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10 things you need to know today: July 25, 2018

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Harold Maass
Trump holds a Make Our Farmers Great Again hat
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1.

White House plans $12 billion to aid farmers hurt by trade war

The Trump administration on Tuesday announced a plan to give farmers hurt by President Trump's trade war up to $12 billion in emergency aid. "The actions today are a firm statement that other nations cannot bully our agricultural producers to force the United States to cave in," Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue said. The plan to help farmers hurt by tariffs imposed by China, Mexico, and other countries on U.S. agricultural imports was unveiled two days before Trump is to visit Iowa, the nation's top soybean producer. The announcement sparked immediate criticism from lawmakers from both parties, and farm groups that argued the aid fell short of farmers' losses. "If tariffs punish farmers, the answer is not welfare for farmers. The answer is remove the tariffs," tweeted Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.). [The New York Times, The Washington Post]

2.

Trump says Russia aiming to help Democrats in midterms

President Trump tweeted on Tuesday that he was "very concerned that Russia will be fighting very hard to have an impact on the upcoming Election." U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Moscow used hackers and social media to target Democrats and boost Trump's campaign. Trump, however, said that, "Based on the fact that no President has been tougher on Russia than me, they will be pushing very hard for Democrats. They definitely don't want Trump!" The statement marked the latest in a series of contradictory comments Trump has made on Russian election meddling since his summit in Helsinki this month with Russian President Vladimir Putin. [Donald J. Trump, CNBC]

3.

Trump-endorsed candidate Kemp wins Georgia gubernatorial primary runoff

Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp, boosted by a late endorsement by President Trump, beat once-favored Lt. Gov. Casey Cagle in a tough Republican runoff in the campaign for Georgia governor. Kemp, who calls himself an "unapologetic conservative," said in a campaign ad he would "round up criminal illegals" himself in his pickup truck. Cagle lost some momentum in June after the release of a secret recording in which he told another Republican leader he had helped pass a "bad public-policy" bill for political gain. Kemp now faces the Democratic nominee, Stacey Abrams, in the general election. Abrams would be the country's first black woman governor. [The Associated Press]

4.

Tape released of Trump, Cohen discussing buying ex-Playboy model's story

Michael Cohen's lawyer, Lanny Davis, on Tuesday gave CNN the September 2016 audio recording that appears to indicate that President Trump knew of a plan to buy the rights to former Playboy model Karen McDougal's story about the 2006 affair she said she had with Trump. Cohen, Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer, is heard telling Trump he plans to open a company to finance the purchase of the rights to her story from National Enquirer parent company American Media, which paid McDougal $150,000 but never ran the story. Cohen says, "We'll have to pay." Trump then says, "pay with cash," but the audio is muddled. Trump's lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, disputed that the tape showed Trump knew about the McDougal deal just before the 2016 election. [CNN, The Washington Post]

5.

Former Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne dies at 66

Former Fiat Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne has died after suffering complications from recent surgery. Marchionne, 66, fell gravely ill after shoulder surgery in a Zurich hospital, and lapsed into a coma. Marchionne, one of the auto industry's most respected leaders, was replaced by Jeep executive Mike Manley days earlier after his condition worsened last weekend. He stepped down from his role as CEO of Ferrari, which was spun off from Fiat more than two years ago, at the same time. "Unfortunately, what we feared has come to pass. Sergio Marchionne, man and friend, is gone," FCA Chairman John Elkann said in a statement. "I believe that the best way to honor his memory is to build on the legacy he left us, continuing to develop the human values of responsibility and openness of which he was the most ardent champion." [CNBC, Reuters]

6.

Ivanka Trump closes her fashion company

Ivanka Trump said Tuesday that she was shutting down her clothing and accessory company to focus on her work in Washington as a senior aide to her father, President Trump. The fashion brand has been a subject of controversy, as critics said Ivanka Trump's business created the potential for conflicts of interest and the appearance that she was profiting from her job in the White House. "After 17 months in Washington, I do not know when or if I will ever return to the business," she said in a statement, "but I do know that my focus for the foreseeable future will be the work I am doing here in Washington, so making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and partners." [CNN]

7.

Death toll from Greece wildfires rises

The death toll from wildfires outside the Greek capital of Athens rose to at least 74 people on Tuesday. More than 150 others were injured as six blazes, fueled by high winds, swept through resort areas. Authorities expect to find more victims as rescue crews check scorched homes and vehicles. About 700 people were rescued after fleeing into the sea. Red Cross official Nikos Economopoulos said 26 of the dead were found huddled about 100 feet from the water on a beach in Mati, a village 25 miles northeast of Athens. "They had tried to find an escape route but unfortunately these people and their kids didn't make it in time. Instinctively, seeing the end nearing, they embraced," Economopoulos said. [UPI]

8.

Bombing kills 31 as voting starts in Pakistan

A bomb attack in Pakistan killed 31 people as voters headed to the polls in a fiercely contested general election being held under heavy security. The blast hit on the outskirts of Quetta, Balochistan province's capital. The Islamic State claimed responsibility but investigators could not immediately confirm the cause of the explosion. In Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, one person was killed and three injured outside a polling station in a fight between supporters of Imran Khan's Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf and the province's Awami National Party. Khan condemned the Quetta bombing, saying that "Pakistanis must defeat the terrorists' design by coming out in strength to cast their vote." [CNN]

9.

Wildfire forces closure of parts of Yosemite

National Park officials announced Tuesday that they were closing large sections of Yosemite National Park in California due to a nearby wildfire. The closures take effect Wednesday. Visitors and employees have to evacuate Yosemite Valley and Wawona, as well as all park hotels, campgrounds, and other visitor facilities. The blaze, known as the Ferguson Fire, has burned more than 36,000 acres southwest of Yosemite. As of late Tuesday it was 25 percent contained. Visitors in Yosemite Valley have been warned to "limit activity during the periods of poor air quality" due to smoke. Park authorities said they hoped to be able to reopen the park in four days. [The Mercury News]

10.

Demi Lovato hospitalized for suspected drug overdose

Pop star Demi Lovato was rushed to a Los Angeles hospital on Tuesday after being found unconscious at her home in the Hollywood Hills. Lovato, 25, reportedly appeared to have suffered a possible drug overdose. She was treated with Narcan, a medication used to reverse opioid overdose. Lovato has been vocal about her struggles with drugs and alcohol, and had been sober for six years. Last month, she released a song revealing that she had relapsed. "Demi is awake and with her family who want to express thanks to everyone for the love, prayers, and support," publicist Nicole Perna said in a statement to USA Today. [TMZ, USA Today]