January 17, 2018

U.S. Border Patrol agents actively impair humanitarian efforts along the southern border, a report published Wednesday revealed. The report — commissioned by two humanitarian groups, No More Deaths and La Coalición de Derechos Humanos — claims that U.S. immigration enforcement officials intentionally destroy water containers left for immigrants crossing the scorching deserts, "condemning people to die of thirst in baking temperatures," The Guardian reports.

The study analyzed an 800-square-mile swath of desert near Tucson, Arizona, where people often leave water for border-crossers, The Guardian explains. Between March 2012 and December 2015, Border Patrol agents reportedly damaged 415 containers of water, sabotaging more than 3,500 gallons.

While the report notes that wild animals do occasionally account for the destruction, U.S. Border Patrol agents are the water saboteurs "in the majority of cases," the groups claim. One Border Patrol agent is quoted in the report describing the strategy, saying: "I remember people smashing and stepping on water bottles. I remember that being imparted onto us in one way or another."

The report asserts that destroying aid supplies is a "systemic feature of enforcement practices in the borderlands." Read more at The Guardian. Kelly O'Meara Morales

4:12 a.m. ET
Alex Wong/Getty Images

In pushing back against damaging new claims by former White House adviser Omarosa Manigault Newman, the Trump administration confirmed reports that President Trump had White House staffers sign nondisclosure agreement (NDAs). On Sunday, White House counselor Kellyanne Conway told ABC News that NDAs are "typical" in offices and "we've all signed them in the West Wing," and Trump tweeted Monday: "Wacky Omarosa already has a fully signed Non-Disclosure Agreement!" This raises a lot of questions. Here are five:

1. What does the White House NDA say? Several Trump aides told The Washington Post it prohibits sharing any confidential or nonpublic information outside of the White House at any time. It specifically "prohibited top aides from disclosing confidential information in any form including books, without the express permission of the president," a former administration official tells Politico. And violators "would have to forfeit to the U.S. government any royalties, advances, or book earnings."

2. Are these NDAs enforceable? Most legal experts say no, because muzzling government employees would violate the First Amendment. Also, public employees "are supposed to serve the public and the institution of the president, not any one particular person," Politico explains.

3. Did Manigault Newman sign one? She says she refused. She did, however, apparently sign a stricter NDA to work on the Trump campaign and, according to The Daily Mail, the Trump 2020 campaign plans to sue her for breach of that agreement.

4. So which White House employees did? Conway suggests she was one of the "dozens of seniors aides" who signed the NDA, some after being told it was unenforceable, The Washington Post reports. Still, any officials who did sign away the right to say anything negative about Trump for years or forever "probably shouldn't be given a platform — on, say, a cable news channel — to opine about Trump," notes The Weekly Standard's Jonathan Last, "because you're not allowed to say what you really think."

5. If the NDA is toothless, does it matter? Yes, Last argues, because "the purpose of an NDA isn't to be enforced — it's to obstruct the revelation of information by making such revelations costly." Peter Weber

2:08 a.m. ET

It's a wedding that a Dover, New Jersey, couple and the Bogota Police Department won't soon forget.

On Saturday evening, bride and groom Sabrina Torens and Connor Reilly got caught in a massive storm while driving to their wedding. Their car became stuck in an area of Bogota prone to flooding, and they called for help. Officer Michael Laferrera responded, and got his car as close as possible to the stranded vehicle. He climbed on the roof, then reached out to Torens, who had climbed out of her sunroof.

Torens was in her wedding dress, which managed to stay dry throughout the entire ordeal. Reilly scrambled out behind her, and the couple went on to continue their wedding festivities. "It was definitely a first for my career and [Laferrera's] career," Sgt. Geoffrey Cole told NorthJersey.com. Catherine Garcia

1:38 a.m. ET
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

On Monday, the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) said a firefighter from Utah has died battling the Mendocino Complex Fire in Northern California. Cal Fire did not identify the firefighter, saying "fact finding on the accident is ongoing and notification of the next of kin in progress." The Mendocino Complex fire, the largest in California's recorded history, has burned about 350,000 acres and destroyed 139 homes in Lake, Mendocino, and Colusa counties. One of the two conjoined fires, the Ranch Fire, is completely contained while the River Fire is 59 percent contained.

It has been an unusually hot and destructive summer for wildfires in California, and more than 40 people have been killed in fires throughout the state since last fall, the Los Angeles Times reports. Recently, two firefighters died battling the Ferguson Fire in Yosemite, and the Carr Fire claimed eight lives: a firefighter, bulldozer operator, mechanic, PG&E utility worker, and four civilians. Peter Weber

1:20 a.m. ET
AP Photo/John Raby

Late Monday, the West Virginia House of Delegates voted to impeach all four justices on the Supreme Court of Appeals, the state's highest court.

The lawmakers approved 11 articles of impeachment against the justices, and impeached the court as a whole for not enacting policies to prevent wasteful spending, The New York Times reports. In June, Chief Justice Allen Loughry was suspended after being accused of lying to lawmakers and using state property for personal use. He is facing a 23-count federal indictment.

Loughry and another justice, Robin Davis, have been accused of frivolous spending on office renovations, with Loughry purchasing, among other items, a $32,000 couch. Two other justices were charged with overpaying retired justices who filled in for them, and in July, a fifth justice resigned after pleading guilty to fraud for using a state car for personal business.

This now moves to the state Senate, and if the justices are convicted at trial, Gov. Jim Justice (R) will pick their replacements. Most of the justices were elected as Democrats, the Times reports, and Democratic lawmakers are concerned that this is an easy way for the Republican-led legislature to assist Justice in appointing GOP justices. Catherine Garcia

12:55 a.m. ET

"Yet another close adviser to President Trump has betrayed him," Stephen Colbert said on Monday's Late Show. "The White House is basically a reboot of The Last Supper: Oops! All Judases!" The latest betrayal is by Omarosa Manigault Newman, whose "salacious new book" is "filled with shocking details that you already knew," he said. Still, he feigned surprise that the book's title, Unhinged, refers to Trump, not "what Stephen Miller does with his jaw to eat his breakfast gazelle." There's a photo with that joke.

Omarosa's biggest charge is her discovery that Trump uses the N-word. "This is huge," Colbert deadpanned. "Finally we have proof that the guy who refused to rent to black tenants, said that a Nazi Klan rally had some 'fine people,' and called Africa a 's--thole' is a racist." But the allegations get much weirder, like her claims Trump wanted to be sworn in on The Art of the Deal rather than the Bible and she saw the "germaphobe" president swallowing a document in the Oval Office. "Well, the hunt for Trump's tax returns just got way grosser," he joked.

Omarosa also secretly recorded her firing by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly in the Situation Room — "Gen. Kelly, you work for Donald Trump, I wouldn't worry about other people's reputations," Colbert said — Trump's mock disbelief at her firing, and other White House encounters. Colbert read some of Trump's retaliatory Omarosa tweets. "The media's been all over Omarosa's Omaroasting of her former boss, but while they're reporting on it, they're also dismissing her as unreliable," he said. "Yes, she's a liar and a backstabber with no credibility — exactly like everyone else in the Trump administration. ... She's not below anyone in the White House. She and Gen. Kelly may have completely different pasts, but they have exactly the same future. You can never scrub off the Trump stank." Watch below. Peter Weber

12:33 a.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke believes if you're going to fault anyone for the wildfires raging across California, it should be the environmentalists.

Climate change has "nothing to do" with the blazes, Zinke told KCRA. There's no need to worry about drought conditions and high temperatures, because the real issue is limits on logging. "America is better than letting these radical groups control the dialogue about climate change," he said. "Extreme environmentalists have shut down public access. They talk about habitat and yet they are willing to burn it up."

This has been the state's most destructive fire season in recorded history, with more than 1,000 square miles burned so far and at least nine people dead. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) has said these fires, fueled by dry brush and extreme temperatures, are "the new normal." Kristina Dahl, senior climate scientist at the Union of Concerned Scientists, told The Guardian that in the western United States, "we know that the wildfire activity in recent decades — at least half of it — is attributed to human-caused climate change. This is a reality that we have created and that we are living with, but this is an evolving situation."

In a USA Today op-ed last week, Zinke wrote that logging is a responsible way to manage a forest, and is good for the economy. Climate scientist Daniel Swain wrote in The Guardian last week that the current forest management strategies do leave forests dense and easier to burn, but the policies were enacted to protect the timber industry. Catherine Garcia

August 13, 2018

"It is one of the great ironies of all time that the Trump presidency has given us more books than ever before," Trevor Noah said on Monday's Daily Show. The latest to land with a splash is Unhinged, by former Apprentice contestant and Trump White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman, who has been on tour claiming the president is a lying, racist dotard. "Omarosa! How can you say that about the president ... three years after we all said that about the president!?!" Noah asked. "Seriously, though? Omarosa had to spend a year in the White House to learn that Donald Trump doesn't know what he's doing? I can't wait for her next book, Donald Trump: Something's Wrong With His Hair."

But the "juicy part" of the story is that Omarosa was making secret tapes of her White House colleagues, Noah said. She's released two recordings, of White House Chief of Staff John Kelly firing her in the Situation Room and of President Trump feigning surprise at her firing the next day. "You know, for a man who lies as much as Trump, you think he'd be better at it," Noah said. "Now, I'll be honest, what we've heard on the tapes is not particularly shocking. But what is shocking is how many people are secretly recording the president of the United States all the time! So many people are walking around the White House wearing a wire, I'm surprise there aren't just feedback loops happening to everyone. ... Like, there just needs to be a Grammy category for these at this point" — "Best Contemporary Presidential Spying."

To illustrate how Omarosa's secret taping might actually make her look worse than her taped subjects, Ronny Chieng came out and played his own secret recordings of his Daily Show colleagues talking about Noah. Watch below. Peter Weber

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