February 1, 2017

The Pentagon has identified the Navy SEAL killed in last Saturday's raid on a militant compound in Yemen as Chief Special Warfare Operator William "Ryan" Owens, 36. Between three and six other U.S. personnel were injured in the chaotic raid. President Trump, who authorized the intelligence-gathering mission, has called Owens' family and expressed his condolences; it's the first U.S. combat fatality of Trump's term. Also killed in the raid were al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP) senior leader Abdulraoof al-Dhahab and at least 13 other militants. Yemeni officials say at least 10 women and children were also killed, including the 8-year-old daughter of U.S.-born AQAP leader Anwar al-Awlaki, himself slain in a 2011 drone strike.

Things started going wrong for U.S. forces immediately, The Washington Post reported Tuesday night. They encountered fierce resistance as soon as they landed in the village of Taklaa, outside a heavily guarded AQAP compound. Officials called in backup, and helicopter gunships and Harrier jets struck the compound, before a Special Ops team arrived to evacuate the U.S. commandos and their wounded. Owens died from his injuries after being pulled out, The Post says. In the evacuation, one of the MV-22 Osprey helicopters lost power and landed hard, wounding two service members; a U.S. missile destroyed the Osprey so it wouldn't fall into enemy hands. Sources tell ABC's Martha Raddatz that AQAP seemed to know the Americans were coming:

The mission was to detain Yemeni tribal leaders working with AQAP, one of the most aggressive al Qaeda branches, and to gather intelligence to help prevent terrorist attacks. The U.S. hadn't launched any ground raids in Yemen since late 2014, before a Saudi-led Arab coalition started attacking Houthi rebels, with limited U.S. support. The fighting withered U.S. intelligence-gathering on AQAP, and a small Special Ops outpost was established on coastal Yemen last year, with United Arab Emirates troops, to start filling the counterintelligence hole, The Post reports.

Planning for the Yemen raid began in the final weeks of the Obama administration, and a former senior defense official said to expect more such raids in the future. "We really struggled with getting the White House comfortable with getting boots on the ground in Yemen,” the former official told The Washington Post. "Since the new administration has come in, the approvals [at the Pentagon] appear to have gone up." Trump called the raid a success, citing the slain militants and seized intelligence. Peter Weber

12:15 a.m.

You can, if you choose, take White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany at her word that President Trump was taking no position on the Confederate flag when he tweeted Monday morning that NASCAR's decision to ban the flag from its races helped cause NASCAR's "lowest ratings EVER!" But that "second part of Trump's tweet, about NASCAR's TV ratings, is completely false," says Daniel Roberts at Yahoo Finance.

Ratings for the first NASCAR event after the sport announced its Confederate flag ban, the June 10 race at Martinsville Speedway in Virginia, jumped 113 percent from the same race last year, Fox Sports said. And overall, ratings are up 8 percent since the sport returned from COVID-19 lockdown on May 17 and 8 percent since the June 10 post-flag race. "In fact, every NASCAR race on Fox since the Confederate flag ban, except for Talladega on June 22, has rated higher than the equivalent race the year before," Roberts writes.

There is room for speculation over why Trump demanded an apology from Bubba Wallace, NASCAR's only top-tier Black driver, for a noose incident he played no real part in, and it isn't entirely clear why NASCAR's ratings are rising. "Whether the extra eyeballs are because of the controversial Confederate flag ban or despite it, or whether it's all thanks to the current dearth of live sports to watch, is up for debate," Roberts writes. "But the sport is enjoying a clear ratings bump over last year." Peter Weber

12:11 a.m.

President Trump can breathe a sigh of relief — the latest tell-all book from a member of his orbit isn't about him, but rather first lady Melania Trump.

Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a former friend and senior adviser to Melania Trump, is writing a memoir that will detail their 15-year relationship, from beginning to implosion. Melania and Me is due to hit shelves on Sept. 1, Vanity Fair's Emily Jane Fox reports, and will be published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster — the same company behind former National Security Adviser John Bolton's The Room Where it Happened and the upcoming Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man, written by the president's niece, Mary Trump.

Wolkoff, a former special events director at Vogue, helped plan the 2017 inauguration, and soon after became a senior adviser to the first lady. Her time in the White House was short-lived; she was ousted in February 2018 after it was revealed that the Trump inaugural committee paid her firm $26 million to assist with the inauguration.

Wolkoff told The New York Times in 2019 that she had been "thrown under the bus." Time has evidently not healed all wounds, as people with knowledge of Melania and Me told The Daily Beast it is "largely negative," "explosive," and "heavily trashes the first lady." Catherine Garcia

July 6, 2020

In a segment Sunday on Ghislaine Maxwell's arrest, Fox News showed this photo of Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein, and future first lady Melania Trump from February 2000. They cropped out Donald Trump. That was a mistake, a Fox News spokeswoman said Monday.

Embed from Getty Images

“On Sunday, July 5, a report on Ghislaine Maxwell during Fox News Channel’s America’s News HQ mistakenly eliminated President Donald Trump from a photo alongside then Melania Knauss, Jeffrey Epstein, and Maxwell," the spokeswoman said in a statement. "We regret the error.” Peter Weber

July 6, 2020

The United States is "knee-deep in the first wave" of the coronavirus pandemic, Dr. Anthony Fauci said on Monday, but he is hopeful that "by the end of this year, or the beginning of 2021, we will at least have an answer whether the vaccine or vaccines — plural — are safe and effective."

Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said there are multiple vaccine candidates being studied, "and if things go the way it looks like they're going," one will enter the final phase of clinical trials at the end of the month, with others soon following.

Fauci made his comments during a Facebook Live discussion with Dr. Francis Collins, director of the National Institutes of Health. Although companies are working as fast as possible to develop a vaccine, Fauci stressed that "there will be no compromising on the principles of safety and efficacy. Whatever we come up with in a few months is going to be just as rigorously tested as any vaccine ever has been."

The trials will take place in areas where there are high levels of transmission, and Fauci said he is ensuring they "are quite well represented by the individuals who are most susceptible, not only to infection because of certain circumstances in their life, but also the fact that they are more prone to complications because of underlying comorbidities." Catherine Garcia

July 6, 2020

Amy Cooper, the white woman who called 911 while in New York City's Central Park and claimed an "African-American man" was threatening her life, was charged on Monday with filing a false report.

The incident took place on Memorial Day after Christian Cooper, a Black man who was birdwatching, asked Amy Cooper to leash her dog. She refused to do so, instead telling Christian Cooper she would call the police and tell them "there's an African-American man threatening my life." Christian Cooper, a board member of the New York City Audubon Society, filmed the encounter, which has been viewed 40 million times online and sparked a national discussion.

Cyrus Vance Jr., the Manhattan district attorney, said on Monday that his office is "strongly committed to holding perpetrators of this conduct accountable." Amy Cooper was charged with falsely reporting an incident in the third degree, a misdemeanor; if found guilty, she could face up to a year in jail. She is scheduled to be arraigned on Oct. 14.

After the incident, Amy Cooper was fired from her job. In a statement, her lawyer, Robert Barnes, said his client will be found not guilty, adding, "She lost her job, her home, and her public life. Now some demand her freedom? How many lives are we going to destroy over misunderstood 60-second videos on social media?" When asked for comment, Christian Cooper told The New York Times he had "zero involvement" in the district attorney's case. Catherine Garcia

July 6, 2020

Mary Trump's tell-all book about her family is hitting bookstores sooner than expected.

Simon & Schuster announced on Monday that Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man will be published on July 14, two weeks earlier than scheduled, due to "high demand and extraordinary interest."

Mary Trump, the daughter of President Trump's eldest brother, Fred Trump Jr., is a clinical psychologist. Too Much and Never Enough paints her uncle as a "damaged man" with "lethal flaws," Simon & Schuster said, and it's already the No. 1 bestselling book on Amazon, CNN reports.

The president's younger brother, Robert Trump, sought a restraining order in an attempt to block the book's release. Last week, he won an injunction against Mary Trump and Simon & Schuster, but a New York state appeals court lifted the temporary restraining order against the publisher, saying the company is not bound by a nondisclosure agreement Mary Trump signed in 2001.

Mary Trump's spokesman, Chris Bastardi, said on Monday that Trump's attempt to "muzzle a private citizen is just the latest in a series of disturbing behaviors which have already destabilized a fractured nation in the face of a global pandemic. If Mary cannot comment, one can only help buy wonder: What is Donald Trump so afraid of?" Catherine Garcia

July 6, 2020

Utah Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox has won the state's Republican gubernatorial primary, defeating former Gov. Jon Huntsman.

The primary was held last Tuesday, and the race was called on Monday afternoon by The Associated Press. Cox has 36 percent of the vote, followed by Huntsman with 35 percent. In third place is former Utah House Speaker Greg Hughes, with 21 percent.

Huntsman was elected governor of Utah in 2004 and 2008, and later served as U.S. ambassador to China during the Obama administration. Most recently, he was President Trump's ambassador to Russia.

Cox, who has been lieutenant governor since 2013, received the endorsement of outgoing Gov. Gary Herbert (R). In November, Cox will face off against Democratic nominee Chris Peterson, an attorney and consumer advocate. Catherine Garcia

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