As President Trump meets with an actual, intelligence community-certified geopolitical foe Monday, his combative rhetoric may be costing America one of its closest allies.
In an interview with CBS News that aired Sunday, anchor Jeff Glor asked Trump to name the U.S.'s "biggest foe globally right now." In response, Trump named Russia, China, and the European Union, for "what they do to us in trade." "You wouldn't think of the European Union [as a foe]," he said, "but they're a foe."
The comments prompted pushback from Germany on Monday, as Trump was meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin behind closed doors. "We can no longer completely rely on the White House," German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass told reporters Monday, per Reuters. "To maintain our partnership with the U.S.A. we must readjust it." German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been considered the de facto head of the EU since becoming chancellor in 2005.
Trump has threatened steep tariffs on auto imports from the EU, and his "foe" comments additionally follow the highly contentious NATO summit last week, where he threatened to withdraw American support from the alliance and pressed treaty members to rapidly and substantially increase their defense spending. Merkel called the summit "very intense" at the time, though she did call for Germany to up its defense contributions to the alliance. Kimberly Alters
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office has indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers in relation to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign emails in 2016. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that the Russians intended to "interfere" in the election. One Russian military officer was also accused of attempting to hack U.S. election systems.
BREAKING: 12 Russians indicted in Mueller investigation, accused of engaging in a “sustained effort to hack into the computer networks” of the DCCC, the DNC and “the presidential campaign of Hillary Clinton” https://t.co/3Ht1PaCj9V pic.twitter.com/hEZY4XgVLP
— The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) July 13, 2018
Some 20,000 emails were stolen using "spearfishing" techniques and released via hackers Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks. "The conspirators communicated with several Americans," Rosenstein said, adding that there was "no indication" the Americans knew they were communicating with Russian agents. The indictment also does not say if the activities affected the final vote count.
One particularly noteworthy portion of the indictment says that in August 2016, "the conspirators, posing as Guccifer 2.0, received a request for stolen documents from a candidate for Congress. The conspirators responded using the Guccifer 2.0 persona and sent the candidate stolen documents related to the candidate's opponent."
The announcement comes just days before President Trump's scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Both leaders have repeatedly denied that the Kremlin meddled in the election. Jeva Lange
The Department of Justice said Thursday that it would move to appeal the approval of a massive merger between Time Warner and AT&T, CNBC reports. The $85.4 billion deal was approved by a federal judge in June, despite the DOJ's protest at the time that the merger would render the TV industry "less competitive and less innovative."
The DOJ's decision to appeal the approval was revealed in a court filing Thursday. In approving the deal last month, U.S. District Court Judge Richard Leon determined that the government had not sufficiently showed that the joining would reduce competition in the TV market, The New York Times explains, but acknowledged that an appeal would be "fair game." Kimberly Alters
Boris Johnson has resigned as U.K foreign secretary, making him the third minister to exit in 24 hours over Prime Minister Theresa May's plan of a "soft" exit from the European Union. Described by The Guardian as "the flamboyant public face of the Vote Leave campaign," Johnson recently characterized May's proposals as "polishing a turd."
Brexit Secretary David Davis resigned Sunday, and at least one other minister from the Department for Exiting the European Union also resigned in protest of May's strategy, The Associated Press reports. On Friday, May said her plan for Brexit had the backing of her government, but in his resignation letter, Davis said the proposals for future trade "will leave us in at best a weak negotiating position, and possibly an inescapable one." Jeva Lange
Japan's Hiroshima prefecture is beginning to clean up from flooding and mudslides caused by days of unusual torrential rains in southwestern Japan over the weekend. On Monday, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said 87 people are confirmed dead from the natural disaster, 13 others had no vital signs when they were found, and at least 68 people are still unaccounted for, many of them in hard-hit Hiroshima. The rain caused rivers to flood, leaving residents stranded on rooftops. The search-and-rescue efforts are ongoing. Peter Weber
Explosions at fireworks workshops have left at least 19 dead and 40 injured outside Mexico City.
At least two blasts on Thursday rocked Tultepec, Mexico, a town known for producing homemade fireworks, Reuters reports. Four firefighters and two police officers responding to the first explosion were killed when a second went off, per a government statement reported by The Associated Press.
BREAKING: Explosions rip through fireworks factory near Mexico City, killing at least 17 people, including rescue workers pic.twitter.com/3uvtu7Vf0v
— BNO News (@BNONews) July 5, 2018
A huge set of fireworks explosions killed dozens in the same town back in December 2016, and a smaller blast killed seven last month, per The Guardian. The manufacturers' permits will be examined, an official told Reuters, as fireworks safety is a consistent problem in Mexico. Fireworks sales in the area, about 20 miles north of Mexico City, will be suspended. Kathryn Krawczyk
Former MSNBC host Ed Schultz has died of natural causes, Fargo's WDAY-TV reports. He was 64.
Schultz began his broadcasting career as a sportscaster in Fargo, later becoming a conservative talk show host on WDAY-AM. As his views became more liberal, MSNBC launched The Ed Show in 2009. Most recently he hosted The News with Ed Schultz on RT America, the U.S. branch of the Kremlin-funded television network.
The Trump administration is reversing the Obama-era directive promoting diverse classrooms by reinstating a policy that "strongly encourages the use of race-neutral methods" for admitting students to university programs or placement in elementary and secondary schools, The New York Times reports.
"The executive branch cannot circumvent Congress or the courts by creating guidance that goes beyond the law and — in some instances — stays on the books for decades," argued Justice Department spokesperson Devin O'Malley in a statement to CNN.
The policy shift, while not a formal law, means that schools that continue race-conscious admission policies could face an "investigation or lawsuit, or lose federal funding from the Education Department," The New York Times reports. The Trump administration says the shift is to follow the law more closely, although former Justice Department civil rights lawyer Samuel Bagenstos called it "part of a broader conservative effort to undermine affirmative action."
Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy, who is retiring at the end of the month, was the swing vote on affirmative action in 2016's Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, which decided that schools could consider race as one factor in their decision-making process. A new case expected to go to the Supreme Court, in which Asian-American students say they were refused admission to Harvard to give their spots to students of other races, would be decided theoretically by President Trump's replacement for Kennedy. Jeva Lange