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January 14, 2019

A Republican political action committee is taking the possibility of a Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) presidential bid seriously, and their opposition research has already begun.

The America Rising PAC, a group allied with President Trump, is doing opposition research on Brown's wife, Connie Schultz, BuzzFeed News reports. Schultz is a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and outspoken critic of Trump who described herself as "the woman [Trump] hates" in an interview with Politico. She teaches journalism at Kent State University and would reportedly be visible on the campaign trail should Brown decide to run.

After Brown was re-elected to the Senate in November, America Rising filed a Freedom of Information Act request to obtain Schultz's Kent State University records, looking for her "contracts and performance evaluations," says BuzzFeed News. They reportedly received 37 pages worth of material. The PAC in a statement said that it wants to "ensure all publicly available information about a candidate is made known to voters." An adviser to Brown told BuzzFeed that it's "no surprise" that Republicans are "worried" about Brown's 2020 potential.

Brown has been weighing a possible 2020 bid and is planning a trip to Iowa as his chief of staff "works backstage to set up a campaign," Politico reports. Schultz has touted her husband's 2020 prospects and described him as "who these voters thought Trump was." Brendan Morrow

3:08 p.m.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection is not planning to administer flu vaccines to migrant families in its custody, CNBC reports.

After the flu-related deaths of three migrant children in U.S. detention since last year, Harvard University and Johns Hopkins University doctors earlier this month wrote a letter to Congress calling for an investigation and "timely action," as "poor conditions at the facilities may be amplifying the spread of influenza and other infectious diseases, increasing health risks to children," The Washington Post reported.

But on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Customs and Border Protection told CNBC that "in general, due to the short-term nature of CBP holding and the complexities of operating vaccination programs, neither CBP nor its medical contractors administer vaccinations to those in our custody." The spokesperson said that "medical personnel on site are available 24/7" and that local health systems "may" provide migrants vaccination "if determined necessary."

Harvard's Jonathan Winickoff, one of the doctors who had urged congressional action earlier this month, continued to raise alarms following this news, telling CNBC that poor conditions at overcrowded facilities increase the likelihood of diseases spreading and that "the country needs urgent answers to that question so that children stop dying in detention." Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke spoke out against this report on Tuesday and slammed President Trump, tweeting, "This cannot be America, but for as long as he is president, it will be."

The Department of Homeland Security's inspector general has in recent months released reports on "dangerous overcrowding" at border facilities like one in El Paso, which has a maximum capacity of 125 people but was found to be holding 900 detainees. "Corrective action is critical to the immediate health and safety needs of detainees," the report said. Brendan Morrow

3:08 p.m.

It's that time of year again. Supreme announced their fall/winter collection, which includes the usual branded clothing as well as their famously eclectic merchandise. In recent years the streetwear brand has thrown its name on hundreds of unusual or rare products like a crowbar, a brick, nunchucks and a dog bowl, each fetching hundreds of dollars on the fiercely competitive resale market.

Some see it as a brilliant satire of logo-obsessed hypebeast culture, while others simply see it as an attention-grabbing stunt meant to capitalize on the devoted fanbase's seemingly bottomless pockets.

This year, Supreme is offering nearly thirty branded items, including a measuring cup, hanging lantern, Honda Motorbike, voodoo doll (with pins!), and Wassily Chair, a nearly century-old Bauhaus design that exemplifies the modernist aesthetic. They're also offering more traditional merchandise like socks, keychains, and skateboard decks. Prices aren't yet listed, but they're sure to eventually sell for far more than what a non-branded Pyrex measuring cup would set you back.

The collection will be available to purchase in select stores on August 22nd, and online on August 26th. Make sure to pick up the box logo champagne flutes, so you can add a touch of grail to your next dinner party. Steven Orlofsky

2:38 p.m.

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) released another plan on Tuesday. This time around she's focusing on criminal justice reform, in the wake of several of her competitors unveiling similar proposals in recent weeks.

Like the other Democrats, Warren touched on several different topics in the plan, which is determined to reduce mass incarceration and curb recidivism from the ground-up by focusing on the education system, mental health services, and addiction treatment. "It is a false choice choice to suggest a tradeoff between safety and mass incarceration," the plan reads. "By spending our budgets not on imprisonment but on community services that lift people up, we'll decarcerate and make our communities safer."

The proposal takes an indirect shot at former Vice President Joe Biden by calling for the repeal of the 1994 crime bill, which the then-senator backed. Warren argues that the bill "exacerbated" incarceration rates by punishing people severely for minor crimes. The proposal also specifies that the bill's mandatory minimums and "truth-in-sentencing" provisions should be reduced or eliminated, allowing judges more flexibility when making sentencing decisions.

While Warren wants to ax most of the bill, she does concede that certain aspects, such as its section relating to domestic violence, ought to remain in place. Read the full plan here. Tim O'Donnell

1:27 p.m.

Harry Reid has some thoughts on the leftward tilt the Democratic party has made since his retirement in 2017.

In a Tuesday interview with Vice News, the former Nevada senator and Democratic Senate majority leader offered his opinions on some 2020 candidates' platforms, and how he thinks they can beat President Trump.

First things first: stop supporting Medicare-for-all. "How are you going to get it passed?" he asked, suggesting that candidates instead "focus on improving ObamaCare," legislation which he helped pass in 2010. A recent poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 74 percent of Americans favor some form of a Medicare-for-all plan, and another found only 46 percent of Americans feel the same way about the Affordable Care Act. The single-payer health care plan, which Reid called "much harder to sell," has been adopted by some presidential candidates, most notably Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).

Reid also placed himself firmly on one side of another liberal wedge issue: immigration reform.

"There are so many more important things to do. Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list," he said, adding that he thought support for lenient immigration laws would hurt candidates in the general election.

Reid declined to endorse a candidate before February's Nevada caucus, but weighed in on the frontrunners. He said he thought "the world" of former Vice President Joe Biden, who aligns with Reid on immigration and healthcare. And despite diametric opposition to her health care and immigration plans, Reid also added that "everyone has to be impressed" with Warren, his former Senate colleague.

While some Democrats already agree with most of Reid's policy ideas, it's not too late for them to also echo his calls for more government research into UFO sightings. Reid 2020: The truth is out there. Steven Orlofsky

12:51 p.m.

There was no time for Shatterhand after all.

The next James Bond movie on Tuesday was finally given an official title, and it's not the rumored and widely-mocked Shatterhand. Instead, as is revealed in an extremely dramatic Twitter video, it's actually No Time to Die.

As to whether Shatterhand was ever actually intended to be the name of the movie, or whether it was just a working title, isn't exactly clear. Still, despite all those Twitter jokes, it did make some degree of sense, seeing as Shatterhand is the alias used by Ernst Blofeld in You Only Live Twice, and Christoph Waltz is returning as Blofeld in the movie. Instead, while that old title certainly turned a few heads, this one is reminiscent enough of classic Bond names that fans should probably get used to it in no time.

MGM on Tuesday also released an official plot synopsis of the film, which will see Bond "enjoying a tranquil life in Jamaica" when Felix Leiter asks him for help. "The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology," the plot synopsis reads, per The Hollywood Reporter.

This 25th Bond movie sees Daniel Craig returning as the character after saying he'd rather "slash my wrists" than do so, although this one is expected to be his swan song. With "time" in the title, could the film be going the Avengers: Endgame route with a time travel adventure back into Bond's history? Could that "new technology" be time travel related? Almost certainly not, but let the terrible fan theories commence until No Time to Die hits theaters in April 2020. Brendan Morrow

12:13 p.m.

The fracturing of Italy's governing coalition resulted in the resignation of Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte on Tuesday.

Italy's League Party, known for its anti-immigrant position, and the anti-establishment Five Star Movement joined forces in 2018 after an unlikely power-sharing agreement that saw Conte, a law professor without previous political experience, step in as an independent prime minister. But that alliance has disintegrated following disagreements over key policies, concerns that the League secretly sought funding from Russia, and what The New York Times described as a "mutinous power play" by Italy's Interior Minister and League Party leader Matteo Salvini.

In an hour-long speech, Conte said Salvini's decision to call for an early election was "irresponsible" and accused him of putting personal and party interests above national ones by way of initiating a government crisis. Salvini spoke after Conte and maintained he would repeat his actions all over again if he had the chance. "I am a free man," he said. "I am not afraid of the judgment of Italians."

Five Star party leader Luigi Di Maio said "the League will have to answer for its faults" one day and that working with Conte "was an honor."

Italy's President Sergio Mattarella will oversee the country's next steps. He could call for early elections, which is what Salvini wants, or he could announce discussions with party leaders on forming a new coalition government, BBC reports. Five Star leaders are reportedly considering entering a power-share with the Democratic Party, a center-left opposition party. Tim O'Donnell

11:10 a.m.

NASA has confirmed plans to send a spacecraft to "the most promising place to look for life beyond Earth" β€” Jupiter's icy moon, Europa.

The Europa Clipper mission will work to advance understanding of both our cosmic origin and life outside of Earth, said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA in a press release. The Europa Clipper will be ready for launch sometime between 2023 and 2025.

The decision to move forward with the mission brings NASA "one key step closer to unlocking the mysteries of this ocean world," Zurbuchen says.

Scientists think Europa's ocean, which is beneath a 10-to-15-mile ice shell, may contain twice as much water as Earth's oceans combined. If some form of life is discovered on Jupiter's moon, that would confirm life exists in at least two places that orbit the same star β€” the sun. Then, it would be "reasonable to suspect that life springs up in the universe fairly easily," according to NASA.

Maybe we won't need to storm Area 51 to find some alien comrades after all. Taylor Watson

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