DID TRUMP KNOW ABOUT RUSSIAN BOUNTIES?
WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House says President Donald Trump was never briefed on intelligence that Russia had put a bounty on U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan because there wasn’t corroborating evidence.
But former intelligence officials say presidents are routinely informed about intelligence even when it’s not definitively confirmed. Intelligence that may be on shaky ground today may foreshadow tomorrow’s calamity.
Presidents receive national security information both orally and through a written document known as the President's Daily Brief.
The PDB, as it is known, is a compilation of intelligence and national security assessments from government analysts. It’s material the intelligence community thinks the president should know.
The document has been provided to presidents in some form since Harry Truman occupied the White House. Some presidents are said to have been voracious consumers of their briefings; Trump, by contrast, is known to demand only the sparest details.
White House officials have repeatedly insisted that the president hadn’t been briefed that Russia offered bounties to Taliban-linked fighters in Afghanistan to kill American troops, though officials have told The Associated Press and other news organizations that the information was included in the President’s Daily Brief.
The AP, citing officials familiar with the matter, also has reported that national security adviser Robert O’Brien had discussed the matter with Trump and that former national security adviser John Bolton told colleagues that he had done the same last year. O’Brien has denied that and Bolton has declined to comment.
O’Brien has said the CIA and Pentagon did pursue the lead and briefed international allies. But he said the intelligence wasn’t brought to Trump’s attention initially because it was unverified and there was no consensus among the intelligence community.
Former intelligence officials say it’s a matter Trump absolutely should have been briefed on earlier, whether corroborated or not.
CALIFORNIA GOV. URGES RESIDENTS TO WEAR MASKS, AVOID HOLIDAY EVENTS THIS WEEKEND
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Gavin Newsom urged Californians yesterday to turn to their “better angels” and use common sense by wearing masks and skipping traditional gatherings with family and friends during the holiday weekend — a message echoed by local officials who previously sparred with the governor over his virus orders.
Infections and hospitalizations are rising rapidly in many parts of California and at a news conference Newsom was pressed repeatedly on whether the state is being aggressive enough in enforcing his health mandates, especially an order to wear masks put in place two weeks ago.
Newsom previously noted he has established teams of state regulators to target businesses that don’t enforce the mask rule or follow other requirements for social distancing and hygiene. State authorities also sent letters yesterday to every employer — about 350,000 businesses, — warning that failure to implement the face coverings order could result in fines and potential criminal prosecution.
But the governor acknowledged authorities can only do so much when it comes to the behavior of individuals outside business settings.
The state's top health official, calls the holiday weekend a “big deal” for efforts to contain the virus and urged people to behave differently than they did on Memorial Day weekend, when many gathered socially. Authorities say that behavior helped spur the latest surge of cases.
SUPREME COURT BLOCKS LOWER COURT RULING ON ALA. CURBSIDE VOTING
MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — The U.S. Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision blocked a lower court ruling allowing curbside voting in Alabama and waiving some absentee ballot requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Conservative justices granted Alabama’s request to stay a federal judge’s order that would allow local officials to offer curbside voting in the July runoff and loosen absentee ballot requirements in three of the state’s large counties. The order will remain stayed while the court decides whether to hear Alabama’s appeal.
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said he was pleased the court acted quickly so that Alabama voting rules remain in place for the July 14 runoff.
The court rulings stem from a lawsuit filed by the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Alabama Disabilities Advocacy Program. A group of voters had sought more voting options because of health concerns.
WHITE MICHIGAN COUPLE ARRESTED AFTER PULLING GUN ON BLACKS
UNDATED (AP) — A white couple was arrested after at least one handgun was pulled on a Black woman and her daughters during a videotaped confrontation in a restaurant parking lot in Michigan.
A prosecutor in Oakland County says Jillian Wuestenberg, 32, and Eric Wuestenberg, 42, were charged with felonious assault. Cellphone video captured the confrontation Wednesday outside a Chipotle in Orion Township, about 40 miles northwest of Detroit.
Jillian Wuestenberg can be seen outside her vehicle shouting “get the (expletive) away! Get away!” while pointing a handgun.
She eventually gets back in her vehicle which is driven away by her husband.
Sheriff Michael Bouchard told reporters that the couple is from Independence Township and both have concealed pistol licenses. Deputies seized two handguns from the couple after they were detained Wednesday night following the encounter.
The Detroit News first reported on the three-minute video posted online that shows part of the interaction. Takelia Hill, who is Black, told the newspaper that it happened after the white woman bumped into Hill’s teenage daughter as they were entering the fast food restaurant.
The video footage starts after that, in the parking lot. A woman since identified as Jillian Wuestenberg is heard arguing with Hill and her daughters. Wuestenberg climbs into the vehicle, rolls down the window and says, “White people aren’t racist,” and, “I care about you,” before the vehicle she was in starts to back away.
Her husband, who had led his wife to the vehicle, turns to the camera and asks, “Who ... do you think you guys are?,” using an expletive.
Then, as someone is standing behind the vehicle, Jillian Wuestenberg jumps out and points a handgun in the direction of a person who’s recording. She screams at people to get away from her and her vehicle. A woman shouts, “She’s got a gun on me!” and urges someone in the parking lot to call the police.
Wuestenberg then lowers the gun, climbs into the passenger seat and the vehicle drives off.
ARMED MAN ARRESTED AFTER CRASHING TRUCK INTO CANADIAN P.M. TRUDEAU'S COMPOUND
TORONTO (AP) — An armed man crashed his truck through a gate on the grounds where Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lives yesterday before being arrested two hours later. Police identified the suspect as a member of Canada’s armed forces.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police said in a statement that Trudeau was not present at the time of the incident in Ottawa.
Police said the man crashed his truck through the gate at 6:30 a.m. and was quickly contained in a greenhouse on the sprawling property before being arrested without incident two hours later.
Police said the man was being interviewed. Police did not release his name and said charges were pending. A spokeswoman for Canada’s defense minister declined to comment while the investigation was in progress.
Trudeau lives on the grounds of the property where Canada’s Governor General resides. Trudeau, his wife and three children live in a cottage on the property because the prime minister’s traditional residence is in disrepair.
FEDEX URGES WASHINGTON NFL TEAM TO CHANGE ITS NAME
WASHINGTON (AP) — The title sponsor of the Washington Redskins’ stadium wants the NFL team to change its name.
“We have communicated to the team in Washington our request that they change the team name,“ FedEx said in a statement yesterday.
The company paid the team $205 million in 1999 for the naming rights to FedEx Field in Landover, Maryland.
In addition to the stadium name and sponsorship agreement, FedEx CEO Frederik Smith is a minority owner. Majority owner Daniel Snyder has shown no indications he’ll change the name since buying the team in 1999.
Amid the national debate over race, pressure has been mounting on the organization to abandon the name called a “dictionary-defined racial slur” by experts and advocates.
Investors this week wrote to FedEx, PepsiCo and other sponsors asking them to request a change. FedEx is believed to be the first to take action.
Last night, Nike appeared to remove all Redskins gear from its online store. The other 31 NFL teams were listed and a search for “Redskins” came up with no results. Nike did not immediately respond to an email message seeking comment.
The team last week removed the name of racist founder George Preston Marshall from its Ring of Fame at FedEx Field, and a monument to him was removed from the site of the old RFK Stadium.