December 31, 2019

President Trump has locked in a date for the signing of the phase one trade deal with China, and he's got his eye on phase two.

In a tweet Tuesday morning, Trump said the "very large and comprehensive" phase one trade deal with China will be signed on Jan. 15, with "high level representatives of China" set to attend. Previous reports suggested Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, China's top trade negotiator, would visit Washington to sign the deal.

Under the phase one deal, the U.S. agreed to call off new tariffs that were scheduled to go into effect on Dec. 15 and reduce others, while China agreed to buy more agricultural goods, CNBC reports. It was officially announced on Dec. 13.

Trump also said Tuesday that at a "later date," he'll be headed to Beijing for negotiations of phase two of the deal.

Earlier this month, Trump said that "I like the idea of waiting until after the [2020 presidential] election for the China deal," but he added that "they want to make a deal now." It's unclear when Trump's visit to Beijing might take place, but Axios' Dan Primack observes that there's much left to accomplish in phase two seeing as phase one "is Trump trying to save face — as it seems to basically be an agriculture purchase agreement that does little to address the core issues that the president supposedly cares about." Brendan Morrow

July 13, 2020

The Atlanta Braves on Monday said the organization's 108-year-old name "honors, respects, and values the Native American community," and there are no plans to come up with a new one.

On Monday, the Washington Redskins announced their name and logo will be retired, as the moniker is considered a slur against Native Americans. The Braves do not believe their name is insensitive, with the organization saying discussions have been held with Native American and tribal leaders, and a change is "not under consideration or deemed necessary. We have great respect and reverence for our name and the Native American communities that have held meaningful relationships with us do as well. We will always be the Atlanta Braves."

The team does have an advisory board that is taking a closer look at the "Tomahawk Chop" motion, which was popularized when Deion Sanders joined the Braves in 1991. Critics consider this gesture to be a racist caricature targeting Native Americans, and the Braves said this is "one of the many issues we are working through," with the organization "continuing to listen to the Native American community, as well as our fans, players, and alumni to ensure we are making an informed decision on this part of our fan experience." Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2020

Fox News host Tucker Carlson on Monday lamented the way Blake Neff, the former head writer for his show, is being treated, after years of racist, sexist, and homophobic comments he posted online came to light.

Neff resigned on Friday, after Fox News learned about the messages he posted pseudonymously on the forum AutoAdmit. In a memo sent to Fox News staff on Saturday, network leaders called Neff's online conduct "abhorrent" and his remarks about Blacks, Asian-Americans, and women "horrendous and deeply offensive." Neff, who was hired at Fox News in 2017, recently told Dartmouth's alumni magazine that when Carlson reads off the teleprompter, "the first draft was written by me."

Fox News said Carlson would discuss Neff's actions during his Monday show, and near the end of Tucker Carlson Tonight, he said what his former staffer wrote "anonymously was wrong. We don't endorse those words, they have no connection to the show." However, there are "ghouls that are beating their chest in triumph at the destruction of a young man," he said, and "self-righteousness also has its costs."

Carlson continued to deflect, telling his audience: "We are all human, when we pretend we are holy, we are lying. When we pose as blameless in order to hurt other people, we are committing the gravest sin of all and we will be punished for it. No question." On his show, people are judged for "what they do, not for how they were born," he added, and "Blake fell short of that standard and he has paid a very heavy price for it."


Carlson also shared that he plans on taking the next four nights off, going trout fishing during a "pre-planned vacation." Last August, Carlson hastily took a few days off after saying white supremacy was a "conspiracy theory" and "not a real problem" in the United States. Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2020

A federal judge on Monday struck down Georgia's six-week abortion ban, calling it unconstitutional.

House Bill 481, passed by the state's General Assembly last spring and signed into law by Gov. Brian Kemp (R), would have banned most abortions once fetal cardiac activity is detected, which can be as early as six weeks. After a lawsuit was filed, U.S. District Judge Steve Jones in October temporarily blocked the law from going into effect, and he made it permanent on Monday.

"It is in the public interest, and is this court's duty, to ensure constitutional rights are protected," Jones wrote. In response, Kemp said the state will "appeal the court's decision. Georgia values life and we will keep fighting for the rights of the unborn."

The American Civil Liberties Union of Georgia was among the organizations that filed the lawsuit, and its legal director, Sean Young, said in a statement that the ban "violates over 50 years of Supreme Court precedent and fails to trust women to make their own personal decisions. This case has always been about one thing: letting her decide." Under current law, abortions are allowed in Georgia during the first 20 weeks of pregnancy. Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2020

A New York Supreme Court judge on Monday lifted a temporary restraining order on Mary Trump, President Trump's niece, giving her the green light to publicize her upcoming tell-all, Too Much and Never Enough: How My Family Created the World's Most Dangerous Man.

The president's younger brother, Robert Trump, tried to block the book by saying Mary Trump was violating a nondisclosure agreement she signed in 2001, after her grandfather's estate was settled. When the temporary restraining order was granted, it prevented Mary Trump from being able to promote Too Much and Never Enough. The book, already No. 1 on Amazon, will be released on Tuesday.

Mary Trump's publisher, Simon & Schuster, said it was "delighted" by the decision, and her attorney, Ted Boutrous, said the court "got it right in rejecting the Trump family's effort to squelch Mary Trump's core political speech on important issues of public concern." Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2020

American Airlines on Monday said it contacted Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) after a photo of him not wearing a mask on a Sunday morning flight went viral, and affirmed with him "the importance" of the company's face covering policy.

Hosseh Enad, a marketing associate for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, tweeted a picture on Sunday night showing a maskless Cruz sitting in his seat, his cellphone in one hand and a cup of coffee in the other. Enad also tweeted a photo he said was of Cruz sitting outside the gate, not wearing a mask.

Since May 12, American Airlines has required that customers wear face masks while on board. In a statement to Reuters, the company said it expects passengers "to comply with our policies when they choose to travel with us." While the mask policy "does not apply while eating or drinking," the airline said, after reviewing the photo it still "reached out to Sen. Cruz to affirm the importance of this policy as part of our commitment to protecting the health and safety of the traveling public."

The Washington Post asked Cruz's office for comment, and representatives have yet to respond. Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2020

A new study finds that due to job losses caused by the coronavirus pandemic, an estimated 5.4 million Americans had their health insurance dropped between February and May.

The analysis was conducted by Families U.S.A., a nonpartisan consumer advocacy group, and will be released on Tuesday. During the recession of 2008 and 2009, 3.9 million adults lost their health insurance, and study author Stan Dorn told The New York Times he knew the current numbers "would be big. This is the worst economic downturn since World War II. It dwarfs the Great Recession. So it's not surprising that we would see the worst increase in the uninsured."

The study looked at laid-off adults younger than 65, when Americans become eligible for Medicare, and found that people in California, Texas, Florida, New York, and North Carolina accounted for 46 percent of coverage losses from the pandemic. In 13 states that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, 43 percent of laid-off workers became uninsured, nearly double the amount in the 37 states that did expand Medicaid. Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2020

As the debate about reopening American schools in the fall rages on, a new study conducted by the Dresden University Hospital in Germany could shed some light on the matter.

The study, the largest of its kind in Germany, tested more than 2,000 students and teachers at 13 schools in three different districts in Saxony, the only German state to reopen schools with full class sizes in May. The results showed only 12 participants tested positive for COVID-19 antibodies, five of whom had previously tested positive for the active virus, suggesting the schools did not play a major role in spreading the virus. Indeed, they may have even helped curb transmission.

"Children act more as a brake on infection," said Prof. Reinhard Berner, the head of pediatric medicine at Dresden University Hospital and leader of the study. "Not every infection that reaches them is passed on."

There are several caveats, however. For starters, Saxony has had a lower infection rate overall than other parts of Germany during the pandemic, so it's natural the rate would be lower among subgroups, as well. Still, even if areas with larger epidemics are more cautious, the study could be useful for other places with fewer cases.

Another complication is the fact that while Saxony allowed for full classrooms, parents won the right to keep their children home, so it's unclear if schools were really operating at full capacity.

Finally, a new study out of the United Kingdom suggests immunity to the novel virus wanes within months, so while that research warrants its own skepticism, it's possible more students in the German study were at one point infected but no longer produce antibodies. Read more at The Guardian and Yahoo News. Tim O'Donnell

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