The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment

 

 

 

Welcome to The Hill’s Morning Report. Happy Wednesday! Our newsletter gets you up to speed on the most important developments in politics and policy, plus trends to watch. Co-creators are Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver (CLICK HERE to subscribe!). On Twitter, find us at @asimendinger and @alweaver22.



Within minutes of Tuesday night’s news that former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens died after a stroke at age 99, seemingly all of Washington had anecdotes to share about the man known for his dissents and independence, his love of baseball, and his faith in judicial oversight of executive power. Stevens joined the court in 1975 and served until his retirement in 2010.



The House voted Tuesday to condemn President TrumpDonald John TrumpDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' EU says it will 'respond in kind' if US slaps tariffs on France Ginsburg again leaves Supreme Court with an uncertain future MORE’s “racist comments” over the weekend aimed at four female lawmakers, delivering for history an extraordinary repudiation of a sitting president approved by a vote of 240-187 despite strenuous objections from the White House and Republicans.

 

Yet, only in Washington’s through-the-looking-glass climate could the Speaker of the House seek to publicly punish a president for bigoted tweets and find herself rebuked by the House parliamentarian for wielding the word “racist” on the House floor.

 

Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiPelosi asks Democrats for 'leverage' on impeachment Is there internet life after thirty? Pelosi says Dems 'have to be ready to throw a punch — for the children' in 2020 MORE’s vocabulary prompted a parliamentary seesaw during which tempers flared, gavels fell and rulebooks were hastily consulted.

 

“The words of the gentlewoman from California contain an accusation of racist behavior on the part of the president. As memorialized in Chapter 29, Section 65.6, characterizing an action as racist is not in order," House Majority Leader Steny HoyerSteny Hamilton HoyerOmar says US should reconsider aid to Israel Liberal Democrat eyes aid cuts to Israel after Omar, Tlaib denied entry Lawmakers blast Trump as Israel bars door to Tlaib and Omar MORE (D-Md.) said. 

 

"The chair relies on the precedent of May 15, 1984, and finds that the words should not be used in debate," he continued, citing the parliamentarian’s verdict (The Hill).

 

By nightfall, Pelosi and her caucus pushed through a resolution of condemnation along party lines calling Trump to account for criticizing four freshman female members of Congress, all Democrats, by telling them to “go back” to their countries. The four lawmakers, all women of color and all staunch Trump foes, are citizens. One was born in Mogadishu, Somalia.

 

Trump continued on Tuesday to defend his tweets and critiques of the progressive lawmakers while pummeling his detractors for a third day. “I don’t have a Racist bone in my body,” he tweeted.

 

The Hill: House votes to condemn Trump.

 

The Hill: The four Republicans who voted to condemn Trump’s tweets.

 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellDavid Axelrod after Ginsburg cancer treatment: Supreme Court vacancy could 'tear this country apart' Pelosi asks Democrats for 'leverage' on impeachment Democrats press FBI, DHS on response to white supremacist violence MORE (R-Ky.) came to Trump’s defense after days of silence, assessing that “the president is not a racist.”

 

Donning the mantle of peacemaker while judging Trump’s actions with deference, McConnell recommended that official Washington calm down and move on.

 

“I think the tone of all of this is not good for the country but it’s coming from all different ideological points of view. To single out any segment of this I think is a mistake,” he said.

 

In prepared remarks, McConnell continued, "I think there’s a consensus that political rhetoric has really gotten way, way overheated all across the political spectrum."

 

"Lower all this incendiary rhetoric. Everyone should do it," McConnell added (The Hill).

 

The majority leader’s position serves as a defense against the push from Democrats to put a similar resolution of condemnation on the Senate floor. McConnell made it clear there will be no such vote.

 

The president did not immediately take the majority leader’s advice to cease and desist. Nor did some Democrats in the House. Rep. Al GreenAlexander (Al) N. GreenMeat is taxing the planet, so we should tax meat Danish prime minister: Trump's idea to buy Greenland 'absurd'  Juan Williams: Democrats finally hit Trump where it hurts MORE (D-Texas) filed articles of impeachment against Trump on Tuesday night and wants to force a House vote in the near future (The Hill).

 

CBS “This Morning”: Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezAlexandria Ocasio-CortezTlaib says Trump 'scared' of 'Squad' The Memo: Dangers loom for Trump on immigration Students retreating from politics as campuses become progressive playgrounds MORE (D-N.Y.), Ilhan OmarIlhan OmarTrump to return to North Carolina to stump for special election candidate Former GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Israel should resist Trump's efforts to politicize support MORE (D-Minn.), Rashida TlaibRashida Harbi TlaibMichigan city declines to renew contract with ICE to hold detainees Former GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Israel should resist Trump's efforts to politicize support MORE (D-Mich.) and Ayanna PressleyAyanna PressleyFormer GOP Rep. Jason Lewis says he'll challenge Tina Smith in Minnesota Poll: Voters split on whether it's acceptable for Israel to deny Omar, Tlaib visas NJ college censures trustee over posts targeting 'the squad' MORE (D-Mass.), the lawmakers targeted by Trump in his comments, talked with Gayle KingGayle KingMichelle Obama to present Lin-Manuel Miranda with the Portrait of a Nation Prize Marianne Williamson: Oprah is 'absolutely not' advising me on presidential run CBS's Gayle King asks Pressley whether calling Trump 'occupant' of the Oval Office is respectful MORE about a president who is “a bully,” airing at 7 a.m. ET.

 

Reuters: Republican support for Trump following racially charged tweets rises slightly in new Reuters/Ipsos poll.

 

 

 



 



LEADING THE DAY

CONGRESS: Lawmakers are indicating that a deal on a budget and to raise the debt ceiling could be coming down the rails as they try to wrap up negotiations and strike a deal before the House leaves Washington for the six-week August recess. 

 

Leadership and administration officials say progress is being made toward a breakthrough, although one still remains at large. Two of the key figures, Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinThe Hill's Morning Report: How will Trump be received at G-7? White House won't move forward with billions in foreign aid cuts Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week MORE have continued negotiations over the phone throughout the past week, but officials say details and key sticking points need to be ironed out, including the level of non-defense spending that Democrats are pushing for. 

 

“They seem to me to be moving closer and closer together,” Senate Appropriations Committee Chairman Richard ShelbyRichard Craig ShelbyIs this any way for NASA to build a lunar lander? In-space refueling vs heavy lift? NASA and SpaceX choose both Budget deal sparks scramble to prevent shutdown MORE (R-Ala.) said of Pelosi and Mnuchin.

 

Lawmakers on both sides agree. Sen. Shelley Moore CapitoShelley Wellons Moore CapitoAmerica is in desperate need of infrastructure investment: Senate highway bill a step in the right direction On The Money: Economy adds 164K jobs in July | Trump signs two-year budget deal, but border showdown looms | US, EU strike deal on beef exports Trump border fight throws curveball into shutdown prospects MORE (R-W.Va.), a Senate GOP appropriator, said there was “cautious optimism” about a deal, while Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerJewish Democratic congresswoman and veteran blasts Trump's 'disloyalty' comments Schumer says Trump encouraging anti-Semites Saagar Enjeti: Biden's latest blunder; Krystal Ball: Did Schumer blow our chance to beat McConnell? MORE (D-N.Y.) told reporters that negotiations are “going quite well right now.”

 

Without a budget deal, Congress will need to find another way to raise the debt ceiling, with Pelosi and McConnell indicating in recent days that they have no interest in a stand alone vote if a budget deal falls through before the recess. The pair’s aversion comes despite Mnuchin’s push for one, noting that the government could run out of funds in early September, putting more pressure on lawmakers to hammer out a deal before the House leaves town next Friday. 

 

One big obstacle to any deal has turned out to be funding for veterans. Pelosi told Mnuchin in a recent letter that she wanted $9 billion in additional funds in fiscal 2020 and $13 billion in additional funds in 2021 for the VA MISSION Act, which overhauled how the department handles health care. Republican lawmakers want to pay for the law under the budget caps, but Democrats worry that would force them to make cuts to other programs in 2019 and 2020. Instead, they want to ensure those payments don’t count toward the caps.

 

"There's probably a way to get a deal done," Shelby said about resolving the issue of funding for veterans (The Hill).

 

> Saudi Arabia: The House is poised to approve resolutions on Wednesday blocking the president’s emergency arms sales to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf allies. 

 

The passage of the resolutions, which already cleared the Senate last month, will set up a confrontation with the White House, which has threatened to veto the measures. It would be Trump's third veto — and the second related to Saudi Arabia, underscoring the divide between Trump and Congress on the Saudis (The Hill). 

 

> Cybersecurity: Lawmakers are raising concerns that the upcoming 2020 census could be open to possible cyber-attacks because individuals can fill it out online for the first time in history. 

 

Top officials from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) appeared at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing on Tuesday and sounded the alarm after adding the Census Bureau to the GAO’s list of “high-risk programs” due to cybersecurity and information technology shortfalls. The census can be completed over the phone, in paper or online this time around (The Hill).

 

“Although the Bureau has taken initial steps to address risk, additional actions are needed as these risks could adversely impact the cost, quality, schedule, and security of the enumeration,” Nick Marinos, the director of information technology and cybersecurity at the GAO, and Robert Goldenkoff, the director of strategic issues at the GAO, said in their written testimony.

 

> Cryptocurrency: Facebook sought to defend its plans for a new global cryptocurrency at a contentious hearing on Tuesday as lawmakers aggressively blasted the project and questioned whether the embattled company should be in charge of launching such an ambitious venture.

 

David Marcus, head of Calibra — the new Facebook subsidiary that will be partially responsible for its launch — assured lawmakers that the Libra coin will not launch until financial regulators are satisfied. But the testimony did little to quell concerns from bipartisan lawmakers on the Senate Banking Committee, many of whom delivered blistering condemnations of the company’s plans (The Hill).

 

“[Facebook] moved fast and broke our political discourse, they broke journalism, they helped incite a genocide and they’re undermining our democracy,” Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownBank watchdogs approve rule to loosen ban on risky Wall Street trades Dayton mayor assigned extra security following verbal spat with Trump The Hill's Campaign Report: Battle for Senate begins to take shape MORE (D-Ohio), the ranking member of the committee, said during his opening remarks. “Now Facebook is asking people to trust them with their hard-earned paychecks.

 

The Washington Post: In meetings with federal regulators and discussions with Congress about its cryptocurrency ambitions, Facebook is paying a price because of Washington’s lack of trust.

 

***

 

2020 POLITICS & CAMPAIGNS: Campaign aides to Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHickenlooper day-old Senate bid faces pushback from progressives Steyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Andrew Yang: News coverage of Trump a 'microcosm' of issues facing country MORE (I-Vt.) have become frustrated as the democratic socialist has seen his candidacy stall over the past month. They question polls and vent about news coverage of his campaign.

 

While Sanders remains firmly in the top five of the 2020 field and his candidacy polls near the top in national and early state surveys, his second presidential bid has struggled to overcome an emerging narrative that his moment has passed. In the past month, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenSteyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Gabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch MORE (D-Mass.) and Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisSteyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Gabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch MORE (D-Calif.) have surpassed him in some polls and surged into the top tier of the Democratic primary pack. 

 

Sanders’s supporters believe polls don’t capture a young, enthusiastic base or the new voters they say Sanders is bringing into the fold. The campaign is turning its allegations of unfair media coverage into a rallying cry. The camp argues that media bias, focus on horse-race politics and outsize coverage about new candidates have led to a Bernie blackout that gives a false impression about the state of the race (The Hill). 

 

"Every time there is a story about how Bernie can’t win it fans the flame of our base and we get more donations and more volunteers,” said one Sanders campaign aide who is not authorized to speak on the record.

 

Pollsters are skeptical of the charge, and Democratic strategists say it’s up to Sanders to change the course of his campaign if he wants to draw the kind of media attention he believes he deserves. Instead, they argue that he is a one-trick pony and needs to adapt instead of simply continuing to sell his anti-corporate message. 

 

“He’s almost like a greatest hits act,” said one Democratic operative.

 

The Washington Post: Sanders toughens his critique of former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden evokes 1968, asks voters to imagine if Obama had been assassinated Biden blasts Trump's 'embarrassing' actions heading into G-7 summit Steyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates MORE, signaling more clashes ahead. 

 

The Wall Street Journal: Old election cash gives new life to some presidential candidates.

 

Politico: Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerSteyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates Gabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch MORE, Julián Castro struggle to woo minority voters. 

 

 

 

 

> Fundraising: Democrats are becoming increasingly concerned about the financials of the 2020 campaign, as the president posted an eye-popping haul in the second fundraising quarter, leaving Democrats to wonder if they’ll be able to catch up after the primary wraps next year.

 

The Democrats say there’s cause for concern simply by looking at Trump’s $108 million total in the last three months between his reelection bid and the Republican National Committee, a figure that’s more than four times as much as the top 2020 Democratic fundraiser during the second quarter, South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegSteyer calls on DNC to expand polling criteria for debates The Hill's 12:30 Report: Stocks sink as Trump fights with Fed, China Gabbard hits DNC over poll criteria for debates MORE

 

“I know it’s still really early but if you take a look at what he’s been able to do in terms of fundraising, we’d be nuts not to worry,” one Democratic strategist acknowledged (The Hill).

 

The New York Times: Trump sets the 2020 tone: Like 2016, only this time “the Squad” is here.

 

> Kentucky Senate: National Democrats say they are not concerned with Amy McGrath in Kentucky despite chatter from within the state that other Democrats could primary her as they sense an opening after her up-and-down campaign rollout versus McConnell. 

 

McGrath, who raised $2.5 million in her first 24 hours, has come under fire after a lackluster first week, headlined by her flip-flop over whether she would have voted for Supreme Court Justice Brett KavanaughBrett Michael KavanaughTrump wishes Ginsburg well after radiation treatment for tumor Ginsburg completes radiation treatment for cancerous tumor Mississippi professor, who went to Georgetown Prep with Brett Kavanaugh, sues HuffPost MORE in a matter of hours and her decision to back out of an interview with MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt on Sunday. The first-week stumbles have opened the door to a primary challenge, which some in the party, including Rep. John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthWhite House won't move forward with billions in foreign aid cuts Trump says he'll decide on foreign aid cuts within a week Trump signs two-year budget deal MORE (D-Ky.), believe would be useful. Most recently, Kentucky state Rep. Charles Booker (D) said that he is looking at a primary campaign, while Matt Jones, a sports radio personality in the state, has kept the door open for a possible bid. 

 

However, national Democrats are standing by McGrath despite the rocky week. Sen. Catherine Cortez MastoCatherine Marie Cortez MastoDemocrats press Trump Treasury picks on donor disclosure guidelines McConnell challenger faces tougher path after rocky launch The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment MORE (D-Nev.), chairwoman of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC), said she is not concerned, pointing to McGrath’s fundraising prowess as evidence of a strong bid.

 

“Not at all,” Cortez Masto said when asked if there are any concerns. “It’s just the opposite. A lot of enthusiasm.”

 

“People there need to do what they think is appropriate,” she said of potential challengers. “What I’ve seen is there’s a lot of enthusiasm about running against Mitch. We’ve seen with just the numbers alone with Amy McGrath and how much she’s raised.” 

 

As of Sunday, McGrath had raised $3.5 million, a figure that fell far short of expectations on the Republican side given her run against McConnell, who Democrats likely have more antipathy for than any Republican that isn’t the president. 

 

The Associated Press: Sen. Cory GardnerCory Scott GardnerHickenlooper day-old Senate bid faces pushback from progressives The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch The Hill's 12:30 Report: Democratic field narrows with Inslee exit MORE had good news for Colorado. But Trump had tweets. 



IN FOCUS/SHARP TAKES

WHITE HOUSE & ADMINISTRATION: Mark Esper, Trump’s nominee to lead the Pentagon following James MattisJames Norman MattisOnly Donald Trump has a policy for Afghanistan New Pentagon report blames Trump troop withdrawal for ISIS surge in Iraq and Syria Mattis returns to board of General Dynamics MORE’s resignation in January, fielded tough questions on Tuesday from members of the Senate Armed Services Committee about Iran, Turkey, military operations and his ability to stand up to Trump if confirmed to be Defense secretary. The president and GOP leaders are anxious to schedule a confirmation vote in the full Senate for the former Army secretary before the August recess.

 

The Hill: Esper endorsed returning to a diplomatic channel with Iran.

The Hill: Esper praised Mattis, Trump and the National Defense Strategy.

The Hill: Esper told Warren he would not pledge to recuse himself from Raytheon matters after working for the company before his government roles.

The Hill: Trump says the United States will not sell Turkey U.S.-made F-35 fighters following Turkey’s decision to take delivery of a Russian missile defense system.

 

The Associated Press: Esper testified that he recently told Turkey’s defense minister, “You can either have the S-400 or you can have the F-35. You cannot have both.”  

 

 

 

 

> Immigration: The administration is poised to roll out new details about the immigrants the administration wants to admit legally into the United States — those who would contribute economically rather than those who have family ties. Republican senators say they’re dubious there would be bipartisan support in Congress in the near term. The White House push for the new policy is spearheaded by Trump son-in-law Jared KushnerJared Corey KushnerTrump allies say A$AP Rocky was supposed to thank him but his team stopped 'returning our text messages': report President tweets 'few work harder' than Ivanka, Jared PETA billboard in Baltimore calls Kushner a 'rich pest' MORE (The Washington Post).

 

> Planned Parenthood: In the wake of a new administration rule that withdraws federal funds from Planned Parenthood and other reproductive services organizations, the  Planned Parenthood board on Tuesday ousted Leana Wen, the organization’s president and a physician. She had been president since September (The Hill). 



The Morning Report is created by journalists Alexis Simendinger and Al Weaver. We want to hear from you! Email: asimendinger@thehill.com and aweaver@thehill.com. We invite you to share The Hill’s reporting and newsletters, and encourage others to SUBSCRIBE!



OPINION

Trump circumvents Congress to destroy asylum protections, by Elizabeth Gibson, opinion contributor, The Hill. https://bit.ly/2SiU0Dg

 

The U.S. is trying to let Iran punch itself out, by David Ignatius, columnist, The Washington Post. https://wapo.st/2XRYPEI



WHERE AND WHEN

Hill.TV’s “Rising” at 9 a.m. ET  features Nina Turner, national co-chairwoman of the Sanders campaign, to preview Sanders’s upcoming address on “Medicare for All”; Matt Bennett, executive vice president for public affairs at Third Way, and Bhaskar Sunkara, author and publisher at Jacobin, to discuss his new book, “The Socialist Manifesto.” Find Hill.TV programming at http://thehill.com/hilltv or on YouTube at 10 a.m.

 

The House meets at 10 a.m.

 

The Senate convenes at 10 a.m. and resumes consideration of a treaty protocol to amend a “Tax Convention with Swiss Confederation.”

 

The president travels this evening to Greenville, N.C., to headline a reelection rally at 7 p.m. at Williams Arena. It’s his 26th rally in North Carolina.

 

Vice President Pence will be in Fayetteville, N.C., today to headline a political event for Republican state Sen. Dan Bishop, who is running for a House seat in North Carolina’s special election in the 9th District, to be decided in two months (The Charlotte Observer). Pence will also visit Fort Bragg Army Base and speak to personnel there. The vice president will then fly to Greenville, N.C., to appear at the Trump-Pence reelection rally before returning to Washington. 

 

Mnuchin is in Chantilly, France, for the Group of Seven (G-7) meeting among finance ministers. He’ll meet with French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire at 11:30 a.m. and then participate in the G-7 welcome. In the evening, Mnuchin meets with Bank of England Governor Mark Carney, followed by a traditional group photo of those in attendance.

 

The Aspen Security Forum begins today and runs through Saturday in Aspen, Colo., and will showcase current and former federal officials analyzing a range of security topics.

 

The Smithsonian Institution tonight and Thursday will again transform the east face of the Washington Monument into a 363-foot Saturn V rocket to salute the 50th anniversary this week of the Apollo 11 lunar mission. View the high-tech projection show on the Mall from 9:30 to 11:30 p.m. Information is HERE. Missed the first night’s show? Video, courtesy of Reuters, is HERE.

 

The Hill invites you to two live events: July 24 features the third annual Latina Leaders Summit at the Conrad Washington with leaders from across the country, including Rep. Nanette Diaz Barragán (D-Calif.), Del. Jenniffer González-Colón (R-Puerto Rico) and Rep. Grace NapolitanoGraciela (Grace) Flores NapolitanoLatina leaders: 'It's a women's world more than anything' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Muller testimony dominates Washington The Hill's Morning Report — Mueller day finally arrives MORE (D-Calif.). They’ll discuss paths to elective office and the next generation of Latina leaders. Information is HERE. … On July 25, The Hill presents “Policy Prescriptions: Lowering Drug Prices” at 1777 F Street N.W., Washington, D.C., with Sens. Mike BraunMichael BraunOvernight Energy: Trump EPA looks to change air pollution permit process | GOP senators propose easing Obama water rule | Green group sues EPA over lead dust rules The 23 Republicans who opposed Trump-backed budget deal Pair of GOP senators propose easing Obama water rule MORE (R-Ind.) and Tammy BaldwinTammy Suzanne BaldwinRecessions happen when presidents overlook key problems Trade wars and the over-valued dollar Overnight Health Care: Senate panel advances drug pricing bill amid GOP blowback | House panel grills Juul executives | Trump gives boost to state drug import plans | Officials say new migrant kids' shelter to remain open but empty MORE (D-Wis.), who discuss how to lower patient drug prices. Sign up HERE.

 

 

ELSEWHERE

Earth sizzles:  The average temperature of the planet soared to its highest level ever recorded in June, according to data released Monday by NASA (The Washington Post). And July is shaping up to be another scorcher. In Washington, temperatures of 100 degrees could blanket the city on Friday and Saturday (The Washington Post). Summer heat advisories have not changed: Look out for youngsters, oldsters and pets … and keep hydrating!

 

Retracing Assange’s clandestine steps: Hundreds of surveillance reports compiled for the Ecuadorian government by UC Global, a private Spanish security company, and obtained by CNN, chronicle the movements of WikiLeaks founder Julian AssangeJulian Paul Assange3 real problems Republicans need to address to win in 2020 Mueller on Trump's WikiLeaks embrace: 'Problematic is an understatement' The Hill's Morning Report - A raucous debate on race ends with Trump admonishment MORE in 2016 and add a new dimension to former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerMueller report fades from political conversation Trump calls for probe of Obama book deal Democrats express private disappointment with Mueller testimony MORE’s report, which cataloged how WikiLeaks helped the Russians undermine the U.S. election. Assange met while holed up in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London with Russians and world-class hackers, frequently for hours at a time. He also acquired powerful computing and network hardware to facilitate data transfers just weeks before WikiLeaks received hacked materials from Russian operatives. 

 

Major hack in Bulgaria: Five million of Bulgaria’s 7 million people are victims of a mammoth theft of personal and financial data after a recent hacking operation, which left a trail to a Russian domain and is the largest such crime reported in a Balkan country (The Associated Press). 



THE CLOSER

And finally … It took a seasoned gator expert from Florida to nab “Chance the Snapper,” the wily young alligator living on the lam in a park lagoon in Chicago until he was outmaneuvered on Tuesday. The 5-foot-3-inch reptile attracted national headlines, had several Twitter accounts and his own Wikipedia page — and is now destined for new digs at a zoo or wildlife sanctuary.

 

Gator wrangler Frank Robb of St. Augustine, Fla., arrived in the Windy City on Sunday and caught Chance about 36 hours later at 1:30 a.m. on Tuesday. “I brought my fishing rod and it went down pretty fast,” Robb said during a news conference. Relying on 24 years of gator savvy, Robb said he “saw his eye shine and caught him on the fishing rod. One cast ... and it was done” (The Associated Press).