George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush release a joint statement urging Americans to 'reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred'
On Wednesday, former Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush released a joint statement calling on Americans to "always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms." "As we pray for Charlottesville, we are reminded of the fundamental truths recorded by that city's most prominent citizen in the Declaration of Independence: We are all created equal and endowed by our Creator with unalienable rights. We know these truths to be everlasting because we have seen the decency and greatness of our country," the former Republican presidents said in the statement.
Though the father and son's statement did not directly mention President Trump, it was released one day after Trump blamed "both sides" for the violent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend, insisting that there were "some very fine people" marching alongside the white supremacists and neo-Nazis.
Read the full statement below. Becca Stanek
JUST IN: Presidents George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush: “America must always reject racial bigotry, anti-Semitism, and hatred in all forms" pic.twitter.com/6Q4xHCiPRy
— ABC News (@ABC) August 16, 2017
President Trump called racism "evil" in comments Monday that condemned the violent white nationalist protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend. Earlier remarks by Trump had been widely criticized for being too muted, with white supremacist website Daily Stormer championing them for being "really good" and not "attack[ing] us."
On Monday, Trump called "the KKK, neo-Nazis, and white supremacists" out by name and added, "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence. It has no place in America."
Some critics remained unconvinced:
.@margarettalev notes on CNN that Trump made no specific outreach to non-white groups that may have felt victimized. Bare minimum.
— Maggie Haberman (@maggieNYT) August 14, 2017
only reason Trump couldn’t have said all this on Saturday is that he doesn’t mean it
— Philip Gourevitch (@PGourevitch) August 14, 2017
If Trump had given speech like this on Saturday, we'd have commended him. On Monday, it does nothing for me. Zero. I suspect, I'm not alone.
— Ana Navarro (@ananavarro) August 14, 2017
Watch Trump's full comments about Charlottesville below. Jeva Lange
— Bloomberg (@business) August 14, 2017
FBI foils plot of alleged anti-government bomber who'd planned to detonate a 1,000-pound bomb in Oklahoma City
A 23-year-old man was arrested Friday after allegedly attempting to detonate what he believed was a 1,000-pound bomb outside a bank in Oklahoma City, The Washington Post reports. An undercover FBI agent had posed as an accomplice to Jerry Drake Varnell, of Sayre, Oklahoma, in the months-long investigation leading up to the foiled plot.
Varnell "referenced the movie Fight Club when he discussed wanting to take down a government facility or other structures," the complaint alleges, adding that he was also inspired by Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh. "Varnell stated, 'That's the kind of s--- I want to f---ing do, it's time to do that kind of f---ing s---,'" the complaint adds.
Varnell allegedly told the undercover FBI agent that he had made his own explosives, but was convinced to stop in order to avoid injury or "drawing unwanted attention." "Varnell agreed to have the [undercover agent] obtain the needed explosives in lieu of making it himself," the complaint claims.
Originally Varnell had wanted to attack the Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C., the complaint says, before deciding on BancFirst in Oklahoma City. He allegedly wanted to minimize deaths and injuries, planning the attack for Friday evening. "[Varnell] identified BancFirst as the target, prepared a statement to be posted on social media after the explosion, helped assemble the device, helped load it into what he believed was a stolen van, drove the van by himself from El Reno to BancFirst in downtown Oklahoma City, and dialed a number on a cellular telephone that he believed would trigger the explosion," Oklahoma's KOCO News 5 reports. Jeva Lange
More than 300 people are thought to be dead after a hillside collapsed in Freetown, the capital of the west African nation of Sierra Leone, on Monday. Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh called the tragedy "so serious that I myself feel broken," the BBC reports.
— S4CCC-SL (@scccsierraleone) August 14, 2017
Heavy rains caused Monday's mudslide, which buried dozens of people in their homes. An estimated 2,000 people throughout the capital will be left homeless from the flooding and waist-deep "churning rivers of mud," The Telegraph reports.
— Jamie Hitchen (@jchitchen) August 14, 2017
"The capacity at the mortuary is too small for the corpses," said Sinneh Kamara, the coroner technician for the local hospital. Emergency responders are still attempting to rescue survivors who might be trapped in their homes. Jeva Lange
"We're closely following the terrible events unfolding in Charlottesville," Trump said. "We condemn in the strongest possible terms this egregious display of hatred, bigotry, and violence, on many sides."
There are "so many incredible things happening in our country," he continued, referring to the strength of the economy, "so when I watch Charlottesville, to me it's very, very sad." The president offered praise for law enforcement active in Charlottesville and called for "study" of what's happening to "see what we're doing wrong as a country where things like this can happen."
"We have to heal the wounds of our country. These are wounds that have been going on for really a long time," he concluded. "We're going to make every effort possible to make sure that healing procedure goes as quickly as possible."
Watch Trump's comments in context below. His remarks begin a little after the 1:00:00 mark. Bonnie Kristian
A car reportedly plowed through peaceful protesters marching against an alt-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday. At least one person was reportedly killed and an unknown number of people injured. "A car appeared to deliberately mow down pedestrians," said an eyewitness.
Charlottesville Mayor Mike Signer tweeted an announcement of the death and encouraged demonstrators to disperse:
I am heartbroken that a life has been lost here. I urge all people of good will--go home.
— Mike Signer (@MikeSigner) August 12, 2017
Earlier on Saturday, city and county officials declared a state of emergency after violence broke out between white nationalist marchers and anti-racist counter-protesters; and Friday night, a smaller group of marchers assembled with torches on the University of Virginia campus chanting Nazi slogans in what Charlottesville's mayor called "a cowardly parade of hatred, bigotry, racism, and intolerance." Bonnie Kristian
The beleaguered audio sharing and streaming platform SoundCloud was saved by a $170 million investment Friday, after reports indicated on Thursday that investors could terminate the company within hours, TechCrunch reports.
The "largest financing round in the history of SoundCloud" comes from The Raine Group, which owns the music festival Lollapalooza, and Temesek Holdings, a state-run Singaporean company. SoundCloud co-founder Alex Ljung will also be replaced as CEO by former Vimeo CEO Kerry Trainor, but will remain with the company as a chairman, NPR reports.
"All of this together — the capital, the capital partners — with Kerry and [COO Mike Weissman] joining our team — it puts our company in a really great position to stay strong and remain independent," Ljung told Billboard. "We see a strong, independent future for the company."
TechCrunch adds that despite being saved by the bell, "the company will need to find a way to make its subscription tiers more appealing and scale up its advertising despite having much less staff to drive the changes. If it can’t, SoundCloud could be back begging for cash in a year." Jeva Lange
Dallas Cowboys' Ezekiel Elliott suspended 6 games after controversial domestic violence investigation
The Dallas Cowboys' star running back, Ezekiel Elliott, has been suspended for six games by the NFL after being accused by an ex-girlfriend of domestic violence in July 2016, ESPN reports.
The Columbus, Ohio, City Attorney's Office had declined to pursue domestic violence charges against Elliott last year, citing "conflicting and inconsistent information." Cowboys owner Jerry Jones has defended Elliott and told ESPN he is "furious" about the decision.
In their official statement, the NFL said league investigators "examined all evidence, including photographic and digital evidence, thousands of text messages, and other records of electronic communication." Bleacher Report notes that "despite the lack of legal ramifications, the NFL holds the right to punish players even without charges due to its personal conduct policy."
Elliott is expected to appeal; if he does not, his suspension will run from Sept. 2 through Oct. 23. Read the full statement below. Jeva Lange
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) August 11, 2017