President Trump has ousted national security adviser John Bolton, one of the most hawkish members of his administration. Trump claims he fired Bolton, but Bolton says he first offered to resign. Bolton was a fierce critic of diplomacy within the White House. He opposed negotiations with North Korea, Iran, as well as the Taliban in Afghanistan. Bolton strongly backed Trump’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and openly called for bombing Iran. Bolton was also a key supporter of the attempted U.S.-backed coup in Venezuela and an advocate of regime change in Cuba and Nicaragua. Bolton becomes the third national security adviser to be ousted by Trump so far. In a tweet announcing Bolton’s ouster, Trump wrote, “I disagreed strongly with many of his suggestions, as did others in the Administration.” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo later made a similar comment.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: “There were many times Ambassador Bolton and I disagreed, that’s to be sure. But that’s true for lots of, lots of people with whom I interact.”
On Capitol Hill, reaction to John Bolton’s ouster was mixed. Republican Senator Rand Paul said, “The threat of war worldwide goes down exponentially with John Bolton out of the White House.” Meanwhile, Republican Senator Mitt Romney called the news “an extraordinary loss for our nation and the White House.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has vowed to annex nearly a third of the occupied West Bank if he wins next week’s snap election.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Today I am announcing my intention to apply, with the formation of the next government, Israeli sovereignty on the Jordan Valley and northern Dead Sea.”
Netanyahu’s pledge was widely denounced by leaders in the region, in part because it would crush hopes of an eventual Palestinian state. Longtime Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat said the move would add to Israel’s long history of violating international law.
Saeb Erekat: “What Prime Minister Netanyahu said tonight about asking his people for a mandate to allow that will enable him to annex the Jordan Valley is paramount to a war crime. Annexation of occupied territories is a war crime.”
Scotland’s highest court has declared British Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament for five weeks to be unlawful “because it had the purpose of stymying Parliament.” But it remains unclear what impact the ruling will have. Critics of Johnson have accused him of suspending Parliament to limit the ability of lawmakers to pass a plan ahead of October 31, when Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union.
Fallout from the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan continues eight years after the triple meltdown. On Tuesday, Japan’s environment minister revealed the plant’s operators may have to begin dumping radioactive water from the plant into the Pacific Ocean beginning in 2022 because the plant is running out of room to store it. The plant’s tanks currently store 1 million tons of contaminated water.
In North Carolina, two Republican candidates backed by President Trump won special elections on Tuesday for open congressional seats. Conservative state Senator Dan Bishop narrowly beat Democrat Dan McCready in a special election held after the results of November’s election were thrown out due to Republican election fraud. At a victory celebration on Tuesday, Bishop repeatedly praised President Trump.
Rep.-elect Dan Bishop: “We’re not tired of winning. We’re just getting started winning, because we’re seeing the successful results of President Trump’s agenda.”
In another North Carolina special election, Republican Dr. Greg Murphy was elected to fill the seat of Republican Congressmember Walter Jones, who died in February.
In voting news, a new study by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights has found nearly 1,700 polling places have been closed since the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013. The study focused on Southern states and other areas impacted by the court’s decision. On Tuesday, the head of the Leadership Conference, Vanita Gupta, testified before Congress.
Vanita Gupta: “Polling place closures and consolidation can be a pernicious tactic for disenfranchising voters, particularly voters of color, older voters, rural voters and voters with disabilities. And since the Shelby decision, jurisdictions are closing polling places at an alarming speed.”
In California, lawmakers passed landmark legislation Tuesday forcing companies like Uber and Lyft to treat contract workers like employees. The bill, which was passed by the state Senate and is expected to be greenlighted by the Assembly, has massive implications for the gig economy and will affect more than 1 million workers in California. App companies like Uber, Lyft and others have come under increasing pressure to address rampant workers’ rights abuses and lack of basic financial security for drivers while company executives rake in millions. Uber co-founder Travis Kalanick recently purchased a Manhattan penthouse for $36.5 million. In July, Uber co-founder Garrett Camp purchased a Beverly Hills mansion worth $72.5 million — the most expensive sale ever in the upscale neighborhood.
New data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows 27.5 million Americans lacked health insurance last year. This marked a nearly 2 million person increase over the previous year. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi blamed the increase on what she described as President Trump’s “cruel health care sabotage.”
A sixth person has died in the United States from lung disease related to vaping. An additional 450 people have suffered lung illness. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has launched an investigation and has recommended people refrain from using any electronic cigarette or vaping device until more is known about the epidemic.
A former top official in the Federal Emergency Management Agency was arrested on Tuesday for allegedly taking bribes from the head of a company who received $1.8 billion in federal contracts to repair Puerto Rico’s power grid after Hurricane Maria devastated the island in 2017. Former Deputy FEMA Administrator Ahsha Tribble reportedly accepted lavish gifts from Donald Keith Ellison, the head of a company called Cobra Acquisitions. The gifts included first-class plane tickets and hotel rooms, a helicopter ride over Puerto Rico, a New York City apartment and access to one of Ellison’s credit cards. Ellison and a former FEMA employee who went on to work at Cobra were also arrested. The U.S. attorney for Puerto Rico, Rosa Emilia Rodríguez Vélez, said, “They took advantage of one of the most vulnerable moments in the history of Puerto Rico to enrich themselves.” While President Trump has repeatedly accused Puerto Rican officials of being corrupt, none of the parties involved in the bribery scheme were Puerto Rican.
The comedian Hasan Minhaj testified before the House Financial Services Committee Tuesday. He urged lawmakers to tackle the $1.5 trillion student debt crisis.
Hasan Minhaj: “Now, look, we know the deck is stacked against student borrowers in ways that it wasn’t 10 or even 15 years ago. And they deserve some basic protections. Americans should not have to go bankrupt pursuing higher education, and they should never be preyed upon by underregulated loan servicing companies. So, members of this committee, we know the government is capable of stepping in during a financial crisis. So, really, all I’m asking today is: Why can’t we treat our student borrowers the way we treat our banks? Because 44 million Americans, that is too big to fail.”
The pioneering photographer Robert Frank has died at the age of 94. He was best known for “The Americans,” a groundbreaking collection of black-and-white photographs that captured life in the United States in the 1950s, displaying raw images of racism, poverty and inequality. Frank once told The New York Times, “My mother asked me, 'Why do you always take pictures of poor people?' It wasn’t true, but my sympathies were with people who struggled. There was also my mistrust of people who made the rules.”