Poking Putin’s power
The United States is stepping up digital incursions into Russia’s electric power grid in a warning to President Vladimir V. Putin and a demonstration of how the Trump administration is using new authorities to deploy cybertools more aggressively, current and former government officials said.
In interviews over the past three months, the officials described the previously unreported deployment of American computer code inside Russia’s grid and other targets as a classified companion to more publicly discussed action directed at Moscow’s disinformation and hacking units around the 2018 midterm elections.
Advocates of the more aggressive strategy said it was long overdue, after years of public warnings from the Department of Homeland Security and the F.B.I. that Russia has inserted malware that could sabotage American power plants, oil and gas pipelines, or water supplies in any future conflict with the United States.
But it also carries significant risk of escalating the daily digital Cold War between Washington and Moscow.
Public service isn’t costing Kushner and Ivanka
Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner took in as much as $135 million in revenue during their second year as aides to President Trump, generated from their vast real estate holdings, stocks and bonds, and even a book deal, according to their financial disclosures released Friday. …
The disclosures released by the White House and filed with the U.S. Office of Government Ethics show minimum revenue for the couple of $28 million last year generated from assets valued at more than $180 million.
The protests seem to have worked, for now
Backing down after days of huge street protests, Hong Kong’s chief executive, Carrie Lam, said on Saturday that she would indefinitely suspend a bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China.
It was a remarkable reversal for Mrs. Lam, the leader installed by Beijing in 2017, who had vowed to ensure the bill’s approval and tried to get it passed on an unusually short timetable, even as hundreds of thousands demonstrated against it this past week.
But she made it clear that the bill was being delayed, not withdrawn outright, as protesters have demanded.
Infamous copyright troll gets sentenced to 14 years
A federal judge in Minneapolis has sentenced Paul Hansmeier to 14 years in prison for an elaborate fraud scheme that involved uploading pornographic videos to file-sharing networks and then threatening to sue people who downloaded them.
“It is almost incalculable how much your abuse of trust has harmed the administration of justice,” said Judge Joan Ericksen at a Friday sentencing hearing.
OLC says Trump doesn’t have to hand over his tax returns
Trump wants an “attack dog” to be his next press secretary
Multiple sources in the president’s orbit told Yahoo News that Trump’s vision for Sanders’s replacement doesn’t involve returning to traditional White House press briefings. Instead, the sources said the president is looking for an aggressive defender to make regular television appearances. He also seems settled on having a woman fill the role: The list of top contenders to take the position is filled with five women who have on-air experience.
“This is about how you can take control of the news cycle and represent the president. … What Trump ultimately wants as the press secretary is someone who’s going to be a loyalist and an attack dog to go out there and defend him,” one source close to the president said.
Amazon is making a bid to become an essential part of America’s infrastructure
Stacy Mitchell, co-director of the non-profit advocacy group Institute for Local Self Reliance, added, “This is essentially a company that’s set out to be and own the infrastructure for 21st century commerce and the shipping is another piece of that.” She cited Amazon’s current relationships with manufacturers and retailers enable it to have leverage in compelling the same businesses to use its shipping services.
More great climate news
Ice is melting in unprecedented ways as summer approaches in the Arctic. In recent days, observations have revealed a record-challenging melt event over the Greenland ice sheet, while the extent of ice over the Arctic Ocean has never been this low in mid-June during the age of weather satellites.
Greenland saw temperatures soar up to 40 degrees above normal Wednesday, while open water exists in places north of Alaska where it seldom, if ever, has in recent times.
It’s “another series of extreme events consistent with the long-term trend of a warming, changing Arctic,” said Zachary Labe, a climate researcher at the University of California at Irvine.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin’s claim that the Harriet Tubman $20 can’t be completed for at least six years seems highly dubious
In fact, work on the new $20 note began before Mr. Trump took office, and the basic design already on paper most likely could have satisfied the goal of unveiling a note bearing Tubman’s likeness on next year’s centennial of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote. An image of a new $20 bill, produced by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing and obtained by The New York Times from a former Treasury Department official, depicts Tubman in a dark coat with a wide collar and a white scarf.
That preliminary design was completed in late 2016.
A spokeswoman for the bureau, Lydia Washington, confirmed that preliminary designs of the new note were created as part of research that was done after Jacob J. Lew, President Barack Obama’s final Treasury secretary, proposed the idea of a Tubman bill.
The development of the note did not stop there. A current employee of the bureau, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the matter, personally viewed a metal engraving plate and a digital image of a Tubman $20 bill while it was being reviewed by engravers and Secret Service officials as recently as May 2018. This person said that the design appeared to be far along in the process.
Team Trump has lost confidence in its “all chaos, no copyeditors” strategy
President Trump’s path to a second term starts not in Florida, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin, but in the pages of a corporate-style branding book developed inside a spacious and well-equipped campaign office.
The document, “Branding Guidelines for the Trump Presidential Campaign,” covers design minutiae such as font size, spacing and authorized colors—“Trump Red” and “Trump Blue” for logos, and “Trump Gold” for special occasions. It specifies which images of Mr. Trump to use to convey compassion, which to show strength and, in the case of a photo of the president pointing into the camera, when to let donors know they need to boost contributions.
Four years ago, Mr. Trump launched a first presidential bid that flouted presidential electioneering norms. His re-election campaign is looking a lot more conventional. It revolves around corporate tactics such as branding and merchandising, a direct-marketing push that relies on collecting supporters’ cellphone numbers and a data-mining operation involving a yet-to-be-released smartphone app.
People are fired up about the Democratic debate lineup
This seems good for Elizabeth Warren, who is alone among marquee contenders on one of the debate nights
Not a great sign for GOP House prospects going into 2020
Yeah, like that was on the table
Fact check: false
One of those times where it would be nice if the U.S. government had any credibility right now
One of the tankers that were attacked in the Gulf of Oman was struck by a flying object, the ship’s Japanese operator said on Friday, disputing at least part of the account of United States officials who had blamed Iran for the attack.
“Our crew said that the ship was attacked by a flying object,” said Yutaka Katada, the president of the operator, Kokuka Sangyo.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday that American intelligence agencies had concluded that Tehran was behind the disabling of two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a vital conduit for much of the world’s oil. Senior American officials had already blamed Iran for similar attacks last month against four tankers in the same area. Iranian officials denied any involvement in the events, which have escalated tensions in the region.
There is almost no chance her people said that
Trump’s very charitable rundown of the 2020 field