trump in any meaningful way -- much less bring up and vote on a measure that condemns him. Which means, almost certainly, that the issue dies here. That Trump's tweets, like so many abnormal things he has done since 2015, will simply be fed into the partisan meat grinder -- producing predictable results. Democratic elected officials (and their bases) will paint Trump's comments as part of a broader view -- repeatedly expressed by the President -- that quite clearly is animated by racist sentiment. Republicans will insist this is all partisan politics fueled by ill-intentioned Democrats who simply hate the President and are willing to say and do whatever it takes to remove him from office. We've already seen that exact dynamic play out -- on the floor of the House during Tuesday night's debate before the condemnation vote. Republicans demanded that Speaker Nancy Pelosi's words be "taken down" -- a fancy way of asking that she be formally scolded -- because she said that the words Trump used to describe the quartet of female lawmakers -- known collectively as the "Squad" -- were racist. The Democratic majority rejected that parliamentary tactic but not before Democratic Missouri Rep. Emanuel Cleaver, in a fit of frustration, abandoned his post overseeing the the House. After the vote, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (California) called it a "sad day" for the institution, according to The Washington Post, and added: "Our rules of order and decency were broken today."

Statistics are a blow to country’s biggest pharmaceuticals that paid millions of dollars in out of court settlements. Drug makers and distributors flooded the US with more than 75bn opioid pills in the crucial years when the country’s epidemic of painkiller addiction and deaths surged to record levels, according to previously secret data released by an American court. The publication of the Drug Enforcement Administration statistics is a blow to some of the country’s biggest pharmaceutical firms that have paid hundreds of millions of dollars in out of court settlements in part to keep sealed evidence that they profiteered from escalating demand for opioids even as public health officials were declaring an epidemic. The database covers 2006 to 2012 when opioid prescriptions reached a peak of 282m a year, enough to supply every American adult with a month’s worth of pills. By then, annual sales of narcotic painkillers had surged past $8bn. Get Society Weekly: our newsletter for public service professionals US district judge Dan Polster, in federal court in Cleveland, Ohio, is hearing about 2,000 civil cases brought by cities and counties coast-to-coast against opioid makers and distributors, wrapped into a giant case known as a multi-district litigation.

Former President Jimmy Carter said Friday he believes President Donald Trump actually lost the 2016 election and is president only because of Russian interference. Carter made the comments during a discussion on human rights at a resort in Leesburg, Virginia, without offering any evidence for his statements.

By Jack Bohrer
The November 1992 tape in the NBC archives shows Donald Trump with Jeffrey Epstein more than a decade before Epstein pleaded guilty to felony prostitution charges in Florida. The footage shows two wealthy men laughing and pointing as they appear to discuss young women dancing at a party. Today, one of the men is president of the United States. The other is in federal lockup awaiting a bail decision as he fights sex trafficking and conspiracy charges. The November 1992 tape in the NBC archives shows Donald Trump partying with Jeffrey Epstein at Trump’s Mar-a-Lago estate, now a private club, more than a decade before Epstein pleaded guilty to felony prostitution charges in Florida. At one point in the video, Trump is seen grabbing a woman towards him and patting her behind. The president says he hasn’t spoken to Epstein since his guilty plea, and that his relationship with him was no different than that of anyone else in their elite circle. “I knew him like everybody in Palm Beach knew him,” Trump said last week. “I was not a fan.” But on the tape, Trump gives Epstein plenty of personal attention.

By Paul LeBlanc, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Tuesday's vote on the House Democratic effort to condemn President Donald Trump's use of racist language ended up falling along party lines, with 240 Democrats in favor and 187 Republicans opposed. In the immediate aftermath of Trump's Sunday tirade -- he told Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, Illhan Omar and Ayanna Pressley to "go back" to their home countries -- several Republicans mildly criticized Trump. But ultimately, with strong encouragement from Trump himself and Republican leadership, the party largely moved to oppose Tuesday's resolution. Four Republicans, however, refused to join their colleagues and decided to condemn their party's President, calling Trump's racist attacks unacceptable.
Here's a look at the four members who crossed party lines Tuesday and why they took their stand.

By Caroline Linton
Retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who was appointed by President Gerald Ford in 1975 as a moderate but later became a leading liberal voice, has died, the Supreme Court said Tuesday. He was 99. The cause of death was complications from a stroke he suffered on Monday, the Supreme Court said.  His daughters were by his side at the time of his death. "He brought to our bench an inimitable blend of kindness, humility, wisdom, and independence. His unrelenting commitment to justice has left us a better nation," said Chief Justice John Roberts in a statement. Stevens served on the Supreme Court until he retired at the age of 90 in 2010. Upon his retirement, former President Obama praised him as an "impartial guardian of the law" who served the nation with "honor and humility." Mr. Obama said at the time he wanted to appoint a justice who possessed, like Stevens, "an independent mind, a record of excellence and integrity, a fierce dedication to the rule of law, and a keen understanding of how the law affects the daily lives of the American people." Mr. Obama ultimately chose Justice Elena Kagan as Stevens' replacement.

By Frank Miles | Fox News
An attorney for several accusers of Jeffrey Epstein said Tuesday that the wealthy financier had “improper sexual contact” with “female visitors” while he was on work release during his earlier jail time. “It was sexual in nature,” attorney Brad Edwards said. “The female visitors were not there for business.” He added, as the New York Post reported, “He was having office visitors — some of whom were flown to him from New York — and continuing to engage in similar conduct literally while he was in quote-unquote jail.’’ Eleven years ago, Miami U.S. Attorney Alexander Acosta — President Trump’s former labor secretary — approved an extraordinary secret agreement in which Epstein pleaded guilty to lesser state charges rather than face much tougher federal prosecution on charges he sexually abused underage girls at his homes in Florida and New York from 2002 through 2005. His sentence allowed Epstein to spend 12 hours a day on work release. Edwards alleges that a Florida woman said Epstein abused her during his work release while he served 13 months in a private wing of a Palm Beach jail. “All I can say is more than one person that visited him, they believed they were going there for something other than a sexual purpose,” Edwards said, according to the Daily Beast.

By Justin Wise
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Tuesday declined to say if it would be racist to tell his immigrant wife to go back to her native country in response to questions about President Trump's recent attacks on four progressive lawmakers. McConnell was pressed about the hypothetical as he addressed the criticism Trump has received for telling a group of minority congresswomen to "go back" to the "totally broken and crime infested places" they came from. CNN's Manu Raju asked McConnell during the press conference whether he'd consider it racist if someone told his wife, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, who was born in Taiwan, to go back to the country she was born in. "You're married to an immigrant who's a naturalized U.S. citizen. If someone was to tell her she should go back to her country because of her criticism of federal policy, wouldn't you consider that a racist attack?" Raju asked. McConnell responded by celebrating his wife's story, noting that she came to the U.S. at "age 8, legally, not speaking a word of English." He added that Chao "has realized the American dream, and I think all of us think that this is a process of renewal that’s gone on in this country for a very long time, and it’s good for America and we ought to continue it."

By Elie Honig
(CNN) - The fallout from the Southern District of New York's indictment of Jeffrey Epstein has already been seismic: Epstein, a well-connected billionaire, is currently behind bars, pending a judge's bail decision on Thursday, and Labor Secretary Alex Acosta has tendered his resignation. And this is just the start. The signs are all there that more people -- including the rich, powerful and well-connected -- may well tumble as the case unfolds. How will we learn who else was involved in Epstein's alleged sex trafficking ring? First, as the Epstein case proceeds, prosecutors will publicly file papers that refer to other participants. But those references likely will be generic rather than specific; when prosecutors name wrongdoers other than the charged defendant, they typically use labels rather than full names to protect the reputations of uncharged individuals and to maintain confidentiality of the ongoing investigation. For example, in a court filing on Michael Cohen, the Southern District alleged that Cohen acted "in coordination with and at the direction of Individual-1" -- immediately identifiable as President Donald Trump. But those generic labels are not always so transparent and could leave us guessing who stands behind them. If Epstein goes to trial, then the whole story will come out, and names will be named. Though over 95% of federal charges get resolved by guilty plea before trial, this case could be different. I do not expect the Southern District to make Epstein any kind of generous plea offer, particularly given the intense criticism that Acosta faced for letting Epstein off the hook in Florida. Nor do I expect Epstein, who is 66 years old, to take a plea that will keep him locked up for much of the rest of his life. Trial might be the only way to resolve this case. If that happens, we will get the full story of Epstein's alleged crimes, including the names of any co-conspirators and enablers.

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN) - Kellyanne Conway prides herself on her combativeness with the press. It's a trait that has long endeared her to President Donald Trump and kept her in his ever-shrinking inner circle of advisers. But on Tuesday afternoon, she went too far -- even for her. Witness this exchange between Conway and Breakfast Media White House correspondent Andrew Feinberg regarding Trump's racist tweets over the weekend:
FEINBERG: Following up on the previous question: If the President was not telling these four congresswomen to return to their supposed countries of origin, to which countries was he referring?
CONWAY: What's your ethnicity?
FEINBERG: Um. Why is that relevant?
CONWAY: No, no -- because I'm asking a question. My ancestors are from Ireland and Italy.
FEINBERG: My own ethnicity is not relevant to the question I'm asking.
CONWAY: No no, it is, because you're asking, he said originally, he said originally from.
FEINBERG: But you know I'm asking --
CONWAY: But you know everything he has said since and to have a full conversation --
FEINBERG: So are you saying that the President was telling the Palestinian [inaudible] to go back to—[crosstalk]

“My ethnicity is not relevant to the question I’m asking you,” the reporter replied.
By Matt Wilstein
When White House reporter Andrew Feinberg posed a question to Kellyanne Conway on Tuesday about the president’s racist tweets against the four congresswomen known as the “Squad,” he found himself taken aback by her response.  Feinberg, a reporter for the website BeltwayBreakfast.com, asked the White House counselor which countries President Donald Trump was referring to when he suggested Ayanna Pressley, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar—all U.S. citizens—should “go back” to where they came from.  Instead of answering that question, Conway asked him, “What’s your ethnicity?” “Uh... why is that relevant?” Feinberg asked before Conway interrupted him to say, “Because I’m asking you a question.” After Conway shares that her ancestors are from Ireland and Italy, the reporter said, “My ethnicity is not relevant to the question I’m asking you.” Conway still would not answer Feinberg’s question, instead insisting that he question was relevant because Trump said “originally” from—he didn’t—and going on a rant about how “a lot of us are sick and tired in this country of America coming last,” echoing comments she made on Fox News earlier in the day about the “Squad” representing a “dark underbelly in this country.”

By Philip Bump
President Trump’s defense of his declaration that progressive Democratic members of Congress should “go back” to where they came from was predicated in part on his assessment of their patriotism. While he didn’t identify those members of Congress by name, he referred to their feud with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), suggesting that he was talking about Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) — a group informally known as “The Squad.” Omar has been a frequent target of Trump’s, with his having suggested in the past that her comments about Israel’s political influence should be grounds for her resignation from office. How could this group, he wrote on Twitter on Sunday, “loudly and viciously [tell] the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run”? On Monday, he quoted Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) saying that “[Ocasio-Cortez] and this crowd . . . hate Israel, they hate our own country” and that they “are Anti-America.” “If somebody has a problem with our country, if somebody doesn’t want to be in our country, they should leave,” Trump later told reporters in response to questions about his tweets. We dug into this claim. Where and when had Ocasio-Cortez and the other three freshmen said things that could be construed as anti-American? What comments had they made which met this standard? Before we answer that question, we’ll present to you a brief quiz, offering up quotes from people who are now in elected office and asking you to determine who said them. We tried to focus on criticisms of America or Americans instead of just criticisms of American leaders. Was it a member of The Squad? Or was it Trump? - Maybe Trump is the one who should leave our country, he complains about our country and attacks our intuitions. If they should leave then Trump has to go he complains about our country more than all of them combined.

By Greg Sargent - Opinion writer
In the closing days of the 2018 elections, President Trump’s political guru, Brad Parscale, rolled out a massive TV ad campaign featuring a worried suburban mom fussing over her daughter. The woman told herself that everything would be okay, because of Trump’s economy — yet the spot did not feature Trump himself. This ad, Parscale said at the time, was targeted toward “independent voters” and “suburban mothers.” Meanwhile, Trump was sending the military to the border, demonizing asylum seekers as criminal invaders, and attacking Democrats as socialists, with some GOP ads tying then-House candidate Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to Nancy Pelosi. Republicans then lost more than 40 House seats, making Pelosi the speaker — to no small degree due to desertions by suburban women like the one in Trump’s own ad. Now that Trump is continuing his racist attacks on nonwhite progressive lawmakers, this political dualism is on display once again. Trump is confidently proclaiming that these attacks will deliver victory in 2020 — which is a claim about his blue-collar white base — yet the real headwinds Trump faces are among those very same more upscale and suburban white voters. Trump just unleashed a new tweetstorm aimed at the four nonwhite congresswomen he has been targeting, accusing them of “vile” and “hateful” and “pro-terrorist” rhetoric, and bashing the Democratic Party for refusing to take on the “Radical Left.” Trump sees this as a winner, claiming that he cleverly forced the party to defend Ocasio-Cortez and “the Squad,” and this is “Not good for the Democrats!” Some pundits have endorsed this idea, suggesting this is the turf Trump wants 2020 fought upon.

By Mallory Simon and Sara Sidner, CNN
(CNN) - President Donald Trump's racist comments about Democratic congresswomen have won him renewed support from white supremacists who had been losing faith that he was the hero they wanted to create a prospering White America. Trump told the four women of color that they should "go back" to the "crime infested places" they came from, even though three of the four were born in the US and the fourth is a naturalized citizen. "Man, President Trump's Twitter account has been pure fire lately. This might be the funniest thing he's ever tweeted. This is the kind of WHITE NATIONALISM we elected him for," wrote Andrew Anglin on his Daily Stormer site -- one of the most highly trafficked neo-Nazi websites. "And we're obviously seeing it only because there's another election coming up. But I'll tell you, even knowing that, it still feels so good." White nationalists had become openly frustrated by Trump recently for the failure to build a border wall and the lack of a promised immigration crackdown. "With a single tweet, Trump was able to win back the sizeable deluded portion of the Alt-Right, eager to take another trip on the merry-go-round," prominent white nationalist Richard Spencer wrote on Twitter. Spencer, who infamously declared "Hail Trump" following the 2016 election at an event where people were seen apparently giving the Nazi salute, told CNN he now thought Trump was talk and no action. Spencer was one of those who led a torch rally in Charlottesville in August 2017, during a weekend when a neo-Nazi drove a car at a crowd of counter-protesters, killing one woman. Trump also received support from a well-known white supremacist organizer who goes by the name "Augustus Invictus."

By Devan Cole, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Tuesday defiantly responded to President Donald Trump's continued attacks on her and other minority Democratic congresswomen, calling him out for the various sexual assault allegations made against him and his boasts on the infamous 2005 "Access Hollywood" video. The tweet from Ocasio-Cortez is the latest salvo in an ongoing heated and personal feud that reached new heights on Sunday when Trump falsely implied in a racist tweet that Ocasio-Cortez and several other minority Democratic congresswomen weren't natural-born American citizens. He suggested "they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." "Hey Mr. President, remember when you bragged about sexually assaulting women, talking about feeling their breasts and genitals, because 'when you're a star they let you do it?' And then you imposed DOE policies to make it harder for sexual assault survivors to report assault?" Ocasio-Cortez wrote Tuesday, referring to the tape that surfaced during the 2016 campaign in which Trump is heard saying he was able to grab women "by the p****" because he was famous. Trump later apologized for the remarks. More than a dozen women have come forward with a range of accusations against Trump, ranging from sexual harassment and assault to lewd behavior, from before he was President. Trump has vehemently denied all of the allegations and has threatened to sue his accusers, though he has not done so. In her tweet Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez was apparently referring to new rules unveiled by the Department of Education in November that narrowed the definition of sexual misconduct on college campuses. The New York Democrat was responding to a fresh attack by Trump in which he accused four lawmakers -- and women of color -- of "spewing some of the most vile, hateful, and disgusting things ever said by a politician in the House or Senate, & yet they get a free pass and a big embrace from the Democrat Party." Rep. Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat who is among the four minority congresswomen that Trump attacked on Sunday, shared Ocasio-Cortez's tweet later Tuesday, adding in her own tweet that Trump "doesn't want us to remember" the "Access Hollywood" video. "His 'locker room' talk is now Oval Office talk," Omar said, referring to the phrase the President used to dismiss his remarks in 2016. "Lets stop dismissing him and start holding him accountable." Later Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez also responded to another tweet from Trump in which he said his Sunday tweets "were NOT Racist. I don't have a Racist bone in my body!"

WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump created a firestorm over the weekend when he told four Democratic congresswomen to "go back" to their own countries. Although Trump did not specify who he was specifically referring to, many believe he was talking about Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-,Minn., Ayanna Pressley D-Mass., and Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. Three of those lawmakers were born in the U.S. Omar came to the United States as a refugee from Somalia more than 20 years ago and is a naturalized U.S. citizen. Omar and Tlaib are the only two Muslim women in the House. On Monday afternoon, the lawmakers responded to Trump's comments in a press conference on Capitol Hill.  Pressley said the president's recent comments were just a "disruptive distraction" from a "callous, chaotic and corrupt" administration. "I encourage the American people and all of us in this room and beyond to not take the bait," Pressley added. Omar accused Trump of pursuing a "white nationalist" agenda. Ocasio-Cortez reminded children across the nation that "this country belongs to you," despite Trump's comments, and Tlaib renewed her calls for Trump to be impeached. While the congresswomen were speaking, Trump continued to tweet about them. "The Dems were trying to distance themselves from the four 'progressives,' but now they are forced to embrace them," the president wrote. "That means they are endorsing Socialism, hate of Israel and the USA! Not good for the Democrats!" Trump defended his comments in more tweets on Tuesday, writing "I don't have a racist bone in my body!"  Since Trump's initial comments, a number of lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have condemned the president's statements. Here's what we know about the comments and the reaction to them:

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large
(CNN) - Donald Trump wants to create an America that runs directly counter to the "melting pot" principle on which the country has prided itself for generations. This isn't an opinion. It is a statement of fact. How else can we take Trump's Sunday morning tweets -- directed at freshman Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.), Ilhan Omar (Minn.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.) and Ayanna Pressley (Mass.) -- in which he told the quartet, in essence, to go back where they came from? Wrote Trump: "So interesting to see 'Progressive' Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don't they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came." Trump continued his attacks Monday morning, calling for the "Radical Left Congresswomen," who he again did not name, to "apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the office of the President" for what he called "their horrible & disgusting actions." Let's start with some facts. Of the four people Trump told to go home to their own country, 3 of the 4 were born in the United States. The 4th -- Omar -- was born in Somalia, spent four years in a refugee camp in Kenya, arrived in the US at age 12 and is a naturalized US citizen, according to the New York Times. So, telling them to go back to their "totally broken and crime infested placed from which they came" makes very, very little factual sense. But Trump isn't terribly concerned with the facts here. It's the sentiment that matters to him.

By Jennifer Hassan
LONDON — Lawmakers and commentators around the world expressed shock and disgust Monday after President Trump targeted Democratic minority congresswomen in tweets over the weekend and told them to “go back” to their countries. On U.S. soil, the tweets prompted outrage, with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) branding Trump’s string of remarks as “xenophobic comments meant to divide our nation,” and Democrats defending those believed to be at the center of Trump’s fury: Reps. Ayanna Pressley (Mass.), Rashida Tlaib (Mich.), Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (N.Y.) and Ilhan Omar (Minn.). While Republicans remained overwhelmingly silent, lawmakers around the world were not. British politician David Lammy branded Trump’s comments “1950s racism straight from the White House” and called for Boris Johnson, who is in the running to replace Theresa May as prime minister, to condemn the remarks.

By Rosena Allin-Khan
I have been told to ‘go home’ – especially on Twitter, when someone disagrees with me. Back a People’s Vote? Go home. Talk about sexism in football? Go home. And now, I assume, I would get the same treatment from the leader of the free world. From as early as I can remember, I was used to meeting people and their first two questions being: “What is your name?” and “Where do you come from?” – and not always in that order. My answer was always “Tooting” and still is today. The questions did not, and do not, stop there: “Where do you REALLY come from?” – with a huge emphasis on the “really”. My mother was born in Poland, my father in Pakistan, and I identify as being 100 per cent Tooting. Generally, people understand this and I am so fortunate to represent an area which is so vibrant and diverse. There are people from all backgrounds, first generation, second generation and beyond, who each day have to go through the same line of questioning over and over.  Most importantly though, we are all British. Regardless of background, we all live here because we share the same values, support the same teams, enjoy a cup of tea. On occasion, I have been told to “go home” – especially on Twitter, when someone disagrees with me. Back a People’s Vote? Go home. Talk about sexism in football? Go home. Criticise Donald Trump? Go home. How do you want me to “go home” exactly? Get the tube south on the Northern Line? Get a bus? Taxi?  I have never been told to “go home” by the American President. But going by his track record now, anything is possible. Donald Trump’s weekend attack on Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib sought to do exactly what those who seek to undermine me want to do, to make us appear as the “other”. In truth all he’s doing is seeking to limit the voices of Americans. The irony is remarkable. Four of Trump’s children have mothers born in Eastern European countries. Would he tell his own children to “go home”? I don’t think so. Is it any coincidence that he has decided to take a swipe at four rising stars in the Democratic Party? Politics is changing – for the good as well as the bad. Congress is now more racially diverse than ever. American people are being represented more and more by people who have similar life experiences.

David Jackson, USA TODAY
WASHINGTON – Under fire for what many called racist tweets, President Donald Trump said Monday that the minority Democratic congresswomen he said should "go back" to other countries are the ones who should apologize. "When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said," Trump tweeted. "So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions!" He did not detail those alleged actions. On Sunday, Trump tweeted of four minority female House members: "Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how it is done" – this even though three of the four targets were born in the United States. When will the Radical Left Congresswomen apologize to our Country, the people of Israel and even to the Office of the President, for the foul language they have used, and the terrible things they have said. So many people are angry at them & their horrible & disgusting actions! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 15, 2019. Trump's tweets were directed tweets at four Muslim, Hispanic, and black House freshmen members known as "the Squad:" Democratic Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota.

It is undeniably true that America’s president opposes diversity.
By Charles M. Blow
Donald Trump keeps trying to convince any disbelieving holdouts that he is a raging racist. At least, that’s how I imagine his motives. In truth, it is more likely that his truest nature is simply being revealed, again and again, and he is using his own racism to appeal to the racism in the people who support him. On Sunday morning, the same day that the Trump administration earlier announced it would conduct raids to round up undocumented immigrants, Trump weighed in again on the conflict between four female freshmen congresswomen and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, tweeting a series of three of the most racist tweets he could produce: So interesting to see “Progressive” Democrat Congresswomen, who originally came from countries whose governments are a complete and total catastrophe, the worst, most corrupt and inept anywhere in the world (if they even have a functioning government at all), now loudly ... ... and viciously telling the people of the United States, the greatest and most powerful Nation on earth, how our government is to be run. Why don’t they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came. Then come back and show us how. ... ... it is done. These places need your help badly, you can’t leave fast enough. I’m sure that Nancy Pelosi would be very happy to quickly work out free travel arrangements! Those progressive congresswomen are Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, Rashida Tlaib of Michigan and Ayanna S. Pressley of Massachusetts.

Some White House officials expect the Cabinet secretary, who has known the president for years, to depart as soon as this summer.
By Hans Nichols, Kayla Tausche, CNBC and Hallie Jackson
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump has told aides and allies that he is considering removing Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross after a stinging Supreme Court defeat on adding a citizenship question to the census, according to multiple people familiar with the conversations. While Trump has previously expressed frustration with the 81-year-old Ross, in particular over failed trade negotiations, Ross's long personal relationship with the president has allowed him to keep his job. And after the departure of Labor Secretary Alex Acosta, the Cabinet’s only Hispanic who resigned on Friday amid questions about his role in a controversial 2008 plea agreement with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, Ross may yet receive another reprieve. But some White House officials expect Ross to be the next Cabinet secretary to depart, possibly as soon as this summer, according to advisers and officials. Frustrated by Ross' leadership of the Census Bureau, which is within the Commerce Department, Trump has been making calls to allies outside the White House musing about replacing Ross. The White House declined comment. Ross is one of the original members of a Cabinet that has seen historically high turnover, but his exit would mark the first departure of an agency head that Trump knew well before entering politics. Trump and Ross met — and bonded — through Trump's Atlantic City casino hotel bankruptcies in the 1990s, with Ross representing some of Trump's creditors. For more than 25 years, the two socialized across marriages and states, with both owning nearby residences in Manhattan and Palm Beach. In June of 2016, Ross, a registered Democrat, endorsed Trump for president, saying, "We need a more radical, new approach to government." On election night, Trump promised to recruit only the "best and brightest" to serve in his administration, but he has soured on much of his Cabinet. He called his former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson "dumb as a rock," compared his former Attorney General Jeff Sessions to "Mr. Magoo," and declared that former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was "not too good" at his job.

By Dean Obeidallah
(CNN) - The headline-grabbing Democratic infighting between Speaker Nancy Pelosi and the high-profile progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), D-New York, must be bringing joy to President Donald Trump and the GOP. After all, a divided Democratic party would be a great boon to Trump's 2020 reelection bid. And clearly Trump wants to fan the flames of that divide, as we saw with his racist tweets Sunday morning, in which he wrote that he wanted AOC and her closest allies in the House -- Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minnesota, and Rep. Ayanna Pressley, D-Massachusetts, who are black, and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Michigan, who is the daughter of Palestinian immigrants -- to go back to their own countries, and that he was sure Speaker Pelosi would be "happy" to work out arrangements for their travel. (Pelosi slammed Trump in response for his racist tweets.) But what I witnessed this past week at the annual Netroots convention in Philadelphia tells a far different tale about what's going on with rank-and-file progressives -- and it should deeply worry Trump and his supporters who were hoping for a divided Democratic Party come 2020. Netroots is an annual gathering of progressive activists that began in 2006. As Netroots organizers explained to me, it grew from a few hundred attendees who were primarily white men to this year's convention featuring a record crowd of over 3,600 that was remarkably diverse in terms of age, race, faith, sexual orientation, gender identity, etc. And this year's conference was marked by a singular mantra in approaching the 2020 election that I heard time and time again: "Vote Blue, no matter who." Now, to be clear, that doesn't mean there wasn't a wide range of views by the countless attendees I spoke to regarding which 2020 candidate they were supporting, with many still torn between two or three. But one moment that truly summed up what's going on with the progressive grassroots happened when I spoke to a crowd of a little over 100 people at the convention. I asked them which candidate they were supporting or at least considering. I began by asking about Sen. Elizabeth Warren, which elicited a big cheer. Then Bernie Sanders, and again a sizable number applauded. I went on to measure support (in an unscientific way) for a few of the other top tier candidates, such as Sen. Kamala Harris and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, with all receiving some level of support, but far below that of Warren and Sanders.

Senator Graham said on Sunday that he has no sympathy for the conditions seen in migrant camps over the weekend.
By Kevin Fitzpatrick
Speaking with Sunday Morning Futures host Maria Bartiromo on Fox Business Network, Senator Lindsey Graham vehemently disagreed with humanitarian concerns raised by Vice President Mike Pence’s recent tour of a migrant detention facility in Texas. “I don’t care if they have to stay in these facilities for 400 days, we’re not going to let those men go that I saw,” said Graham. “It would be dangerous.” Graham was referring to now-viral footage of Pence’s tour, which saw the vice president blithely overlooking a fenced room filled to capacity with migrants protesting unsanitary conditions. Pence subsequently claimed over Twitter that the men “were in a temporary holding area because Democrats in Congress have refused to fund additional bed space,” and derided CNN for allegedly “ignoring the excellent care being provided to families and children” in a separate facility. President Donald Trump likewise tweeted on Sunday that “Friday’s tour showed vividly, to politicians and the media, how well run and clean the children’s detention centers are. Great reviews!” Graham, meanwhile, emphasized that the facility was “overwhelmed,” and claimed “all of [the detained migrants] broke our law.” “What I saw is a bunch of people who have been here before, broke the law before, and we’re not going to let them go,” he continued. “I don’t care if they have to stay in these facilities for 400 days, we’re not going to let those men go that I saw. It would be dangerous.”

By Devan Cole, CNN
Washington (CNN) - Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of President Donald Trump's strongest allies on Capitol Hill, declined on Monday to condemn the President over his racist tweets against several minority members of Congress, instead calling them a "bunch of communists." Graham's comments, which were later tweeted out by Trump, are the latest example of congressional Republican alignment with Trump in the face of fierce controversy. "Well, we all know that (New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez) and this crowd are a bunch of communists, they hate Israel, they hate our own country," Graham said during an appearance on "Fox and Friends." "They're calling the guards along our border, the border patrol agents, 'concentration camp guards.' They accuse people who support Israel of doing it for the Benjamins. They're anti-Semitic. They're anti-America." Asked by co-host Steve Doocy if he thinks Trump "went too far" with his comments, Graham, who represents South Carolina, said the President should "aim higher" than the personalities of the congresswomen and instead talk about their policies. "You don't need to -- they are American citizens. They won an election. Take on their policies," he said. Graham added that if the group of lawmakers are made "the face of the future" of their party, "You will destroy the Democratic Party." Shortly after Graham made the comments, Trump shared them in a tweet, writing, "Need I say more?" On Sunday, Trump, without naming the lawmakers, implied in a series of tweets that the group of freshman House Democrats that includes Ocasio-Cortez, Reps. Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, Ilhan Omar of Minnesota and Ayanna Pressley of Massachusetts, weren't born in America and sarcastically suggested, "they go back and help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came."

By Dan Mangan, Kevin Breuninger
Accused child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein is willing to post bail as high as $100 million, his lawyer said Monday, as a prosecutor argued that the case against the wealthy investor is “already significantly stronger and getting stronger every single day.” Two accusers of Epstein also urged Judge Richard Berman at a detention hearing in Manhattan federal court to keep him locked up without bail, as prosecutors also are arguing. Berman said he will wait until Thursday morning to decide whether to grant Epstein bail. “Your honor, my name is Courtney Wild and I was sexually abused by Jeffrey Epstein at the age of 14,” one of the accusers told Berman. “He is a scary person to have walking the street.” Wild said that she was abused by Epstein in Palm Beach, Florida. The other accuser, Annie Farmer, told Berman, “I was 16 years old when I had the misfortune of meeting Mr. Epstein here in New York.” “I want to voice my support” that Epstein not get bail, Farmer said. She said that Epstein “was inappropriate with me,” but declined to provide further details in court.

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