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

Sen. John McCain dies at 81, McCain remembered as maverick, public servant, father, and more

Sen. John McCain
(Image credit: Astrid Riecken/Getty Images)

1. Sen. John McCain dies at 81

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) died Saturday at 81. He was diagnosed with gliobastoma, an aggressive brain cancer, last summer, and his family announced Friday he had decided to discontinue treatment. McCain represented Arizona since 1987 and won the Republican nomination for president in 2008. He was a captain in the U.S. Navy and earned a Purple Heart for his service in Vietnam, where he spent five years as a prisoner of war. "I have nothing but gratitude," McCain said in an interview reflecting on his years last October, "gratitude and joy, because I've had the most fortunate life that anybody has ever had."

NBC News The Week

2. McCain remembered as maverick, public servant, father

Sen. John McCain's family, friends, and even political foes offered their remembrances and well wishes after his death on Saturday. "He passed the way he lived, on his own terms, surrounded by the people he loved, in the place he loved best," wrote his wife, Cindy McCain, on Twitter. Daughter Meghan McCain shared a longer statement memorializing him as a "hero of the republic and to his little girl," while his one-time campaign rival, former President Barack Obama, hailed McCain's courage in the face of trial and his fidelity to American ideals.

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The Associated Press Fox News

3. Trump sends 'deepest sympathies and respect' to McCain family

"My deepest sympathies and respect go out to the family of Senator John McCain," President Trump tweeted Saturday after learning of McCain's death. "Our hearts and prayers are with you!" Trump long had a contentious relationship with the Arizona senator, and The Washington Post reported Saturday morning Trump did not want to issue any statement about McCain while he was alive. McCain reportedly told friends earlier this year he does not want the president at his funeral, and Trump infamously said McCain was not a war hero because he was captured in Vietnam.

Donald J. Trump The Washington Post

4. Archbishop's letter alleges pope covered for cardinal's sexual misconduct

An 11-page letter from Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, former Vatican ambassador to the United States, accuses Pope Francis of covering for and rehabilitating Theodore McCarrick, a cardinal who resigned his post in July amid sexual abuse allegations. Vigano's missive, published Saturday, calls for Francis to resign. Per Vigano, McCarrick's misconduct with seminarians was known in Catholic hierarchy for years, and former Pope Benedict ordered him to seclusion for prayer and penance. Pope Francis allegedly removed those unconfirmed sanctions and made McCarrick "his trusted counselor." Vigano is a conservative who has clashed with the more liberal Francis in the past.

The Associated Press National Catholic Register

5. Judge strikes down Trump rules on firing federal workers

U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson on Saturday blocked key portions of an executive order President Trump signed earlier this year to make it easier to fire federal workers. Jackson sided with government employee unions, arguing the rules "impair the ability of agency officials to keep an open mind, and to participate fully in give-and-take discussions, during collective bargaining negotiations." Trump's order targeted employees whose managers believe they are underperforming, making changes like cutting the number of days in which performance should improve to avoid firing.

The Wall Street Journal The Hill

6. Iran says U.S. is waging 'psychological war'

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Sunday accused the United States of being focused "on a psychological war against Iran and its business partners." In his comments to an Iranian state news agency, Zarif slammed President Trump's decision to exit the Iran nuclear deal, arguing the move has had negative consequences for the U.S., too. "From the time that Trump announced the withdrawal from the nuclear deal, America has not been able to reach its goals," Zarif said. He also acknowledged Trump's leaving has caused political conflict within Iran.

Al Jazeera Reuters

7. DNC changes superdelegate role

The Democratic National Committee voted Saturday to reform the superdelegate system, curtailing the power of elite members of the Democratic Party whose role in choosing Democrats' presidential nominee has increasingly been decried as undemocratic. In years past, the roughly 700 superdelegates could back the candidate of their choosing, irrespective of primary outcomes, and they tended to favor establishment figures like Hillary Clinton over comparative outsiders like Bernie Sanders. Superdelegates will now be banned from the first round of delegate voting unless a candidate has already secured a majority of pledged delegates via primary wins.


8. Hawaii suffers floods, landslides in tropical storm

Tropical Storm Lane, formerly Hurricane Lane, drenched Hawaii in up to 46 inches of rain this weekend before finally moving past the islands on Sunday. The heavy rains caused dangerous flash flooding, with Hilo, the largest town on the Big Island, dealing with waist-high water. Firefighters rescued 39 people from the floods, and no deaths or injuries have been reported. Landslides have also been a problem. "Over the last couple of days, it was just one [landslide] after another," said Kelly Wooten of the Hawaii County Civil Defense.

The Associated Press The New York Times

9. Elon Musk backs off plan to take Tesla private

Tesla CEO Elon Musk announced late Friday night he is abandoning plans to take the company private though he says he has secured the funding to move forward. "Given the feedback I've received, it's apparent that most of Tesla's existing shareholders believe we are better off as a public company," Musk wrote in a blog post sharing the decision. He also said the switch would be "even more time-consuming and distracting than initially anticipated," undermining development work and delaying financial stability.

Reuters Business Insider

10. Protests, arrests continue over UNC Confederate monument

Seven demonstrators were arrested Saturday during a renewed protest of a Confederate monument dubbed "Silent Sam" on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The statue was toppled by protesters earlier this month, but the university has announced it will be reinstalled in accordance with state law. Saturday's arrest charges include assault, destruction of property, inciting a riot, and resisting a police officer. UNC said those arrested were not linked to the school. Silent Sam was installed in 1913 to praise Confederate soldiers for defending "the purest strain of the Anglo Saxon."

The Huffington Post Fox 8

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Bonnie Kristian

Bonnie Kristian was a deputy editor and acting editor-in-chief of TheWeek.com. She is a columnist at Christianity Today and author of Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community (forthcoming 2022) and A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today (2018). Her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, USA Today, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.