The U.S. at a glance ...
Trump lets rip at rally: President Trump railed this week against the “dishonest” and “crooked” media for their coverage of his response to the Charlottesville tragedy and threatened to shut down the government over his plans for a border wall, during a freewheeling and caustic speech at a rally in Phoenix. After opening the campaignstyle event with scripted remarks on national unity, Trump launched into an extended tirade against the “sick people” in the media, whom he accused of failing to accurately report his “perfect” remarks following a neo- Nazi rally in Charlottesville, Va. In his own retelling, the president said he spoke out forcefully against “bigotry and violence” on the day of counterprotester Heather Heyer’s death—failing to mention that he had blamed that violence “on many sides.” When he recounted his later statements condemning white supremacists, he failed to include that he said there were some “fine people” marching alongside the neo- Nazi rallygoers.
Trump also accused the media of “trying to take away our history and our heritage,” an apparent reference to the debate over removing Confederate statues. He later turned his fire on Arizona’s two Republican senators, John McCain and Jeff Flake—though he mentioned neither man by name—and hinted that he would pardon controversial former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio, who was convicted of criminal contempt in July in a case related to racial profiling. “I’ll make a prediction. I think he’s going to be just fine, OK?” Trump said, prompting a roar of approval from the boisterous crowd. Former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said he found the speech “downright scary and disturbing” and questioned Trump’s “fitness to be in this office.”
Clinton slams “creep” Trump: Hillary Clinton said her “skin crawled” when then–Republican candidate Donald Trump loomed behind her in a presidential debate last October, in the first preview of her hotly anticipated campaign memoir. In an audio excerpt of What Happened that streamed live on MSNBC this week, the former Democratic candidate said she felt “incredibly uncomfortable” when Trump stood near her as she spoke during the St. Louis event. “No matter where I walked, he followed me closely.... He was literally breathing down my neck,” said Clinton, who wanted to say: “Back up, you creep. Get away from me. I know you love to intimidate women, but you can’t intimidate me.” In the excerpt, the former secretary of state also describes her deep regret at losing the 2016 race. “I couldn’t get the job done,” says Clinton, “and I’ll have to live with that for the rest of my life.”
Schultz’s aide indicted: Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.) this week tried to distance herself from a former IT aide accused of trying to commit bank fraud, as a grand jury expanded the federal case against the staffer to include counts of conspiracy and making false statements. Imran Awan was arrested at Dulles airport in suburban D.C. in July while trying to board a plane to his native Pakistan. He and his wife, Hina Alvi, are accused of falsifying a home equity loan application, and then wiring $283,000 to Pakistan. Awan was fired by several other Democratic members of Congress early this year after reports of his alleged fraud surfaced. But Wasserman Schultz, who formerly served as the head of the Democratic National Committee, employed Awan until his arrest in July—allowing him access to sensitive computer systems for months. “There were racial- and ethnicprofiling concerns,” said Wasserman Schultz, when asked about the delay.
New York City
Suspicious Russia connections: The Trump Tower meeting in 2016 between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer took on an added layer of drama this week after The New York Times identified one of the attendees as a Russian immigrant with strong connections to Russian intelligence services. Trump’s eldest son set up the meeting during the 2016 campaign after being offered sensitive information about Hillary Clinton. In attendance was Rinat Akhmetshin, a Washington, D.C.– based lobbyist whose father, sister, and godfather worked for Russian intelligence services, and who has told journalists that he worked with a Russian military counterintelligence unit. The trained biochemist described himself in one official document as a “househusband,” reported the Times, yet he sometimes collected a salary in stacks of $100 bills. He is also accused of being involved in hacking attacks by two Russian billionaires on their adversaries. Akhmetshin insisted he was no Russia spy, and that he was the target of a “smear campaign.”
Attacks on police: Two police officers were killed and four others injured during a weekend of violence in Florida and Pennsylvania last week. Officers Matthew Baxter and Sam Howard were checking suspects in Kissimmee, in an area known for drug activity, when they were shot and killed in an “ambush,” said Kissimmee Police Chief Jeff O’Dell. “They were surprised,” O’Dell said. “Nobody was being placed in handcuffs. If all things checked out, the officers would have been on their way.” Florida Gov. Rick Scott said prosecutors would seek the death penalty against Everett Miller, 45, who was charged with first-degree murder—and who in July was captured in a Facebook Live video threatening, “I’m going to shoot me a cop.” Hours later, two officers were shot in Jacksonville, Fla., while responding to a call about a suicide attempt, and in Fairchance, Pa., two state troopers were shot in an incident near a grocery store.