Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 5, 2018

Bonnie Kristian
President  Trump speaks during a rally at Olentangy Orange High School in Lewis Center, Ohio, on August 4, 2018.
Mandel Ngan/Getty Images


Trump slams foreign meddling, elites, Republican critics at Ohio rally

President Trump gave a typically freewheeling performance at his rally for Republican congressional candidate Troy Balderson in Ohio Saturday night. He seemed to concede the existence of Russian interference in U.S. affairs: "We have to stop meddling and stop everybody from attacking us," Trump said. "But there are a lot. Russia is there; China is there. We are doing well with North Korea, but they're probably there." The president also addressed "the elite" — "I have better everything than they have" — and Republican critics — "I only destroy their career because they said bad things about me" — among other topics. [NBC News, Politico]


Venezuela's Maduro is unharmed by apparent drone assassination attempt

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro was not harmed by a drone carrying explosives which allegedly targeted him for assassination during a Saturday speech in Caracas. The Maduro government has labeled the incident an attack and says seven soldiers were wounded. Footage of the speech shows Maduro and his wife reacting to a noise and looking to the sky, but an Associated Press report suggests some firefighters at the scene have questioned the regime's account. Maduro blamed domestic critics and the outgoing president of Colombia for the attack, appearing on television several hours later to declare himself "alive and victorious." [CNN, NPR]


Carr Fire death toll rises to 7

Another person was killed by California's massive Carr Fire Saturday, officials reported, bringing the death toll to seven. The most recent victim was a power company lineman whose identity has not been made public. The wildfire has burned more than 130,000 acres in a two-week span, displacing 35,000 people and destroying more than 1,500 buildings. The blaze began when a "tire failed last month on a trailer and its rim scraped the asphalt," CNN reported Saturday. The sparks from the July 23 scrape ignited the fire. [Reuters, The Week]


Trump administration prepares to restore Iran sanctions

The Trump administration is prepared to restore on Monday sanctions on Iran that were previously removed by the Iran deal. However, in a tweet Saturday afternoon, President Trump suggested Iranian leaders might avoid the punitive measures by agreeing to meet with him. "Iran, and it's [sic] economy, is going very bad, and fast!" he wrote. "I will meet, or not meet, it doesn't matter - it is up to them!" Tehran has so far rejected Trump's diplomatic overtures since he withdrew from the Iran deal. On Sunday, Iran said its troops are practicing war games to prepare for "confronting possible threats." [The Hill, Reuters]


Hurricane Hector approaches Hawaii at Category 3

Hurricane Hector is barreling toward Hawaii as a Category 3 storm Sunday with maximum wind speeds of 125 mph. It is not yet clear whether Hector will hit the islands directly or pass to the south of the archipelago as it moves into the central Pacific basin Sunday night. Of particular concern is the southernmost Big Island of Hawaii, the most likely to experience the brunt of the storm — and the site of the ongoing Kilauea volcanic eruption. It is unknown what effect the low atmospheric pressure of the storm could produce on the volcano. [CNN, Reuters]


Trump insists tariffs 'are working big time'

President Trump insisted on the success of his trade war in a series of tweets Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. "Tariffs are working big time," he wrote in a representative post. "Every country on earth wants to take wealth out of the U.S., always to our detriment. I say, as they come,Tax [sic] them. If they don’t want to be taxed, let them make or build the product in the U.S. In either event, it means jobs and great wealth." Tariffs are taxes paid indirectly by U.S. consumers in the form of higher prices on imported goods. [Reuters, Donald J. Trump]


North Korea claims 'alarm' at U.S. moves

North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho on Saturday insisted his country is proceeding in good faith with leader Kim Jong Un's pledge to denuclearize, pushing back on Friday comments from U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. "The DPRK stands firm in its determination and commitment for implementing the DPRK-U.S. Joint Statement in a responsible and good-faith manner," he said, using an acronym for Democratic People's Republic of Korea. "What is alarming, however, is the insistent moves manifested within the U.S. to go back to the old, far from its leader's intention." [BBC News, Reuters]


Suicide bomber kills 3 NATO troops in Afghanistan

Three NATO troops, all from the Czech Republic, were killed in Afghanistan by a suicide bomber Sunday morning. The Taliban has claimed the attack. The soldiers were on a routine security patrol when they were killed, and three other allied forces — one American and two Afghan — were wounded in the bombing. The Czech troops' "sacrifice will endure in both our hearts and history, and further strengthen our resolve," said U.S. Army Gen. John Nicholson, Resolute Support and U.S. Forces-Afghanistan commander. [BBC News, Fox News]


Protesters clash at dueling Portland demonstrations

Fights broke out in Portland, Oregon, Saturday between members of dueling protests. One demonstration was organized by two alt-right groups called Patriot Prayer and the Proud Boys. While Patriot Prayer's primary organizer said his group rallied only "to promote freedom and God," police collected weapons including baseball bats and shields decorated with Confederate flags. On the other side were self-described anti-fascist ("antifa") demonstrators who say Patriot Prayer affiliates with white supremacists and neo-Nazis. Police used "less lethal impact munitions," pepper spray, and flashbang grenades to disperse the crowd and made four arrests. [The Associated Press, ABC News]


Don Lemon and Melania Trump defend LeBron James

CNN's Don Lemon on Saturday pushed back on President Trump's Friday night tweet labeling him and Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James "dumb." "Who's the real dummy?" he tweeted. "A man who puts kids in classrooms or one who puts kids in cages?" The post included a link to a story about James' recent opening of an innovative new public school in his hometown of Akron, Ohio. Lemon included the #BeBest hashtag from first lady Melania Trump's anti-bullying campaign, and later Saturday Melania too issued a statement of support for James after her husband's insult. [The Hill, The Week]