News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: Harvey Storms On, Melania's Shoes, Transgender Military Ban and Much, Much More

Jannett Martinez holds her cat Gigi as she rides a boat out of her neighborhood which was inundated after water was released from nearby Addicks Reservoir when it reached capacity due to Tropical Storm Harvey on Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, in Houston, Texas. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Good Wednesday Morning.

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

  • In the morning, President Donald J. Trump will receive his daily intelligence briefing.
  • The President will then meet with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
  • Later in the morning, the President will depart the White House for Joint Base Andrews, en route to Springfield, Missouri.
  • In the afternoon, the President will arrive in Springfield, Missouri, and will participate in a tax reform kickoff event.
  • The President will then depart Springfield, Missouri for Washington, D.C., en route to the White House.

Don’t forget about the pets and animal victims of Harvey. You can help here.

The latest on Harvey

Harvey is headed to Louisiana and an additional 8-12 inches of rain are expected to hit the storm-weary state.

Louisiana has beefed up its emergency resources, doubling up on high water vehicles, boats and helicopters on duty. Harvey is expected to bring winds of 30-40 mph and a 2-4 foot storm surge along the Louisiana-Texas border.

“We are dealing with a state that has already had a lot of rain this summer, so we are very aware and conscious of the potential for flooding,” said Col. Ed Bush of the Louisiana National Guard.

Houston continues to deal with the effects of this devastating natural disaster. As we watch the turmoil in Houston, it’s important to remember that America is great: Neighbors came together to help each other after Hurricane Harvey;  a Harvey victim was rescued with 21 dogs she sheltered during the storm; Google, Amazon, and Facebook will match $3M in Harvey donations; and Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt announced Tuesday that his fundraising effort to help victims of the hurricane had surpassed $4 million.

On the other hand, the media directs its attention to invasive interviews of hurricane survivors forced into a shelter.

By far the most insane media fetish on Tuesday was first lady Melania Trump’s shoes. The first lady emerged from the White House wearing a FABULOUS pair of heels for her departure to Texas.

The media went crazy.

However, when the FLOTUS emerged in Texas, her foot game was a little different.

Remember this outrage is coming from the people who tout themselves as the caring and compassionate ones, but they neglect coverage of this epic hurricane to snark on Melania’s shoes.

Back to reality: Harvey has set a rainfall record with almost 52 inches of rain. To date, 18 people have died, and one police officer died in the line of service. The rain is expected to stop in Houston this afternoon.

President Trump is expected to return to Texas on Saturday.

Mattis: transgender service members can continue to serve

SecDef Jim Mattis announced yesterday that transgender service military members can continue to serve in the military while the Pentagon conducts its study on how to implement the president’s directive to ban them from the military. Mattis released a statement Tuesday night that he would establish a panel of experts “to provide advice and recommendations on the implementation of the president’s direction.”

“Panel members will bring mature experience, most notably in combat and deployed operations, and seasoned judgment to this task,” said Mattis. “The panel will assemble and thoroughly analyze all pertinent data, quantifiable and non-quantifiable.”

After the panel conducts its investigation, Mattis said he will give his recommendation to the president. “In the interim, current policy with respect to currently serving members will remain in place,” said Mattis.

Sarah Palin defamation suit against the NYT dismissed

Former candidate for vice president Sarah Palin filed a defamation lawsuit against The New York Times and the case was thrown out yesterday.

The former Alaska governor had sued the newspaper this summer after its editorial board drew a link between an ad from her political action committee to the deadly shooting that left Rep. Gabby Giffords injured in 2011.

But as Manhattan federal judge Jed Rakoff wrote in an opinion dismissing the case, Palin did not have a “plausible factual basis” to claim that the paper had defamed her.

“Responsible journals will promptly correct their errors; others will not,” Rakoff wrote. “But if political journalism is to achieve its constitutionally endorsed role of challenging the powerful, legal redress by a public figure must be limited to those cases where the public figure has a plausible factual basis for complaining that the mistake was made maliciously, that is, with knowledge it was false or with reckless disregard of its falsity.”

The question of defamation was raised when the Times penned an editorial suggesting the maniac who shot former Rep. Gabby Giffords in 2011 was incited by a map published by Palin’s PAC that showed crosshairs over Giffords’ congressional district. This myth had long been debunked (there is no evidence the shooter knew about Palin’s PAC) but the Times published the claim nonetheless.

The judge said there was no evidence of malice on the Times’ part.

“What we have here is an editorial, written and rewritten rapidly in order to voice an opinion on an immediate event of importance, in which are included a few factual inaccuracies somewhat pertaining to Mrs. Palin that are very rapidly corrected,” Rakoff wrote.

He continued: “Negligence this may be, but defamation of a public figure it plainly is not.”

Expect an appeal.

19 indicted in Turkish embassy assaults

A grand jury has indicted 19 people involved in the assaults outside the Turkish embassy in May.

A grand jury has indicted 19 defendants, including 15 Turkish security officials, over charges stemming from a violent attack on protesters outside the Turkish embassy in Washington, D.C., in May.

The indictments before the Superior Court for the District of Columbia were made public on Tuesday by the Justice Department.

The incident in question centers around a visit by Turkish President Recep Erdogan’s visit to D.C. to meet President Trump. Erdogan’s guards were caught on video roughing up protesters.

The Turkish Embassy defended the guards at the time, saying they were acting in self-defense and claiming the protesters were aligned with a terrorist group from Turkey.

But Washington’s police chief said the attack was unprovoked.

Nine people were hospitalized after the violent attack.

Feds warned Virginia ahead of deadly rally

The Department of Homeland Security warned state and local officials ahead of a political rally that ended with the death of one person and 19 injured.

From Politico:

The Department of Homeland Security issued a confidential warning to law enforcement authorities three days before the deadly Aug. 12 Charlottesville protest rally, saying that an escalating series of clashes had created a powder keg that would likely make the event “among the most violent to date” between white supremacists and anarchists.

The “law enforcement sensitive” assessment, obtained by POLITICO and reported for the first time, raises questions about whether Charlottesville city and Virginia state authorities dropped the ball before, and during, a public event that was widely expected to draw huge crowds of armed, emotional and antagonistic participants from around the country.

The Aug. 9 report by the DHS Office of Intelligence and Analysis was done in coordination with local, state and federal authorities at the Virginia Fusion Center. It stated that white supremacists and anti-fascist “antifa” extremists had clashed twice before in Charlottesville, at a white nationalist rally on May 13 and a Ku Klux Klan gathering July 7. At each event, “anarchist extremists” attacked protesters who had been issued permits, leading to fights, injuries, arrests and at least two felony charges of assault and battery.

Terry McAuliffe, governor of Virginia and Democrat party agitator, along with his posse of local politicians equally dedicated to advancing leftist narratives, have been criticized for their handling of the rally-turned-riot.

“It is unconscionable that with so much advance notice of the declared intentions of extremist groups from the left and right vowing to descend upon Charlottesville that law enforcement was not better prepared,” James Gagliano, a recently retired FBI supervisory special agent, said in an interview.

“Stronger police presence as a deterrence, and better separation between the two groups should have been part of the security plan,” said Gagliano, a former senior FBI SWAT team leader and crisis management coordinator in New York. Authorities responding to Charlottesville, he said, “were woefully underprepared for something they had advance notice of and plenty of actionable intelligence about.”

Picture of the day:

Homes are surrounded by floodwaters from Tropical Storm Harvey Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2017, in Houston. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Other morsels:

Maryland school bans students from wearing Washington Redskins gear

Police say a woman threw a cup full of urine on a Metrobus driver

Confederate battle flag sales boom after Charlottesville clash

Trump Jr. to interview privately with Senate Judiciary Committee

Kathy Griffin takes back her apology for photo of Donald Trump’s severed head

The New York Times misquoted Trump’s Charlottesville remarks in five different reports

Date set for Don Jr. to testify before Senate Judiciary Committee

Pranksters plant Klan hoods And other hilarious items in Trump Tower gift shop

Tillerson looking to eliminate dozens of special envoy posts

Queens man busted for trying to join ISIS

Restaurant workers caught preparing food outside on the ground near dumpsters

Move over ‘Two-Buck Chuck’ — Target launches line of $5 wines

Ballot selfie ban opponents insist the photos reinforce importance of voting

University of Tampa fires professor who blamed Harvey on GOP vote

FDA cracks down on clinics selling unapproved stem cell therapies

Police charge 3 more for toppling Confederate statue in North Carolina

US officials identify type of North Korean missile fired over Japan

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