On Tuesday, WikiLeaks released another tranche of emails purportedly hacked from the gmail account of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta. Podesta, who did not say if the emails were authentic, told reporters on the Clinton campaign plane Tuesday that "Russian intelligence agencies" were behind the hack and that Donald Trump allies, especially longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone, appeared to be colluding with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to harm Clinton.
Since Stone tweeted in August that WikiLeaks would target him, Podesta said, "I think it's a reasonable assumption to — or at least a reasonable conclusion — that Mr. Stone had advanced warning and the Trump campaign had advanced warning about what Assange was going to do." The leaked emails so far have mostly revealed embarrassing glimpses into the Clinton campaign network, but one 2011 exchange between Center for American Progress staffers Jennifer Palmieri, now Clinton communications director, and John Halpin caught the eye of Fox News host Megyn Kelly.
Halpin starts the exchange, with the header "Conservative Catholicism," by pointing to a New Yorker article noting that News Corp. chief Rupert Murdoch and his friend Robert Thomson are both raising their children Catholic. "Friggin' Murdoch baptized his kids in Jordan where John the Baptist baptized Jesus," he said, continuing:
Many of the most powerful elements of the conservative movement are all Catholic (many converts) from the [Supreme Court] and think tanks to the media and social groups. It's an amazing bastardization of the faith. They must be attracted to the systematic thought and severely backwards gender relations and must be totally unaware of Christian democracy. [Halpin]
Palmieri wrote back suggesting that Beltway conservatives don't respect evangelical Christians: "I imagine they think it is the most socially acceptable politically conservative religion. Their rich friends wouldn't understand if they became evangelicals." You can read the email exchange in full, but Podesta — who is Catholic — does not participate. Halpin graduated from a Catholic university, Georgetown, and his reference to "bastardization of the faith" (and his starting the email exchange in the first place) seems to suggest that Halpin at least is coming at this from the Catholic left.
But Megyn Kelly, also a Catholic, said Tuesday night that the exchange showed Palmieri "ridiculing Catholics" and asked GOP strategist Karl Rove, who identifies as Episcopalian, if it will hurt Clinton with the "powerful" Catholic voting bloc. You can read Addie Mena's Catholic critique of the exchange at the private Catholic News Agency, and watch Kelly take umbrage below. Peter Weber
'Womp womp': Corey Lewandowski shrugs off detention, separation of 10-year-old migrant with Down syndrome
There are lots of ways to react to a story about a 10-year-old girl with Down syndrome who was separated from her mother by U.S. border agents and "put in a cage." Corey Lewandowski, President Trump's former campaign manager and current employee of Vice President Mike Pence's Great America PAC, went with the sarcastic sad-trombone sound on Fox News Tuesday evening.
— Jon Passantino (@passantino) June 19, 2018
Lewandowski's indignant sparring partner, former Democratic National Committee adviser Zac Petkanas, was referring to a story highlighted earlier Tuesday by Mexican Foreign Minister Luis Videgaray, who said the Mexican government was particularly concerned about the girl's fate. The girl, who crossed the border illegally with her mother and brother, was sent to a facility in McAllen, Texas, while her mother was sent to Brownsville, an hour away, Videgaray said, and the Mexican government had been in contact with the U.S. government "at the highest levels" to have the girl with Down syndrome released to her father, who is a legal U.S. resident.
Videgaray said that only 21 of the roughly 2,000 children separated from their parents since the beginning of May were originally from Mexico — most are from Central America — but while "the Mexican government in no way promotes illegal migration ... according to our constitutional principles and our convictions, we cannot be indifferent before an act that clearly represents a violation of human rights and that puts into a vulnerable position minors, children, including those with disabilities." Peter Weber
On Tuesday, Canada's Senate gave final approval to a bill that will legalize marijuana nationwide. The 52-29 vote makes Canada the second nation in the world to legalize and regulate cannabis, after Uruguay, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau welcomed the news.
It's been too easy for our kids to get marijuana - and for criminals to reap the profits. Today, we change that. Our plan to legalize & regulate marijuana just passed the Senate. #PromiseKept
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) June 20, 2018
Trudeau's government had wanted the legislation to take effect by July 1, but it will now aim for September after determining that provincial and territorial governments — each province will set up its own marijuana marketplace — will need eight to 12 weeks to prepare. The law, which also needs royal assent, will allow each adult to possess up to 30 grams of pot and grow up to four plants, and the minimum age to purchase marijuana will be 18 or 19, decided by each province. That's younger than the minimum age in the nine U.S. states that have legalized weed, but the Trudeau government said setting the limit at 21 would encourage the creation of a black market. Canada's Conservatives oppose legalization. Peter Weber
The U.S. is officially withdrawing from the U.N. Human Rights Council, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo jointly announced Tuesday.
Haley first threatened to leave the council in a U.N. speech last June, slamming its inclusion of human rights abusers such as Venezuela as council members and condemning what she said was anti-Israel bias. Haley cited that warning in her announcement Tuesday, saying the human rights group was "not worthy of its name," per NBC News.
"Human rights abusers continue to serve on and be elected to the council," Haley said. She also criticized the council's five resolutions against Israel this year, "more than the number passed against North Korea, Iran, and Syria combined."
The move comes just a day after the council's high commissioner bashed the U.S. for "forcibly" separating children and parents at the border, calling on the U.S. to end this "abuse." Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the new "zero tolerance" immigration policy last month.
The deputy chief of staff for operations at the White House will step down next month after serving under four Republican administrations as a top aide, CNN reported Tuesday.
Officials announced the departure of Joe Hagin, who took the reigns in planning the logistics of the summit between President Trump and North Korea's Kim Jong Un that took place earlier this month, on Tuesday, explaining that he plans to work in the private sector. In a statement, Trump said he would "miss him in the office and even more on the road. I am thankful for his remarkable service to our great country."
Hagin worked as an aide under former Presidents George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan, reports Reuters. He is one of the highest-ranking members of the White House staff. Hagin's departure is the latest in a Trump White House with a record-breaking turnover rate.
Hagin reportedly wanted to resign several months ago, but was persuaded to stay aboard by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly. Commenting on his departure, Kelly praised Hagin's "selfless devotion to this nation and the institution of the presidency." Summer Meza
The government didn't really lose 1,500 migrant children after they left federal custody.
It may be four times that.
McClatchy reviewed U.S. government data and found that during the Trump presidency, the government appears to have lost track of nearly 6,000 unaccompanied immigrant minors. The widely reported smaller number referred only to a three-month span last fall.
Yet contrary to assumptions that sparked outrage last month, an untraceable child could be better off. The Office of Refugee Resettlement couldn't get ahold of 1,475 resettled immigrant children 30 days after their release after placing a single phone call, per policy. But those families often have a good reason for not picking up, New York Civil Liberties Union lawyer Paige Austin told WNYC's On the Media last month: Families may wish to cut ties with the government in an effort to protect other undocumented immigrants they may be living with. Ninety percent of resettled children end up with a family member, per ORR data, and those people may or may not have legal status.
The number of actually lost children gets trickier to solidify, seeing as some families did answer and confirmed a child was gone, McClatchy says. And the numbers are only from 2017. Things could fluctuate further now that children and parents are being separated at the border, leaving more children unaccompanied and more immigrants afraid of authorities. Read more at McClatchy. Kathryn Krawczyk
Lawmakers will likely clash over how to handle the Trump administration's zero tolerance immigration policy that separates immigrant families at the border, debating two immigration bills that contain other contingencies, Politico reported Tuesday.
President Trump will meet with GOP leaders to offer his input on two bills. The more conservative bill written by Virginia Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R) would require the Department of Homeland Security to house detained immigrant families together, but the White House said it would be "tough" to get it through the House. A second, more moderate compromise bill that would give Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients a path to citizenship while putting $25 billion toward border security and the border wall is also under consideration.
Congressional Democrats unanimously supported a bill authored by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) on Monday that sought to outlaw nearly every case of family separations. But Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he wasn't interested in a GOP-led bill that would keep families together while detained, telling reporters that he wants to keep the onus on President Trump to end the controversial separations. "There are so many obstacles to legislation and when the president can do it with his own pen, it makes no sense," said Schumer. "Unacceptable additions have bogged down every piece of legislation we've done." Republicans have also called for Trump to take executive action to speed things along.
The multiple competing bills, including another introduced by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), all include different provisions that offer varying compromises to end the policy that separates families. Sources told Politico that despite the president's mild support for some aspects of each bill, it's unclear exactly how he will choose to move forward, further fracturing the Republican Party as they seek to unite for quick-acting legislation. Read more at Politico. Summer Meza
It's bear season once more at Alaska's Katmai National Park, and the 24-hour cameras are back up and running in multiple locations. For those who are uninitiated to the most riveting thing you'll watch all summer, the park's cameras give viewers the opportunity to get up close and personal with the state's majestic brown bears — from the comfort of your safe, fortified, bear-proof home, of course.
While there are several locations to choose from, Brooks Falls is always a good bet for spotting bears in the river feasting on salmon that are swimming upstream to spawn:
There is also an underwater bear cam, which has the potential to give you a dramatic close-up of some ursine choppers. Watch that one below. Jeva Lange