Morning Update: Do I Have To Do A Mean Girls Reference Today?

Trump mocks Christine Blasey Ford, Amazon increases its minimum wage, and women are fleeing Venezuela to give birth.

New York officials are “vigorously” reviewing a report that Trump committed tax fraud

Yesterday, the New York Times released a massive investigative report that found President Donald Trump and his family engaged in fraud and other schemes to avoid paying hundreds of millions of dollars in taxes.

Now, officials in New York’s Department of Taxation and Finance are “reviewing the allegations in the NYT article” and “vigorously pursuing all appropriate avenues of investigation.”

The Times story, at 14,000 words, is detailed and explosive. The paper published documents and an in-depth report on Trump’s efforts in the 1990s to avoid paying millions in gift and estate taxes. Trump received at least $413 million from his father Fred Trump’s real estate empire, much of which went untaxed, the Times reported.

Christine Blasey Ford still hasn’t been interviewed by the FBI as the agency investigates Brett Kavanaugh allegations

It was Christine Blasey Ford’s testimony and claim of sexual assault against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that led to an FBI probe being launched.

Yet with the investigation due to conclude on Friday, Ford’s lawyers say their client still hasn’t been interviewed by law enforcement officials.

Meanwhile, remember last week when President Trump called Ford’s testimony “credible” and “compelling”? Yesterday, the president mocked Ford’s testimony, making fun of her gaps in memory.

Earlier in the day, Trump addressed the accusations against Kavanaugh by saying, “It's a very scary time for young men in America when you can be guilty of something that you may not be guilty of.”

Presumably not citing reality for evidence, the president added, “Women are doing great.”


Letters suspected to contain the poison ricin were sent to President Trump and top defense officials. Multiple envelopes containing the suspicious substance were intercepted by authorities before reaching their intended recipients, including Defense Secretary James Mattis and Chief of Naval Operations John Richardson.

An Oregon man was arrested after an FBI agent was shot inside his booby-trapped house. Gregory Lee Rodvelt, 66, lost possession of the home by a court order Aug. 22. When the lawyer tasked to prepare the property for sale arrived, he saw signs warning that the land was protected by “improvised devices.” He called Oregon State Police and FBI bomb technicians. When the FBI approached the house, a booby trap activated, shooting an officer in the leg. The FBI agent compared some of the traps to a scene from the Indiana Jones movie Raiders of the Lost Ark.

Sen. Bernie Sanders says Jeff Bezos is “no dummy” for raising minimum wages. Yesterday, Amazon announced it will increase its minimum wage to $15 an hour for all US workers. It applies to more than 250,000 Amazon and Whole Foods employees as well as the more than 100,000 temporary employees the company will hire for the upcoming holiday season. Sanders, one of Amazon’s fiercest critics, commended the move and said of Bezos, the company’s founder, “I think he looked around him and saw there was a whole lot of public sentiment against the richest person in the world paying wages that were unlivable.”

The FDA made a surprise visit to Juul Labs, seizing “over a thousand pages of documents.” Officials took the documents during an unannounced visit to the e-cigarette maker’s headquarters in San Francisco. The material was related to the marketing of Juul, particularly to young people.

X-Men producer Brett Ratner has dropped his defamation lawsuit over a woman’s rape allegation. Ratner moved to dismiss the suit after the woman, Melanie Kohler, said in a statement through her attorney that her memory of the alleged incident more than a decade ago was “cloudy and unclear.”

Things are so bad in Venezuela that women are fleeing the country to give birth

Venezuela is in economic and social free fall.

The numbers are stark. Inflation there is projected to top 1,000,000% this year, while a homicide epidemic claims three victims every hour. Food shortages saw the average person lose 24 pounds in weight last year.

According to the most recent figures, infant and maternal mortality rates increased 30% and 65% respectively between 2015 and 2016.

All of these factors have led to more than 2 million people fleeing Venezuela since 2014. And that’s putting strain on the region, as neighboring countries struggle to accommodate a growing exodus.

Colombia is bearing the brunt of this crisis: More than 935,000 Venezuelans are now living in the country of 48.6 million. In one Colombian hospital, that’s led to more Venezuelans giving birth than Colombians.

Read this excellent report on the cost of fleeing to give birth safely.

The first thing this man heard when he turned on his cochlear implant was his partner proposing to him

This story has a happy ending, I promise.

Earlier this year, Kerry and his boyfriend Hayward went on a vacation. During that vacation, Hayward contracted bacterial meningitis. He recovered, but lost his hearing permanently.

The couple were left without the ability to communicate for nearly six months. Hayward described his condition as “being in jail” in his own head.

Then Hayward received a cochlear implant, a device that replaces the function of the damaged inner ear, which would give the couple their communication back. However, he had to wait a little while before the device could be turned on.

Which gave Kerry the time to plan the perfect surprise. When the device was turned on, the first thing Hayward heard was Kerry proposing. The video is just the sweetest thing.

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