Morning Update: "Cats" Will Tear Us Apart

Ilhan Omar receives threats, Epstein denied bail, your weekend longreads. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, July 19.

Democrats are worried about Ilhan Omar’s safety after Trump supporters chanted “send her back”

After days of President Donald Trump’s inflammatory attacks dominating the headlines, Democrats are expressing worry that Rep. Ilhan Omar is in increased physical danger.

Omar — along with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib — were the subject of racist tweets from Trump, who said the congresswomen should “go back” and “help fix the totally broken and crime infested places from which they came.”

This week, after Trump spoke about Omar at a rally in North Carolina, the crowd began chanting “Send her back!” — a chant that Trump did not discourage.

The president distanced himself from the chant, but Democrats say the Minnesota representative has already seen an increase in threats since the whole episode.

Highly recommended reading: Ocasio-Cortez, Omar, Pressley, and Tlaib have been effective at calling attention to a toxic legacy of racism within the Democratic party. Today, Democrats are defending the first-year congresswomen. Pier Dominguez asks: What happens tomorrow?

Jeffrey Epstein was denied bail and will remain in jail as he waits for his trial

A federal judge denied Epstein bail following charges that he ran a sex trafficking operation and sexually abused dozens of underage girls, some as young as 14.

Prosecutors argued the charges made Epstein, a financier with powerful connections, a risk to society — not to mention, authorities found a safe in Epstein's home with cash, diamonds, and a fake foreign passport with his photo in it.

Epstein had offered to ground his private plane and pay for security guards to monitor his home detention while awaiting his trial. The judge found the suggestions “irretrievably inadequate.”


Trump and Hope Hicks spoke with Michael Cohen moments before he organized hush money for Stormy Daniels. According to newly unsealed court documents, the three spoke immediately before Cohen began negotiating a hush money payment to porn star Stormy Daniels to keep a lid on her claims of an affair with Trump.

Thousands of people are protesting in Puerto Rico against Gov. Ricardo Rosselló following the leak of his misogynistic and anti-gay text messages. The demonstrations come after Puerto Rico’s Center for Investigative Journalism published nearly 900 pages of leaked text messages in which Rosselló engages in anti-gay and misogynistic language with his inner circle.

The Illinois man convicted of killing an international student was sentenced to life in prison. Brendt Christensen avoided the death penalty after jurors could not reach a unanimous verdict. He was convicted of killing Yingying Zhang, a Chinese international student studying at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, in 2017.

The first trailer for Cats is here and the internet will not stop having thoughts about it. I, a musical theater person but not a Cats person, have an aggressive amount of thoughts about it. I will spare you all of them and defer to the collective What am I watching reaction from the internet. Because...what.

A top ad agency’s employees are angry their firm does work for Trump’s Border Patrol

Ogilvy Worldwide is an iconic advertising agency. On July 9, its CEO John Seifert faced a room full of angry employees. They wanted answers.

Seifert was there to defend the company’s newly revealed work for US Customs and Border Protection (CBP). He told staff the government contract is a “prestigious piece of business” and that CBP “itself is not a bad organization.”

The employees argued that several children have died in CBP custody and that Border Patrol agents are in secret Facebook groups mocking refugees. “I’m not sure what our values are,” they wondered aloud.

A leaked recording of the conversation provides a close look at new tensions playing out for companies accustomed to working with the government without controversy. Read our analysis of the conversation.

Some longreads for those long summer days

I Really Wanted The Lion King To Slap. Scaachi Koul was rooting for the new Lion King movie to be a banger. Alas, it was…not. Read her piece on deluding yourself into believing, and the disappointment that follows. From the essay: “It was foolish to think that Beyoncé and Donald Glover could make this movie great when all they’re really doing is supplying voiceovers to National Geographic stills.”

Euphoria Believes That A Dick Can Just Be A Dick. HBO’s Euphoria made a lot of headlines for a lot of different reasons, chief among them is its use of penises. Manuel Betancourt wrote about Euphoria and how it asks us to question why male full frontal nudity on the small screen is still so rare — and to think about the cultural baggage it carries.

26 Books You Should Read On Your Next Vacation. Going away for a week or two? We got you covered.

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