5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Report: Trump 'promise' to foreign leader led to intel whistleblower complaint

  • Pompeo calls attacks on oil facilities an 'act of war' after Saudi Arabia blames Iran

  • U.S. military spent almost $200,000 at Trump's Scottish resort since mid-2017

  • Canadian PM Justin Trudeau apologizes for photo showing him in brownface

  • Youth activists urge House panel to take action on climate change

A whistleblower complaint filed Aug. 12 by an official in the U.S. intelligence community involves President Trump's communications with a foreign leader, two former U.S. officials told The Washington Post on Wednesday. During the interaction, Trump made a "promise" to the leader that the whistleblower found so troubling they decided to file the complaint to Intelligence Community Inspector General Michael Atkinson, who found the complaint worrisome enough that he marked the matter of "urgent concern" and submitted it to acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire. By law, Maguire was supposed to send the complaint on to Congress, but after asking Justice Department officials for legal guidance, he refused. Atkinson finally told Congress about the complaint, though not its contents, sparking an ongoing dispute.

Source: The Washington Post

Saudi Arabia said Wednesday that strikes on two of the kingdom's major oil production facilities over the weekend were "unquestionably" sponsored by Iran and came from the "north." Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called the attacks an "act of war," and President Trump moved to "substantially increase" sanctions on Tehran. Saudi officials said surveillance video showed the drone coming from the north, rather than from Yemen, and said the weapon is the same kind that has been used by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Tehran has denied involvement. Trump has not yet provided details on the sanctions, but said an announcement would be forthcoming. Iran reportedly warned it would retaliate against any U.S. action.

Source: Al Jazeera, RTE

Documents and figures released by the Pentagon show that since August 2017, the U.S. military has spent close to $200,000 on stays at President Trump's Turnberry resort in Scotland. The information was provided to the House Oversight Committee. The Pentagon said that on average, from August 2017 to July 2019, the cost of a room at Turnberry for service members was $189. The total amount of expenditures was $124,578.96, plus $59,729.12 in unspecified charges to government travel credit cards, Politico reports. In a letter to Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper sent Wednesday, Oversight Committee Chair Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) said that if these numbers are correct, "it appears that U.S. taxpayer funds were used to purchase the equivalent of more than 650 rooms at the Trump Turnberry just since August 2017 — or the equivalent of one room every night for more than one-and-a-half years."

Source: Politico

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau apologized on Wednesday night for a 2001 photo showing him at an Arabian Nights-themed gala wearing brownface makeup. At the time, Trudeau was 29, and working as a teacher at West Point Gray Academy in Vancouver. The picture, published on Wednesday by Time, appeared in the private school's 2000-2001 yearbook. Trudeau is seen wearing a turban and robe, with his face, neck, and hands darkened. Trudeau confirmed he attended the gala, dressing up as Aladdin and donning makeup. "I shouldn't have done that," he said. "I should have known better, but I didn't, and I'm really sorry." Trudeau is running for a second term, with the election scheduled for Oct. 21.

Source: Time, The Washington Post

Teen activists like Sweden's Greta Thunberg appeared before Congress on Wednesday, urging lawmakers to take immediate action to curb climate change. Thunberg and fellow teen climate activists, Jamie Margolin, Vic Barrett and Benji Backer testified before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Europe, Eurasia, Energy and the Environment and the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis. The activists, who are planning to help lead a major Global Climate Strike demonstration on Friday to call for sweeping mobilization and an "end to the age of fossil fuels," also submitted the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's United Nations report. "I want you to listen to the scientists and I want you to unite behind science," Thunberg testified. "And then I want you to take real action."

Source: USA Today, The Seattle Times
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