The Morning Briefing: Sanctions, Google, Smollett Video, and Much, Much More
Happy Tuesday Morning!
Just a reminder: the Democratic debates are Wednesday and Thursday night. Stock up on popcorn now! Joe Biden is facing off against Marianne Williamson. It's going to be lit.
Other things lit on fire ... Iran's economy.
Yesterday, President Trump slapped hefty sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
Trump called off a military response after Iran allegedly shot down a U.S. drone. These sanctions seem a much wiser approach.
"Today's actions follow a series of aggressive behaviors by the Iranian regime in recent weeks, including shooting down of US drones," Trump said, flanked by Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and Vice President Mike Pence. "The supreme leader of Iran is one who ultimately is responsible of the hostile conduct of the regime. He's respected within his country. His office oversees the regime's most brutal instruments including the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps."
What about Google?
While Iran may be making aggressive moves against the U.S., Google seems to be plotting against Trump's re-election efforts, if Project Veritas is to be believed.
Project Veritas went public with a video of a Google executive seemingly plotting against Trump.
"Elizabeth Warren is saying that we should break up Google. And like, I love her but she’s very misguided, like that will not make it better, it will make it worse because now all these smaller companies who don’t have the same resources that we do will be charged with preventing the next Trump situation. It’s like a small company cannot do that," Jen Gennai, head of Responsible Innovation at Google Global Affairs, tells an undercover Project Veritas journalist in the video.
YouTube removed the video and Gennai responded: "I was having a casual chat with someone at a restaurant and used some imprecise language. Project Veritas got me. Well done." She called the Project Veritas allegations "absolute, unadulterated nonsense."
Yet anti-Trump bias has emerged from Google at many points. A Google executive bragged about efforts to boost Latino turnout "in key states" in 2016, expecting that voting bloc to pull for Hillary Clinton. Employees at Google and other tech companies heavily favor Democrats in political contributions. A Google manager also blamed Trump's victory on "fake news" and "hate speech." Google employees also worked to frustrate Trump's travel ban.
The latest bombshell may have gone too far, but Google does have explaining to do.
Know who else has explaining to do?
Jussie Smollett. Evidence that the "racist and homophobic hate crime" in which he claimed to be a victim was indeed a hoax. Fox News reports:
Chicago police released hundreds of files and nearly 70 hours of video footage on Monday from the investigation into Jussie Smollett's claim back in January that he was attacked by two men -- a claim that police later characterized as a hoax.
In one of the videos, police body-cam footage showed Smollett -- with his face blurred -- wearing a white rope that he told detectives his attackers looped around his neck. When one of the officers asked Smollett if he wanted to take the rope off of his neck, the 37-year-old actor did while stating: "Yeah. I do. I just wanted you all to see it."
One last thing.
Here's the line-up for the Democratic presidential debates.
Wednesday: New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio; Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.); former HUD Secretary Julián Castro; former Rep. John Delaney (D-Md.); Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii); Gov. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.); Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.); former Rep. Robert Francis "Beto" O'Rourke (D-Texas); Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio); and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)
Thursday: Sen. Michael Bennet (D-Colo.); former Vice President Joe Biden; South Bend, Ind. Mayor Pete Buttigieg; Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.); Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.); former Gov. John Hickenlooper (D-Colo.); Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.); Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-Calif.); Marianne Williamson; and Andrew Yang.
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