Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has sparked another firestorm of criticism over his comments at a rally in Wilmington, North Carolina, Tuesday, which many saw as a call to assassinate his rival, Hillary Clinton.
Donald Trump “Hillary wants to abolish—essentially, abolish—the Second Amendment. By the way, and if she gets to pick—if she gets to pick her judges, nothing you can do, folks. Although the Second Amendment people, maybe there is. I don’t know.”
In response to Trump’s comments, Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy tweeted, “Don’t treat this as a political misstep. It’s an assassination threat, seriously upping the possibility of a national tragedy & crisis.” California Congressmember Eric Swalwell, meanwhile, called for a Secret Service investigation, tweeting, “Donald Trump suggested someone kill Sec. Clinton. We must take people at their word. @SecretService must investigate #TrumpThreat.” Trump has denied the comments were a call to violence. His campaign issued a statement saying he was referring to the Second Amendment supporters’ “amazing spirit and … great political power.” On Tuesday night, House Speaker Paul Ryan called on Trump to clear up the comments.
Speaker Paul Ryan: “It sounds like just a joke gone bad. I hope he clears it up very quickly. You should never joke about something like that. I didn’t actually hear the comments; I only heard about those comments.”
Paul Ryan was speaking in Janesville, Wisconsin, at a victory news conference after he easily won his congressional re-election primary Tuesday. Donald Trump sparked controversy last week when he initially refused to endorse Ryan in his race.
Even before Trump made his comments, a Republican lawmaker came out against Trump. This is Maine Senator Susan Collins speaking to CNN’s Jamie Gangel on Tuesday.
Sen. Susan Collins: “Donald Trump, in my judgment, would make a perilous world even more dangerous. I worry that his tendency to lash out and his ill-informed comments would cause dangerous events to escalate and possibly spin out of control at a time when our world is beset with conflicts.”
In more campaign news, newly released State Department emails are raising questions about the close ties between the Clinton Foundation and the State Department during Clinton’s time as secretary of state. The 44 emails include communications between top members of the Clinton Foundation and Clinton’s top State Department advisers, including Huma Abedin and lawyer Cheryl Mills. One email shows a member of the Clinton Foundation asking Abedin and Mills for a “favor” in helping a Foundation associate land a job at the State Department. Abedin responded, “We all have him on our radar. Personnel has been sending him options.” In an other email, a Foundation executive wrote to Abedin and Mills asking for help putting a billionaire foundation donor in touch with the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon. Abedin responded, “I’ll talk to jeff,” referring to then-U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey Feltman. In response, the Clinton campaign said, “Neither of these emails involve the secretary or relate to the foundation’s work.”
Another former Fox News host has accused former Fox Chair Roger Ailes of sexual harassment. Andrea Tantaros says she repeatedly reported Ailes’s harassment to senior Fox executives last year. She says she was demoted and then taken off air as a result. Ailes has now been accused of sexual harassment by more than 20 women, including Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly and former anchor Gretchen Carlson. This comes as New York Magazine is reporting Ailes ran his own “Black Room” operation out of Fox News, in which he used Fox money to hire private detectives and political operatives who carried out Ailes’s personal campaigns, including targeting journalists. The magazine reports Ailes sent private detectives to follow around multiple journalists who had been reporting on him. Ailes has denied these allegations. Ailes resigned in July. He has received a $40 million severance package.
A Justice Department investigation has concluded Baltimore police have carried out a practice of racially discriminatory policing by systematically stopping, searching and arresting black residents at a disproportionate rate. The 163-page report said “supervisors have issued explicitly discriminatory orders, such as directing a shift to arrest 'all the black hoodies' in a neighborhood.” The report highlights one African-American man in his fifties who was stopped more than 30 times over four years. The Justice Department launched the investigation following the death of Freddie Gray, who died in 2015 of spinal injuries sustained in police custody. Although charges were brought against six officers over Gray’s arrest and death, none has been convicted, and all remaining charges have been dropped.
In Brazil, senators voted 59 to 21 today to proceed with the impeachment of President Dilma Rousseff on charges of breaking budget laws. Lawmakers voted to suspend Rousseff in May in what many consider a coup by her right-wing opponents. Leaked transcripts show at least one official plotted to oust Rousseff in order to end a corruption investigation targeting him. This comes as the Olympics continue in Brazil, where the U.S. women’s gymnastics team has scored a historic victory, winning the team gold medal by the widest margin of victory since 1960. The five-person team is the most diverse U.S. gymnastics team in history, with two African-American athletes, Gabby Douglas and Simone Biles, and New Jersey-born Laurie Hernandez, who is of Puerto Rican descent. We’ll have more on the Olympics later in the broadcast.
In Syria, the United Nations is warning of a dire humanitarian crisis as increasing fighting in Aleppo has left millions without water or electricity.
Jens Laerke: “Attacks on civilian infrastructure this week has severely damaged the city’s electric and water infrastructure, leaving over 2 million residents of Aleppo without electricity or access to the public water network. The U.N. is extremely concerned that the consequences will be dire for millions of civilians if the electricity and water networks are not immediately repaired.”
In Yemen, officials say more than 20 people have been killed by U.S.-backed, Saudi-led airstrikes following the collapse of U.N.-sponsored peace talks. Health Ministry officials say at least 10 civilians were killed in the capital Sana’a, which was bombed for the first time in five months. With U.S. backing, Saudi Arabia has been bombing Yemen for over a year, causing the majority of the conflict’s civilian casualties.
This comes as the Pentagon has announced the U.S. has approved a possible $1 billion weapons deal to Saudi Arabia. The deal would include more than 150 tanks and hundreds of machine guns. Human rights organizations have been pressing Congress to block arms sales to Saudi Arabia over the Saudi-led coalition strikes in Yemen.
In Ethiopia, human rights groups say nearly 100 people were killed after government forces opened fire on protesters over the weekend. Hundreds of thousands of people attended the nationwide protests, which were denouncing the government for committing human rights abuses and for suppressing the ethnic Oromo community. Ethiopia has faced growing anti-government protests over the last two years, sparked initially by the government’s plan to lease a forest to private developers.
In news on climate change, rapidly melting ice sheets in Greenland may unearth hazardous radioactive waste stored at a secret Cold War-era U.S. military base. The U.S. deposited the waste in deep underground tunnels at Camp Century in northern Greenland in the 1960s, expecting it would be secure underneath the ice forever. But a new study published in the journal Geophysical Research Letters says rapidly warming temperatures may now unearth the dangerous waste as soon as the end of this century, threatening local ecosystems.
Meanwhile, a state of emergency has been declared in Bolivia, amid the worst fires in a decade. There are nearly 25,000 drought-fueled wildfires currently burning across Bolivia.
This comes as wildfires continue to burn across California, where the uncontrolled “Pilot Fire” burning east of Los Angeles swelled by more than 50 percent Tuesday. Nearby school districts and roads have been closed, and more than 5,000 homes are under evacuation orders. On Tuesday, Cal Fire said the blaze is only 6 percent contained.
Meanwhile, in Mexico, extraordinary rainfall has caused mudslides that have killed nearly 50 people. The director of Mexico’s National Water Commission said the rainfall from the single storm was equal to the average amount of rainfall over the entire month of August.
Roberto Ramírez de la Parra: “It’s important to point out, these two phenomena accumulated a total of 265 millimeters, which is almost the amount of rain that falls in the entire month of August on average in this region. The accumulation of these rains in areas of slopes caused damages in these areas. It is important to note the rains in this area of Huauchinango are torrential and are similar to those occurring in the plain of Tabasco, which is the state with the highest rainfall nationwide.”
And the chancellor of the University of California at Davis has resigned, after an investigation concluded she had violated multiple university policies. Chancellor Linda Katehi has faced widespread protest over her decision to spend at least $175,000 to try to scrub the internet of criticism following the 2011 pepper-spraying of student protesters by campus police. Students have also called on her to resign over her involvement with private corporate boards. In March, students launched a 36-day occupation of her office. Despite her resignation as chancellor, Katehi will stay at the university as a full-time faculty member. Click here to see our interview with protesting students while Democracy Now! was at the University of California, Davis.