News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: More Russia Leaks, Iran Teases Nuke Program and Much, Much More

A protester kicks the toppled statue of a Confederate soldier after it was pulled down in Durham, N.C. Monday, Aug. 14, 2017. (Casey Toth/The Herald-Sun via AP)

Good Tuesday Morning.

Here is what’s on the President’s agenda today:

  • In the afternoon, President Donald J. Trump will participate in an infrastructure discussion. The President will sign an Executive Order establishing discipline and accountability in the environmental review and permitting process for infrastructure projects. The President will then give a statement on the infrastructure discussion.

Today Alabama will hold a primary election to fill AG Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat.

More leaks: Emails show Trump camp blew off repeated attempts to set up meetings with Russians

This is a fun story that had/has virtually no trajectory because it is inconvenient. The WaPo broke the story and here’s their source: internal “campaign emails read to The Washington Post.” Their headline, “Trump campaign emails show aide’s repeated efforts to set up Russia meetings,” seems to leave out the most newsworthy part of the story, the part where the campaign was concerned about the person who kept trying to set up the meetings and refused to move on the offers.

The adviser, George Papadopoulos, offered to set up “a meeting between us and the Russian leadership to discuss US-Russia ties under President Trump,” telling them his Russian contacts welcomed the opportunity, according to internal campaign emails read to The Washington Post.

The proposal sent a ripple of concern through campaign headquarters in Trump Tower. Campaign co-chairman Sam Clovis wrote that he thought NATO allies should be consulted before any plans were made. Another Trump adviser, retired Navy Rear Adm. Charles Kubic, cited legal concerns, including a possible violation of U.S. sanctions against Russia and of the Logan Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens from unauthorized negotiation with foreign governments.

But Papadopoulos, a campaign volunteer with scant foreign policy experience, persisted. Between March and September, the self-described energy consultant sent at least a half-dozen requests for Trump, as he turned from primary candidate to party nominee, or for members of his team to meet with Russian officials. Among those to express concern about the effort was then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who rejected in May 2016 a proposal from Papadopoulos for Trump to do so.

Isn’t this interesting?

You can read a good summary of the entire article written by Chuck Ross at The Daily Caller. Don’t click on the WaPo.

CEOs abandon Trump manufacturing council

Three CEOs have ditched President Trump’s manufacturing council in “apparent protest” of the Charlottesville, Va., white power fiasco. Brian Krzanich, the CEO of Intel, joins the CEO of UnderArmour and the CEO of Merck Pharma.

Krzanich made the announcement Monday in an Intel blog post. He said his intention is to “call attention to the serious harm our divided political climate is causing to critical issues, including the serious need to address the decline of American manufacturing. Politics and political agendas have sidelined the important mission of rebuilding America’s manufacturing base.”

Merck CEO Kenneth Frazier said of his exit: “America’s leaders must honor our fundamental values by clearly rejecting expressions of hatred, bigotry and group supremacy, which run counter to the American ideal that all people are created equal.”

Tango down

A Confederate statue was toppled over by angry protestors in Durham, North Carolina.

A crowd of protesters in Durham, N.C., tied a cord to a Confederate statue and toppled it to the ground Monday night to loud cheers, a symbolic response to the violence at the rally of white nationalists in Charlottesville, Va.

A man used a ladder to attach the cord to the statue — which officers had coated with cooking spray to make it tougher to climb, WRAL reported.

There was also some damage to a Confederate statue in Louisville, Kentucky.

The protesters kicked and spat on the toppled statue before carrying it from the old Durham County Courthouse to a police station, according to reports.

The destructive demonstrations were not limited to North Carolina. In Louisville, Kentucky, a statue of a Confederate officer was splattered with orange paint. Police said no suspects have been identified. Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced Monday that a panel would review the city’s public art and make a list of places linked to bigotry, racism or slavery.

Protestors are targeting monuments in Tennessee and Florida. What do you think about the Confederate monuments? Should they be removed?

Iran’s Rouhani threatens to start up nuke program

The president of Iran, Hassan Rouhani, has threatened to restart (wink, wink) his country’s nuclear program.

Iran’s president has issued a direct threat, claiming his country is capable of restarting its nuclear program within hours.

Hassan Rouhani says it could be done “in an hour and a day” if Washington continues with “threats and sanctions” against Iran.

The program could be brought to an advanced level, like the level it would be at if it were never stopped perhaps?

He says that once restarted, the program could quickly be brought to a much more advanced level than it was back in 2015, when Iran signed the nuclear deal with world powers. That agreement capped Iran’s uranium enrichment levels in return for the lifting of international sanctions.

Cherry on top: “Rouhani also tempered his threat, adding that Iran seeks to remain loyal to its commitments under the deal.”

Of course.

Watch Mollie Hemingway throw down on FNC last night

Worth a shout-out

How Obama handled an attack by A racial nationalist

Picture of the day:

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses the nation on the country’s Independence Day from the ramparts of the historical Red Fort in New Delhi, India, Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2017. India marks its independence in 1947 from British colonial rule. In the background, Indian children stand in formation to spell out the Hindi word “Bharat”, which is the name of the country. (AP Photo/Manish Swarup)

Other morsels:

Records: Charlottesville car attack suspect previously accused of assaulting mother

For 18 hours, cabbie sat dead in front seat

Corporations increasingly serve as arbiters of public morality

Teen dies within 48 hours of being sent to internet addiction camp

Convicted rapist caught working at a California rape counseling center

Man, 62, arrested for threatening Nevada senator over healthcare vote

7 killed after gunmen open fire on UN headquarters in Mali

Holocaust Memorial in Boston vandalized

And that’s all I’ve got, now go beat back the angry mob!