Wednesday was President Trump's first full day of a week-long trip to Europe, "and so far the trip is going," Stephen Colbert said on Wednesday's Late Show. "The bumpy ride started at a breakfast with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg," he said, pointing out that Trump "chugged his orange juice" before anyone else — oh, and said "Germany is totally controlled by Russia." Colbert tried out some other ways Trump may have projected his own demons onto Angela Merkel, then knuckled down on Trump's salvo. "Trump claims Germany is controlled by Russia because 35 percent of their natural gas comes from Russia," he said. "It's true, we're all controlled by the people who give us our gas, which is why I'm forever beholden to the Chevron on Route 3. When they invaded the Pizza Hut next door, I said nothing — what could I do?"
"Now, I'm not ready to say that our president is a Russian agent, but I have an agent, and he doesn't do as much for me as Trump does for Russia," Colbert said. "I love you baby doll, but you never swung an election for me, okay? I lost to John Oliver." Even Fox News' political editor thinks Trump is going out of his way to help Putin, colorfully, he noted.
Then Colbert took a second to "get real": "Look, if you like the president, if you don't like the president, it don't matter. We all know what's going on here: Trump is trying to weaken the EU and weaken NATO and break up the European alliance, which is exactly what Russia wants. This is not a theory — this is happening in public. What we don't know is why." He offered some theories, some slightly more plausible than the others. Watch below. Peter Weber
The first trial in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election interference begins this week, as President Trump faces ongoing scrutiny of his cozy relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Former Trump campaign manager, Paul Manafort, is has pleaded not guilty to money laundering, bank fraud, conspiracy against the U.S., failure to register as a foreign agent and lying to the FBI. Manafort is being tried in Virginia starting on Wednesday, when jury selection begins, reports Bloomberg. His attorneys have argued that his charges have nothing to do with campaign work, and Trump has distanced himself from Manafort, saying he only worked with him for a "very short period of time."
Earlier this month, Mueller indicted 12 Russian nationals and charged them with hacking Democratic Party computers to influence the 2016 election. Other people indicted by the Mueller investigation, like former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, have pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI and are cooperating with Mueller's team.
Trump on Monday called for an end to the probe, claiming it was "discredited" due to campaign surveillance by the FBI, though The Washington Post reports that the counterintelligence investigation began months before the 2016 surveillance application. Read more at Bloomberg. Summer Meza
President Trump on Sunday revived a week of controversy by referring to Russian election interference as "a big hoax." "So President Obama knew about Russia before the Election," Trump tweeted. "Why didn't he do something about it? Why didn't he tell our campaign? Because it is all a big hoax."
So President Obama knew about Russia before the Election. Why didn’t he do something about it? Why didn’t he tell our campaign? Because it is all a big hoax, that’s why, and he thought Crooked Hillary was going to win!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 22, 2018
The tweet came after Trump spent days reassuring Americans that he accepts intelligence agencies' conclusion that Moscow meddled in the 2016 campaign, despite indicating after his summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin that he believed Putin's denials over the conclusions of U.S. intelligence services. Earlier Sunday, Trump argued without evidence that newly released documents confirm "that the Department of 'Justice' and FBI misled the courts" that approved warrants to wiretap his onetime campaign adviser Carter Page. Harold Maass
Iranian leaders are taking President Trump's threats in stride.
Trump on Sunday night sent a tweet warning Iranian President Hassan Rouhani to "NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN," but Iranian state media dismissed the tweet Monday as a "passive reaction," Talking Points Memo reports.
The all-caps tweet was in response to Rouhani's remark that "peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars," with Rouhani on Sunday arguing that attempts to undermine Tehran among the Iranian public would not be successful. Rouhani reportedly told a local newspaper that Trump had better not "play with the lion's tail," but political analysts said the war of words doesn't signal a real desire to escalate conflict. Iranian lawmaker Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh said that the harsh words are made public because the two leaders are currently forced to "express themselves through speeches since diplomatic channels are closed."
Trump, writing that Iran would suffer untold consequences if it continued to threaten the U.S., said "WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!" Read more at Talking Points Memo. Summer Meza
Mr. Faulkner's Old Fashioned Hot Dogs is one of Minneapolis' newest eating destinations — and it's run by a 13-year-old.
Jaequan Faulkner first started selling hot dogs in front of his house two years ago, and decided to try it again this summer so he could make money for new school clothes. Someone called the city's health department and complained about the stand, which did not have a permit, but instead of shutting him down right away, officials worked with Faulkner to get his stand up to code. "They're actually the ones who are helping me," he told KARE. "It makes me feel kind of — not kind of — really proud that people know what I'm doing."
The Minneapolis Health Department, Minneapolis Promise Zone, and Northside Economic Opportunity Network (NEON) are all guiding Faulkner, working with him on everything from pricing to marketing. He now has a tent, hand washing station, and thermometer to check the temperature of his food, plus employees from the health department pooled their money to help him cover the $87 permit. Faulkner is looking forward to growing his business, and loves making people smile. "It puts pride in me to see that I'm doing something good for the community," he told KARE. Catherine Garcia
ICYMI: Instead of shutting down Mr. Faulkner's Old Fashioned Hot Dogs for operating without a food permit, staff from the @MplsHealthDept worked with 13-year-old Jaequan and @neonbusiness to get the business permitted and up to code. #smallbusiness #entrepreneur pic.twitter.com/LgppA3WxP3
— City of Minneapolis (@CityMinneapolis) July 17, 2018
Earlier this month, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Mexico's president-elect, sent President Trump a letter, calling on him to resume NAFTA negotiations and work with Mexico and Central American countries to stem migration.
On Sunday, Lopez Obrador's proposed foreign minister read the letter during a press conference. The missive urged Trump to join Lopez Obrador for an initiative to combat poverty and violence in Central America, two of the issues that cause people to flee to the United States, and discussed setting up a fund for development in the region. It also said Lopez Obrador's transition team will work with the current Mexican government on NAFTA negotiations. Lopez Obrador will be inaugurated on Dec. 1. Catherine Garcia
A gunman opened fire in a neighborhood in Toronto's east end on Sunday night, killing one person and injuring at least 13 others, Toronto Police Chief Mark Saunders said.
The shooter was killed "in an exchange of gunfire," Saunders told reporters, and "a young girl, I believe eight or nine years old, is in critical condition." The shooting took place near Danforth and Pape avenues, on "one of the busiest streets in the country," Saunders said. Toronto Mayor John Tory told reporters police have "not drawn any conclusions about what happened here or why."
Witness Jim Melis told The Globe and Mail he was driving down the street when he saw a white man wearing a black hat and bandana start firing into a cafe. Another witness, John Aruldason, said there were lots of people eating out in restaurants, and patios were full. "No one thinks this would happen in Toronto," he added. "People were slow to react — it wasn't believable."
This is a developing story and will be updated as more information becomes available. Catherine Garcia
Rouhani declared during a meeting of Iranian diplomats that "America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars." Trump directly addressed Rouhani in his tweet, saying, "To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!" Catherine Garcia