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August 6, 2018

On Sunday night, President Trump finally said something about the deadly wildfires raging in California, but instead of words of comfort for the victims, he blamed the state for what's going on.

There are 17 major fires burning across California right now, some started by arson, others by accidental sparks, and most fueled by dry brush caused by drought, high temperatures, and strong winds. At least nine people have died over the last week, hundreds of homes and thousands of acres of wildlife habitat have been destroyed, and an unknown number of animals are hurt. Trump tweeted that the wildfires are "being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren't allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!"

Trump did not elaborate on these "bad environmental laws," and Cal Fire told BuzzFeed News' Brianna Sacks it has "no idea" what he's talking about. "We have plenty of water for the firefight," the agency said in a statement. "The Mendocino Complex [fire] is next to Clear Lake and the Carr fire has the Whiskeytown Lake and Lake Shasta." Evan Westrup, a spokesman for Gov. Jerry Brown (D), told Sacks Trump's tweet "doesn't merit a response." Catherine Garcia

2:41 p.m.

President Trump, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif), and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) bickered about border funding in an Oval Office meeting that turned supremely awkward. Even more awkward was the 15 times Trump interrupted Pelosi during the Tuesday meeting.

Trump, Vice President Mike Pence, and the nation's top two Democrats met to discuss the looming government shutdown. Trump has said he won't sign the bill funding the government next year unless it includes $5 billion in funding for a border wall. Democrats have so far promised Trump only $1.6 billion.

Trump started the meeting with more than five minutes of uninterrupted spinning on the supposed benefits of a border wall. Yet just 20 seconds after he invited Pelosi to speak, Trump jumped in and questioned why she was calling this a "Trump shutdown." Another 10 seconds, another interruption. And the frequency only escalated from there, reaching 15 total interruptions.

The tension came to a head when Trump launched a few more rapid-fire interruptions, and finished by saying "it's not easy for [Pelosi] to talk right now." Pelosi calmly fired back: "Please don't characterize the strength that I bring to this meeting"

Meanwhile, when he asked Schumer to speak, Trump waited 40 seconds before talking over the senator. Schumer just interrupted Trump in return, and the two devolved into something just short of a shouting match. Pence, meanwhile, spent more than 16 minutes without saying a word. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:45 p.m.

Self-proclaimed neo-Nazi James Fields, 21, was sentenced to life in prison Tuesday after driving his car into a group of counterprotesters at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville last year.

The sentencing comes days after Fields was convicted of first-degree murder for killing 32-year-old Heather Heyer in the crash, reports The Washington Post. Fields also hit dozens of others protesting against the "Unite the Right" white supremacist rally in Charlottesville last August, for which a jury quickly convicted him of murder and nine other charges.

Fields' trial started Nov. 26, and it took a jury just seven hours to reach its verdict after the trial concluded Friday. The first-degree murder charge amounted to life in prison at Tuesday's sentencing, and his counts of malicious wounding and leaving the crash scene totaled another 419 years in jail, per The Daily Beast. He also has to pay $480,000 in fines.

After Heyer's murder, her mother Susan Bro became a vocal protester against hate and racism. Bro testified Monday that Fields "tried to silence" Heyer at the rally last year, but Bro said she "refuse[s] to allow that." Several other victims gave impact statements throughout the trial, and you can read about them at The Daily Beast. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:40 p.m.

A poll published Tuesday found that when it comes to the Democratic presidential primary in 2020, members of one progressive organization don't lean toward former Vice President Joe Biden or Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) — they prefer Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas).

MoveOn, a progressive group, conducted a straw poll among its members to determine the favored potential candidate, NBC News reports. It found that O'Rourke is the preferred candidate of 15.6 percent of respondents. That's pretty far from a majority, and 29 percent of respondents said they don't even know who they support yet or that they support someone other than the 30 candidates they were asked to choose from. But it still puts O'Rourke ahead of Biden, who has led in most of these early polls but received 14.9 percent of the vote here.

It also puts O'Rourke ahead of Sanders, who received 13.1 percent of the vote. This is despite the fact that during the 2016 election, Sanders earned MoveOn's official endorsement and the support of 78 percent of its members, NBC News points out.

The next most popular candidate in the poll was Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who earned 10 percent and came in a few points ahead of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who received 6.4 percent of the vote. Coming it at the bottom of the top 10 were former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who received 2.7 percent of the vote, and Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who received 2.4 percent of the vote. Read more of the poll's findings at NBC News. Brendan Morrow

1:11 p.m.

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) has a few personal problems with the Google "apparatus."

When Google CEO Sundar Pichai appeared before the House Judiciary Committee on Tuesday, GOP congressmembers alleged the search engine has liberal bias and Democrats questioned its possible expansion into China. Cohen, though, used his time to make some digs at cable TV's unanimously hated customer service lines.

Cohen started his speaking time with a confession: "I use your apparatus often ... and I don't understand the different ways you can turn off the locations," he said, adding "there's so many different things." Perhaps Google could build an "online school" for users to ask questions, Cohen suggested. "And not like Comcast where you get put on hold for 30 minutes," he added.

Next up, Cohen launched an accusation that specifically countered his GOP colleagues'. While Republicans such as Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) have largely suggested Google's search algorithm has a liberal bias, Cohen said searching his own name largely brings up results from conservative sites such as The Daily Caller and Breitbart. "This weekend I was on MSNBC four times," Cohen declared, saying these results seemingly show Google is "overly using conservative news organizations" to populate its news feed. Watch that moment below. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:06 p.m.

A meeting between President Trump, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) in the Oval Office descended into chaos Tuesday as the three angrily argued over border wall funding — and reporters captured the whole thing.

After Trump and Pelosi made some general comments, things spiraled out of control when Pelosi told the president that "you should not have a Trump shutdown" over border security. This seemed to set Trump off, and the two argued over whether he has the votes to pass a spending bill. "The fact is you don't have the votes in the House," Pelosi said, with Trump shooting back, "Nancy, I do."

Schumer soon chimed in, telling Trump that The Washington Post gave him "a whole lot of Pinocchios" for his border wall claims, a comment Trump brushed off. "We want to do the same thing we did last year," Schumer said of border spending. But Trump continued to insist that this is not enough, and the trio somehow began to trade barbs over the 2018 midterm election results. "When the president brags that he won North Dakota and Indiana, he's in trouble," Schumer said.

By the end of the debate, Pelosi was clearly upset that this all played out in front of reporters, telling Trump that she and Schumer "came in here in good faith" but that "unfortunately, this has spiraled downward." Trump did not have the same problem: "It's called transparency," he fired back. The whole argument, which started with Trump taking issue with Pelosi using the term "Trump shutdown," concluded with Trump saying he'll take full responsibility for a shutdown. "I am proud to shut down the government over border security," Trump said. Watch the unbelievable 16-minute exchange below, via CNN. Brendan Morrow

12:59 p.m.

We knew this day would come. But why did it have to happen so soon?

A Pew Research Center survey published Monday found that adults in the U.S. received more news from social media than newspapers in 2018. This is the first time news consumption via social media surpassed print newspapers since Pew started asking these questions.

While this is sad news for fans of print, social media and newspapers are still the least common means of discovering the news. Television continues to be the most popular medium for news consumption, with 49 percent of adults looking to their headlines, followed by websites with 33 percent, and radio with 26 percent.

As to be expected, this change is heavily spearheaded by youngsters. Those between 18 and 29 years old are about four times as likely to receive their news from social media than people 65 years and older. Who knows what trend they'll influence next.

The survey was conducted by speaking to 4,581 respondents on a panel between July 30-Aug. 12. The margin of error is 2.5 percentage points. Read more at Pew Research Center. Amari Pollard

12:01 p.m.

After repeatedly claiming that there would not be enough time to bring the First Step Act — the bipartisan prison reform bill endorsed by President Trump — to a vote this year, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that his chamber would begin debating the measure as early as this week, reports The Hill.

"At the request of the president and following improvements to the legislation that has been secured by several members," McConnell said on the Senate floor, "the Senate will take up the recently revised criminal justice bill."

The legislation is designed to, among other reforms, make more prisoners eligible for early release and give judges greater latitude in the face of mandatory-minimum sentencing. Despite the president's backing — including a Friday tweet encouraging McConnell to "Go for it" — opponents, such as Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), have said that "most" senators "don't want to touch the bill with a 10-foot pole." Thanks to McConnell, that assertion will now be put to the test. Jacob Lambert

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