National News at a Glance
Posted July 17, 2018 10:09 p.m. EDT
Dan Coats, the Intelligence Chief, Finds His Voice. Will It Anger Trump?
Throughout Dan Coats’ career as a senator and now as the director of national intelligence, he has prided himself on working backrooms, not seizing the bully pulpit. That has changed over the past several days. Coats has emerged as the public defender for the intelligence agencies he oversees, supporting their conclusions about Russia’s election meddling in the face of President Donald Trump’s skepticism, including his extraordinary comments Monday challenging the agencies’ assessment of Moscow’s interference. Coats has insisted the agencies are offering facts and honest analysis, not political judgments. He has insisted that Moscow is a continuing, and growing, threat.
A Besieged President Says He Misspoke and Agrees With U.S. Intelligence
Under pressure from congressional Republicans, his advisers, and his allies on Fox News, President Donald Trump reversed course Tuesday and claimed he had misspoken during a news conference with President Vladimir Putin about whether Russia tried to influence the 2016 presidential election. Trump said he believed the assessment of the nation’s intelligence agencies that Russia had interfered in the campaign after having seeming to have accepted Putin’s assertion that Russia was not involved. The misunderstanding, he said, grew out of an attempt to use a double negative when he answered a question about whether he believed Putin.
Republicans Scramble to Contain the Damage From Embrace of Putin
Republicans scrambled on Tuesday to mitigate the damage done by President Donald Trump’s embrace of President Vladimir Putin of Russia over his own intelligence agencies, setting a public hearing in the Senate next week, examining new sanctions on Moscow and reaffirming the fraying Western alliance. After Republicans pleaded privately with the White House for Trump to clean up his remarks, the president walked back his comments, asserting that he had misspoken in Helsinki. But the ability of congressional Republicans to move beyond statements of condemnation to legislation and oversight that could change Trump’s course was very much in doubt.
Roby, Former Trump Critic, Wins Alabama House Runoff
Rep. Martha Roby of Alabama prevailed Tuesday in a Republican primary election that unfolded as a test of fealty to President Donald Trump. Her criticism of Trump in the last days of the 2016 campaign cost Roby, a mainstream conservative seeking a fifth term, a clear-cut victory in an initial round of voting last month. She fell short of a majority, forcing her to compete in a runoff election against Bobby Bright, a populist former Democrat. She handily held off Bright, The Associated Press reported, with help from an unlikely ally — Trump himself.
Lava Bomb Hits Tourist Boat in Hawaii, Injuring 23
A basketball-size chunk of molten rock, known as a lava bomb, crashed into a tourist boat off Hawaii’s coast Monday, injuring 23 people who were there to watch lava flow off the Big Island, officials said. The boat was touring near a lava flow around 6 a.m. in Kapoho Bay, when molten lava showered down on the vessel’s metal roof, according to Hawaii’s Department of Land and Natural Resources. After the boat returned to shore, 13 people were taken to the hospital and 10 people with minor injuries were treated on site. A 20-year-old woman suffered a serious leg injury.
IRS Will No Longer Require Certain Nonprofits to Disclose Large Donors
The Trump administration will end a long-standing requirement that certain nonprofit organizations disclose the names of large donors to the IRS, a move that will allow some political groups to shield their sources of funding from government scrutiny. The change, which has long been sought by conservatives and Republicans in Congress, will affect thousands of labor unions, social clubs and political groups. Treasury officials said the reporting change would protect privacy and reduce compliance costs for nonprofits.