In California, the death toll from the massive wildfires has risen to 17, with hundreds more hospitalized, as the uncontrollable blazes continue to burn. More than 20,000 people have been forced to evacuate their homes. The chief of California’s fire agency says the two most destructive fires are “zero percent contained.” In total, more than 115,000 acres have been burned. Drone footage of Santa Rosa, California, shows entire blocks of homes reduced to ash.
Last year, the U.S. Forest Service warned an unprecedented 5-year drought has led to the deaths of more than 100 million trees in California, setting the stage for massive fires. Climate scientists believe human-driven global warming played a major role in the drought. We’ll have more on the California wildfires after headlines.
In Puerto Rico, officials are warning the island’s health system is in dire condition as the island still has severely limited electricity and running water, nearly three weeks after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico as a Category 4 storm. The New York Times reports one teacher, named Harry Figueroa, died after he went a week without the oxygen needed to help him breathe. He was only 58 years old. His corpse then went unrefrigerated for so long it was impossible to embalm his decomposed body. His daughter, Lisandra, said, “Because of the electricity situation, a lot of people died, and are still dying. You can’t get sick now.” Other residents have contracted bacterial diseases, likely as a result of their exposure to contaminated floodwaters. The official death toll from Hurricane Maria has now risen to 43.
On Tuesday, President Trump asked Congress for a $4.9 billion loan to help the island pay government salaries and other expenses. We’ll have more on Puerto Rico later in the broadcast.
In news from Washington, officials say President Trump has called for a nearly tenfold increase in the United States’ nuclear weapons arsenal. The unnamed officials told NBC News that Trump called for the massive nuclear arms build-up during a July 20 meeting with the highest-ranking military leaders. It was after this meeting that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reportedly called Trump a “moron.” In response, Trump has now called for an IQ competition with Tillerson. In an interview with Forbes published Tuesday, Trump said about the alleged “moron” comment, “if he did that, I guess we’ll have to compare IQ tests.”
A shocking new investigation by The New Yorker has revealed a slew of new rape and sexual assault allegations against disgraced and now-fired movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who had been one of the most powerful men in Hollywood for decades. Weinstein has also been a major Democratic donor.
The New Yorker reports three women say Harvey Weinstein raped them, while more say Weinstein masturbated in front of them or forcibly touched them without their consent. Among the accusers is former aspiring actress Lucia Evans, who says she had just finished her junior year at Middlebury College when she was invited to a daytime meeting with Weinstein at the Miramax office. She said he pushed her head down and “forced me to perform oral sex on him. I said, over and over, 'I don't want to do this, stop, don’t.’ … I tried to get away. … He’s a big guy. He overpowered me.”
Another woman, who was not named, says Weinstein forced himself on her during a meeting and raped her while she repeatedly said no. Like others in the article, she says she did not report the alleged rape and forced herself to continue to have professional contact with Weinstein because “I was in a vulnerable position and I needed my job. It just increases the shame and the guilt.”
The article also reveals audio from a 2015 NYPD sting operation, in which Weinstein confesses to groping Filipina-Italian model Ambra Battilana Gutierrez. The recording starts with Weinstein.
Harvey Weinstein: “I’m telling you right now, get in here.”
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez: “What do we have to do here?”
Harvey Weinstein: “Nothing. I’m going to take a shower. You sit there and have a drink. Water.”
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez: “I don’t drink.”
Harvey Weinstein: “Then have a glass of water.”
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez: “Can I stay on the bar?”
Harvey Weinstein: “No. You must come here now.”
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez: “No.”
Harvey Weinstein: “Please?”
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez: “No, I don’t want to.”
Harvey Weinstein: “I’m not doing anything with you, I promise.”
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez: “I know, I don’t want to.”
Harvey Weinstein: “Now you’re embarrassing me.”
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez: “I’m sorry, I cannot.”
Harvey Weinstein: “No, come in here.”
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez: “No, yesterday was kind of aggressive for me.”
Harvey Weinstein: “I know. It”—
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez: “I need to know a person to be touched.”
Harvey Weinstein: “I won’t do a thing. If you embarrass me in this hotel where I’m staying”—
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez: “I’m not embarrassing you.”
Harvey Weinstein: “Just walk”—
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez: “It’s just that I don’t feel comfortable.”
Harvey Weinstein: “Honey, don’t have a fight with me in the hallway.”
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez: “It’s not nothing. It’s”—
Harvey Weinstein: “Please, I’m not going to do anything. I swear on my children. Please come in. On everything. I’m a famous guy.”
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez: “I’m feeling very uncomfortable right now.”
Harvey Weinstein: “Please come in. And one minute. And if you want to leave when the guy comes with my jacket, you can go.”
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez: “Why yesterday you touched my breast?”
Harvey Weinstein: “Oh, please. I’m sorry. Just come on in. I’m used to that.”
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez: “You’re used to that?”
Harvey Weinstein: “Yes, come in.”
Ambra Battilana Gutierrez: “No, but I’m not used to that.”
The New Yorker article also reports 16 current or former employees of Weinstein’s companies say they personally knew about Weinstein’s assaults or harassment.
Meanwhile, a slew of Hollywood’s most high-profile actresses have told The New York Times they too experienced Weinstein’s harassment. Among them: Ashley Judd, Gwyneth Paltrow, Angelina Jolie, Rose McGowan and “Pulp Fiction” star Rosanna Arquette. Paltrow said, “We’re at a point in time when women need to send a clear message that this is over. This way of treating women ends now.”
Weinstein’s wife, Georgina Chapman, a well-known fashion designer, says she’s ending their 10-year marriage.
On Tuesday, former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both condemned Weinstein, who has been a major Democratic donor. In a statement, Obama said he and Michelle have been “disgusted” by the reports, and said, “Any man who demeans and degrades women in such fashion needs to be condemned and held accountable, regardless of wealth or status.”
Opposition to the U.S.-backed, Saudi-led war in Yemen is growing in Washington, where lawmakers have introduced a congressional resolution to withdraw U.S. support for the ongoing bombing campaign. In an op-ed for The New York Times published Tuesday, California Congressmember Ro Khanna, North Carolina Congressmember Walter Jones and Wisconsin Congressmember Mark Pocan write that they introduced the resolution “in order to help put an end to the suffering of a country approaching 'a famine of biblical proportions' … We believe that the American people, if presented with the facts of this conflict, will oppose the use of their tax dollars to bomb and starve civilians.” The ongoing U.S.-backed, Saudi-led bombing campaign has killed more than 10,000 civilians; sparked a cholera epidemic by destroying Yemen’s health, water and sanitation systems; and has exacerbated a famine that’s left 7 million on the brink of starvation.
In Spain, Catalonia’s leader Carles Puigdemont said Tuesday Catalonia has won the right to independence, but appeared to stop short of declaring the region’s secession and instead called for negotiations with Spain.
President Carles Puigdemont: “The government and myself, we propose Parliament suspend the effects of the declaration of independence to undertake talks in the coming weeks, without which it is impossible to reach an agreed solution. We strongly believe that the moment requires not only to allay the tensions, but, above all, to make a clear compromise to advance the demands made by the Catalonian people, taking into account the results of October 1st.”
Later in the day, however, Puigdemont and lawmakers did sign a declaration of independence. Today, Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said he would move the government to invoke Article 155—which has never been used in Spain’s modern democratic history. It would allow Spain to suspend Catalonia’s lawmakers and seize administrative control of the region.
And back in the United States, in Philadelphia, Mexican immigrant Javier Flores is slated to leave the Arch Street United Methodist Church where he has taken refuge to avoid deportation for nearly a year. Javier Flores has been living in Philadelphia for 20 years and is the father of three U.S.-born children. He took sanctuary only days after President Trump was elected. Javier Flores has won an immigration hearing, which will shield him from the threat of deportation for now. He’s slated to walk out of the church today.