Thursday Top News Executive Summary
Barr speaks, Mueller report released, Kim's saber-rattling, possible cathedral attack thwarted, and more.
BARR SPEAKS:: “U.S. Attorney General William Barr on Thursday offered a spirited defense of President Donald Trump ahead of the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on Russia’s role in the 2016 U.S. election, but revealed that it detailed 10 episodes of potential obstruction of justice by the president. … Barr said he and Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel in May 2017, ‘disagreed with some of the special counsel’s legal theories and felt that some of the episodes examined did not amount to obstruction as a matter of law.’” (Reuters)
KIM’S SABER-RATTLING: “North Korea said Thursday that it had test-fired a new type of ‘tactical guided weapon,’ its first such test in nearly half a year, and demanded that Washington remove Secretary of State Mike Pompeo from nuclear negotiations. … It said Pompeo’s continued participation in the negotiations would ensure that the talks become ‘entangled’ and called for a different counterpart who is ‘more careful and mature in communicating with us.’” (Associated Press)
OFF THE HOOK: “Amazon, Netflix, General Motors, Chevron, JetBlue, IBM and U.S. Steel were all among the companies that avoided taxes last year using a diverse array of loopholes and tax breaks, according to a new report from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, a nonpartisan think-tank. … In total, the 60 companies paid no federal income tax on $79 billion in U.S. pretax income, according to the study. And instead of paying $16.4 billion in taxes at the 21 percent corporate rate, the companies received a corporate tax rebate of $4.3 billion. … According to the Joint Committee on Taxation, the tax law is set to save U.S. companies $1.4 trillion by 2027.” (Fox Business)
ST. PATRICK’S CATHEDRAL ATTACK THWARTED? “A man was taken into custody in New York Wednesday night after entering St. Patrick’s Cathedral carrying two canisters of gasoline, two bottles of lighter fluid and two butane lighters, authorities said. … It is too early to consider terrorism but ‘I think, if added to that the events at the iconic location of Notre Dame and all of the publicity around that, I think this is an indicator of something that would be very suspicious,’ John Miller, deputy commissioner of intelligence & counterterrorism of the NYPD, said.” (Fox News)
HUD’S ILLEGAL-IMMIGRATION CRACKDOWN: “The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) plans to crack down on illegal aliens who are taking advantage of public house assistance programs. … The new rule would prevent illegal aliens from living in homes that receive HUD funding, even if they’re not the ones actually receiving the assistance. Those who are caught with illegal aliens living in their homes will have to comply with the new rule or move to a different non-HUD location.” (Townhall)
NEW CONSTRAINTS ON CUBA: “The Trump administration announced Wednesday that the U.S. will tighten restrictions on travel to Cuba, allowing only family visits to the island. … [National Security Advisor John] Bolton also announced that money sent to family members in Cuba would now be limited to $1,000 per person every three months, a change from the Obama administration policy that allowed unlimited remittances. ‘In no uncertain terms, the Obama administration’s policies toward Cuba have enabled the Cuban colonization of Venezuela today,’ Bolton said. ‘These new measures will help steer Americans dollars away from the Cuban regime.’” (National Review)
DC’S HOMELESS SCHEME BACKFIRES: “D.C. lawmakers, in all of their wisdom, determined that poor, homeless people should be entitled to better housing than most middle-income earners. It went as well as anyone could have predicted. … The sudden inflow of poor D.C. residents into one pricey apartment complex has led to new complaints of ‘panhandling, marijuana smoke in the halls and feces discovered on a landing in the stairwell,’ according to the [Washington Post].” (Washington Examiner)
FIRST, DO NO HARM: “Dozens of medical professionals in seven states were charged Wednesday with participating in the illegal prescribing of more than 32 million pain pills, including doctors who prosecutors said traded sex for prescriptions and a dentist who unnecessarily pulled teeth from patients to justify giving them opioids. The 60 people indicted include 31 doctors, seven pharmacists, eight nurse practitioners and seven other licensed medical professionals.” (The Washington Post)
POLICY: An idea for student loans: Get rid of them (National Review)
POLICY: The myth of the population bomb (American Enterprise Institute)
HUMOR: Everyone who attended Bernie Sanders’ town hall has reported their wallet missing (The Babylon Bee)
For more of today’s editors’ choice headlines, visit In Our Sights.