August 7, 2017

The Pentagon is mulling over a plan to give the military authority to launch airstrikes against Islamic State targets in the Philippines, two defense officials told NBC News Monday.

If the plan is approved, armed drones would carry out the strikes, which would hit targets considered threats to U.S. allies in the region, the officials said. The authority could be granted as early as Tuesday. The U.S. has a small military presence in the Philippines, supporting the country's forces that are fighting ISIS in the southern islands. "We are providing them some training and some guidance in terms of how to deal with an enemy that fights in ways that are not like most people have ever had to deal with," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Monday. Catherine Garcia

7:45 p.m.

The White House and congressional leaders have reached a two-year budget deal that would raise spending caps by $320 billion and suspend the debt ceiling, President Trump announced on Twitter Monday evening.

"This was a real compromise to give another big victory to our Great Military and Vets!" he added. Congress still has to pass the deal, which would set spending levels through Sept. 30, 2022 and suspend the debt ceiling until July 31, 2021. The agreement was brokered between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Some Democrats and Republicans have voiced their displeasure with the deal, including Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who is angry it does not keep Trump from using funds to build his wall along the southern border, and Rep. Mike Johnson (R-La.), who is outraged the agreement adds to the country's debt. The debt has grown from about $19 trillion in January 2017 to more than $22 trillion now, but speaking to reporters on Monday, Trump said he thinks the U.S. is "doing very well on debt, if you look at debt limit, however you want to define that, but we're doing very well on that and I think we're doing pretty well on a budget." Catherine Garcia

6:49 p.m.

When Vice President Mike Pence's trip to New Hampshire was canceled earlier this month at literally the last minute, the reason shrouded in secrecy, people started talking — what could possibly have happened to keep Air Force Two from leaving D.C.?

Pence was set to visit a Granite Recovery Center to meet with former patients and talk about the opioid epidemic, but instead, got off the plane and went to the White House. Trump promised reporters the reason would be revealed "in about two weeks," and on Monday, law enforcement officials told Politico the trip was called off because Pence would have likely met a person being investigated by the Drug Enforcement Administration for moving more than $100,000 of fentanyl from Massachusetts to New Hampshire.

The man, former New York Giants player Jeff Hatch, worked for Granite Recovery Centers. He appeared in federal court on Friday and agreed to plead guilty to a single count of using a telephone to help commit a crime, court records show; he faces four years in prison. Hatch toured New Hampshire and spoke to young people about the dangers of drug use, often sharing a stage with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.). In a statement, she said people "seeking recovery from substance use disorders put their trust in Mr. Hatch and its incredibly disappointing to see how badly that trust was betrayed. He needs to be held accountable." Catherine Garcia

5:40 p.m.

Logan Paul's stream of consciousness cannot be stopped.

Paul, who makes about $15 million a year as one of the highest-paid YouTube stars, appeared on Fox Business Network on Monday for an interview about the expanding world of social video sharing. At least that's what it was supposed to be about before Paul launched into shoutouts to his home state of Ohio, bold statements about his income, and insistences that he's some kind of mega-athlete.

Before starting the interview, Paul had to correct the record. Host Liz Claman called him a "controversial" figure after posting a video from a so-called Japanese "suicide forest" at the end of 2017, but Paul clarified that he is "ex-controversial" now because he apologized for the video. He then got down to business, affirming that he is "everywhere and nowhere ... like a ghost" when it comes to social media, though he got oddly upset at Claman for "call[ing] me out" over his inactive Facebook account.

But things only got more stressful for Paul, as he revealed "my expenses just surpassed my income for the first time ever. " That has Paul "terrified," he said, adding that "I think it's the beginning of the end. I also have pinkeye." Paul then mentioned his time as a high school football star and insisted that it somehow made him "the fastest YouTuber," no, "the fastest entertainer on the planet," no, "the quickest man on the planet." Watch his whole incredible appearance below. Kathryn Krawczyk

5:30 p.m.

Justice Department officials have reportedly told former Special Counsel Robert Mueller that the department expects him to limit his congressional testimony on Wednesday to already-public information from his office's report on its investigation into 2016 Russian election interference, Politico reports. Any material beyond the public findings is being considered "presumptively privileged."

However, both the White House and the Justice Department are expected to refrain from placing lawyers in the room during the House Judiciary and Intelligence Committee hearings, leaving Mueller to "police" himself.

The Trump administration doesn't seem too worried about that — Mueller is known for sticking to the rules and has previously said that the report is his testimony, so it was always unlikely that he'd go off script.

"[The report] contains our findings and analysis, and the reasons for the decisions we made," Mueller said in May. "We chose those words carefully, and the work speaks for itself."

All of this could prove a hurdle for Democrats on the panels, who are hoping to glean new information from the now-private citizen. But Politico reports that some Democrats have said that even if Mueller simply reads the report word-for-word, it would help "educate the American public" about President Trump's conduct during the Mueller's probe. Read more about Politico. Tim O'Donnell

4:37 p.m.

Decriminalizing unauthorized border crossing is not a particularly popular idea among Americans, a new NPR/PBS News Hour/Marist poll suggests.

In total, 66 percent of those surveyed think it's a bad idea, compared to just 27 percent who support it. The debate is more split among party lines, with 87 percent of Republicans opposed compared to 47 percent of Democrats. The Democrats are split internally, as well, as 54 percent of self-identified "progressive" Democrats believe decriminalization is a "good idea," while only 34 percent of "moderate" Democrats feel the same.

There is little variation regionally (all regions hover between 66 and 67 percent in the "bad idea" category), racially (68 percent of white voters and 63 percent of non-white voters think it's a bad idea), or economically (those who make more than $50,000 per year oppose decriminalization at a 70 percent clip, while those making less oppose it at 63 percent.)

There are larger gaps between men (75 percent for bad idea) and women (57 percent), as well as among age groups, with 76 percent those between the ages of 39 and 54 opposing decriminalization, compared to 59 percent between the ages of 18 and 38. Similarly, among adults over the age of 73, 60 percent think it's a bad idea.

Essentially, the poll indicates that political persuasion is the most important indicator when it comes to stances on the issue. That's not great news for Democratic presidential candidates like former Housing Secretary Julián Castro who have pushed for decriminalizing crossings, as only the progressive left appears staunchly in favor.

The poll surveyed 1,346 adults in the United States over the phone between July 15 and July 17. The margin of error ranged from 3.5 to 5.4 percentage points across the survey's subsets. See the results on page 13 and page 26 at Marist Poll. Tim O'Donnell

3:56 p.m.

Facebook reportedly dodged a Federal Trade Commission fine several times larger than the one it's ultimately expected to receive.

Regulators, according to a Monday report in The Washington Post, "stopped short of some even tougher punishments it initially had in mind" for Facebook as part of the FTC investigation into the company's data practices, including a potential fine of "tens of billions of dollars." But Facebook thought it should have to pay less than $1 billion and "felt it could easily prevail in court" over the FTC, the report says.

Ultimately, the FTC reportedly settled with a $5 billion fine. The settlement is expected to be officially finalized and announced in the coming days, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The FTC also considered punishments as part of its settlement that would have held CEO Mark Zuckerberg personally liable for the company's privacy scandals, the Post reports, with this, too, being scrapped as Facebook resisted. The Post cites some sources as now expressing "concern that Facebook may not have had to admit guilt" in the settlement.

Criticism had already emerged last week after reports about the Facebook settlement, with a bipartisan group of senators blasting it as "egregiously inadequate," Engadget reports, also warning that it is "sending the wrong message to tech companies." Read the full report at The Washington Post. Brendan Morrow

3:17 p.m.

Who do you think should win the pity contest?

During a meeting at the White House with President Trump on Monday, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan tried to brush off the idea that his government was cracking down on press freedom, despite journalists staging nationwide protests last week and the removal of three television stations from the airwaves after they showed a live speech by opposition leader Maryam Nawaz.

Khan said that, on the contrary, Pakistan has one of the freest presses in the world; his reason being that he faces "unprecedented" criticism from the press. An incredulous Trump said "there's no way" Khan was "treated worse" than he is.

Trump's comments didn't set off any drama between the two heads of state, though. Instead, it drew a chuckle from Khan.

The exchange wasn't the only shot Trump took at the U.S. media, though. He also made sure to let the Pakistani press know he was much fonder of them than he was of American reporters. Tim O'Donnell

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