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Morning Update: Mr. Jones Is Done Telling Fairy Tales

Manafort court drama, how Maria Butina's journey began, Beyoncé’s in Vogue. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, August 7.

Posted on August 7, 2018, at 7:52 a.m. ET

After Apple kicked Alex Jones out, YouTube and Facebook rushed to do the same

If you’ve lived your life with the great fortune of not knowing who Alex Jones is, let me first apologize for ruining your streak.

Jones is the host and force behind the conspiracy-theory-driven media outlet Infowars. Jones does not deal in facts. Among his recent work: videos baselessly claiming government officials are running pedophile rings, and rants suggesting Democrats were planning a civil war for July 4. (No civil war came to pass.)

After Apple removed the entire libraries of five out of six Infowars podcasts, Spotify followed. Then Facebook said it had removed four Infowars pages, including Jones’ personal profile.

YouTube also removed Infowars from its platforms, in an action that will have the greatest impact on Jones. His channel had nearly 2.5 million subscribers and more than 1 billion views over its lifetime.

Curiously, Apple has yet to remove the Infowars app from the App Store. It is currently ranked 37th in the App Store's News category, according to Apptopia.

In a statement, Infowars condemned the removals. In part, the statement read, “This is the purge. This is election meddling and COLLUSION.”


Rick Gates said he committed crimes with Paul Manafort at Manafort’s “direction” — and also stole from him

Just a quick reminder of the players here: Paul Manafort is the former Donald Trump campaign manager. He’s facing a bouquet of financial crimes charges in Virginia, and that trial is happening right now.

Rick Gates is Manafort’s former right-hand man. While Manafort was running the Trump campaign, Gates was his deputy. Now the two men are facing off against each other, because Gates agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation. Gates is the star witness.

Yesterday, on the witness stand, Gates testified against Manafort. How directly, you ask? Well, the prosecutor asked, “Did you commit crimes with Mr. Manafort?” Gates replied, “Yes.”

Manafort's lawyers are expected to attack Gates's credibility. His testimony is expected to continue for several more hours today, delving into the details of how exactly he contends Manafort directed him to hide income and foreign accounts from the US government.

Because this is an IRL courtroom drama, politics hangs in the air, barely mentioned but ever-present. While explaining his career to the jury, Gates said he had worked for “one of the recent presidential campaigns.” Trump's name has not come up during the trial.

There have been only offhand references to the fact that the prosecution is led by Mueller's office; Mueller's name also has not come up.

SNAPSHOTS

An LGBT rights group says Brett Kavanaugh is a “direct threat” to LGBT people. The Human Rights Campaign, the US’s largest LGBT advocacy group, says Trump’s Supreme Court nominee presents a danger to the constitutional rights of LGBT people. Kavanaugh, however, has not heard any significant cases addressing LGBT issues and has said hardly anything about LGBT people. As a result, the HRC’s opposition to his nomination drew primarily on Kavanaugh’s opinions regarding reproductive rights and religious liberties.

The Parkland mass shooter said “just fucking kill me” during his confession. In comments made public yesterday, the 19-year-old gunman talked about his depression and multiple suicide attempts. The shooter insisted that he “didn't deserve” a glass of cold water, to be read his rights, or to live after he gunned down 17 of his former classmates and teachers. Authorities released the transcript of a confession spanning about 12 hours and 217 pages, in which he detailed the “evil,” violent voice in his head that told him to “burn, kill, destroy.”

David Duke called the black cop who infiltrated the KKK to talk about his portrayal in BlacKkKlansman. The movie, directed by Spike Lee, is based on the real-life story of Ron Stallworth, worked his way into a local Ku Klux Klan chapter by talking to KKK leaders on the phone and sending an undercover white officer to attend meetings. Stallworth says Duke, a former Grand Wizard of the KKK, called him because he is “concerned about how he is going to be portrayed in this film.” Curiously, he was not concerned enough to not be in the KKK in the first place. Welp.

Jared Kushner used to personally order the deletion of stories at his newspaper. Before getting a job at the White House, the president’s son-in-law owned and operated the New York Observer. In 2012, he went around the editorial leaders of the paper and ordered a software developer to remove stories that were critical of his real estate peers and friends, like NBA commissioner Adam Silver.

Beyoncé’s Vogue September issue covers are here, and she looks stunning. I don’t know why you’re still reading this — go look! She is a marvel.

An 8-year-old boy died from a meth overdose after his father refused to call for help. Curtis Collman III woke up his father, Curtis Collman II, because he was hungry. The father told the child that they had no food and went back to sleep. What happened next is unclear, but authorities believe the hungry boy may have found his father's meth, left on a clear glass plate in their kitchen. Collman woke up and knew that his son needed medical attention, but for hours he did not call 911 and prevented friends and family members from calling for help. At one point he even threatened a woman with a gun, authorities said. Collman is facing several charges, including neglect of a dependent resulting in death.

Accused Russian agent’s journey to Washington began in South Dakota

The story of Maria Butina has fascinated the political world.

The background here: Butina was arrested and jailed as an unregistered foreign agent for carrying out a years-long campaign to infiltrate US conservative organizations, which prosecutors say was directed by a high-ranking Russian official and funded by a Russian billionaire. She has pleaded not guilty.

But “infiltrate US conservative organizations” doesn’t quite cover her reach. Butina became a fixture at National Rifle Association conventions and attempted to set up back channels between the Kremlin and Republican officials.

Before any of that started, though, Butina got her education about Americans on a very local level. She established the blueprint of her strategy in South Dakota, establishing a track record of speaking to American students about gun rights.

A former CIA operations officer told us, “When she was connecting on a very local level, she was getting information on how our society works and building her backstory.”

In an incredible report, Vera Bergengruen followed the Butina trail to South Dakota, where she found people flabbergasted to find themselves in photos or Facebook friends with an alleged Russian agent.

This cat loves peaches, so now everybody loves this cat

This job has its tough days, where I have to tell you about difficult news stories. This one, though, is the opposite of that.

It’s the story of a cat named Ozzy, who loves peaches. Ozzy’s family makes a lot of peach pie, so there are a lot of peaches just lying about in the house.

And whenever there are peaches, Ozzy goes and lies among them, and it’s honest to god the cutest thing. I mean, come on:

Don’t take my word for it — look at how much the internet loves Ozzy’s love for peaches.

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