James Holmes, Aurora theater shooting suspect, sits in the courtroom during his arraignment in Centennial, Colo., on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. Judge William Blair Sylvester entered a not guilty plea on behalf of James Holmes on Tuesday after the former graduate student’s defense team said he was not ready to enter one. James Holmes, Aurora theater shooting suspect, sits in the courtroom during his arraignment in Centennial, Colo., on Tuesday, March 12, 2013. Judge William Blair Sylvester entered a not guilty plea on behalf of James Holmes on Tuesday after the former graduate student’s defense team said he was not ready to enter one. (AP Photo/Denver Post, RJ Sangosti, Pool)
Photo: RJ Sangosti/AP
Lawyers for James Holmes have successfully argued that the alleged Aurora, Colorado shooter should be allowed to appear at his trial in civilian clothes and without the heavy shackles he’s been wearing on his wrists and ankles, lest jurors get the impression that he’s a guilty man. However, Judge Carlos A. Samour Jr. ruled that he can’t just sit in the courtroom unrestrained. Instead, Holmes will wear a harness under his clothing, with a cable tethering him to thefloor.
The Trump administration is looking for new ways to spread its fight against reproductive rights
The US is understood to have written to UN member states urging them to join a “growing coalition” of countries rallying against abortion, in what seems to be the latest attempt by the Trump administration to rollback women’s rights.
A letter, seen by the Guardian, is believed to have been sent to governments deemed sympathetic to the administration’s view on reproductive health.
In the letter, apparently signed by the secretary of state Mike Pompeo and health and human services secretary Alex Azar, governments are encouraged to sign a joint statement opposing “harmful” UN policies that promote sexual and reproductive health and rights.
The statement will be presented to a high-level meeting on universal health coverage at the UN general assembly on Monday, says the letter, which suggests multilateral agreements have been misinterpreted to promote pro-choice policies.
Boris Johnson has repeatedly declined to comment on reported allegations he failed to declare close personal links to an American woman who received thousands of pounds in public business funding while he was mayor of London.
The prime minister, questioned by reporters on his plane en route to the UN general assembly (UNGA) in New York, refused to answer six questions about his links to Jennifer Arcuri, a US technology entrepreneur.
Asked if he wanted to deny any part of the story, or to comment on the nature of his relationship with Arcuri, Johnson also declined to be drawn.
According to the Sunday Times, a company run by Arcuri received access to money to assist her business, as well as places on trade trips, at times following the intervention of mayoral officials.
The paper also reported that Johnson was, at the time, a regular visitor to Arcuri’s east London apartment, and that she described him at the time as “one of my best friends”.
The Trump team doubts he can repeat his 10,704 vote win in Michigan
Donald Trump has long heralded Michigan as the crown jewel of his 2016 victory. But the president’s campaign team is increasingly grim about a repeat performance in the traditionally blue Rust Belt state.
After a midterm election that decimated the ranks of Michigan Republicans, Trump’s campaign is looking to other battlegrounds he lost last time — such as Minnesota and New Hampshire — that they see as more promising.
The assessment illustrates how Trump’s support in the Rust Belt states that propelled him to the presidency has softened, jeopardizing his prospects for a second term. While they say it’s too early to write off Michigan — Trump aides say the campaign still intends to pump resources into the state — a range of public polling has shown Trump in poor shape here.
It’s time for Mitt Romney’s semi-annual Trump critique
If the President asked or pressured Ukraine’s president to investigate his political rival, either directly or through his personal attorney, it would be troubling in the extreme. Critical for the facts to come out.
A group including officials tied to SoftBank, the company’s largest investor, wants Mr. Neumann to relinquish his title of CEO of We Co., the parent of the office-sharing company, people familiar with the matter said.
The board is expected to meet as soon as this week and potentially consider a proposal for Mr. Neumann to become We’s nonexecutive chairman, some of the people said. That would allow him to stay at the company he built into one of the country’s most valuable startups, but inject fresh leadership to pursue an IPO that would bring We the cash it needs to keep up its torrid growth. …
Any attempted coup is a gamble: Mr. Neumann still has allies among the directors and the ability to fire the entire board thanks to shares he controls that carry extra votes. But SoftBank, which has invested more than $9 billion into the company and is represented on the board, has considerable influence too, and We needs the Japanese conglomerate to continue pumping in cash.
Trump is once again more than happy to keep talking about an issue he advanced to damage a Democratic presidential candidate
Trump CONFIRMS @wsj report that he discussed Biden w/the Ukrainian president in their July call. Says their conversation was largely congratulatory” and “largely the fact that we don’t want our people like VP Biden and his son creating to the corruption already in the Ukraine.”
The FBI is offering a reward to help identify suspects in arson fires at three Catholic churches in the El Paso area.
Authorities say St. Matthew Catholic Church, St. Patrick Cathedral and St. Jude Catholic Church were targeted with incendiary devices in an attempt to start fires at the churches in May and June. The churches were damaged, but no one was injured. The FBI said Thursday it’s offering a $5,000 reward in the case.
The churches serve a primarily Hispanic community still reeling from a mass shooting targeting Latinos in which 22 people were killed at an El Paso Walmart last month.
A new NBC/WSJ poll found that “46 percent of Americans give Trump credit for what they call an improving economy, the highest share of his presidency,” but:
A combined 69 percent of registered voters say they don’t like Trump personally, regardless of their feelings about his policy agenda. A record 50 percent say they dislike him personally and dislike his policies, while another 19 percent say that they dislike him but approve of his policies.
Just 29 percent say they like Trump personally, with 25 percent saying they also approve of his policy agenda and 4 percent saying they disapprove. On this measure, the high degree of personal dislike for Trump differentiates him from his five most recent predecessors. Majorities of voters said they personally liked Obama, Clinton, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, and Ronald Reagan, even though they might disagree vigorously with their political agenda.
In fact, prior to Trump’s presidency, the highest share of voters saying they disliked the president personally — regardless of their views on his policies — was 42 percent for George W. Bush in March 2006, after Hurricane Katrina.
Yesterday on carless Mackinac Island, Vice President Mike Pence traveled the 1.3 mile distance between the tiny airport and a GOP event in an eight-car motorcade:
When President Gerald Ford visited the island in 1975 — the only sitting president to make such a visit — he and first lady Betty Ford traveled by horse-drawn carriage.
Pence, who spoke at the Mackinac Republican Leadership Conference, is the first sitting vice president to visit the island. He traveled to and from the airport with a cluster of monster SUVs shipped to the island Friday night.
Today, traffic jams are popping up unexpectedly in previously quiet neighborhoods around the country and the world. Along Adams Street, in the Boston neighborhood of Dorchester, residents complain of speeding vehicles at rush hour, many with drivers who stare down at their phones to determine their next maneuver. London shortcuts, once a secret of black-cab drivers, are now overrun with app users. Israel was one of the first to feel the pain because Waze was founded there; it quickly caused such havoc that a resident of the Herzliya Bet neighborhood sued the company.
The problem is getting worse. City planners around the world have predicted traffic on the basis of residential density, anticipating that a certain amount of real-time changes will be necessary in particular circumstances. To handle those changes, they have installed tools like stoplights and metering lights, embedded loop sensors, variable message signs, radio transmissions, and dial-in messaging systems. For particularly tricky situations—an obstruction, event, or emergency—city managers sometimes dispatch a human being to direct traffic.
But now online navigation apps are in charge, and they’re causing more problems than they solve. The apps are typically optimized to keep an individual driver’s travel time as short as possible; they don’t care whether the residential streets can absorb the traffic or whether motorists who show up in unexpected places may compromise safety.
[Elizabeth Warren] now holds a 2-percentage-point lead, with 22% of likely Democratic caucusgoers saying she is their first choice for president. It is the first time she has led in the [Des Moines] Register’s poll. Former Vice President Biden, who had led each of the Register’s three previous 2020 cycle polls, follows her at 20%. Sanders, the U.S. senator from Vermont, has fallen to third place with 11%. …
“This is the first major shakeup” in what had been a fairly steady race, said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll. “It’s the first time we’ve had someone other than Joe Biden at the top of the leader board.”
71% of likely Democratic caucusgoers are now considering Warren:
That includes 22% who say she is their first choice for president, 20% who say she is their second choice and another 29% who say they are actively considering her. Trailing her are: Biden (60%), Buttigieg (55%), Harris (55%), Sanders (50%), Booker (42%), O’Rourke (38%) and Klobuchar (37%). …
Warren is the best-liked candidate in the field: 75% of likely Democratic caucusgoers say they view her favorably. Next-best are Buttigieg, who is viewed favorably by 69%, and Biden, at 66%. But Selzer said Warren’s numbers also reveal some vulnerability. Among those who say she is their first choice for president, only 12% say their minds are made up, while 88% say they could be persuaded to support another candidate. More Biden supporters are firm in their choice: 26% say their mind is mind up, with 70% saying they could be persuaded.
Sen. Cory Booker must raise nearly $2 million in the next 10 days or the presidential candidate has no “legitimate long-term path forward,” according to a memo to staff from the campaign manager obtained by NBC News.
The struggling candidate’s campaign manager, Addisu Demissie, warned that after weaker-than-expected fundraising in the early part of September, the campaign needs to rake in another $1.7 million before the last day of the financial quarter on Sept. 30.
“Without a fundraising surge to close out this quarter, we do not see a legitimate long-term path forward,” Demissie wrote in the Saturday memo to staff and supporters. “The next 10 days will determine whether Cory Booker can stay in this race.”
At least the military isn’t acting like a junk food brand on Twitter
On Friday [the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service] tweeted a picture of a B-2 bomber on the flight line with a formation of airmen in front of it along with the caption: “The last thing #Millenials will see if they attempt the #area51raid today.”
If death is easy and comedy is hard, jokes about wiping out millennials with precision guided munitions are particularly difficult to pull off. The tweet no longer exists online, but Task & Purpose was able to get a screenshot of it before it was deleted.
“Last night a DVIDSHUB employee posted a tweet that in NO WAY supports the stance of the Department of Defense,” DVIDSHUB said in a statement to Task & Purpose on Saturday. “It was inappropriate and we apologize for this mistake.”
Walmart said Friday it will stop selling e-cigarettes as the number of deaths tied to vaping grows. The decision from America’s largest retailer may influence other stores and marks a significant blow to the vaping industry.
“Given the growing federal, state and local regulatory complexity and uncertainty regarding e-cigarettes, we plan to discontinue the sale of electronic nicotine delivery products at all Walmart and Sam’s Club US locations,” the company said in a statement. “We will complete our exit after selling through current inventory.”
Biden, in Iowa, makes his first statement on Ukraine & Trump. Asked about his son Hunter being investigated: “There is not one single credible outlet that has given credibility to this assertion. And so I have no comment other than the president should be start to be president.”
The Wall Street Journal confirms: Trump asked Ukraine to investigate Biden’s son
President Trump in a July phone call repeatedly pressured the president of Ukraine to investigate Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden ’s son, urging Volodymyr Zelensky about eight times to work with Rudy Giuliani, his personal lawyer, on a probe, according to people familiar with the matter.
“He told him that he should work with [Mr. Giuliani] on Biden, and that people in Washington wanted to know” whether allegations were true or not, one of the people said. Mr. Trump didn’t mention a provision of foreign aid to Ukraine on the call, said this person, who didn’t believe Mr. Trump offered the Ukrainian president any quid-pro-quo for his cooperation on an investigation.
Mr. Giuliani in June and August met with top Ukrainian officials about the prospect of an investigation, he said in an interview. The Trump lawyer has suggested Mr. Biden as vice president worked to shield from investigation a Ukrainian gas company with ties to his son, Hunter Biden. A Ukrainian official earlier this year said he had no evidence of wrongdoing by Mr. Biden or his son.
I don’t think Biden will be the nominee (the field on the Dem side clearly has a better shot), but I’m not sure folks appreciate how unusual Biden holding a 10+ pt lead on Trump is at this point. No incumbent since at least WWII was down by anything close to that at this point.