GOP frustrations with Trump mount as allies weigh options
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Their party in crisis, Republicans’ frustration with Donald Trump reached new heights on Wednesday as party leaders on Capitol Hill and inside New York’s Trump Tower scrambled to persuade their presidential nominee to abandon divisive tactics that have triggered sinking poll numbers and low morale.
Party chairman Reince Priebus appealed to the New York billionaire’s adult children to help amid new signs of a campaign in trouble.
Trump’s operation has been beset by internal discord, including growing concern about general election preparedness and a lack of support from Republican leaders, according to two people familiar with the organization’s inner workings.
One of the people said Trump privately blames his own staff for failing to quiet the backlash from his own party after he criticized an American Muslim family whose son, a U.S. Army captain, was killed in Iraq.
The inner tension comes as Priebus and handful of high-profile Trump allies consider whether to confront the candidate directly to encourage a new approach following a series of startling stances and statements. In the midst of the uproar over his continued criticism of the Khan family, Trump infuriated Priebus and other party leaders by refusing to endorse GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan’s re-election.
Trump taunts GOP, refusing to back Ryan, McCain
WASHINGTON (AP) — Donald Trump is openly taunting the leaders of his own party by refusing to endorse House Speaker Paul Ryan of Wisconsin and Sen. John McCain of Arizona in their GOP primaries. Yet thus far, McCain, Ryan and other Republicans who’ve reluctantly declared that they plan to back Trump for president appear to be sticking with him.
Trump’s stunning slap at two of the nation’s most prominent Republicans dramatically escalated GOP turmoil barely a week after a convention intended to promote party unity. With the general election campaign now squarely underway, Republicans found themselves once again forced to answer questions about the latest boundary-defying pronouncement from Trump at a moment when most would rather be talking about Hillary Clinton’s record.
Trump made his declarations in an interview with The Washington Post in which he also lit into New Hampshire GOP Sen. Kelly Ayotte. All three lawmakers are facing primary challenges from the right in coming weeks, though all are expected to prevail, and each had criticized Trump’s attacks on the Muslim American parents of an Army captain killed in Iraq.
Trump’s rebuke to Ryan carried particular derision.
“I’m just not there yet,” Trump said, closely echoing Ryan’s own demurral before eventually endorsing Trump, when he told CNN on May 6, “I’m not there right now.”
10 Things to Know for Thursday
Your daily look at late-breaking news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Thursday:
1. WHO GOP LEADER HOPES CAN AID TRUMP
Party chairman Reince Priebus appeals to the New York billionaire’s adult children to help amid new signs of a campaign in trouble.
2. CLAIMS OF ‘RIGGED’ ELECTION CHALLENGE DEMOCRATIC PROCESS
Trump’s loosely defined allegations are set against more than 200 years of peaceful transfers of power from one president to the next.
Battle for Aleppo a pivotal moment for besieged residents
BEIRUT (AP) — The 28-year-old Syrian attorney turned down a scholarship to study economics in Germany in order to remain in his native Aleppo after rebels took it over in 2012, promising a new administration and life free of the rule of President Bashar Assad.
Four years later, besieged in the ruins of Syria’s largest city and once its commercial heart, Mohammed Khandakani’s dream is in serious jeopardy after Syrian troops, aided by Russian air power, closed the lifeline of the rebel-held area after weeks of fighting.
The siege and inaction by world and regional powers that claim to support the rebels collided to deprive him of “brief feelings of independence and freedom,” Khandakani said in a telephone interview from inside Aleppo, which has been largely cut off from the international media. A resident of the Maadi neighborhood, close to the city’s old quarter, he now fears for his two children, wife, mother and other relatives.
Khandakani, who volunteers with the city’s medical council and documents casualties of war, is among tens of thousands of Syrians trapped in the rebel-controlled part of Aleppo, struggling to survive the crippling encirclement of their once-thriving city. Bread and medicine are being rationed, and as fuel runs out, many are relying on bicycles to run errands past skeletons of buildings and rubble that litter the city’s narrow alleys and streets.
For those who remain amid the government siege that began July 17, the battle for Aleppo is a pivotal point in the Syrian civil war.
London police say knife attack leaves 1 dead, 5 hurt
LONDON (AP) — A woman has died and five others were injured in a knife attack in a central part of London, the police said Thursday.
A statement from the London Metropolitan Police said the attack happened late Wednesday in Russell Square, which is near the British Museum.
It said six people were treated at the scene, and that the woman later died. The condition of the others was not immediately known.
The statement said one man was arrested, and that a police officer had used a Taser stun gun.
Police said that terrorism was one possible motive behind the attack,
FBI: Transit officer 1st lawman charged under US terror law
ALEXANDRIA, Va. (AP) — Prosecutors brought the first-ever federal terrorism charges against a law enforcement officer in the U.S., alleging Wednesday that a patrol officer with the D.C. region’s transit police bought about $250 worth of gift cards for someone he thought was working with the Islamic State group.
Nicholas Young, 36, of Fairfax, was arrested Wednesday at Metro Transit Police headquarters in Washington and charged with a single count of attempting to provide material support to a terrorist group. According to an FBI affidavit , Young bought the gift cards last month that he intended for the Islamic State to use to purchase mobile messaging apps. Young actually gave the codes for the gift cards to an undercover FBI officer, the affidavit said.
He made a brief court appearance Wednesday afternoon, wearing a T-shirt and what appeared to be his uniform slacks.
David Smith, who was appointed to represent Young after the hearing, said he could not comment because he had not yet been able to research the details of the case.
If convicted, Young could face up to 20 years in prison.
4 dead identified as cause of California bus crash probed
ATWATER, Calif. (AP) — A husband and wife traveling from Mexico to see their daughter in Washington were among the four identified Wednesday as those killed when a bus slammed into a highway sign that tore through the vehicle in California’s Central Valley.
The identities were released as investigators started piecing together what led to the crash early Tuesday. Among the possible factors being examined are driver fatigue and mechanical problems.
“At this point we don’t know what occurred immediately before the crash,” said Don Karol, a senior highway accident investigator for the National Transportation Safety Board.
Driver fatigue is a natural place to look considering the collision happened around 3:30 a.m., said Henry Jasny, senior vice president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
“We’re daytime creatures,” Jasny said. “Our bodies want to sleep at night.”
Texas reaches deal on weaker voter ID rules for November
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Texas agreed Wednesday to weaken its voter ID law, which federal courts have said discriminated against minorities and the poor and left more than 600,000 registered voters potentially unable to cast a ballot.
The state worked fast to soften the law before November’s election, moving from requiring voters to show one of seven forms of suitable ID — a list that included concealed handgun permits, but not college IDs — to letting those without such an ID to sign an affidavit. That will allow them to cast a regular full ballot, and their vote will be counted.
Texas must also spend at least $2.5 million on voter outreach before November, according to the agreement submitted to U.S. District Judge Nelva Gonzales Ramos, who must still approve the changes.
The changes come as judges across the U.S. are blocking several Republican-controlled states from imposing stricter election rules this November. Donald Trump referenced the rulings Tuesday while reiterating his concerns that the presidential election will be “rigged” against him.
North Carolina last week was found to have not only discriminated against minorities but passed tougher election rules with the intent on doing so. A court isn’t done considering whether Texas had the same motives, but for now, the state and U.S. Justice Department agreed on looser voter ID rules to get through this election year.
Scammers, bug spray companies capitalizing on Zika fears
TRENTON, N.J. (AP) — Worried you might catch the Zika virus? Scammers and bug spray companies are counting on it.
Marketers know this is the time to pounce: The summer Olympics are about to start in Brazil, where the recent Zika epidemic started, and 14 mosquito-borne cases of Zika were identified recently in the Miami area, the first in the U.S. So companies and entrepreneurs are capitalizing on Zika fears wherever mosquitoes buzz, hawking questionable products like anti-Zika wristbands and promoting all manner of mosquito repellents for people and pets.
“From a marketing point of view, it’s a golden opportunity,” said Jonathan Day, a University of Florida mosquito expert and researcher.
In a first for a bugspray, Off! became the official insect repellent supplier for an Olympic Games, and agreed to send 115,000 sprays, spritzers and towelettes to the Rio Olympics. Rival Cutter in June signed on to sponsor the U.S. men’s and women’s national soccer teams.
Both companies are likely to benefit from Zika fears far beyond supplying athletes and fans in Brazil. Pharmacies in New York City, for example, have Off! displays warning consumers to “Repel the mosquitoes that may carry the Zika virus.” The tropical mosquito responsible for the Zika epidemic, called Aedes aegypti, is not found in New York, though state health officials still recommend that people use bug spray.
Screams, smoke and a rush to safety in Dubai crash-landing
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — All seemed normal to the 300 people aboard the Emirates airliner as it flew past the world’s tallest building in hazy skies and made a slow left turn over the waters of the Persian Gulf. But as soon as the plane touched down at Dubai International Airport, everyone knew something had gone wrong.
“It was a big noise,” said Shadi Kochuktty, a passenger from India. “We hadn’t heard any announcement but it was a big noise.”
From that terrifying moment on, all those on board the Boeing 777 faced the nightmare all white-knuckle fliers fear: Smoke filling the cabin. People screaming. And the rush to escape.
The three-and-a-half-hour, nearly 3,000-kilometer (1,860-mile) flight itself began normally. It left from the Indian city of Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of Kerala state, where many of the United Arab Emirates’ construction workers, taxi drivers and laborers come from in search of a better life.
Flight EK521 took off at 10:19 a.m. and was scheduled to land at 12:50 p.m. local time, according to Emirates. The aircraft flew over the Arabian Sea and later Oman on a northwesterly course heading toward Dubai.