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10 things you need to know today: July 26, 2018

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Harold Maass
Trump and Juncker at the White House
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1.

Trump and European Commission leader back away from a trade war

President Trump and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday dialed back trade tensions, promising to work together to lift barriers on trade and eliminate tariffs. Trump announced their agreement in the White House Rose Garden after meeting with Juncker. "We agreed today, first of all, to work together toward zero tariffs, zero non-tariff barriers, and zero subsidies on non-auto industrial goods," Trump said. Trump has imposed higher tariffs on European steel and aluminum and threatened a 25 percent tariff on European vehicles. European leaders have retaliated, but Juncker said both sides agreed to "hold off on other tariffs" while they negotiate a mutually beneficial deal. [CNN]

2.

Trump administration pushes back Putin visit until after midterms

President Trump has decided to push back Russian President Vladimir Putin's visit to the U.S., originally planned for the fall, until "after the Russia witch hunt is over," National Security Adviser John Bolton told reporters Wednesday, using a term Trump has repeatedly used to describe Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. Bolton previously extended an invitation from Trump to host Putin in Washington, D.C., in the coming months, but he said the visit now would take place next year. Trump received some criticism for inviting Putin this fall because the visit would be close to midterm elections in which U.S. intelligence services say Russia is trying to interfere. [NBC News]

3.

House conservatives present resolution to impeach Rod Rosenstein

Eleven conservative House Republicans, led by Reps. Mark Meadows of North Carolina and Jim Jordan of Ohio, on Wednesday introduced a resolution calling for impeaching Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The move marked an escalation of Republican efforts to undermine the investigation into Russian election meddling being conducted by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who was appointed by Rosenstein. Meadows, via Twitter, accused the Justice Department of hiding information from Congress and "defying multiple Congressional subpoenas. We have had enough." President Trump's allies in Congress have accused Rosenstein of not being transparent about his handling of Mueller's investigation. The House will not vote on the resolution before the start of a five-week recess on Thursday. [The Washington Post]

4.

Facebook shares plummet after warning on cost of privacy fixes

Facebook stock plunged by as much as 24 percent in after-hours trading on Wednesday, due to alarm over the social media giant's quarterly report. Facebook has faced stiff criticism over the Cambridge Analytica data scandal, and executives warned that its revenue growth would slow and its expenses would rise. The company had said it would face higher costs as it addressed concerns over the handling of user data. Total expenses jumped to $7.4 billion, a 50 percent increase over a year earlier. The diving share price reduced Facebook's market capitalization by about $150 billion in less than two hours. [Reuters]

5.

Judge says Trump 'emoluments' lawsuit can proceed

U.S. District Judge Peter Messitte ruled Wednesday that a lawsuit accusing President Trump of violating the Constitution by holding onto a financial stake in his company's Washington hotel could proceed. Messitte's decision marked a step toward clearing up what the Constitution's "emoluments" clause, which limits a president's acceptance of financial benefits from foreign governments, really means. The lawsuit can now move on to the evidence-gathering stage, possibly leading to an examination of financial records Trump has so far declined to disclose. [The New York Times]

6.

Pakistan election count delayed as official count shows Khan in lead

The Election Commission of Pakistan on Thursday said that full results of the country's general election would be delayed, as a partial count showed Imran Khan, a former cricket star, in the lead. Opponents, led by the party of Khan's jailed chief rival, ousted Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, called the partial tally rigged. Election Commission of Pakistan Secretary Babar Yaqoob said not to read too much into the delay. "There's no conspiracy, nor any pressure in delay of the results," he said. "The delay is being caused because the result transmission system has collapsed." [Reuters]

7.

East Coast faces continuing flash flood threat

Authorities on the East Coast issued flash flood watches and warnings covering about 30 million people as heavy rains continued across the region on Wednesday. Parts of the mid-Atlantic have had more than 10 inches of rain since Saturday. Rescuers in some areas, such as Hershey, Pennsylvania, have had to use inflatable boats to get people out of their homes. "We've experienced what we call an atmospheric river, which is where the pattern sets up and creates a fire hose, bringing moisture from the Atlantic," said John Banghoff, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in State College, Pennsylvania. In the West, almost 40 million people from Washington state to Arizona faced a dangerous heat wave, the National Weather Service said. [NBC News, USA Today]

8.

ISIS claims responsibility for deadly Toronto shooting

The Islamic State on Wednesday claimed responsibility for a Toronto shooting attack that killed two people, including a 10-year-old girl, and wounded another 13. The gunman, 29-year-old Faisal Hussain, was killed in a shootout with police. ISIS said Hussain was a "soldier of the Islamic State and carried out the attack in response to calls to target the citizens of the coalition countries." Canadian officials insist the attack was not related to terrorism, and Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said there was no evidence to link Hussain to ISIS. He added that investigators are looking at "every investigative avenue." The gunman's family said he had a history of psychosis and depression. [Reuters, Fox News]

9.

Trump administration rushes to reunite migrant families by deadline

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen told members of Congress on Wednesday that the government was "on track" to meet a court-ordered Thursday deadline to reunite hundreds of migrant children with their parents, The Associated Press reported, citing lawmakers who met privately with her. The roughly 20 members of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus — all Democrats — who attended expressed anger and disbelief, with one telling her she worked for a "racist regime." The government has been scrambling to reunite undocumented migrant families by the deadline. Government lawyers told a federal judge in San Diego this week that 917 of the 2,500 parents separated from their kids may not be eligible for reunification any time soon because they have already been deported, waived reunification, or have been deemed unfit. [The Associated Press, Reuters]

10.

White House bars CNN reporter from event

The White House on Wednesday barred CNN White House reporter Kaitlan Collins from attending a Rose Garden event after she asked President Trump about his former personal lawyer Michael Cohen and Russian President Vladimir Putin during an Oval Office photo opportunity. Trump was with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker when Collins asked about the delay of Putin's visit to Washington, and whether Trump felt Cohen betrayed him by secretly taping their conversations. Trump didn't answer. Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Collins "shouted questions and refused to leave despite repeatedly being asked to do so." Other reporters and networks, including Fox News, stood behind Collins. "This type of retaliation is wholly inappropriate, wrong-headed, and weak," said White House Correspondents' Association president Olivier Knox. "It cannot stand." [CNN, The Washington Post]