The U.S. at a glance …
Jefferson City, Mo.
Governor sex scandal: At least four Republican state legislators have called on Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens to resign amid accusations that the GOP politician threatened to blackmail a woman with whom he had an extramarital affair and then used a taxpayer-funded attorney to try to contain the scandal. St. Louis TV station KMOV last week released a tape secretly recorded by the woman’s ex-husband in which she described how Greitens then took nude photographs of her and said he would release them if she ever revealed the relationship. Greitens admitted to the affair—which happened just before his gubernatorial campaign began in 2015—in a Facebook post apologizing to his supporters. But he denies threatening the woman, who was his hairdresser. A decorated former Navy SEAL with two young children, Greitens was considered a rising Republican star after winning the governorship in 2016 as an outsider. During the campaign he denounced career politicians as “liars, cowards, [and] sociopaths.”
House of horrors: Police rescued 13 siblings being held prisoner by their parents in a dank, foul-smelling home in Southern California this week, with some of children discovered shackled to furniture with chains and padlocks. Deputies conducted a welfare check after a 17-year-old girl escaped through a window and called 911. She was so emaciated that deputies initially believed she was only 10 years old. Officers found 12 other siblings, ages 2 through 29, being held in “horrific” conditions, and did not immediately recognize that seven of the 13 young people were adults. Relatives said that the siblings had been homeschooled by their devoutly religious parents, David and Louise Turpin, who have been arrested on nine counts of child endangerment and torture. “You knew something was off,” said neighbor Kimberly Milligan, who said the children were rarely seen outside. “But this is something else entirely.”
Dad deported: A 39-year-old Michigan man who was brought illegally to the U.S. as a child 30 years ago was deported to his native Mexico this week, with immigrant rights activists calling him a symbol of the Trump administration’s unnecessarily cruel immigration policies. As immigration agents looked on, landscaper Jorge Garcia bid a tearful farewell to his wife of 15 years and two children, all American citizens, at Detroit Metropolitan Airport. Garcia had been in deportation proceedings since 2005, but was granted multiple stays of removal under an Obama administration policy that deprioritized deportations for immigrants without criminal records—a policy that was reversed by the Trump administration. ICE agents arrested some 28,000 “non-criminal immigration violators” like Garcia during the first seven months of President Trump’s term, a threefold increase from the same period in 2016.
Bannon to cooperate: Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon has agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling, CNN reported this week. The deal allows Bannon to be interviewed by prosecutors in the special counsel’s office rather than testify before a grand jury. Mueller had issued Bannon with a subpoena last week that would have compelled the former Breitbart News chief to appear before a grand jury—the first time Mueller has subpoenaed one of President Trump’s associates. Bannon was questioned this week for more than 10 hours behind closed doors by the House Intelligence Committee. He refused to answer lawmakers’ questions about his time working on the Trump transition team and in the West Wing, claiming the White House had instructed him not to answer, causing the committee to issue its own subpoena to try to compel his responses.
Trump’s physical: President Trump is in “excellent” health and has passed a cognitive test designed to detect dementia and other neurological problems, the White House’s lead physician said this week after performing Trump’s first physical examination in office. “I’ve found no reason whatsoever to think the president has any issues whatsoever with his thought processes,” Dr. Ronny L. Jackson, a Navy rear admiral and the top presidential physician since 2013, told reporters at a White House press briefing. Jackson did say that the president is overweight, at 239 pounds, and his cholesterol is too high. But Trump is otherwise healthy for a 71-year-old man, Jackson said. CNN’s chief medical correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, disputed parts of Jackson’s diagnosis, saying that Trump’s coronary calcium score suggests the president has heart disease, though it’s controllable with medication. A score above 100 signals a high risk of heart attack or stroke; Trump scored 133.
Flu outbreak: The U.S. is the midst of the most severe influenza outbreak ever recorded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency said this week. Widespread flu activity has been recorded in every state in the continental U.S., the first time that’s happened since the CDC began tracking the flu’s spread 13 years ago. The outbreak is straining hospital resources, with reports of some clinics setting up triage tents in parking lots and emergency department staff across the country working double shifts. This year’s flu season has been worsened by the prevalence of the H3N2 strain, for which it is difficult to develop an effective vaccine. Although this year’s vaccine covers multiple strains of flu, evidence suggests that it could be as little as 10 percent effective against H3N2. Even so, doctors recommend getting vaccinated, because even a partially effective vaccine can reduce the illness’ severity. ■