June 7, 2019

Women in Missouri seeking an abortion must now undergo a mandatory, medically unnecessary pelvic exam 72 hours before having the procedure, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow reported Thursday night.

The Republican-led state government enacted the rule last Thursday. This is one of several "targeted laws designed to shut down clinics," Maddow said, "to make it impossible to work as an abortion provider in Missouri, penalties and obstacles that the state government has put in place to try to make it too hard and too expensive and just too awkward and difficult and uncomfortable for a woman to get an abortion if she wants one, despite her constitutional right to do so."

Patients already had to wait 72 hours before having an abortion, and doctors conducted pelvic exams on the day of the procedure. Dr. Colleen McNicholas of Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri told The Rachel Maddow Show this "inappropriate" new initial pelvic exam is "state-sanctioned, essentially, sexual assault." It does not give her any medical information that would help her care for her patient, she said, and for women with a history of trauma, it can open old wounds.

Missouri currently has just one operating abortion clinic. Maddow believes the lawmakers have two goals: to punish women who go in for abortions, and to finally push the doctors into giving up, and shutting the clinic down for good. "That is not what's happening," Maddow said. "For now at least, the doctors in Missouri are reluctantly and against their will complying with this new rule, even though they are clearly distraught over it." Catherine Garcia

11:47 a.m.

The National Archives aren't exactly archiving everything.

In an exhibit meant to document the Women's March that took place in 2017 the day after President Trump's inauguration, the National Archives blurred some parts of an image that showed anti-Trump messages, The Washington Post reports.

The 49-by-69-inch photograph contrasts the large-scale march to a 1913 image of a women's suffrage march. But while the photo shows the thousands of demonstrators who showed up in Washington, D.C., many in protest of Trump's presidency, it obscured some key details.

A sign reading "God Hates Trump" was blurred so that it simply reads "God Hates," the Post reports. Additionally, a sign reading "Trump & GOP — Hands Off Women" has "Trump" blotted out, and one reading "This Pussy Grabs Back" is edited to eliminate "Pussy."

"As a non-partisan, non-political federal agency, we blurred references to the President's name on some posters, so as not to engage in current political controversy," said Archives spokesperson Miriam Kleiman. The Post notes David Ferriero, the archivist appointed by former President Barack Obama, participated in discussions about the editing and supports the blurring of the words.

The spokesperson said the image wasn't presented as an artifact, and said the reference to women's genitals was erased because of young visitors to the Archives. "Modifying the image was an attempt on our part to keep the focus on the records," she said. Read more at The Washington Post. Summer Meza

10:03 a.m.

The fourth annual Women's March is scheduled to take place on Saturday, and activists are expecting thousands of demonstrators to turn out for the events, which will be held in cities around the country.

The first Women's March took place the day after President Trump's inauguration, and drew hundreds of thousands of participants, reports NPR. This year, the march is expected to be smaller and without the celebrity appearances of years past, in part due to criticism the march's organizers have faced in recent years regarding inclusion and diversity.

The demonstration in Washington, D.C., is expected to attract up to 10,000 demonstrators. Read more at NPR. Summer Meza

9:08 a.m.

Microsoft announced plans to become "carbon negative" by 2030, seeking to erase its entire carbon footprint since the company's founding in 1975 and begin removing more carbon from the environment than it emits.

The company first wants to reduce emissions to zero across its entire supply chain by 2030, and then focus on eliminating all of the carbon dioxide it has ever released by 2050, reports The Verge.

Microsoft has been carbon neutral since 2012, and achieves this through purchasing renewable energy and carbon offsets. Going negative will require more technology and investment than going neutral. "Technology does exist that does this, but getting the price and the scalability to where we need it to be is a significant challenge," said Lucas Joppa, the company's chief sustainability officer, per CBS News. The company plans to spend $1 billion over the next four years on carbon reduction, capture, and removal.

Read more at The Verge and CBS News. Summer Meza

8:52 a.m.

Lev Parnas, the indicted associate of Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani who worked as his envoy in Ukraine, communicated with a top aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) about an effort to find damaging information on former Vice President Joe Biden, documents released Friday night by House Democrats revealed.

The evidence shows Derek Harvey, a former White House official and top aide to Nunes, communicated extensively with Parnas and sought to speak with Ukrainian prosecutors who were giving Giuliani information about Biden, reports The Washington Post. The documents corroborate Parnas' own claims about Nunes's office's involvement in the scheme.

Parnas has said President Trump and his associates were working to push Ukraine into announcing an investigation into Biden. The messages, the Post writes, "indicate Nunes's office was aware of the operation at the heart of impeachment proceedings against the president — and sought to use the information Parnas was gathering." Nunes, the top Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, did not comment on the documents.

Read more at The Washington Post and NBC News. Summer Meza

8:23 a.m.

Former GOP Rep. Chris Collins was sentenced on Friday to two years in federal prison on charges of insider trading and lying to the FBI, reports NBC News.

Collins, who was a New York representative since 2013 and was the first member of Congress to endorse President Trump's candidacy, pleaded guilty to tipping off his son to confidential information regarding an Australian biotechnology company, which allowed them to make illegal stock trades avoiding more than $700,000 in losses.

At his sentencing, Collins tearfully apologized, reports The Washington Post. "I stand here today a disgraced former congressman," he said. "I cannot face my constituents. What I have done has marked me for life." The 26-month sentence will begin on March 17, and will likely be served at a federal prison camp in Pensacola, Florida.

Read more at NBC News and The Washington Post. Summer Meza

January 17, 2020

President Trump has a new target for his Twitter ire — Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Khamenei on Friday morning called Trump a "clown" who is only pretending to support Iran's people, and criticized the Trump-authorized killing of top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani. In Khamenei's first time leading Friday prayers at the Mosella mosque in Tehran since 2012, he said Iran's retaliatory missile strikes were a "slap on the face" to the U.S. that demonstrated Iran's "power."

Trump responded with a tweet on Friday evening, adding the zinger that Khamenei had "not been so Supreme lately."

Aside from the schoolyard taunt, Trump threw in a vague threat, noting Khamenei "should be very careful with his words!" That will surely calm the simmering tensions between the two nations.

January 17, 2020

There's a brand new way Democrats can make the debate stage next month.

The Democratic National Committee announced requirements to qualify for February's primary debate Friday, saying the donor threshold will remain steady, with candidates needing at least 225,000 unique donors. Candidates will also, as before, need to hit at least five percent in four qualifying national polls or seven percent in two polls of New Hampshire, Nevada, or South Carolina voters. But there's now a third path that candidates can take to replace the poll requirement: If they win just one delegate in Iowa, they're in.

This could open a path for candidates such as entrepreneur Andrew Yang, who hit the donor requirement but didn't have enough qualifying polls to make January's debate. The Iowa caucuses are Feb. 3, and the next debate is Feb. 7 in New Hampshire. Kathryn Krawczyk

See More Speed Reads