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Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 2, 2018

Bonnie Kristian
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1.

Trump administration withholds 100,000 pages on Brett Kavanaugh's record

The Trump administration is withholding more than 100,000 pages on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh's record of legal work within the George W. Bush administration. The White House decided to conceal these documents, citing executive privilege as its rationale, reported William Burck, the head of a team of lawyers who reviewed some 664,000 pages of Kavanaugh-related documents housed in Bush's presidential library. Most of the records not published "reflect deliberations and candid advice concerning the selection and nomination of judicial candidates," Burck said. Congressional Democrats have cried foul, accusing President Trump of a "cover-up." [The New York Times, CNN]

2.

Meghan McCain slams 'cheap rhetoric,' 'opportunistic appropriation' in her father's eulogy

"We gather here to mourn the passing of American greatness," Meghan McCain said of her father, the late Sen. John McCain, at his funeral Saturday. "The real thing, not cheap rhetoric from men who will never come near the sacrifice he gave so willingly, nor the opportunistic appropriation of those who lived lives of comfort and privilege while he suffered and served." Former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama also joined other Washington notables in honoring McCain at the National Cathedral, often with implicit swipes at President Trump. McCain will be buried at a private service Sunday. [The Washington Post, The Week]

3.

Trump golfs, tweets during McCain funeral

President Trump was reportedly not invited to the Saturday funeral of the late Sen. John McCain, and he spent the day golfing in Virginia instead. Tweeting from the links, Trump seemed to respond to the criticism many of McCain's eulogies implied, particularly Meghan McCain's declaration that her father's America "has no need to be made great again because America was always great." "MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN!" the president tweeted in apparent reply. As a candidate, Trump repeatedly told supporters he would not have time to play golf once elected. [CBS News, Fox News]

4.

Trump threatens to shove Canada out of NAFTA

"There is no political necessity to keep Canada in the new NAFTA deal," President Trump tweeted Saturday. "If we don't make a fair deal for the U.S. after decades of abuse, Canada will be out. Congress should not interfere w/ these negotiations or I will simply terminate NAFTA entirely & we will be far better off." In a second post, Trump reiterated his longstanding claim that NAFTA is "one of the WORST Trade Deals ever made" and has done severe damage to the U.S. economy. A 2015 report by the nonpartisan Congressional Research Service labeled NAFTA's net effects "relatively modest." [Donald J. Trump, The Week]

5.

U.S.-backed Saudi coalition admits Yemen school bus strike was unjustified

The U.S.-enabled, Saudi-led coalition intervening in Yemen's civil war on Saturday admitted its August airstrike on a school bus was unjustified. The bombing, which used an American-made weapon, killed 51 people, 40 of them children. Facing international outrage, the coalition promised to investigate itself. Saudi state media reported Houthi rebel fighters were thought to be among the bus passengers, arguing the vehicle was therefore a "legitimate" military target. Nevertheless, investigators concluded the timing of the attack led to a "mistake." The coalition said the victims' families would be compensated and those responsible for the error would be held accountable. [NBC News, BBC News]

6.

Americans wounded in Amsterdam stabbing

Two people who were wounded in a stabbing attack at the main railroad station in Amsterdam on Friday were both Americans, the U.S. ambassador to the Netherlands, Pete Hoekstra, said Saturday. They were visiting the country as tourists, and their identities have not been released. Both have been hospitalized, as has the attacker, who was shot by police. The stabber has been identified as a 19-year-old Afghan citizen who lives in Germany. City authorities said he is thought to have had a "terrorist motive." [The Associated Press, The Week]

7.

Explosions reported at Syrian military airport

A series of blasts were reported late Saturday at an Assad regime military airport in Mazzeh, Syria. State-run news agencies attributed the explosions to an electrical fault and denied speculation that they could have been caused by an Israeli missile strike. "[M]ilitary source denies the exposure of the Mazzeh Airport to any Israeli aggression," the report said, "and the sounds of explosions that were heard resulted from explosion of an ammunition depot near the airport because of electrical failure." [BBC News, CNN]

8.

Pentagon suspends $300 million in Pakistan aid

The Pentagon on Saturday announced the cancelation of $300 million in aid to Pakistan due "to a lack of Pakistani decisive actions in support of the South Asia Strategy." Specifically, the Trump administration says Pakistan has not taken adequate action against terrorist groups operating within its borders. The money will be repurposed for other "urgent priorities," the Pentagon said. "We shouldn't have to buy our friends with bad Trade Deals and Free Military Protection!" President Trump tweeted Saturday evening, possibly referencing the decision. He has previously claimed Pakistan returns "nothing but lies & deceit" for U.S. aid. [Reuters, BBC News]

9.

Mollie Tibbetts' father implores immigration hawks to stop using her death for politics

Rob Tibbetts, the father of Mollie Tibbetts, the Iowa college student whose alleged murderer is in the U.S. illegally, implored immigration hawks to stop using his daughter's death for political purposes in a Saturday op-ed. Some "have chosen to callously distort and corrupt Mollie's tragic death to advance a cause she vehemently opposed," he wrote. "Please leave us out of your debate. Allow us to grieve in privacy and with dignity. At long last, show some decency. On behalf of my family and Mollie’s memory, I'm imploring you to stop." [CBS News, Des Moines Register]

10.

Top seeds win big in college ball's first week

The top five seeds in this year's college football ranking — Alabama, Clemson, Georgia, Wisconsin, and Ohio State — all started the season strong this week, besting Louisville, Furman, Austin Peay, Western Kentucky, and Oregon, respectively. Alabama's Crimson Tide boasted a decisive 51-14 triumph Saturday, while No. 10 Auburn upset No. 6 Washington in a 21-16 nailbiter. The long weekend's schedule will finish with No. 8 Miami facing No. 25 LSU at 7:30 Eastern on Sunday and No. 20 Virginia Tech against No. 19 Florida State at 8 p.m. Eastern Monday. [ESPN, Bleacher Report]