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June 14, 2018

One of the primary investigators in the probe into Hillary Clinton's private email server and into possible collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign apparently texted a colleague in August 2016 to reassure her that "we'll stop" then-candidate Donald Trump from becoming president, The Washington Post reports. The text message from investigator Peter Strzok to FBI lawyer Lisa Page, with whom he was romantically involved at the time, is reportedly included as part of the Justice Department inspector general's report on the FBI and DOJ's handling of the Hillary Clinton email investigation, which will be released in full Thursday afternoon.

"[Trump is] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!" Page texted.

"No. No he won't. We'll stop it," Strzok replied.

The revelation, as well as the inspector general's likely condemnation of former FBI Director James Comey, are expected to be ammunition for President Trump, who was briefed on the report Thursday. Still, the Post writes that the inspector general's findings "fell significantly short of supporting the assertion by the president and his allies that the investigation was rigged in favor of Clinton," based on a conversation with someone familiar with the report's content.

The president has repeatedly tweeted about Strzok and Page, calling them "incompetent and corrupt FBI lovers" and citing them as proof that "SPYGATE is in full force!" Jeva Lange

3:50 p.m.

Immigrant detainees have to use three days worth of wages to purchase tuna or a miniature deodorant at a California immigrant detention center, Reuters reports.

Daily wages may be as little as a few cents an hour at the Adelanto Detention Facility in California, and a can of commissary tuna costs $3.25 — more than four times the price at a nearby Target, per Reuters.

Immigration activists say facilities like Adelanto intentionally limit access to essentials like toothpaste and even food in an effort to force or coerce inmates into cheap labor. The paltry wages are then redirected back into commissaries where detainees buy ramen noodles and soap. A spokesman for the Geo Group, which owns the Adelanto facility and is the nation's largest for-profit prison operator, denied these allegations, saying the meals served are approved by dieticians, the labor program is strictly voluntary and wage rates are federally mandated, Reuters reports.

Concerns about commissary in U.S. immigration lockups aren't new — a 2017 report from the U.S. Office of the Inspector General documented problems at ICE lockups, finding spoiled, moldy and expired food at some, per Reuters.

Eleven U.S. senators sent letters last November to Geo Group and CoreCivic, the nation's second-largest for-profit prison operator, calling out the "perverse profit incentive at the core of the private prison business," Reuters reports. Marianne Dodson

3:46 p.m.

The mystery of when Unsolved Mysteries would finally receive a reboot has just been solved.

Netflix will bring back the classic true-crime show with the original co-creators returning, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Also on board are Stranger Things producers Shawn Levy and Josh Barry. This new version will tackle one case per episode, and Netflix says it will "maintain the chilling feeling" that characterized the original run while "telling the stories through the lens of a premium Netflix documentary series." Also like the original, Netflix says the reboot will "look to viewers to help aid investigators in closing the book on long outstanding cases."

Unsolved Mysteries originally aired on NBC for nine seasons starting in 1987, with Robert Stack taking viewers through a series of strange cases that sometimes had a paranormal bent and sometimes leaned more toward standard true-crime. CBS picked it up for two more seasons starting in 1997; it later had a two-season run on Lifetime and a short-lived revival on Spike in 2008. After Stack died in 2003, the Spike reboot was hosted by Dennis Farina. Classic episodes are currently available for streaming on Amazon Prime and Hulu — but not on Netflix.

This, is course, is just the latest in a long series of examples of Netflix bringing back classic shows, and it will add to Netflix's ever-growing catalogue of true-crime series like Making a Murderer. The streaming service has ordered 12 new episodes of the show but has not yet announced a new host or given the reboot a release date. Brendan Morrow

3:37 p.m.

President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will meet for a second summit in February, the White House said Friday. A location has yet to be announced, but sources tell The Washington Post it will probably be in Danang, Vietnam.

The White House likely arranged the visit while top North Korean negotiator Kim Yong Chol visited the White House Friday. The "former spymaster" is often said to be Kim's "right-hand man," per BBC, and was scheduled to visit in November before the plan was canceled amid North Korea's announced weapons test.

Trump and Kim Yong Chol talked about denuclearization, White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said — a goal that has seen little public progress since Kim and Trump first met last June in Singapore and signed some form of denuclearization agreement. North Korea has since pushed for the U.S. to lift sanctions before it agrees to any denuclearization deal, Al Jazeera notes.

Kim Yong Chol also came to the U.S. just before Trump's last meetup with the North Korean leader, delivering a letter that seemingly got the on-again, off-again summit reinstated, BBC says. Trump sent a letter to Kim last week, seemingly indicating a second talk was close to being finalized, and Kim Yong Chol brought one back on Friday. Kathryn Krawczyk

3:03 p.m.

Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.) dropped a bombshell Thursday, and he thinks it could saddle one Trump administration official with perjury charges.

Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen has consistently maintained that the Trump administration has never had a policy of separating migrant children from their parents at the border. She tweeted it in June 2018, and told it to Congress as recently as last month.

But the December 2017 memo Merkley released Thursday shows otherwise. In the draft memo, senior DHS and Justice Department officials can be seen discussing a legal route to separating migrant families long before it decided on the zero tolerance policy that ultimately split them, CNN notes. That means Nielsen may have "committed perjury" when testifying to Congress in December, Merkley wrote in a Friday letter asking the FBI to investigate Nielsen's claim.

The zero tolerance policy led to at least 2,700 children being separated from their families, the Trump administration has decided. But a Thursday report from the Department of Health and Human Services' inspector general shows the actual number of split children is probably "thousands" higher, seeing as the Office of Refugee Resettlement said it saw a "steep increase" in family separations that started in summer 2017, the report said. Kathryn Krawczyk

2:58 p.m.

President Trump is now fundraising off the ongoing government shutdown in the most Trump-y way imaginable.

The president's team on Friday launched a new website called Build the Border Wall, which calls for his supporters to donate money in exchange for sending a fake brick to the offices of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). This, the website says, was Trump's very own "brilliant idea," to "make sure Chuck and Nancy have no choice but to listen to the American people."

Trump's 2020 campaign manager told The Wall Street Journal about the idea just minutes before the fundraising call went out. "Since Chuck and Nancy keep stonewalling the president, we'll send the wall to them, brick by brick, until they agree to secure the border," he said.

Donating $20.20 will send a single foam brick, but there are options to send as many as seven bricks for $140. And yes, supporters can choose whether their brick goes to Pelosi or Schumer. This campaign comes in spite of Trump's recent references to his wall as being made out of steel slats.

As the government shutdown continues, the Journal reports that Trump has been receiving varying advice from his aides, with some urging him to make a deal for less than $5.7 billions in border wall funding, while others are telling him to hold his ground. But as it looks increasingly unlikely that Trump will be able to build the real border wall, he's apparently hoping a fake one will be the next best thing for his supporters. Brendan Morrow

2:45 p.m.

The morning after a bombshell report suggested President Trump directed his former attorney to break the law, he took to Twitter to stoke fears about Muslims crossing the border.

Trump on Friday tweeted about a Washington Examiner article from days earlier, which quotes a rancher near the U.S.-Mexico border as saying, "We've found prayer rugs out here. It's unreal." Trump wrote in his tweet, "People coming across the Southern Border from many countries, some of which would be a big surprise."

The article itself quotes a single, anonymous rancher, who provides no evidence for her claim. Reports like these have spread online for years without any proof, with Politifact giving one of them a Pants on Fire rating in 2014. Trump's tweet garnered backlash from critics who doubted the report.

But trying to prove the statement true or false is to miss the point, Adam Serwer explains for The Atlantic:

Even if the claim were true, it would prove nothing. It can provoke alarm only on the basis of the bigoted assumption that every Muslim is a terrorist, and therefore the presence of a prayer rug somewhere along the U.S.-Mexico border means that terrorists have sneaked into the United States. You can buy prayer rugs to decorate your home with on Etsy; you can also use them in devotions. It is an absurd and prejudiced assumption that they are an indication of terrorism, rooted in nothing more than animus toward Muslims. It is bad enough that some Americans provide an eager audience for this kind of nonsense. It is catastrophic that one of them is president.

Read more at The Atlantic. Brendan Morrow

2:35 p.m.

Opioid marketing focused on targeting doctors can be linked to an increase in opioid overdoses in the U.S., a study published Friday found.

The findings, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, say that the pharmaceutical industry spent nearly $40 million on marketing opioids to U.S. doctors between 2013 and 2015. Increased opioid marketing by county was associated with a higher overdose mortality rate the following year, the report states.

This is the first study implicating opioid marketing in the opioid crisis, Axios reports, and could be damaging to opioid manufacturers.

The report states the current marketing efforts could counteract national attempts to curb the opioid crisis, and suggests policymakers may want to consider limiting direct-to-physician opioid marketing.

"Policymakers and state health regulators should prohibit licensed health professionals from accepting any such payments or incentives from the industry," Linda Richter, director of policy analysis and research for the Center on Addiction, told U.S. News and World Report. "Although physicians might believe that industry marketing efforts have no impact on their prescribing choices, a large body of evidence proves otherwise." Marianne Dodson

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