The Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate




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.

Progressive and centrist Democrats sparred Tuesday night over whether ambitious ideas such as “Medicare for All” and free college tuition are “political suicide” when it comes to defeating President TrumpDonald John TrumpFlorida GOP lawmaker says he's 'thinking' about impeachment Democrats introduce 'THUG Act' to block funding for G-7 at Trump resort Kurdish group PKK pens open letter rebuking Trump's comparison to ISIS MORE.


The 10 candidates in Detroit on Tuesday, including Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersSanders seeks spark from Ocasio-Cortez at Queens rally On The Money: Supreme Court takes up challenge to CFPB | Warren's surge brings scrutiny to wealth tax | Senators eye curbs on Trump emergency powers Biden seeks to fundraise off fact he's running out of money MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth Ann WarrenHillicon Valley: GOP lawmakers offer election security measure | FTC Dem worries government is 'captured' by Big Tech | Lawmakers condemn Apple over Hong Kong censorship Sanders seeks spark from Ocasio-Cortez at Queens rally On The Money: Supreme Court takes up challenge to CFPB | Warren's surge brings scrutiny to wealth tax | Senators eye curbs on Trump emergency powers MORE (D-Mass.), set the stage tonight for former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenTrump knocks Romney as 'Democrat secret asset' in new video Giuliani asked State Dept. to grant visa for ex-Ukraine official at center of Biden allegations: report Perry won't comply with subpoena in impeachment inquiry MORE, who leads in recent polls, to weigh in as a progressive pragmatist who believes voters want experience and electability coupled with real-world proposals that can persuade Republicans and independents to move away from Trump next year.


The CNN format on Tuesday, which encouraged fast-moving, sharp exchanges among the candidates, was unlikely to change the makeup of top tier of Democrats currently leading in polls and fundraising. But the questions about health care, immigration, guns and climate change drilled down into whether progressives, including Sanders and Warren, could explain why their calls for big structural changes are doable in an era of divided government and poisonous partisanship. 


The Hill: Sanders, Warren battle centrists in testy debate.


The Hill: Intraparty rift emerges on Detroit debate stage. 


The Hill: 5 takeaways from combative Democratic debate.


The Hill: Top moments from Detroit debate.


The Hill: Former Rep. John DelaneyJohn Kevin DelaneyThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges Warren's surge brings new scrutiny to signature wealth tax 'We lost a giant': 2020 Democrats mourn the death of Elijah Cummings MORE (D-Md.): “Why do we have to be the party of taking something away from people?”


The Hill: Montana Gov. Steve BullockSteve BullockSuper PAC seeks to spend more than million supporting Yang The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges Private flight spending soars in Democratic presidential race MORE to Warren on immigration: “You are playing into Donald Trump’s hands.” 


The Hill: South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegSanders seeks spark from Ocasio-Cortez at Queens rally Biden seeks to fundraise off fact he's running out of money Biden struggles to reverse fall MORE: “It is time to stop worrying about what the Republicans will say.”


The Hill: Warren, Bullock spar over “no first use” nuclear policy.


Biden tonight aims to rebound from a sub-par debate performance, giving him a rematch with Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisHarris campaign releases web video highlighting opposition to death penalty Sanders seeks spark from Ocasio-Cortez at Queens rally Biden seeks to fundraise off fact he's running out of money MORE (D-Calif.) after their high-profile battle in late June.


While Biden has regained the polling advantage he lost immediately following the June 28 debate, his allies believe the former vice president is poised for a bounce-back performance despite looming attacks and some tense back-and-forth exchanges with Harris and Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerGabbard hits back at 'queen of warmongers' Clinton The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges Former public school teacher: Strikes 'wake-up call' for Democratic Party MORE (D-N.J.). Some see the opportunity ahead of Biden as similar to the situation former President Obama faced in 2012 after he lost decisively to Mitt RomneyWillard (Mitt) Mitt RomneyTrump knocks Romney as 'Democrat secret asset' in new video Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump insists Turkey wants cease-fire | Fighting continues in Syrian town | Pentagon chief headed to Mideast | Mattis responds to criticism from Trump Fighting continues in Syrian town despite cease-fire deal MORE in the first debate in Denver but was able to rebound in the next go-around. 


“He doesn’t have to go in and just like burn the place to the ground and be carried out in adulation,” said Sen. Tom CarperThomas (Tom) Richard CarperInstead of raising the gas tax, stop wasting money on frivolous projects To stave off a recession, let's pass a transportation infrastructure bill Overnight Energy: Trump tweets he's revoking California's tailpipe waiver | Move comes as Trump visits state | California prepares for court fight | Climate activist Greta Thunberg urges lawmakers to listen to scientists MORE (D-Del.), who has endorsed the former Delaware senator. “But he’s very much focused on what he did well in the first debate and what he needs to do better in the second debate. He is a pro. You don’t do this stuff for 40 years at very high levels and not be able to do better.”


“I think Joe, frankly, did a whole lot better than Barack did in that first debate with Mitt Romney,” Carper said after making the comparison to Obama. “Can he do better? Should he do better? Yeah, he will.” 


After health care played a starring role in Tuesday night’s debate, it’s certain to do so again, especially between Biden and Harris over his defense of the Affordable Care Act and support for a public option and her support for a variant of a “Medicare for All” system, which Biden has dubbed a “have-it-every-which-way” plan. 


Sen. Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyHere are the Senate Democrats backing a Trump impeachment inquiry over Ukraine call Ex-GOP congressman to lead group to protect Italian products from tariffs The Hill's Morning Report - Progressives, centrists clash in lively Democratic debate MORE (D-Pa.), a Biden backer, believes that while Democrats battle with the former vice president to pull him to the left, he should make the contrast with Republicans and make that the centerpiece of his health care argument. 


“I think too many Democrats are letting them off the hook on sabotaged budget cuts and supporting lawsuits,” Casey said, referring to the Trump-backed lawsuit seeking to invalidate the Affordable Care Act. “I’ve told him it’s important to make the case on issues where Republicans are, frankly, not getting enough questions about the support for the lawsuit.”


The White House contenders on Tuesday agreed on a list of foes beyond the president, including the National Rifle Association, pharmaceutical and health insurance companies, big money influencers and lobbyists, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellMcConnell: Trump's troop pull back in Syria a 'grave strategic mistake' Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump insists Turkey wants cease-fire | Fighting continues in Syrian town | Pentagon chief headed to Mideast | Mattis responds to criticism from Trump TSA head rules himself out for top DHS job   MORE (R-Ky.), and “Republican talking points.”


Also appearing on Tuesday were former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas, Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharBiden struggles to reverse fall Krystal Ball rips media for going 'all-in' on Buttigieg's debate performance The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges MORE of Minnesota, Ohio Rep. Tim RyanTimothy (Tim) John RyanThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges Third-quarter fundraising sets Sanders, Warren, Buttigieg apart The Hill's 12:30 Report: Hunter Biden speaks out amid Ukraine controversy MORE, former Colorado Gov. John HickenlooperJohn HickenlooperThe Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump seeks distance from Syria crisis Gardner dodges questions about Trump's call for Biden probe 2020 Presidential Candidates MORE and author Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges 'We lost a giant': 2020 Democrats mourn the death of Elijah Cummings Williamson slams DNC, Tuesday's debate: 'This would all be funny if it weren't so dangerous' MORE


Along with Biden, Harris and Booker, the participants tonight are former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro, entrepreneur Andrew YangAndrew YangSuper PAC seeks to spend more than million supporting Yang The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges Private flight spending soars in Democratic presidential race MORE, Rep. Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardGabbard hits back at 'queen of warmongers' Clinton Super PAC seeks to spend more than million supporting Yang Clinton suggests Russia grooming Gabbard to run as third-party 2020 candidate MORE (D-Hawaii), Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten GillibrandSanders seeks spark from Ocasio-Cortez at Queens rally Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — House passes resolution rebuking Trump over Syria | Sparks fly at White House meeting on Syria | Dems say Trump called Pelosi a 'third-rate politician' | Trump, Graham trade jabs Senate confirms Trump's Air Force secretary pick MORE (D-N.Y.), Washington Gov. Jay InsleeJay Robert InsleeOvernight Energy: Farmers say EPA reneged on ethanol deal | EPA scrubs senators' quotes from controversial ethanol announcement | Perry unsure if he'll comply with subpoena | John Kerry criticizes lack of climate talk at debate John Kerry calls out lack of climate questions at debate CNN catches heat for asking candidates about Ellen, Bush friendship at debate MORE, Sen. Michael BennetMichael Farrand BennetThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden camp faces new challenges Bennet reintroduces bill to ban lawmakers from becoming lobbyists Schumer seeks focus on health care amid impeachment fever MORE (D-Colo.) and New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioNew York City lawmakers vote to close Rikers Island jail by 2026 2020 Presidential Candidates Cooperate, or else: New York threatens fines to force people to help block immigration enforcement MORE. It is scheduled to start at 8 p.m. The next debate will be in September.


Dan Balz: Evolution or revolution? Democrats’ ideological divisions broke into the open in their Detroit brawl. 


The Associated Press: Should Democrats go big, or get real?


The New York Times: What Kamala Harris doesn’t want to be asked at the debate.


Jonathan Allen: The Warren-Sanders wing comes up short.





CONGRESS: A week after Rep. John RatcliffeJohn Lee RatcliffeGOP searches for impeachment boogeyman Democrats claim new momentum from intelligence watchdog testimony Hillicon Valley: Senate passes bill to boost cyber help for agencies, businesses | Watchdog warns Energy Department failing to protect grid | FTC sues Match for allegedly conning users MORE (R-Texas) played a key role in questioning former special counsel Robert MuellerRobert (Bob) Swan MuellerFox News legal analyst says Trump call with Ukraine leader could be 'more serious' than what Mueller 'dragged up' Lewandowski says Mueller report was 'very clear' in proving 'there was no obstruction,' despite having 'never' read it Fox's Cavuto roasts Trump over criticism of network MORE, he is now taking center stage in what is shaping up to be a fierce political battle, throwing his potential nomination to serve as the director of national intelligence into question. 


With Democrats breaking with tradition and ready to oppose him, Ratcliffe will likely be forced to rely on only Republican votes to get his confirmation across the finish line. With the 53-47 edge for the GOP, Ratcliffe can lose only three votes. He also is facing a potentially tough vote in the Senate Intelligence Committee, where Republicans hold an 8-7 advantage. That prospect is setting up a high-wire act for the Texas congressman as many senators view him as an unknown and don’t know much about him. 


Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOvernight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes Senate fails to override Trump veto over emergency declaration MORE (R-Alaska), who has voted against other high-profile nominees, told reporters she didn’t know anything about Ratcliffe, while Sen. Mike RoundsMarion (Mike) Michael RoundsAmerica's newest comedy troupe: House GOP 'Mike Pounce' trends on Twitter after Trump slip at GOP retreat Conservatives offer stark warning to Trump, GOP on background checks MORE (R-S.D.) acknowledged that for Senate Republicans, the selection was “not someone we had heard of before.”      


Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Energy: Perry to step down as Energy secretary | Future of big-game hunting council up in the air | Dems lose vote against EPA power plant rule Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Pence says Turkey agrees to ceasefire | Senators vow to move forward with Turkey sanctions | Mulvaney walks back comments tying Ukraine aid to 2016 probe On The Money: Senate fails to override Trump veto over border emergency | Trump resort to host G-7 next year | Senators to push Turkey sanctions despite ceasefire | McConnell tees up funding votes MORE (R-Maine), a member of the Intelligence Committee, said that she had a “special interest” in who succeeds outgoing Director of National Intelligence Dan CoatsDaniel (Dan) Ray Coats281 lobbyists have worked in Trump administration: report Former intelligence chief Coats rejoins law firm Remembering leaders who put country above party MORE because she helped write the law that created the position.     


“So I feel very strongly about this position and the importance of having someone with the integrity and skill and ability to bring all of the members of the intelligence together,” she said (The Hill). 


NBC News: Intelligence officials worry Trump's pick for top spy will politicize the job.


CNN: Trump may bypass protocol and the deputy intelligence director to name an acting chief while Ratcliffe awaits confirmation.


> Distraction: As they continue to deal with the ongoing feud between the president and Rep. Elijah CummingsElijah Eugene CummingsBaltimore mayor looks to rename downtown courthouse after Cummings Cummings to lie in state at the Capitol Gowdy remembers political opponent, good friend Elijah Cummings MORE (D-Md.), minority lawmakers are sending a warning to Democrats ahead of 2020: Don’t take the bait. 


Trump kept up the back-and-forth with Cummings for a fourth day on Tuesday, and some Democrats believe it’s a diversionary tactic by the president to avoid discussing kitchen table issues, such as health care, that helped win them the House in November. 


"I hope we don’t take the bait," said Rep. Cedric RichmondCedric Levon RichmondTwo former Congressional Black Caucus chairmen back Biden Election security funds caught in crosshairs of spending debate Lawmakers weigh responses to rash of ransomware attacks MORE (D-La.), the former head of the Congressional Black Caucus, of which Cummings is also a powerful member. "The president always plays [the] race card when he is having a bad news cycle. [It's] easier to call people names, when you don’t have anything else to point to."


The anger at Cummings came soon after Trump’s bitter throwdown with four progressive minority lawmakers known as “the squad” (The Hill). 





> Impeachment: With a rising tide of House members supporting impeachment a week after Mueller testified on Capitol Hill, Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerTrump touts Turkey cease-fire: 'Sometimes you have to let them fight' Mattis responds to Trump criticism: 'I guess I'm the Meryl Streep of generals' Democrats vow to push for repeal of other Trump rules after loss on power plant rollback MORE (D-N.Y.) declined to join in, saying on Tuesday that he backs Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiCummings to lie in state at the Capitol House Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Overnight Health Care — Presented by National Taxpayers Union —Dem wants more changes to Pelosi drug pricing bill | Ebola outbreak wanes, but funding lags | Johnson & Johnson recalls batch of baby powder after asbestos traces found MORE’s (D-Calif.) decision to wait for investigations and evidence to support a formal process.


“I believe that Speaker Pelosi is handling this appropriately,” Schumer said. 


Schumer’s decision to back Pelosi also comes as some Senate Democrats have come out in favor of opening an impeachment inquiry, including Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayDemocrats urge Rick Perry not to roll back lightbulb efficiency rules Biz groups say Warren labor plan would be disaster Freedom of the press under fire in Colorado MORE (D-Wash.) and Sen. Debbie StabenowDeborah (Debbie) Ann StabenowPoll shows Sen. Gary Peters with slim lead over GOP rival in Michigan Republican challenger to Gary Peters in Michigan raises over million USDA nixes release of multiple reports over researcher exodus MORE (D-Mich.) (The Hill).  


110 House Democrats currently are in favor of opening an inquiry against the president, including House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Eliot EngelEliot Lance EngelHouse Republicans 'demand the release of the rules' on impeachment Overnight Defense — Presented by Boeing — Trump insists Turkey wants cease-fire | Fighting continues in Syrian town | Pentagon chief headed to Mideast | Mattis responds to criticism from Trump Testimony from GOP diplomat complicates Trump defense MORE (D-N.Y.) and Jennifer WextonJennifer Lynn WextonCarson defends transgender comments, hits media for 'mischaracterizations' Ben Carson's remarks during San Francisco visit spark backlash Democrats blast HUD for removing LGBT language from grant competition MORE (D-Va.), a freshman lawmaker, who became the latest to back the push on Tuesday evening.


The Hill: Democrats worry diversity furor could spill into 2020 election.


WHITE HOUSE: Trump on Tuesday denied that his days of attacks on Cummings, including calling the House Oversight and Reform Committee chairman a “racist,” together with his blistering criticisms about Baltimore, are part of a political strategy to please his supporters. Trump said he's "pointing out facts." 


"There’s no strategy. I have no strategy. There’s zero strategy," Trump told reporters (The Hill).





> Immigration: The number of migrants reaching the U.S.-Mexico border hit a five-month low in July, according to Mexico's top diplomat. Secretary of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard told reporters Tuesday that 87,648 migrants reached Mexico's northern border in July, the lowest number since February. Compared with June’s statistics, the July number marks a 16 percent drop in immigrants caught or turned away by U.S. authorities at the border. The decline comes after the Mexican government committed to protect its southern border in a bid to cut down on the number of migrants traveling through Mexico to reach the United States (The Hill).


> Migrant family separations: The Trump administration has separated more than 900 migrant children from their families despite a judge ordering the administration to stop separations more than a year ago, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) alleged in a court filing on Tuesday. The ACLU asked a federal judge to block the administration from continuing separations (The Hill).


> Arms control: The United States is poised to officially abandon a 30-year-old arms control treaty credited with helping end the Cold War. The close of a six-month window for the United States to withdraw from the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty is fast approaching on Friday. The Trump administration announced it was leaving the pact in February. The focus is on what comes next in U.S.-Russia arms control, including the U.S. preparations to move forward with long-banned weapons (The Hill).


> Agriculture: More than half of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s subsidies to farmers tied to the trade war with China flowed to just one-tenth of the recipients in the program, according to a Bloomberg analysis. The president, seeking to ease the domestic pain created by his tariff policies, approved $16 billion in federal agriculture aid for 2019.


> World Trade Organization (WTO): Trump’s assault on the global system of rules that guide international businesses may be quietly scoring a major victory. Thanks to a U.S. veto on new appeals judges, the WTO’s dispute arm is expected to start slipping into the institutional equivalent of a coma at the end of this year. That has set off a scramble by the European Union, Canada and other countries to set up a temporary alternative allowing the use of arbitrators rather than three-judge panels to hear appeals (Bloomberg).


> Pentagon: Gen. John Hyten, Trump’s nominee to be the second-highest ranking general in the military, denied allegations that he sexually assaulted a subordinate in 2017, speaking for the first time about the controversy during his confirmation hearing on Tuesday (The Hill). Hyten’s accuser, Col. Kathryn Spletstoser, says he lied under oath to Congress (The Hill). 

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


The real tragedy of the Trump-Cummings feud, by Baltimore Bishop Donté L. Hickman, opinion contributor, The Hill.


Why I stand with Baltimore city and against Trump’s controversial comments, by former Baltimore prosecutor Deborah Hines, opinion contributor, The Hill.


Hill.TV’s “Rising” at 9 a.m. ET features The Hill’s Jamal Simmons, live in Detroit at the site of the Democratic presidential debates, and John Iadarola, host of “The Young Turks,” talking about the 2020 candidates. Find Hill.TV programming at or on YouTube at 10 a.m.


The House is in recess through August and will return to Washington on Sept. 9.


The Senate convenes at 9:30 a.m. resume consideration of the nomination of Mark T. Pittman to be a United States District Judge for the Northern District of Texas.


The president will greet Khaltmaagiin Battulga, the president of Mongolia, for a meeting lasting less than an hour this afternoon.


Vice President Pence will speak at 11 a.m. to the Young America Foundation’s 41st Annual National Conservative Student Conference held at The Renaissance in Washington, D.C.


Treasury Secretary Steven MnuchinSteven Terner MnuchinTop economic adviser warned Trump on reelection chances ahead of China truce: report The Hill's Morning Report - Tempers boil over at the White House Schumer seeks focus on health care amid impeachment fever MORE, along with U.S. Trade Representative Robert LighthizerRobert (Bob) Emmet LighthizerPelosi sounds hopeful on new NAFTA deal despite tensions with White House 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 Chinese, US negotiators fine-tuning details of trade agreement: report MORE, concluded trade talks with Vice Premier Liu He of China where they started — with evident differences. The session, which amounted to a working dinner and half a day of discussion, ended with a sharp response from China to Trump’s assertion that Beijing is stalling (Reuters). 


The Federal Reserve concludes a two-day meeting with a policy statement and a press conference with Chairman Jerome Powell at 2:30 p.m. The central bank has signaled it will cut the federal funds rate this week for the first time since 2008. The Fed’s decision may be consistent with Trump’s public lobbying but is independent of his druthers, Powell has said. Sylvan Lane reports what to watch (The Hill).


Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoEx-Watergate prosecutor says evidence in impeachment inquiry 'clearly' points to Trump Pompeo rejects idea that the United States abandoned Kurds Mike Pompeo's Faustian bargain MORE is traveling through Aug. 6 to Bangkok (ASEAN ministerial meetings); Sydney (Australia-United States Ministerial Consultations); and Kolonia, Micronesia, the first visit to the Pacific island nation by a sitting secretary of state.


Administrator Seema Verma of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will discuss Democrats’ proposed “Medicare for All” ideas at 10 a.m. at the Heritage Foundation in Washington. The event is live streamed HERE


The Senate Appropriations transportation subcommittee will hold an oversight hearing at 9:45 a.m. on aviation safety and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) following two Boeing 737 Max crashes that killed 346 people.  The subcommittee will hear testimony from acting FAA Deputy Administrator Carl Burleson, Associate Administrator for Aviation Safety Ali Bahrami, Deputy Associate Administrator for Airports Winsome Lenfert, and Deputy Associate Administrator for Security and Hazardous Materials Safety Angela Stubblefield. ...More: FAA hopes global regulators will approve the Boeing 737 Max to fly again (Reuters). … The origins of Boeings’ 737 Max crisis (The New York Times’s “The Daily” podcast).


Tech: The $26 billion T-Mobile-Sprint mega-merger deal faces one last hurdle in a lawsuit from a group of state attorneys general looking to block it (The Hill).


State Watch: The rocky shore of mid-coast Maine has always been home to some of America’s largest lobster catches, but the last few years have been some of the best on record, thanks to warming ocean temperatures. Maine’s lobsters have found themselves in a climate change sweet spot. But the good news may be short lived (The Hill). … In California on Tuesday, Gov. Gavin NewsomGavin Christopher NewsomCalifornia utility hit over power outages Overnight Energy: BLM move would split apart key public lands team | Renewables generated more power than fossil fuels in UK for first quarter ever | Harley-Davidson stops electric motorcycle production California becomes first state to mandate later start times at public schools MORE (D) signed a state law requiring U.S. presidential candidates to release five years of tax returns before they can appear on the state's ballot, a move aimed squarely at Trump (The Los Angeles Times).


Saudi Arabia: How Saudi Arabia makes dissidents disappear (Vanity Fair).  


Change your parachute: Carl Allamby, a former car mechanic who built a career telling customers what was wrong with their vehicles, found himself drawn to medicine. This year, at age 47, Allamby became a doctor and is now an emergency room diagnostician. “He’s got people skills most doctors don’t start out with – that customer relations mentality from his years in business,” said Dr. Steven Brooks, chairman of emergency medicine at the Cleveland Clinic Akron General hospital. “We were blown away by him” (Cleveland Plain Dealer).





And finally …  Explorer Robert Ballard, 77, the man who located the Titanic and John F. Kennedy’s World War II patrol boat, is setting off on Aug. 7 to Nikumaroro, an atoll in the western Pacific Ocean with an expedition to try to locate Amelia Earhart’s plane wreckage, if indeed her famous Lockheed Electra 10E wound up there on July 2, 1937. 


The mystery surrounding Earhart’s disappearance has never been solved, despite official and amateur sleuthing for more than 80 years. The working assumption has long been that Earhart’s plane ran out of fuel and landed or crashed in a remote location in the vast ocean. But it’s not the only theory about what happened to the aviator and her navigator Fred Noonan on the second-to-last leg of a daring journey that was to take them around the globe. Ballard’s search will be chronicled by National Geographic for a two-hour documentary airing Oct. 20.


The explorer’s technique, honed over more than 150 deep-sea expeditions, uses sonar to map the ocean floor and deploy a variety of remotely operated vehicles. The odds are long of finding conclusive evidence that Earhart was marooned on what’s known as Gardner Island. Where there’s “very high energy encounter of the ocean with a living reef,” Ballard concedes, an airplane would have been quickly pulverized.