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5 things for Wednesday, August 2: Trump, North Korea, tax reform, hot car deaths, college and race

Posted August 2

How to break out of jail in Alabama: Confuse the new guard ... and use peanut butter. Here's what else-you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. President Trump

The White House says President Trump "weighed in" on the very first statement released last month by his eldest son after it was revealed that Donald Trump Jr. met with a Russian lawyer in 2016. White House press secretary-Sarah Huckabee Sanders said there wasn't anything inaccurate about that statement and that the President didn't dictate it but did have some input into it.

Of course, we now know that the original statement -- that the meeting was primarily about an adoption program -- was misleading. It was later revealed that Trump Jr. took the meeting in hopes of getting damaging info on Hillary Clinton. One of Trump's lawyers had-denied that the President was involved at all in crafting the statement.

2. North Korea

A top Republican senator says a military showdown with North Korea is inevitable if the regime continues with its missile program. Sen. Lindsey Graham said there's a "military option" to destroy the missile program and "North Korea itself." Graham also said President Trump told him that if there's going to be a war and thousands were going to die, "they're going to die over there, they're not going to die here."

Graham's remarks stand in stark contrast to those from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who said the US is still willing to talk to the North Koreans. Tillerson will be in Asia later this week for regional meetings on security. Ministers from North Korea, South Korea, China and Japan are due to be there, too.

3. Tax reform

Senate Dems, for obvious reasons, really weren't a part of the GOP drive to get rid of Obamacare. Now, since that effort is largely over (though some bipartisan talking is still going on), the Senate's turning its attention to tax reform, and the Democrats want in on the action. They issued a list of demands to Senate Republicans, urging that any tax plan not hurt the middle class or benefit the wealthy, that hearings be held on any plan, that any proposal be subject to the 60-vote threshold, and that it be fiscally responsible and not add to deficits. The GOP response? Thanks guys, we'll be sure to take this under advisement.

4. Hot car deaths

It's the grimmest of grim stats: the number of hot car deaths is on a record pace this year. As of July-31, there were 29 heatstroke deaths in cars, more than at this point in previous years, according to a meteorologist-who tracks the numbers. Just last week there were 11 deaths. On average, about 37 children die each year after being left in a hot vehicle. Many hope upgrades in technology and legislation will help reduce the number of cases.

5. Colleges and race

The Trump administration may be-getting ready to take on affirmative action in colleges, The New York Times reports, by prepping Justice Department resources to investigate cases of "race-based discrimination." The report is based on a memo, which CNN has not independently obtained, that the Justice Department's civil rights division is looking for lawyers to work on discrimination cases involving college admissions. The Times suggests the phrase-"intentional race-based discrimination" could mean the effort is aimed at affirmative action-based policies that prioritize minority students over white students.



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