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Trump is under fire for saying that he would receive information about political rivals from foreign actors; UK signs Julian Assange’s US extradition papers.


Trump is open to receiving dirt from foreign actors

Jim Watson/AFP/Getty Images
  • President Donald Trump is under fire after he said he would receive information about 2020 candidates from foreign actors. [ABC News / Lucien Bruggeman]
  • In an ABC interview with George Stephanopoulos, Trump said he may not alert the FBI if he were to receive damaging information about his 2020 competitors. [The Washington Post / Colby Itkowitz and Tom Hamburger]
  • Trump justified his answer by saying that information does not equal interference. In addition, he said that calling the FBI might be pointless because they don’t “have enough agents to take care of it.” [USA Today / Rebecca Morin]
  • During a congressional testimony last month, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that he would want to know if there’s any foreign meddling during elections. During the interview, however, Trump flat out said, “The FBI director is wrong.” [NYT / Peter Baker]
  • Trump tried to run to damage control this morning, comparing receiving information from foreign actors to diplomatic calls and meeting with the Queen of England. He’s also resorted to his handy excuse: blaming the media. [Politico / Andrew Restuccia]
  • Now probably isn’t the best time for Trump to float the possibility of working with foreign informants: Although the Mueller report said there was insufficient evidence to prove a conspiracy between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Russia, investigators did document extensive contact. The president’s remarks to ABC were in defense of Donald Trump Jr.’s involvement. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
  • House Democrats have responded to Trump’s comments by announcing plans for a new package of election security bills that would make it illegal for candidates to accept information from foreign actors. But not much can be done while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell shows little enthusiasm even for election bills with bipartisan support. [Vox / Ella Nilsen]

Julian Assange is one step closer to US court

  • British Home Secretary Sajid Javid has officially signed an order for WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange to be extradited to the US — which means Assange is one step closer to being prosecuted on espionage charges. [Al Jazeera​]
  • After signing the papers, Javid said he wanted “to see justice done at all times,” although he acknowledged that the decision is now up to the courts. [BBC]
  • An extradition hearing on the matter will be held on Friday, and the US is expected to detail all charges then. The hearing may be held at Belmarsh prison, where he is held, because Assange has been reportedly too ill to appear at court. [The Guardian / Matthew Weaver and Owen Bowcott]
  • Assange had been living in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London until he was arrested in April after the country revoked his protection. The US charged Assange with 18 criminal counts, including unlawful acts under the controversial Espionage Act for encouraging, receiving, and publishing sensitive national defense information. [Politico EU / Zia Weise]
  • Only a week ago, efforts to extradite Assange to Sweden — which is seeking to prosecute the WikiLeaks founder on a rape charge — suffered a setback when a Swedish court prevented prosecutors in the country from immediately applying for an extradition warrant. [The Guardian / Owen Bowcott]
  • A lengthy legal fight will now begin on bringing Assange back to the US. Don’t expect to see Assange inside a US federal courtroom anytime soon. [Vox / Jennifer Williams]

Miscellaneous

  • The director of the National Institutes of Health said he would not participate in all-male panels in an attempt to push for gender diversity. [NYT / Pam Belluck]
  • The sound of sobbing migrant children are coming out of cages installed all over New York City as part of an art installation. The goal: to prevent the normalization of detaining children. [The Washington Post / Alex Horton]
  • Greenhouse gases aren’t just bad for the atmosphere. They can also make you more tired when concentrated in an enclosed space like meeting rooms or lecture halls. [Popular Science / Alex Schwartz]
  • Best-selling romance novelist Nicholas Sparks might not be a champion for all romances: Sparks reportedly tried to ban an LGBTQ club at the school he founded. [Business Insider / Michelle Mark]
  • As the number of wildfires increase, so does concern over firefighters who have to inhale the smoke while combatting the flames. [NPR / Jes Burns]

Verbatim

“I think you might want to listen, there isn’t anything wrong with listening. If somebody called from a country, Norway, [and said] ‘we have information on your opponent’ — oh, I think I’d want to hear it.” [President Trump on receiving information from foreign actors]


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