Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 10, 2019

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Harold Maass
Ross Perot in 1992
PAUL RICHARDS/AFP/Getty Images

1.

Former third-party presidential candidate Ross Perot dies at 89

Billionaire businessman Ross Perot, who ran unusually strong third-party campaigns for president in 1992 and 1996, has died after a five-month battle with leukemia, a representative for his family confirmed Tuesday. Perot was 89. "In business and in life, Ross was a man of integrity and action," the family spokesman, James Fuller, said. "A true American patriot and a man of rare vision, principle, and deep compassion, he touched the lives of countless people through his unwavering support of the military and veterans and through his charitable endeavors." Perot was an early tech entrepreneur before he disrupted politics with his 1992 run, in which he got nearly 19 percent of the vote in the most successful third-party run since Theodore Roosevelt's Bull Moose Party campaign in 1912. [CNBC]

2.

Acosta faces criticism for his role in Epstein plea deal

Top congressional Democrats on Tuesday called on Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta to resign over his role in negotiating a lenient sex-crime plea deal for billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein more than a decade ago, when Acosta was a federal prosecutor in Miami. Epstein served 13 months for abusing young women and underage girls, and Acosta, 50, told a friend earlier this week that it was the "toughest deal" possible at the time. Epstein has been arrested on new sex trafficking charges in New York, and this week entered a not guilty plea. Acosta tweeted that "the crimes committed by Epstein are horrific," adding he was pleased "new evidence" had led to new charges. President Trump defended Acosta, saying he was doing a "fantastic job" as Labor secretary. [The New York Times, Politico]

3.

Court rules Trump can't block Twitter critics

A federal appeals court ruled Tuesday that it is unconstitutional for President Trump to block critics from his Twitter feed. Trump routinely tweets to communicate directly with the public, blasting opponents and spelling out new positions. Judge Barrington D. Parker wrote for a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit in New York that since Trump essentially is using Twitter to conduct government business, he can't exclude people "from an otherwise open online dialogue" simply because they expressed views he doesn't like. The judge added that "if the First Amendment means anything, it means that the best response to disfavored speech on matters of public concern is more speech, not less." [The Washington Post, Reuters]

4.

Judge rejects Trump administration effort to replace census case lawyers

A federal judge on Tuesday blocked the Department of Justice's effort to replace the legal team handling the Trump administration's push to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. On Sunday, the Justice Department said it would swap out the entire legal team, replacing it with attorneys from the DOJ's Civil Division and Consumer Protection Branch, but did not explain why. Last week, the Department of Justice said it was giving up its fight to get the question on the census, but Trump pushed back, saying he is considering an executive order to ensure it is included. U.S. District Judge Jesse M. Furman rejected the bid to change the legal team, saying the "defendants provide no reasons, let alone 'satisfactory reasons,' for the substitution of counsel." [The New York Times]

5.

Migrant children report alleged mistreatment at Arizona border facility

Dozens of migrant children held at a border station in Yuma, Arizona, have made complaints to government case managers, including allegations of sexual assault, and retaliation for speaking out about poor conditions, NBC News reported Tuesday, citing documents it obtained. In one report, a 15-year-old girl from Honduras said a Customs and Border Protection agent publicly groped her, putting his hands inside her bra and pulling down her underwear during a pat down. In another, a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy said agents took the sleeping mats out of his cell after he complained about the taste of the water and food. A CBP spokesperson told NBC News the sexual assault allegation is under investigation, and that the agency treats all detainees "with dignity and respect." [NBC News]

6.

DOJ inspector general's investigators question author of Steele dossier

Attorneys from the Justice Department Inspector General's office interviewed former British intelligence agent Christopher Steele, author of a controversial dossier on alleged ties between President Trump and Russia, as part of an inquiry into the origins of the FBI's investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion by Trump associates. The Steele dossier, which was funded by the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign, alleged that Russia tried to interfere with the 2016 U.S. presidential election, possibly with collusion by Trump associates, and that Moscow had dirt on Trump. Inspector General Michael Horowitz's office has conducted more than 100 interviews since starting its inquiry in March 2018. [Reuters, CNN]

7.

U.K. ambassador who criticized Trump in leaked memos resigns

Kim Darroch, the British ambassador to the United States who criticized President Trump's administration in leaked diplomatic cables and who Trump in response pledged to "no longer deal with," announced his resignation Wednesday. "The current situation is making it impossible for me to carry out my role as I would like," Darroch said. He went on to say that the "responsible course" is to step aside. Darroch came under fire from Trump in recent days, with the president calling him a "pompous fool." Britain stood by Darroch, and on Wednesday, British Prime Minister Theresa May said that "good government depends on public servants being able to give full and frank advice." [The Associated Press, The Washington Post]

8.

Mexico touts results of migration crackdown

Mexican authorities have caught more than 200 undocumented migrants trying to enter the U.S. hidden in trucks in recent days. Mexico released X-rays showing some of the migrants lying down in compartments. Mexican security officials have stepped up efforts to curb a record wave of migrants from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador who have reached the U.S.-Mexico border and prompted President Trump to declare the crisis to be a national emergency. The number of people detained at the border fell by 28 percent in June. U.S. authorities said the decline to 104,344 in June from 144,278 in May showed that Mexico's crackdown on Central American migrants was working. [New York Post, The Washington Post]

9.

Emmy-winning actor Rip Torn dies at 88

Actor Rip Torn, whose career spanned seven decades and included an Emmy win for his role on The Larry Sanders Show, died on Tuesday. He was 88. Torn's publicist confirmed his death to The Associated Press, and said he was surrounded by family when he died. Born Elmore Rual Torn in Texas, he started using the name "Rip" as a boy, and rejected pressure from other actors and managers to go by his given name. Torn appeared on television, in movies, and on Broadway, and was also a political activist, speaking out against racial segregation in the 1960s. Trained at the Actors Studio, Torn inspired his cousin, Sissy Spacek, to get into acting. [The Associated Press]

10.

VW produces last Beetles at Mexico plant

Volkswagen on Wednesday will produce the last of 5,961 Final Edition versions of its Beetle at the last remaining plant making the iconic small cars, in Puebla, Mexico. The final vehicle off the assembly line will go to a museum. The vehicles were designed by Ferdinand Porsche in the 1930s in Adolf Hitler's push to expand auto ownership with a car for the volk, or people. It later became a symbol of Germany's post-World War II economic rebirth. The cars were sold around the world, and were particularly popular in the U.S., where they were an icon of America's 1960s counterculture. The Beetle ends its run as Volkswagen tries to bounce back from a diesel-emissions cheating scandal and prepares to launch a battery-driven compact car. [The Associated Press]