5 things for July 25: Trump tape, farm aid, Pakistan votes, Laos flood, Mega Millions
Posted June 30, 2018 9:00 a.m. EDT
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1. President Trump and Michael Cohen
Donald Trump is heard on tape talking with attorney Michael Cohen about how they could buy the rights to a Playboy model's story about an alleged affair she said she had with Trump. The recording, made in September 2016 and secretly recorded by Cohen, aired exclusively last night on CNN's "Cuomo Prime Time." It seems to indicate that Trump, despite many denials, knew about efforts to pay off Karen McDougal, who said she had an affair with Trump about a decade ago. Trump denies it.
Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani notes that no payment was ever made from Trump and the tape offers "no indication" of a crime. Cohen is under federal investigation, and 12 audio recordings were obtained this year in FBI raids on him. It seems to CNN's Chris Cillizza that Cohen, who recently made clear he's open to cooperating with prosecutors, has already flipped on the President.
2. Farm aid package
The Trump administration plans to inject $12 billion in aid to farmers hurt by the retaliatory tariffs in the President's trade battle with other countries. The emergency aid package, which could start this fall and doesn't need congressional approval, will include: direct payments to producers of soybeans, corn, dairy and pork; a program to purchase surplus from some agricultural producers; and efforts to build out markets for US agricultural products.
The aid plan got a lukewarm reception on Capitol Hill, where many called it a bailout and welfare. And it puts GOP lawmakers in a tough spot. Many of them blasted bailouts for the financial and auto industries during the Obama years, and handing out billions in agricultural subsidies runs counter to conservative orthodoxy. But abandoning farmers who've struggled because of the trade wars is probably not the best position to take ahead of the midterm elections.
3. Pakistan election
Violence rocks parts of Pakistan as residents head to the polls today to vote in general election contests. A bomb attack in the provincial capital of Quetta killed at least 31 people and injured as many as 30. And one person died in a skirmish outside a polling station in a northwest province. The fiercely contested election puts ex-cricket star Imran Khan's party in a tight race against that of jailed former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
4. Flood dangers
At least 20 people are dead and hundreds are missing after a dam collapse in southern Laos flooded whole towns. Houses have been washed away. Aerial images show entire villages submerged by muddy brown water and survivors clinging to rooftops while others paddle on makeshift rafts. More than 100,000 people have been affected, the UN says.
Meanwhile in the US, the threat of "dangerous" flooding today in the Mid-Atlantic states is pretty high, after the accumulation of record rainfall in recent weeks. Flash flood watches and warnings are in effect from North Carolina to New York.
5. Mega Millions
Somebody woke up this morning as a half-billionaire. A winning Mega Millions lottery ticket was sold at a liquor store in San Jose, the California lottery said on its Twitter feed. The jackpot is worth a whopping $522 million, the fifth largest in the game's 16-year history. The winning numbers, BTW, were 1, 2, 4, 19, 29 and 20. The biggest-ever Mega Millions jackpot -- $656 million -- was won in March 2012.
The Conners are coming
The "Roseanne" show minus Roseanne Barr -- better known as "The Conners" -- premieres October 16 on ABC.
All cracked up
There's a growing list of salmonella-related food recalls right now, topped by Ritz and Goldfish crackers, of all things.
Thinking of you, Demi
Thoughts and prayers -- from Lovatics and non-fans alike -- are going up for singer Demi Lovato, who reportedly suffered a drug overdose.
Not throwin' away my ...
Everybody's fave Broadway musical may be headed to movies, but the bidding to get "Hamilton" on the big screen may go north of $50 million.
Special thank you
The first woman to publicly accuse Larry Nassar of sexual assault named her new baby after the detective who helped catch him.
Ready to go cruising? You're in luck. A fresh new list of most popular cruise ship destinations is out, and it encourages us to think beyond the Caribbean.
"Making this decision now is the only fair outcome for my team and partners."
Ivanka Trump, on her decision to shut down her fashion company, which has been operating with limitations to reduce potential violations of ethics laws and the perceptions she's profiteering off her White House role
Not today, buddy
Kevin the goat plays with Bruce the pit bull pretty much every day, but Bruce is definitely not feeling it this morning. (Click to view, and a special thanks to 5 Things reader Jeanette for this one.)