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August 12, 2017

President Trump spoke with Guam's Gov. Eddie Baza Calvo (R) Friday to address North Korea's threat to attack the U.S. territory with a missile strike. During the conversation, Calvo said, Trump "assured me that the people of Guam are safe."

The president also suggested the tension could be a boon to the island's tourist economy. "I have to tell you, you have become extremely famous all over the world. They are talking about Guam; and they’re talking about you," he can be heard saying in Calvo's recording of the call, which the governor shared on Facebook. "I can say this," Trump continued, tourism is "going to go up, like, tenfold with the expenditure of no money, so I congratulate you."

Listen to the conversation below. Bonnie Kristian

6:32 p.m. ET
Drew Angerer/Getty Images

A spokesman for President Trump's onetime campaign chairman Paul Manafort said Tuesday if reports are correct that Manafort was wiretapped by federal investigators as part of a probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, there should be an "immediate investigation" into the leak by the Department of Justice's Inspector General.

"It is a felony to reveal the existence of a FISA [Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act] warrant, regardless of the fact that no charges ever emerged," Jason Maloni said in a statement. Manafort is requesting the Department of Justice "release any intercepts involving him and any non-Americans so interested parties can come to the same conclusion as the DOJ — there is nothing there." CNN reported Monday that Manafort was wiretapped before Robert Mueller was appointed as special counsel to take over the FBI's Russia investigation, and The New York Times reported that Manafort was told by prosecutors they plan to indict him. Catherine Garcia

4:56 p.m. ET
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Donations to President Trump's re-election campaign and the Republican National Committee are going towards paying off Trump's Russia probe legal bills, Reuters reported Tuesday. While it's legal for campaign funds to be used "to pay legal bills arising from being a candidate or elected official," Reuters reported that Trump "would be the first U.S. president in the modern campaign finance era to use such funds to cover the costs of responding to a criminal probe."

Reuters was not able to determine how much campaign cash Trump has spent so far on his team of lawyers, who are working on his behalf in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's ongoing investigation into Russia's election meddling and the Trump campaign's potential ties to it. However, one person familiar with the matter told Reuters that the first of his payments would be disclosed in public filings. The RNC is slated to release reports on its August spending Wednesday, and the Trump campaign's will be out in a month, on Oct. 15.

Read the full story at Reuters. Becca Stanek

4:14 p.m. ET

Either White House Chief of Staff John Kelly had a bad headache on Tuesday, or President Trump's debut address before the United Nations General Assembly was giving him one. While Trump was calling North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "Rocket Man," threatening to "totally destroy" North Korea, and informing world leaders that some countries, "in fact, are going to hell," Kelly sat beside first lady Melania Trump with his head in his hands and his eyes on the ground.

Another notable reaction was displayed by representatives from Zimbabwe, who looked equal parts amused, concerned, and sleepy. Becca Stanek

3:20 p.m. ET

Mexico was struck by a 7.1-magnitude earthquake with an epicenter about 70 miles south of Mexico City on Tuesday, just days after the nation was hit by its biggest earthquake in centuries, on Sept. 8, The Associated Press reports. Early photos show areas where buildings have collapsed and people milling in the streets, afraid to go back into their homes or offices in case of aftershocks.

"In the neighborhood of Roma Norte, an entire office building collapsed," The New York Times writes. "Rescue efforts at the offices were getting underway to save people trapped in the rubble. Several people suffered injuries and were quickly whisked away in ambulances. Others lay on the ground covered in dust."

Tuesday's earthquake coincidentally falls on the 32nd anniversary of a disastrous 1985 earthquake in Mexico City that left at least 5,000 people dead. That earthquake was an 8.0 on the Richter magnitude scale. The Sept. 8 earthquake, off the coast of Chiapas, Mexico, registered as an 8.1 and killed at least 98 people. Jeva Lange

2:59 p.m. ET
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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Tuesday painted a stark dichotomy between Americans' health-care prospects as he continued to rally support for his Graham-Cassidy bill. "Here's the choice for America: socialism or federalism," Graham said. He warned that his ObamaCare repeal bill is "the only process available to stop a march toward socialism," which is apparently his word for Sen. Bernie Sanders' (I-Vt.) single-payer health-care bill.

Graham explained that with his health-care bill he's "trying to take power and money in Washington and send it back closer to the patient." "ObamaCare is failing for a reason: It's a bad idea. State control of health care will work because the people in charge will be accountable to you, unlike ObamaCare where the person in charge could give a damn of what you think," Graham said.

While Graham maintained that he's "never felt better where we're at," CNBC's John Harwood noted that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) remained "notably non-committal" about whether the bill will come to the floor for a vote by Sept. 30 — Republicans' deadline for passing the bill with a simple majority vote. After a GOP lunch spent chatting about the Graham-Cassidy bill, McConnell did say that there's "lots of interest" in the caucus. Becca Stanek

2:10 p.m. ET
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America is floundering in its intense rivalry with Europe to grow the biggest pumpkin in the world, Smithsonian reports. While the orange fruit is a New World native, farmers in Belgium, Switzerland, and Britain are approaching the benchmark of growing a 3,000-pound pumpkin while America lags behind. "They're doing very well, and I tip my hat to them," said Rhode Island pumpkin grower Ron Wallace, who, in addition to being a very good sport, grew the first squash to ever break 1,500 pounds in 2006.

America used to reign in the pumpkin department specifically because the plants adore the ideal environment of New England. "Summer days are in the mid-80s, maximizing photosynthesis without desiccating the bloated fruit, and the semi-northerly locale means bonus sunlight hours throughout the growing season," Smithsonian writes. "By June the burgeoning giants are growing at an exponential rate, and by August, they're packing on one to two pounds per hour, while guzzling about 100 gallons of water every day."

Europe, though, has figured out how to remedy its less-than-ideal meteorological conditions:

Europe's subsequent rise has been defined by the controversy over indoor growing. The Old World's big players cluster in Northern Europe, where the weather is often harsher than New England's. However, high-tech greenhouses with heating and air-conditioning, irrigation systems, automatic fertilization, and other frills allow growers to mimic, and in the last few seasons, maybe even improve upon a New England-like climate. There are no ravenous white-tailed deer in greenhouses, and it can be a perfect June afternoon in Vermont every day of the year. [Smithsonian]

That's good news if you like pumpkins big enough to be watercrafts — but bad news if you're an amateur pumpkin grower toiling in America's Northeast. Read more about how farmers and plant scientists are racing to grow the biggest pumpkin at Smithsonian. Jeva Lange

1:28 p.m. ET
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A copy of an Adolf Hitler speech was found in the home of a man accused of killing two black men in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, last week in what authorities now suspect were racially motivated attacks, The Associated Press reports.

Donald Smart, 49, a dishwasher, and Bruce Cofield, 59, who was homeless, were at first thought to have been killed randomly two days apart. Police have since charged Kenneth Gleason, 23, who is white, with two counts of second-degree murder as well as for allegedly shooting into the home of a black family in an incident where no one was injured. Gleason's DNA was found on shell casings in his car that matched ammo used in the attacks, The Advocate reports.

If Gleason had not been arrested last week, "he could have potentially created a tear in the fabric that holds this community together," said Baton Rouge Interim Police Chief Jonny Dunnam on Tuesday.

District Attorney Hillar Moore said that if Gleason is convicted, his case "would qualify for the death penalty."

"It appears to be cold, calculated, planned [against] people who were unarmed and defenseless," Moore said. "We don't need to prove motive. There are a lot of things that are unanswered." Read more about the case at The Advocate. Jeva Lange

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