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

10:25 a.m.

The juicy Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker details you're looking for have arrived.

Vanity Fair is out with a new cover story for the film, which not only includes stunning photos from Annie Leibovitz (one of which shows a lightsaber battle possibly set on the Death Star) but also reveals tons of new information. Here are the most important details:

1. Names galore - Keri Russell is set to play a "masked scoundrel" whose name has been revealed as Zorri Bliss, while Richard E. Grant plays the First Order's Allegiant General Pryde. The film also features a desert planet called Pasaana, home to the Aki-Aki alien race, and a "snow-dusted" planet called Kijimi. Additionally, horse-like creatures called orbaks will be introduced.

2. Knights - The mysterious Knights of Ren from The Force Awakens are indeed back, and Vanity Fair describes them as the "elite fearsome enforcers of Kylo Ren's dark will."

3. As the Force wills it - The Force-connection between Kylo and Rey will "run even deeper than we thought," Vanity Fair reports.

4. War! - The film will "bring to a climax the millennia-long conflict between the Jedi Order and its dark shadow, the Sith," per Vanity Fair's sources.

5. Strong with this one - By the time the movie begins — about a year after The Last Jedi — Rey's training is "almost complete."

6. The chances of... - According to Anthony Daniels, C-3PO will do something in The Rise of Skywalker that "surprises everybody."

7. Royalty - Carrie Fisher's posthumous role will include scenes with her real-life daughter, Billie Lourd.

8. Sinister - More about the origins of the First Order will reportedly be revealed. Could their backstory be tied up with Emperor Palpatine's return?

9. Let the past die - After facing criticism for the overly-familiar nature of The Force Awakens, J.J. Abrams says that for The Rise of Skywalker, he "felt slightly more renegade" and willing to make decisions "not because it adheres to something" but because it "feels right." Brendan Morrow

10:21 a.m.

The largest migrant processing facility in the United States has temporarily stopped taking detainees.

Customs and Border Protection announced on Tuesday evening that it had quarantined its busiest center in McAllen, Texas, one day after a 16-year-old Guatemalan boy died after being treated for the flu. Medical staff at the center have identified other detainees — living in overcrowded conditions, sleeping on mats behind metal fencing — who have high fevers and other flu-like symptoms. So, the CBP's Rio Grande Valley Sector has suspended intake operations for the time being in an attempt to stop the spread of disease, The Washington Post reports.

The medical situation in McAllen comes at a particularly trying time at the Texas border, in general. To relieve overcrowding, the Department of Homeland Security has begun transporting detainees to other facilities throughout the country — flights carrying hundreds of passengers have already departed for San Diego.

The 16-year-old who died in the detention center was the fifth child to die after being detained by CBP in the last six months, which has sparked outrage and calls for investigations into the facilities by politicians and activists; the concerns likely won't be subdued by news of worsening conditions within the facility. "When we read of individual deaths, we see them as isolated cases," Erika Andiola, the chief advocacy officer at RAICES, an immigrant advocacy group, said in a statement. "But clearly we have a huge systemic problem." Tim O'Donnell

10:03 a.m.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is laser focused on families.

From her campaign color choice to her past family leave proposals, the 2020 presidential contender has made it clear her campaign is all about boosting American women and families. And on Wednesday she took those priorities to the next level, unveiling an economic policy plan she's calling the "Family Bill of Rights."

Gillibrand's plan contains "five fundamental rights, backed up by bold policy proposals," she writes in a Wednesday blog post. "The right to a safe and healthy pregnancy" is paired with Gillibrand's pledge to "address the severe shortage of OB-GYNs in rural areas," she writes. "The right to give birth or adopt a child" comes with an expansion of taxpayer-funded adoption and anti-discrimination rules for adoptive or foster families.

Gillibrand goes on to mention a paid family leave plan and universal child health insurance to ensure peoplecan care for sick loved ones and newborn children, and promotes universal pre-K to expand affordable child care. There's also "the right to a safe affordable nursery," which Gillibrand will cover via "baby bundles" containing "diapers, swaddle blankets, and onesies, all in a box with a small mattress that can be repurposed as a nursery bed," the blog post continues.

The paid leave plan is "similar to a bill" Gillibrand has spent the past six years introducing in the Senate, The New York Times notes. That family focus might be why, after the first round of 2020 fundraising, Gillibrand was the only candidate who got more than half of her donations from women. Kathryn Krawczyk

9:01 a.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is once again preparing to resist increased calls from Democrats to launch an impeachment inquiry into President Trump.

Pelosi will meet with House Democrats in a closed-door meeting on Wednesday and is expected to urge against impeachment, Politico reports, continuing to argue that the process should not be pursued until it has support from Republicans.

The House speaker, who denies there is a "divide" in the party over this issue, previously argued against these calls during a meeting with Democratic leaders on Monday, reportedly contending that lawmakers have not exhausted all steps and that their investigations are now "getting some results." She is urging Democrats to proceed with these ongoing investigations, expressing fear that this talk of impeachment is drowning out their message.

But some Democrats, including House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), argued during Monday's meeting that opening an impeachment inquiry would put them in a stronger position to investigate Trump and overcome his attempts to block them, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Democrats had begun to step up impeachment talk after former White House Counsel Don McGahn defied a subpoena at the direction of the White House, with even some who haven't outright called for it suggesting they may be headed in that direction. For instance, House Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) on Tuesday told CNN in reference to impeachment that "I'm getting there." Brendan Morrow

8:43 a.m.

The St. Louis Blues beat the San Jose Sharks 5-1 in Game 6 of the National Hockey League's Western Conference final on Tuesday night to advance to the Stanley Cup Final against the Boston Bruins. St. Louis won the final three games to take the best-of-seven series and reach the final for the first time since 1970. Vladimir Tarasenko and Brayden Schenn each contributed a power-play goal, and goalie Jordan Binnington made 25 saves for the Blues. "We always believed we could do this," said Tarasenko. "But it's still an unbelievable feeling." Game 1 of the final series is Monday night in Boston. Harold Maass

8:23 a.m.

President Trump was apparently thinking about his poll numbers on Wednesday morning, and he wasn't happy.

Sixty-five percent isn't out of the realm of possibility for most presidents, but Trump has never risen above 46 percent in Gallup's tracking poll (he's now at 42 percent). It isn't clear what Trump hoped to accomplish with this tweet, which appears to say a quarter of the electorate is either gullible or stupid, and Trump doesn't say which polls he's objecting to, though several fit the bill.

Trump's poll numbers had been improving on good economic news and after the release of Special Counsel Robert Mueller's report, Ed Kilgore notes at New York, but now he's back to the low 40s, "very near where he's usually been, with somewhat more frequent and recent dips into the high 30s." Trump's RealClearPolitics approval average on Wednesday was 42.7 percent, and FiveThirtyEight pegged his approval at 41.2.

A CBS News poll released Wednesday notched Trump's approval rating at a moderately high 41 percent, but a Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday put Trump 19 points under water, with 38 percent of voters approving and 57 percent disapproving. And as Harry Enten pointed out on CNN Wednesday morning, 54 percent of voters in that poll said they would definitely vote against Trump in 2020, putting him in an unwanted league of his own.

In the CBS News poll, 71 percent of Americans say the economy is good, and 50 percent of them approve of Trump's handling of the economy, his highest number. His numbers on everything else — trade, foreign policy, immigration — are considerably worse. It's hard to blame that on the "Witch Hunt." Peter Weber

8:00 a.m.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) has announced a plan to protect abortion rights as president, pledging to take executive action.

Booker on Wednesday said that if elected, he will "immediately and decisively take executive action to respond to these relentless efforts to erode Americans' rights to control their own bodies," CNN reports. His announcement comes amid a string of restrictive new laws across the country, and Booker said that "a coordinated attack requires a coordinated response."

This would involve creating a White House Office of Reproductive Freedom to protect abortion rights as well as to expand reproductive health-care access, CBS News reports.

Booker's plan also includes rolling back the "conscience rule," a proposal that would let health-care providers choose not to provide abortion access for religious reasons; end the "domestic gag rule," which prevents federal funding through Title IX from going to Planned Parenthood but has been blocked by a federal judge; and repeal the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funding from being used for abortion services except in cases of rape, incest, or where the life of the mother is in danger. He also plans to guarantee employer-based coverage for contraceptive care, per CBS.

The New Jersey senator's announcement comes after his 2020 rival, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), also introduced a plan to protect abortion rights with new federal laws codifying Roe v. Wade, an aspect of Booker's proposal as well. Warren said she will "protect access to reproductive care from right-wing ideologues in the states," warning that efforts to have Roe v. Wade overturned "just might work." Brendan Morrow

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