Headlines: September 10, 2019
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President Donald Trump has fired his National Security Advisor John Bolton via Twitter saying, “I informed John Bolton last night that his services are no longer needed at the White House. I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration.” He says he plans to announce a new Advisor next week. Mr. Bolton said he had offered his resignation to the President the night before. Bolton’s departure come just as the US withdrew from peace talks with Afghanistan’s Taliban forces. On Monday Mr. Trump responded to a reporter’s question about the status of the talks and said this. PLAY VIDEO. Mr. Bolton had been among the strongest naysayers against the deal with the Taliban. According to the New York Times, “Mr. Bolton saw his job as stopping Mr. Trump from making unwise agreements with America’s enemies.” But Trump, eager to show himself off as a deal-maker has been enthusiastic about meeting leaders of rival nations including North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, and Iran’s Hassan Rouhani. Mr. Bolton’s departure is part of an unprecedented exodus of White House staff under Trump.
A Russian official in a high position in the Kremlin has been revealed to be a US spy according to CNN which broke the story. Numerous officials from the Trump administration spoke to the media outlet and described how the US “extracted” the spy from Russia in 2017. Apparently, “the removal of the Russian was driven, in part, by concerns that President Donald Trump and his administration repeatedly mishandled classified intelligence and could contribute to exposing the covert source as a spy.” Intelligence officials were reportedly deeply concerned about Trump revealing highly classified Israeli information on Syria to Russian officials during a meeting in the Oval office. They quickly moved to remove their spy. The Russian government admitted that the spy worked there but denied that they had access to President Vladimir Putin.
Upon returning from recess Senate Democrats are making a second attempt at vetoing Trump’s emergency declaration on the US-Mexico border – which he has used to justify appropriating billions of dollars of military funding. This is minority leader Chuck Schumer addressing the Senate. PLAY VIDEO. That’s Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer, who will force a second vote on vetoing Trump’s border wall emergency declaration. Schumer hopes that some of Trump’s Republican supporters in the Senate will change their vote after seeing their districts stripped of funding.
Schumer also addressed the issue of gun control in the Senate. PLAY VIDEO. Mr. Schumer, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wrote Trump a letter earlier this week asking for his “urgent personal intervention” on the issue of gun violence. New polls show overwhelming majority public support for curbing access to guns. But the White House has instead focused on a controversial idea to monitor people with mental health challenges as a solution for gun violence. According to the Washington Post, Trump is apparently considering a, “three-page proposal — called SAFEHOME for Stopping Aberrant Fatal Events by Helping Overcome Mental Extremes — which calls for exploring whether technology including phones and smartwatches can be used to detect when mentally ill people are about to turn violent.”
Meanwhile a number of Democratic Presidential contenders have joined forces to speak up for gun safety releasing a video ad on Twitter about it. PLAY VIDEO. Those are the voices of a number of leading Democratic Presidential contenders speaking up together in a high-profile video ad against gun violence in the US. And the nation’s top gun lobby group the NRA has sued the city of San Francisco, California for declaring it a “terrorist organization.” The NRA’s suit claims that San Francisco is violating its First Amendment right of free speech.
The New York Times this week surveyed 15 Democratic and 2 Republican Presidential candidates over their views on limiting executive power. The survey was a response to the Presidential overreach and ethical violations rampant in the Trump presidency. Many candidates agreed to back new laws on releasing tax returns, reducing nepotism and personal financial gain.
In the latest on the aftermath of Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas, just after the acting head of Customs and Border Protection assured reporters that the US would accept Bahamian refugees, President Trump offered a contradictory message. He told reporters, “I don’t want to allow people that weren’t supposed to be in the Bahamas to come into the United States — including some very bad people and very bad gang members.” He offered absolutely no evidence to back his wild claims. About 85% of the Bahamas’ population is of African descent. Meanwhile in news on the #SharpieGate story, Commerce Department head Wilbur Ross is under scrutiny for threatening to fire NOAA staff if they did not agree with Trump’s erroneous assessment that Alabama would face the impact of Dorian.
Voters in North Carolina are at the polls to pick a new House Representative in a special election after a Republican candidate committed election fraud in 2018. Democrat Dan McCready faces Republican Dan Bishop to represent the 9th district in an election that is being closely watched as a test for 2020. President Trump and the Republican Party have given their full-throated support to Bishop, casting the centrist Democrat McCready as a far left “socialist.” Speaking at a campaign rally for Bishop in Fayetteville, Trump instead focused on himself alternating between sense and nonsense. PLAY VIDEO.
The New York Times has released a new report on the Air Force’s use of a small airport in Scotland near Trump’s failing golf resort. The paper writes, “Back in 2014, soon after acquiring a golf resort in Scotland, Donald J. Trump entered a partnership with a struggling local airport there to increase air traffic and boost tourism in the region. The next year, as Mr. Trump began running for president, the Pentagon decided to ramp up its use of that same airport to refuel Air Force flights and gave the local airport authority the job of helping to find accommodations for flight crews who had to remain overnight.” Trump has denied he had anything to do with the issue.
A sixth person – this time in the state of Kansas – has died from a serious lung disease linked to the use of e-cigarettes. Health officials have issued warnings across the country against the use of “vaping” with marijuana oil that may be contaminated.
In international news, Turkey just made a shocking announcement that it would be sending a million refugees back to Syria. The move reverses its years-long practice of welcoming Syrian refugees. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan wants to resettle the refugees in a Syrian territory on the border with Turkey that the US and its Kurdish allies control. And, hundreds of refugees stuck in prisons in Libya from nations like Somalia, Eritrea and Sudan, are to be sent to Rwanda in a deal struck with the UN and the African Union. Critics say the plan is meant to keep refugees from entering Europe.
The gruesome audio transcripts of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s last moments were just made public by a Turkish newspaper. Khashoggi was killed at the Saudi Embassy in Istanbul last year by operatives close to US ally Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman. Khashoggi’s last words were, “I have asthma. Do not do it, you will suffocate me.”