Headlines: July 25, 2018
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President Donald Trump’s former personal attorney Michael Cohen has turned over to CNN a secret recording he made of his client 2 months before the 2016 election. Mr. Cohen is in the crosshairs of a special investigation into election wrongdoing and appears to be eager to reveal what he knows about the President’s dealings. In the tape that CNN published, Trump and Cohen appear to be discussing a hush money payment to a model named Karen McDougal that Trump allegedly had an affair with. The discussion appears to focus on making the payment through American Media Inc., which owns the National Enquirer. Here is a short excerpt of the tape.
Trump’s current lawyer Rudy Giuliani is convinced that the tape exonerates the President but others disagree.
Meanwhile Trump spoke at an event for Veterans of Foreign Wars in Kansas City, Missouri on Tuesday, and turned it into a campaign-style rally, telling his audience that the tariffs he has imposed on Europe are simply about fairness. He also deployed an Orwellian line about how his supporters shouldn’t believe their eyes and ears.
Earlier in the day the White House released a $12 billion plan to subsidize American farmers that were being hurt by Trump’s Tariffs. Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said the emergency aid-package, “is a short-term solution that will give President Trump and his administration the time to work on long-term trade deals.” He stressed that it was not a “bailout” or welfare. The plan comes amid news that a whopping 2.5 billion pounds of meat is piling up in storage facilities around the US as retaliatory measures target American beef, pork, and other meats. The President’s own party is skeptical of the farm bailout plan with some Republicans saying agribusinesses want trade to flow rather than cash. Others wondered if non-agriculture industries hit by Trump’s Tariffs would receive the same compensation for their resulting lost business.
Earlier in the day Trump tweeted defensively that, “Tariffs are the greatest! Either a country which has treated the United States unfairly on Trade negotiates a fair deal, or it gets hit with Tariffs. It’s as simple as that…All will be Great!” The President is meeting at the White House today with European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker to discuss the trade war he began.
Trump also on Tuesday tweeted a cryptic and bizarre concern that, “Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election. Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for the Democrats. They definitely don’t want Trump!” The tweet of course reflects the opposite of reality.
In Georgia Brian Kemp has won the Republican Primary runoff election for Governor. Currently serving as Georgia’s Secretary of State, Kemp was backed strongly by Trump and has gained notoriety for his racist anti-immigrant bashing. He featured an ad during his campaign claiming he wanted to “round up criminal illegals.” He now faces Democrat Stacey Abrams in November in what is sure to be a closely watched race. If elected Ms. Abrams would be the nation’s first ever African American female governor. She has already made history in being the first black woman to win a major party nomination for governor.
CNN has obtained audio of two immigrant mothers in court tearfully pleading with a judge to be reunited with their children. According to the news outlet, “In both cases, however, the judge denies the requests, and orders the women deported from the country. Both women were told they could speak with their deportation officer about being reunited with their children.” The mothers have now been reunited with their children but their story is indicative of what played out thousands of times in courtrooms over the past few months. The CNN audio came on the heels of the government’s admission that the children of 463 people remain in the country after their parents were deported. Lawyers for the Trump Administration disclosed the number in a federal court on Tuesday, for the first time admitting that such a large number of parents had been deported without their children.
Trump’s daughter Ivanka has announced she is closing down her fashion brand. Stores had been dropping her brand since the 2016 election but Ms. Trump is claiming that the burden of avoiding a conflict of interest was hampering the business and so she would be shutting it down.
In international news, Pakistanis are heading to the polls to vote today in what could be the nation’s third consecutive civilian government. Since its founding Pakistan has been wracked by military coups and has never had 3 democratically elected governments in a row. But the lead-up to the current election has been marred by accusations of rampant silencing of both candidates and the media. According to the Associated Press, “At the center of most allegations is the powerful military establishment, along with its intelligence agency, known by the acronym ISI.” Already there are reports that the Pakistani city of Quetta was hit by a bomb that killed more than 30 people in what appears to be election-related violence. Frontrunners for the position of Prime Minister are former international cricket star-turned anti-corruption activist Imran Khan, and the brother of former disgraced Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
A Swedish student’s bold videotaped action on a plane has gone viral. Elin Ersson boarded a plane in the city of Gothenburg bound for Turkey knowing that an Afghan refugee was on board being deported back to Afghanistan. She refused to sit down until the refugee was taken off the plane. Here is part of her emotional standoff on the plane, which she live-streamed. That’s the voice of Swedish student activist Elin Errson engaging in a direct action to undo the deportation of an Afghan refugee on board a plane on Tuesday. According to The Guardian, “The protest shines a spotlight on domestic opposition to Sweden’s tough asylum regime.”
The US’s peace plan for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has been pronounced “dead upon arrival” by the Palestinian Ambassador to the United Nations, Riyad Mansour. The plan, which is being worked on by President Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and the administration’s Middle East Envoy Jason Greenblatt has not yet been released. But, according to Mr. Mansour after Trump moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem, the US, “lost the qualification to be the only party to supervise the political process.” Meanwhile the prominent Palestinian teen activist Ahed Tamimi is scheduled for release from Israeli custody on Sunday according to her father. Ms. Tamimi has been imprisoned since December for slapping an armed Israeli soldier in defense of her family and land. On our show tomorrow we’ll speak with a Jewish man who has joined others in walking off the so-called “Birthright” tours of Israel in protest of Israeli actions against Palestinians.