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May 13, 2019

Julián Castro, the former mayor of San Antonio and housing secretary under former President Barack Obama, is still struggling to make headway in the Democratic presidential primary polls, but he is keeping pace with his more established competitors when it comes to releasing fully-formed campaign platforms.

Castro, who provided a detailed rundown of his immigration plan last month, rolled out his plan for education on Monday. The plan was built around five principles: universal pre-kindergarten, ensuring all high schoolers have a fair opportunity to graduate, affordable — and in many cases free — higher education, higher pay and more resources for teachers, and providing a fair education for all Americans regardless of race and socioeconomic class.

The plan is sweeping, but Castro really gets into the weeds when explaining his ideas for student loan forgiveness. In order to alleviate existing student debt, Castro's administration would cap monthly loan payments at $0 until the individual's income is at least 250 percent above the federal poverty line. This is not, Castro writes, a deferred payment. Once the borrower is earning the minimum salary, they will not pay more than 10 percent of their qualified income each month. After 240 monthly payments, including months where the payment is $0, the borrower will receive "non-taxable forgiveness of any remaining amount." Finally, all loans will have an interest accumulation cap that limit lifetime increase in the loan to 50 percent.

Castro's plan comes on the heels of another student loan forgiveness proposal from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), also a presidential candidate, and the issue is likely to be a frequently-discussed topic as the 2020 election approaches. Read Castro's full plan at his campaign website. Tim O'Donnell

12:04 a.m.

While trying to cut ties with Jeffrey Epstein earlier this year, Deutsche Bank officials discovered that the disgraced financier not only had dozens of accounts, but had also made several suspicious transactions involving moving money out of the United States, three people familiar with the matter told The New York Times.

The bank decided to drop Epstein late last year, after the Miami Herald published a report on sexual abuse allegations made against Epstein by teenage girls; earlier this month, he was arrested and charged with sex trafficking. He started opening his first accounts with Deutsche Bank in 2013, five years after he was accused of sexual abuse but pleaded guilty to soliciting prostitution in exchange for a lenient sentence.

Even before the Miami Herald report, anti-money laundering compliance officers sounded the alarm, notifying executives that it wouldn't reflect well on the bank if the public learned Epstein was a client, the Times reports. The compliance officers also noted potentially illegal activity tied to Epstein moving his money outside the U.S., and filled out a suspicious activity report; it's unclear if that was filed with the Treasury Department's financial-crimes division, the Times says.

Deutsche Bank is under scrutiny for its relationship with President Trump, having given him $2 billion in loans over two decades when other major banks refused to do business with him. When asked about the Times' report on Tuesday night, Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.) told MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell she believes it is "exactly on brand for Deutsche Bank. They seem to be the lender of last resort for unsavory characters." Catherine Garcia

July 23, 2019

The Justice Department announced Tuesday it will open a broad antitrust review into tech giants and how they acquired so much power.

The DOJ said in a statement the review will "consider the widespread concerns that consumers, businesses, and entrepreneurs have expressed about search, social media, and some retail services online." The Federal Trade Commission and Congress have both already started similar inquiries, and several 2020 Democratic presidential candidates, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), have called for the breakup of these massive companies.

The DOJ said the goal of the review is to identify antitrust issues so they can be fixed, The Wall Street Journal reports. In after-hours trading on Tuesday, shares for Apple, Amazon, Alphabet, and Facebook were all down. Catherine Garcia

July 23, 2019

A businessman who remembers what it was like to rely on free lunches as a child approached the Wyoming Valley West School District in Pennsylvania with an offer he didn't think they would refuse.

Todd Carmichael, CEO and co-founder of La Colombe Coffee, said he told the school board president, Joseph Mazur, that he wanted to give the district $22,000 to wipe out all student lunch debt. Carmichael proposed the gift after learning that the district was sending letters to parents warning them that if they didn't pay the lunch money owned, they could be "sent to dependency court for neglecting your child's right to food," possibly leading to children being removed from their homes and put in foster care.

Mazur rejected his offer, Carmichael's spokesman Aren Platt told The Associated Press, saying the money is owed by parents who can afford to pay up. "The position of Mr. Carmichael is, irrespective of affluence, irrespective of need, he just wants to wipe away this debt," Platt said. Mazur did not return AP's phone calls.

A lawyer for the school board said he doesn't know what they plan on doing regarding lunch debt; previously, there had been talk of placing liens on properties and filing complaints in a district court. As for the foster care threat, Luzerne County child welfare agency officials said it's false to claim that parents who don't pay lunch debt could be sent to court, AP reports, and the school district needs to stop making this threat. Catherine Garcia

July 23, 2019

Climate change activists glued themselves to the doorways of tunnels that connect the Cannon House Office Building to the Capitol Building on Tuesday, demanding that lawmakers do something about the climate emergency.

The activists are part of the group Extinction Rebellion, which made headlines earlier this year after members in London glued themselves to windows, barricaded the entrance of the London Stock Exchange, held a massive protest at the Natural History Museum, and blocked the city's streets. The group doesn't think politicians are taking climate change seriously or doing enough to curtail carbon emissions. Extinction Rebellion has affiliates in more than 50 countries, BuzzFeed reports, and there are 38 chapters in the United States.

In Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, peaceful protesters held up signs saying "Declare Climate Emergency" and sang songs together. On Twitter, Extinction Rebellion of Washington, D.C., said the group was "sorry for the inconvenience, but we're not going back to business as usual until we declare a climate emergency and get climate justice for everyone, everywhere." So far, 13 protesters have been arrested. Catherine Garcia

July 23, 2019

Special Counsel Robert Mueller will appear before the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday with one of his longtime aides, Aaron Zebley, by his side, people familiar with the matter told The New York Times on Tuesday.

At the last minute, Mueller requested Zebley be sworn in as a witness, but instead, he will be there as Mueller's counsel, offering guidance on how to answer questions about the two-year investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and obstruction of justice.

Zebley was a deputy special counsel with "day-to-day oversight of the investigations conducted by the office," Mueller spokesman Jim Popkin said. Zebley was also Mueller's chief of staff when he served as FBI director. Mueller is also appearing before the House Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, but it's unclear if he made the same request to the panel. Catherine Garcia

July 23, 2019

Snap is finally on the upswing again after its disastrous 2018 redesign.

On Tuesday, Snapchat's parent company revealed the app gained 13 million new users in the second quarter, its largest boost since it went public in 2017. It also reported a boosted revenue of $388 million up 48% from a year earlier, sending stocks up 11% in post-market trading, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Snapchat had been either losing users or remaining stagnant from when it posted its IPO until the first quarter of 2019. It also saw a year of falling stock numbers, hitting a record low of $4.99 at the end of last year. Shares have since rebounded 180% to hit $16.50 after Snap shared its Q2 earnings Tuesday, though that's still below its debut price of $17, CNBC notes.

Snap's 203 million total user base exceeds the 192 million expectation analysts predicted for this quarter, Snap said on Tuesday. That's largely thanks to popular gender-swapping filters that apparently even helped one college student catch an alleged predator cop. An updated Android interface also helped retain and add users, Snap said. Snap expects its revenue and user base to continue growing in the third quarter, with an anticipated Q3 revenue of between $410 million and $435 million. Kathryn Krawczyk

July 23, 2019

You might want to get the tissues out for Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's eulogy for her former colleague, the late former Justice John Paul Stevens, who died last week at 99.

Ginsburg kept her remarks short and sweet, but they lent credence to reports that Stevens was not only a well-respected judicial mind, but a man of high character — with a sense of humor to go along with it.

Stevens was laid to rest in a private ceremony at Arlington National Cemetery on Tuesday, but CNN obtained a transcript of Ginsburg's eulogy. She spoke of how Stevens was actively playing sports and traveling across the Atlantic well into his 90s. In fact, the two of them saw each other at a conference in Lisbon, during what turned out to be the last week of Stevens' life.

On their last evening there, Ginsburg said she told Stevens that it was her dream to remain on the bench as long as he did. (Stevens, who served for 35 years, has the third longest Supreme Court tenure in U.S. history). Stevens' response? Stay longer.

At the end of the day, Ginsburg said, "in a capital city with no shortage of self-promoters" the "genuinely genial, unpretentious, and modest" Stevens "set a different tone." Read the full remarks at CNN. Tim O'Donnell

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