July 3, 2014

A Denver teenager looking for love has instead found herself in a lot of trouble.

Federal authorities say that Shannon Maureen Conley, 19, of Arvada, Colorado met an ISIS fighter online, and was instantly smitten. She planned on traveling to Syria to aid the cause, but was arrested April 8 at the Denver International Airport by FBI agents and charged with conspiracy to provide material support to a designated foreign terrorist organization.

Conley, a certified nurse's aid, had told her online paramour — who, according to Conley's parents, is a 32-year-old Tunisian — that she would act as a nurse for his fellow fighters. She also planned on becoming his wife and living with him near the Turkish border.

On Wednesday, the court documents from April 9 were unsealed, and they spell out how Conley planned on joining her future husband. "Conley stated that she was aware her plans were potentially illegal and she could possibly get arrested, and therefore she has no intention to return to the U.S.," the affidavit read. She also told investigators she would engage in combat if she had to, "but she wouldn't like it."

In December, Conley spoke with investigators following an incident where she behaved strangely at Faith Bible Chapel in Arvada, the affidavit said. She said she joined the U.S. Army Explorers and was going to use the training overseas, and "also intended to train Islamic Jihadi fighters in U.S. military tactics." The affidavit also said she had wanted to serve in the U.S. military but didn't believe it would accept her religious beliefs.

At the time, the investigators attempted to veer Conley away from her goal of joining ISIS, and asked her parents — who did not approve of her plan — to help. Catherine Garcia

9:43 a.m. ET
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It is almost physically impossible to read the entire 2,232 pages of Congress' $1.3 trillion spending package before the midnight deadline Friday, which means a certain "Save America's Pastime Act," on page 1,967, might go unnoticed, CBS Sports reports. If the bill passes, though, the act will deliver a decisive blow in the ongoing debate over what to pay Minor League Baseball players.

In order to "save America's pastime," the act would cement into law the exemption of Minor League players from federal labor laws, including minimum and overtime pay. That means players in the process of suing to make a living wage — some earn as little as $1,100 a month — will be out of luck.

Major League Baseball sets the salaries for Minor League players, and the argument to keep wages down, The New York Times writes, is because "baseball considers minor league players as seasonal apprentices, similar to musicians, artists, actors, and others in certain industries who accept low pay for a temporary period as they seek to break into the big time." As Daniel Halem, MLB's deputy commissioner of baseball administration, argued: "Minor League baseball is not a career. It is intended to be an avenue to the major leagues where you either make it, or you move on to something else."

Many baseball fans have argued in favor of paying Minor League players a higher wage, though. "Every year thousands of young men forego their education and other career opportunities to pursue their dream of playing baseball in the major leagues," argued the Detroit Tigers blog Bless You Boys last year. "The vast majority never will."

Major League players, by comparison, often earn six- to seven-figure salaries. Read more about one Minor League player's experience earning $12 an hour while trying to make the big leagues at Bleacher Report. Jeva Lange

8:16 a.m. ET
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As President Trump prepares to announce Thursday his plans to impose at least $30 billion in tariffs against China, countertariffs are being drafted overseas to specifically hurt states that helped buoy the president to his win in 2016, The Wall Street Journal reports. Focusing on the Farm Belt, China's tariffs could target American soybean, sorghum, and live hog exports, with Chinese companies preparing to turn to Brazil, Argentina, and Poland to meet their supply needs.

"The challenge for any president in tariffs is to ensure that ultimately you don't punish Americans for China's misbehavior," explained Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas).

Trump's tariff push comes in response to complaints by American companies that say Chinese companies force them into partnerships in order to obtain their technology, and that Chinese companies receive government money to steal tech secrets. The tariffs would additionally serve as retaliation for Chinese cyber attacks. CNN concluded: "The [Trump] administration's diagnosis is correct, economists say. The remedy is where people differ."

American farmers, for one, are sounding the alarm: "Bottom line, we're terrified," Zaner Group market strategist Brian Grossman, a former North Dakota farmer, told The Wall Street Journal. "It's not going to be good for the American farmer." Jeva Lange

7:48 a.m. ET

One of the biggest stories this week was the scandal rocking Facebook and Cambridge Analytica, the political data firm that harvested and allegedly weaponized the private information of 50 million Facebook users before being hired by President Trump's campaign — a campaign Cambridge Analytica top executives claim they won on Trump's behalf using their data and specially tested phrases like "Crooked Hillary." On Thursday morning, Trump was apparently feeling nostalgic and a bit braggadocious:

He's right — they're not saying that anymore. They're talking about Cambridge Analytica and the Trump campaign figuring out "how to manipulate you at all costs," as Trevor Noah explained on Wednesday night's Daily Show. What they did may sound like advertising, where "they try to get you to buy something by tugging at your emotions, but this is 10 levels above that," Noah said. "You see, using Cambridge Analytica's tools, Trump's campaign figured out a way to manipulate people — or as they called it, electronic brainwashing."

As an example, he pointed out that Cambridge Analytica discovered that the phrase "drain the swamp" would make people want to vote for Trump. "And I'm not making this up: Trump told us this himself," like a "Bond villain" revealing "his entire scheme," Noah said. "Trump didn't create new fears in people, he found a way to appeal to fears and desires that already existed. And they used Facebook, in the same way that Facebook will be, like, 'Hey, remember your friend Steve from high school?' Except this time it was like, 'Hey, remember how you're scared of brown people?'"

Just to be clear, that's what people are saying now. Peter Weber

7:21 a.m. ET

President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden have been at each other's throats for the past year and a half, both claiming they could beat the other in a physical fight if they just got the chance. Biden, 75, escalated the threats Tuesday when he said he would have "beat the hell" out of Trump "if we were in high school."

Never one to forfeit the last word, Trump, 71, delivered the counterpunch on Twitter on Thursday:

Biden had initially ignited the adolescent feud in 2016 when he said he wished he could have taken Trump "behind the gym" back in the day, Business Insider reports. Trump responded in the subsequent weeks that he would "love" to fight Biden at "the back of the barn" and that the vice president would "fall over" with "just a little bit of a puff."

Earlier this month, Trump said he would "kick [Biden's] ass" if they were permitted to go at each other. Jeva Lange

6:40 a.m. ET

There is something for most lawmakers to like in the must-pass omnibus spending deal released Wednesday night — with 2,232 pages and a $1.3 trillion price tag, there had better be. The bill features $80 billion above budget caps for the military and $63 billion more for domestic programs like infrastructure and medical research, and $4.65 billion to fight the opioid crisis. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) had to run to the White House amid reports President Trump was balking, but one senior White House official tells The Associated Press that Trump was merely concerned that the details of the package weren't being optimally presented to the public.

On Twitter late Wednesday, Trump did his own sales pitch:

The $1.6 billion for the border wall comes with "some serious strings attacked," The Washington Post notes. Less than half of the 95 miles of border projects will be for new barriers — and that includes $445 million for "levee fencing" in the Rio Grande Valley — with the rest earmarked to repair existing barriers, and "none of President Trump's big, beautiful wall prototypes can be built."

The omnibus package also gives a 2.4 percent raise to military personnel and a 1.9 percent raise to civilian workers, increases funding for the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities, beefs up the federal background check system for gun purchases, allows the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to research gun violence, keeps the Johnson Amendment to prevent politicking at church, and orders the Secret Service to issue an annual report detailing travel costs for people under its protection, including the adult children of presidents. You can read more about what's in the bill at The Washington Post. Peter Weber

5:27 a.m. ET
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In December, Peruvian President Pedro Pablo Kuczynski narrowly survived impeachment, but the apparent deal he made to win that vote came back to haunt him this week, and on Wednesday he offered his resignation in a televised address. "I don't want to be an obstacle for our nation as it finds the path to unity and harmony that it needs so much," Kuczynski said, before walking out of the presidential palace and getting into an SUV. Peru's Congress will decide Thursday whether to accept his resignation or impeach him. Next in line is Vice President Martín Vizcarra, who is also Peru's ambassador to Canada. It isn't clear if he is even in Peru.

Kuczynski, a 79-year-old former World Bank economist and Wall Street investor who narrowly beat Keiko Fujimori in 2016, survived the December impeachment vote after Fujimori's brother, Kenji Fujimori, broke with his sister and led a key bloc of allies to abstain. A few days later, Kuczynski pardoned their father, notorious former President Alberto Fujimori, ostensibly on health grounds. On Tuesday, a secret video from an ally of Keiko Fujimori showed Kenji, his allies, and allies of Kuczynski appearing to try to buy the support of an opposition lawmaker with promises of state contracts and kickbacks.

Kuczynski promised to restore Peru's economy and faith in its government, after years of corruption-tinged leftist governments. But now Peruvians are more disillusioned than ever. "The only public institution with moral authority left in Peru is the fire department," lawyer Oscar Mendoza told The Associated Press. "All the rest, when you touch them with your finger, puss comes out because they are fully corrupted by graft." Peter Weber

4:15 a.m. ET

President Trump is apparently furious about reports that he was warned to not congratulate Russian President Vladimir Putin about his re-election, right before he congratulated Putin, Jimmy Kimmel said on Wednesday's Kimmel Live. "Some White House staffers believe the leak was a deliberate attempt to embarrass the president — as if he needs any help with that — but the part of the story I love, and I don't even know if he realizes this: The fact that we know he's mad about the leak is because someone leaked his reaction to the leak, which is a lot of leaks. It might be time for this White House to start wearing Depends." Kimmel mocked up a chart showing Trump from "perturbed" to his current state, "furious," and it wasn't pretty.

Trump was also clearly angry on Wednesday about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation — or as he spelled it on Twitter Wednesday morning, "Special Council." "They still haven't corrected the spelling of 'counsel' — I guess he wants to show his base that he won't be swayed by a bunch of left-wing, liberal dictionaries," Kimmel joked. "And I know a lot of people can't spell, but a lot of people aren't president, and the fact is, having a leader who cannot spell is potentially dangerous." Lunch-launch?

"But typos and leaks should be the least of Trump's worries today," Kimmel said. "What he should be worried about is all the renewed interest in his alleged sexual dalliances. Like a porno Gremlin, Stormy Daniels has now multiplied and there are at least three women now actively pursuing legal action in cases involving Donald Trump." Or, well, at least two. Watch below. Peter Weber

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