Thursday Top News Executive Summary
Assange arrested, Trump-campaign spying, Democrat Russian collusion, energy EOs, Medicare for All, and more.
WIKILEAKS FOUNDER ARRESTED: “WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was forcibly bundled out of the Ecuadorian Embassy in London,” the Associated Press reports. The arrest occurred “after the South American nation decided to revoke the political asylum that had given Assange sanctuary for almost seven years.” Ecuador President Lenin Moreno cited “repeated violations to international conventions and daily life.” CNBC adds that the Justice Department was ready, levying “a criminal charge against … Assange, accusing him of conspiring to hack into a classified U.S. government computer.” Assange’s co-conspirator was “Chelsea” Manning. The U.S. has filed an extradition request.
TRUMP-CAMPAIGN SPYING: “Attorney General William Barr dropped a bombshell Wednesday, telling a group of senators that he believes spying against the Trump campaign did take place in 2016. … ‘Yes, I think spying did occur. But the question is whether it was predicated, adequately predicated,’ Barr said. ‘I’m not suggesting it wasn’t adequately predicated, but I need to explore that.’ Barr suggested later in the hearing that he had information leading him to question whether the FBI conducted unauthorized surveillance against the Trump campaign.” (The Daily Caller)
SPEAKING OF DEMOCRAT RUSSIAN COLLUSION… “The legal team for former Obama White House lawyer Greg Craig say that they expect Craig to be indicted in the near future on charges related to work that he performed in 2012 for the Russia-aligned government of Ukraine. … The case against the 74-year-old Democrat — who has served in senior legal positions under two Democrat presidents — originated from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation.” (The Daily Wire)
DRILL, BABY, DRILL: “Aiming to streamline oil and gas pipeline projects, President Donald Trump on Wednesday signed two executive orders making it harder for states to block construction because of environmental concerns. The orders were prompted by fossil fuel industry pressure after officials in New York and Washington state had stopped new projects with permitting processes in recent years.” (USA Today)
MEDICARE FOR ALL: “Sen. Bernie Sanders unveiled the latest version of his ‘Medicare For All’ bill on Wednesday… Sanders’ legislation is broadly similar to prior versions: It would effectively replace all insurance with a more generous version of Medicare that covers every American with no copayments or deductibles. The updated bill adds new benefits for long-term care to help seniors remain in their homes and communities. … The Sanders bill is the definitive leftmost position on health care for 2020.” (NBC News)
CARAVAN NUMBERS: “Halfway through fiscal year (FY) 2019, 104 caravans of 100 or more migrants tried to enter the U.S. via its southwest border — up from only 13 in all of FY2018, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) reported Tuesday…. The 104 large caravans encountered in the first six months of FY2019 (through March) resulted in 17,242 apprehensions of migrants trying to enter the U.S.” (CNSNews.com)
ICE CHIEF THROWING IN THE TOWEL: “The acting director of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Ron Vitiello, has resigned amid an agencywide restructuring of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). Vitiello had originally been nominated to take over the post permanently, but his nomination was abruptly pulled last week by President Trump, who said he wanted to go in a ‘tougher’ direction. … Vitiello’s last day at ICE will be Friday.” (The Hill)
OPM TROUBLES: According to The Washington Free Beacon, “China is mining intelligence from an estimated 23 million records of American federal workers, including intelligence and security personnel, stolen in cyberattacks against the Office of Personnel Management.” Perhaps it’s good timing, then, that the White House “has been looking into dismantling the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and appears to be moving closer toward accomplishing something no president since Reagan has,” as reported by The Daily Wire.
MAXINE WATERS’S BLAME-SHIFTING: “House Financial Services Committee chairwoman Maxine Waters was brought up short Wednesday after she targeted banking chiefs over the student loan crisis, even though the federal government took over student lending in 2010.” (The Washington Times)
TAXPAYER-FUNDED ABUSE:A group of hundreds of concerned parents is calling for an immediate halt to a taxpayer-funded study on transgender youth where the young participants are given powerful hormone blockers to stave off puberty and later a regimen of cross-sex hormones. … Four pediatric gender clinics were awarded a $5.7 million grant in 2015 by the National Institutes of Health for the five-year study, ‘The Impact of Early Medical Treatment in Transgender Youth,’ which had 279 participants in the cross-sex hormone cohort and 71 participants in the puberty blocker cohort as of April 30, 2018.“ (National Review)
HUMOR: Progressives officially redefine "hate speech” as “speech we do not like” (The Babylon Bee)
POLICY: The NRA is right about the Violence Against Women Act (Reason)
POLICY: Three reasons Congress should not bring back Obama-era net neutrality (Independent Women’s Forum)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.