July 17, 2014
Brendan Hoffman/Getty Images

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest released this statement Thursday night regarding Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, with a call for a ceasefire between Russia, Ukraine, and pro-Russia separatists, in order for a full investigation of the evidence to be conducted. The statement also clearly puts the responsibility on Russia to take these actions, after having substantially aided the separatists, in contrast to a much clearer trust in the Ukrainian government. --Eric Kleefeld

The United States is shocked by the downing of Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, and we offer our deep condolences to all those who lost loved ones on board. We continue to seek information to determine whether there were any American citizens on board.

It is critical that there be a full, credible, and unimpeded international investigation as quickly as possible. We urge all concerned – Russia, the pro-Russian separatists, and Ukraine – to support an immediate cease-fire in order to ensure safe and unfettered access to the crash site for international investigators and in order to facilitate the recovery of remains. The role of international organizations – such as the United Nations and the OSCE in Ukraine – may be particularly relevant for this effort, and we will be in touch with affected nations and our partners in these organizations in the coming hours and days to determine the best path forward. In the meantime, it is vital that no evidence be tampered with in any way and that all potential evidence and remains at the crash site are undisturbed. The United States remains prepared to contribute immediate assistance to any international investigation, including through resources provided by the NTSB and the FBI.

While we do not yet have all the facts, we do know that this incident occurred in the context of a crisis in Ukraine that is fueled by Russian support for the separatists, including through arms, materiel, and training. This incident only highlights the urgency with which we continue to urge Russia to immediately take concrete steps to de-escalate the situation in Ukraine and to support a sustainable cease-fire and path toward peace that the Ukrainian government has consistently put forward. [The White House]

9:34 a.m. ET

President Trump is boosting business for at least one U.S. industry: mental health care. The Los Angeles Times reported Friday that therapists across the nation have been inundated with patients wanting to talk about the president, to the point that therapists claim no one topic has been so frequently discussed in their offices since the September 11 terrorist attacks.

Patients as young as 10 years old have talked about Trump, and patients seeing therapists for "issues as seemingly unrelated as relationship troubles or eating disorders" have brought up the man in the Oval Office, the Los Angeles Times reported. Patients reportedly complain about insomnia, severe anxiety, and even panic attacks — and it's not just Trump dissenters coming in to talk:

Some patients who support Trump say they feel isolated because they can't share who they voted for in their workplace or home for fear of being harassed or called xenophobic or misogynistic. With few people to talk to freely, they turn to online forums and their therapists.

Opening up about voting for Trump has already stoked conflict with family and friends. One therapist mediated a case in which an adult son threatened to cut off his relationship with his parents because they voted for Trump. [Los Angeles Times]

The Trump trend presents a unique challenge to therapists, many of whom have been trained to not disclose their own beliefs to patients. Some are trying to maintain that neutrality, and other therapists have decided to sympathize with patients who don't support the president. "If this were just another session, if this weren't such a big thing, if this weren't so evil, I wouldn't," said Arlene Drake, a therapist in West Los Angeles. "But I have to stand for what I stand for and that does cross over into politics."

Read the full story at the Los Angeles Times. Becca Stanek

8:38 a.m. ET

Legendary director Hayao Miyazaki is reportedly working on a new feature-length animated film after having announced his retirement in 2013, Studio Ghibli producer Toshio Suzuki has announced.

Miyazaki has a cult following thanks to beloved films like My Neighbor Totoro and Spirited Away, and he has recently been at work on a 3D CG short titled Boro the Caterpillar. The new feature will reportedly be a full-length version of the Boro short.

The Verge writes that there is "little known about [Boro's] story other than Miyazaki's description," which reveals that it is the story of "a tiny, hairy caterpillar, so tiny that it may be easily squished between your fingers."

The Boro the Caterpillar short is expected later this year, with the feature out in 2019. Watch clips of the new project below. Jeva Lange

8:18 a.m. ET

Ivanka Trump and her husband, Jared Kushner, apparently intervened to cut language critical of the Paris climate deal from a forthcoming executive order from President Trump, The Wall Street Journal reports:

Mr. Trump is expected to sign within days at least two executive orders that will begin the process of trying to dismantle former President Barack Obama's climate and environmental regulations. Mr. Kushner, a senior adviser to Mr. Trump, and Ms. Trump, the president's eldest daughter, intervened to strike language about the climate deal from an earlier draft of the executive order, according to [multiple people familiar with the move]. The executive order, which targets Mr. Obama's broad climate agenda, now includes no mention of the climate deal, which nearly 200 nations struck in Paris in 2015, in large part due to a strong push by Mr. Obama’s administration. [The Wall Street Journal]

On Thursday, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer sidestepped a question about if President Trump plans to withdraw from the monumental climate agreement that was signed in April of last year and lays out a cooperative approach to combating climate change and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Spicer referred reporters to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the topic; Tillerson has previously backed the Paris agreement, The Hill reports.

Ivanka Trump and Kushner, for their part, are increasingly seen as a moderating force against President Trump. Earlier this month it was reported that the pair worked to sink an executive order that would have limited protections of LGBTQ people. Jeva Lange

8:10 a.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Trump senior counselor Kellyanne Conway has been a member of the D.C. Bar since 1995, though she is currently suspended for not paying her dues. With the White House and House Oversight Committee both apparently declining to discipline Conway for what the Office of Government Ethics calls her "clear violation of the prohibition against misuse of position," a group of 15 law professors specializing in legal ethics is asking the D.C. Bar to sanction her for both violating ethical norms and "conduct involving dishonesty, fraud, deceit, or misrepresentation."

"We do not file this complaint lightly," the professors wrote to the D.C. Office of Disciplinary Counsel. "We believe that, at one time, Ms. Conway, understood her ethical responsibilities as a lawyer and abided by them. But she is currently acting in a way that brings shame upon the legal profession." The D.C. disciplinary counsel, Wallace "Gene" Shipp Jr., tells The Washington Post that his office investigates 400-500 of the 1,500 complaints it gets each year, and cases that aren't dismissed are prosecuted, with punishments including disbarment. Peter Weber

7:45 a.m. ET

The New Yorker's dandy monocled mascot, "Eustace Tilley," got a makeover worthy of the Trump era for the cover of next week's issue.

World, meet "Eustace Vladimirovich Tilley" — and you might need to brush up on your Russian while you're at it. Jeva Lange

7:25 a.m. ET

President Trump is set to take the stage at the Conservative Political Action Conference on Friday. While Trump pulled out of speaking at the conference in 2016 at the last minute, he addressed the group in 2011, where he was booed for claiming Sen. Ron Paul could not get elected. He also spoke at the conference in 2013, 2014, and 2015.

White House chief strategist Stephen Bannon teased Trump's speech to the crowd Thursday, hinting that the theme would be "appreciation," Fox News reports.

Others are looking to Trump's speech as a signpost of what to expect from his administration. "Trump may either accomplish more than Republican presidents did in terms of a conservative agenda, despite all the chaos and drama … or he will redefine conservatism," Rick Tyler, a GOP strategist, told NPR. "The movement is at a crossroads, and it remains a known unknown where it is going." Trump speaks at 10 a.m. and will be broadcast live on C-SPAN and cable news channels. Jeva Lange

7:12 a.m. ET

Those Republicans who dutifully opted to meet with their constituents this week have gotten an earful from people angry about President Trump, his tax returns, the push to repeal ObamaCare, and other issues. Many of these lawmakers, along with the Trump administration, explained the anger by claiming that the people packing town hall events are paid or otherwise organized leftist agitators from outside their districts.

Democrats tried a similar defense in 2009 when their town hall events were flooded with angry conservatives, and they paid a steep cost in the 2010 midterm elections. In 2017, many of the people filling up the Republican town halls are "first-timers who echo in passion, though not in politics, the people who emerged early in the Tea Party movement in 2009," The Wall Street Journal reports, based on interviews at town halls around he U.S. "Most said they had never participated in a town hall or any political activism and had only recently joined or started local groups."

Blaming outsiders has its appeal, though, and on Wednesday, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), told CNN that "a little bit less than one-third in the room" at her town hall on Tuesday were people from her 7th congressional district. She repeated the claim on Thursday evening to CNN's Wolf Blitzer, who pressed her on how she'd arrived at that conclusion. Blackburn said she had been given the estimate by "people that were there that were watching the crowd and watching people come in," plus second-hand overheard line chatter and the number of cars in the parking lot with out-of-state plates. She seemed annoyed by the insistence on proof, accusing Blitzer of being "hung up on the percentages."

Blackburn's office similarly declined Thursday to identify for The Tennessean the officials who had purportedly given the congresswoman the one-third figure, and Fairview city officials said they did not check residency, just that the person had reserved a spot. When Mayor Patti Carroll took a poll at the beginning of the town hall, almost everyone said they lived in the district. A list of attendees obtained by annoyed Fairview residents shows at least a solid majority of Blackburn's audience lives in her district.

One attendee, Rusty Gordon, told Raw Story that only the media was allowed to park in the lot, explaining the out-of-state plates. He also said only people who could prove they lived in the district were allowed to register for the event, an account backed up by The New York Times' Trip Gabriel but disputed by city officials. Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads