Read Time: 4 Minutes
- President Trump’s advisers were wary to talk to him about military options over fears he’d accidentally start a war, CNN’s Jim Sciutto reported Thursday.
Sciutto, CNN’s chief national security correspondent, said multiple former administration officials told him that as tensions rose with North Korea and Iran, Trump’s advisers told foreign officials that they did not know what the president would choose to do next.
- President Trump said that he had reimposed aluminum tariffs on Canada, reigniting a point of contention that had been cleared up prior to the finalization of the U.S.-Mexico-Canada trade agreement, which went into effect in July.
- Vice President Pence told Christian Broadcast Network’s David Brody, “Look, we have great respect for the institution of the Supreme Court of the United States, but Chief Justice John Roberts has been a disappointment to conservatives.” – a rare direct rebuke of the top justice after he ruled against the Trump administration in a series of recent cases.
- Defense Secretary Mark Esper on Wednesday said “most believe” the massive explosion that killed at least 100 people in Beirut was an accident, contradicting President Trump, who a day prior called the blast an “attack.”
- The Pentagon is flying aid to Lebanon following the massive explosion that killed at least 150 people and injured thousands more in Beirut.
- The Trump administration targeted eleven individuals with sanctions over China’s crackdown on Hong Kong, accusing the chief executive of the autonomous territory Carrie Lam of “implementing Beijing’s policies of suppression of freedom and democratic processes.”
- President Trump claimed Joe Biden, a practicing Catholic, is “against God” as he levied a stream of attacks on his likely opponent in the November election.
“Take away your guns, take away your Second Amendment. No religion, no anything,” Trump said, standing behind a podium with the presidential seal. “Hurt the Bible. Hurt God. He’s against God. He’s against guns. He’s against energy.”
- Joe Biden said his faith is the “bedrock foundation of my life” after President Trump accused him of being “against God.”
In a statement released via email, Biden criticized Trump, “It’s beneath the office he holds and it’s beneath the dignity the American people so rightly expect and deserve from their leaders.”
“However, like the words of so many other insecure bullies, President Trump’s comments reveal more about him than they do about anyone else,” he added. “They show us a man willing to stoop to any low for political gain.”
- As a result of the Committee to Defend the President, a pro-Trump super PAC’s repeated sharing of content determined by third-party fact-checkers to be false, Facebook is banning ads from the Committee to Defend the President.
- The Commission on Presidential Debates rejected the Trump campaign’s request to modify the presidential debate schedule so the first debate occurs before states begin early voting.
- Joe Biden was asked about his view toward normalizing relations with Cuba and pivoted into a comparison of diversity in African American and Latino communities.
“And by the way, what you all know but most people don’t know, unlike the African American community with notable exceptions, the Latino community is an incredibly diverse community with incredibly different attitudes about different things. You go to Florida you find a very different attitude about immigration in certain places than you do when you’re in Arizona. So it’s a very different, a very diverse community,” Biden told a panel of journalists.
- Joe Biden in a Thursday night tweet clarified his comments comparing African American and Latino communities.
“Earlier today, I made some comments about diversity in the African American and Latino communities that I want to clarify. In no way did I mean to suggest the African American community is a monolith—not by identity, not on issues, not at all.
Throughout my career I’ve witnessed the diversity of thought, background, and sentiment within the African American community. It’s this diversity that makes our workplaces, communities, and country a better place.”
- The top US counterintelligence official publicly announced Friday a series of foreign threats facing the upcoming 2020 presidential election, warning in particular that Russia is using a range of measures to “primarily denigrate” former Vice President Joe Biden and that China prefers President Trump does not win reelection.
- The State Department confirmed that it was behind text messages sent to Russians and Iranians promoting a multimillion-dollar bounty for information on foreign efforts to meddle in this year’s U.S. elections.
Protests/Racial and Social Justice
- The U.S. Navy SEALs have reportedly cut ties with an independent Navy SEAL museum after a video surfaced over the weekend showing dogs participating in a demonstration in which they attacked a man in a Colin Kaepernick jersey.
- Less than a year after being appointed, the now former Milwaukee Police Chief Alfonso Morales has been demoted to captain over the department’s recent use of tear gas during protests.
“His conduct is unbecoming, filled with ethical lapses and flawed decisions,” said Commissioner Raymond Robakowski
- Video released this week following a North Carolina judge’s order shows a Black man in apparent medical distress repeatedly telling officers, “I can’t breathe,” days before he died in a hospital.
John Elliott Neville, 56, of Greensboro, also can be heard telling officers, “Let me go!” and “Help me!” and calling out, “Mama!” during the episode a day after his December 1 arrest. He became unresponsive during the incident and died later at a hospital.
The five corrections officers and the nurse who attended to Neville leading up to his death have been charged with involuntary manslaughter by Forsyth County District Attorney Jim O’Neill. They have been relieved of duty, the sheriff’s office said.
Sources: ABC News, Associated Press, The Atlantic, Axios, Bloomberg, CBS News, CNN, Financial Times, Fox News,The Hill, Independent, NBC News, NJ.com, NPR, NY Times, Politico, Reuters, Salon, Slate, Vanity Fair, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post