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10 things you need to know today: August 26, 2017

Trump pardons controversial former sheriff Joe Arpaio, Gorka ousted from White House post, and more


Trump pardons controversial former sheriff Joe Arpaio

President Trump in Phoenix Tuesday all but promised clemency to Joe Arpaio, the former Arizona sheriff who was convicted in July of criminal contempt for defying an order to stop imprisoning suspected illegal immigrants. "I'll make a prediction," Trump said during his rally. "I think [Arpaio]'s going to be just fine, okay?" The president followed through on that promise Friday night with an official pardon, tweeting, "I am pleased to inform you that I have just granted a full Pardon to 85 year old American patriot Sheriff Joe Arpaio. He kept Arizona safe!" Arpaio has long been an outspoken critic of undocumented immigrants and campaigned with Trump in 2016.


Gorka ousted from White House post

The latest high-profile departure from the Trump administration is deputy assistant to the president Sebastian Gorka, who was ousted from his post Friday night. In a resignation letter first reported at The Federalist, Gorka wrote that "given recent events, it is clear to me that forces that do not support the [Make America Great Again] promise are — for now — ascendant within the White House." The administration issued a response to the letter indicating Gorka "did not resign" but rather was fired. Gorka was an ally of ousted chief strategist Stephen Bannon in the "economic nationalist" wing of the Trump White House.


Hurricane Harvey slows to Category 1 after landfall

Hurricane Harvey was downgraded overnight from its Category 4 peak to Category 1 after making landfall in Texas late Friday. The strongest storm to hit the United States in a decade, Harvey touched down near Port Aransas on the Gulf Coast around 11 p.m. local time. More than 200,000 Texan homes and businesses are without power Saturday morning; at least 10 people were injured when the roof of a senior center collapsed in Rockport. Residents who did not evacuate the storm's path have been warned to boil water for consumption and asked to "mark their arm with a Sharpie pen with their name and Social Security number" for emergency identification.


Trump memo directs Pentagon to implement transgender troop ban

President Trump signed a memo Friday directing the Pentagon to implement the ban on transgender troops he unexpectedly announced in late July. The documents says the Defense Department (DoD) must stop accepting openly transgender recruits but allows Pentagon leadership to decide whether active transgender personnel can continue in their roles. The memo also prohibits federal spending on sex-reassignment surgeries unless they are needed "to protect the health of an individual who has already begun a course of treatment to reassign his or her sex." The DoD has six months to decide what to do about current transgender troops.


North Korea tests short-range missiles

North Korea tested three short-range missiles Saturday morning. The first and third tests flew about 155 miles before they "failed in flight," U.S. Pacific Command reported, while the second missile "appears to have blown up almost immediately." None of the tests posed any threat to the mainland United States or the U.S. Pacific island territory of Guam. North Korean state media reported leader Kim Jong Un also visited troops on Saturday, telling them to "think of mercilessly wiping out the enemy with arms only and occupying Seoul at one go and the southern half of Korea."


Sword-wielding man arrested outside Buckingham Palace

A man brandishing a sword and yelling "Allahu Akbar" was arrested Friday night outside Buckingham Palace, the residence of Queen Elizabeth II in London. Three officers suffered minor injuries during the arrest, and the incident is being investigated as a possible terrorist attempt. A "car deliberately drove at a police van and stopped in front of it in a restricted area," said a statement from London police. As the officers from the van "challenged the driver, who was the only occupant in the car, he reached for what we now know to be a four-foot sword" before being incapacitated with tear gas.


U.S. military helicopter crashes near Yemen

A U.S. military helicopter crashed during a training exercise off the coast of Yemen Friday, U.S. Central Command reported Saturday. Five of the six U.S. troops on board were rescued, and the search for the sixth person is ongoing. The cause of the Black Hawk helicopter's crash is unknown. "Commanders deemed this location appropriate and safe for a routine training event," Centcom said, "considering both the operational environment and weather conditions at the time." The U.S. conducts anti-terror airstrikes in Yemen and supports a Saudi-led military intervention that has contributed to the country's grave humanitarian crisis.


Kasich, Hickenlooper reportedly mull bipartisan 2020 challenge to Trump

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) could challenge President Trump in 2020 on a bipartisan ticket with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D), people familiar with the plans told Axios for a Friday report. Kasich, who ran unsuccessfully in the 2016 Republican primary, would likely be at the top of the ticket, and the pair would focus their campaign on immigration and job creation in the face of automation. While one strategist told Axios "no Dem wants Kasich anywhere near our ticket," another operative said "our political system is completely broken. Something big and historic needs to happen to break the logjam."


Mayweather-McGregor fight looks to break betting records

The highly anticipated boxing match between Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor takes place Saturday night at 9 p.m. ET in Las Vegas. Millions of dollars are tied to the fight, thanks to pay-per-view purchases, ad revenue, and ticket sales; bookmakers also expect to handle record-setting wagers. Mayweather is putting his undefeated record on the line against McGregor, a trained mixed martial artist who has never boxed professionally. The lead-up to the match has been marred by ugly press, including racially charged remarks by McGregor and the use of a homophobic slur by Mayweather.


Taylor Swift drops first single in 3 years

Taylor Swift released her first single in three years, titled "Look What You Made Me Do," late Thursday night. The singer had teased an upcoming project by wiping her social media accounts clean, then sharing cryptic videos of what appeared to be a snake. "Look What You Made Me Do" is a dance-pop revenge affair, featuring lines like "Maybe I got mine, but you'll all get yours." Aside from a collaboration with Zayn Malik for the film Fifty Shades Darker last year, the song is Swift's first release since 2014's 1989. Her upcoming album, Reputation, will be released Nov. 10.


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