Tribune News Service

News Budget for Friday, July 12, 2019


Updated at 6 p.m. EDT (2200 UTC).




Additional news stories appear on the MCT-NEWSFEATURES-BJT.

This budget is now available at TribuneNewsService.com, with direct links to stories and art. See details at the end of the budget.


^With Epstein in jail again, Acosta is out as Trump's labor secretary<

ACOSTA:MI — Alex Acosta, the U.S. Secretary of Labor in the Trump administration, is resigning six days after accused child sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein was arrested and charged in New York. The resignation of the former top prosecutor in South Florida comes a dozen years after his decision to forge a lenient plea deal in a sex crime case against Epstein in Florida.

President Donald Trump came out with Acosta at the White House at 9:34 a.m. and said Acosta called him Friday morning to say he's resigning. Though Acosta spent nearly an hour Wednesday defending his handling of Epstein's South Florida case in 2007 and 2008, Trump said the decision to resign was Acosta's.

"I want to thank Alex Acosta. He was a great, great secretary," Trump said before shaking Acosta's hand.

1650 (with trims) by David Smiley and Jay Weaver. MOVED



Also moving as:

ACOSTA:LA — 350 by Caroline S. Engelmayer in Washington. MOVED


^White House saw Acosta's resignation as a way to distance Trump from Epstein case<

ACOSTA-TRUMP:WA — When Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta offered his resignation Friday in an early morning call with President Donald Trump, his boss offered sympathy, inviting him over to the White House to announce the news together to the media.

It was a rare, dignified exit for a Cabinet secretary in Trump's administration, and for one leaving amid controversy over his handling of the case of accused pedophile Jeffrey Epstein.

650 by Michael Wilner in Washington. MOVED


^R. Kelly hit with federal indictments in New York, Chicago<

RKELLY:NY — R&B superstar R. Kelly had an unsettling request for his underage sexual partners: Call me "Daddy."

The detail was included Friday in a sweeping new federal indictment in Brooklyn that accuses the singer and his underlings of coercing and grooming women to sleep with the 52-year-old Grammy winner. Kelly was charged with racketeering, kidnapping, forced labor and sexual exploitation of a child.

550 by Stephen Rex Brown, Thomas Tracy and Larry McShane in New York. MOVED


^Reports: Facebook settles with FTC for record $5 billion<

FACEBOOK-FINE:SJ — Facebook has agreed to pay a record $5 billion settlement with the Federal Trade Commission after a yearlong investigation into the company's privacy practices, according to multiple news reports Friday.

The reports by the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and the New York Times, based on unnamed sources, say that the FTC this week voted to approve the settlement that was born out of the Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal that came to light last year. If the reported amount is correct, it would be the biggest fine ever imposed by the United States on a tech company.

350 by Levi Sumagaysay. (Moved as a business story.) MOVED


^House considering a delay of Robert Mueller's testimony<

CONGRESS-MUELLER:LA — Special counsel Robert S. Mueller III's testimony before Congress, planned for Wednesday, could be delayed one week amid new discussions to allow more time during the hearing for lawmakers to ask questions.

150 by Jennifer Haberkorn in Washington. MOVED



^Trump's fight to shield his finances faces skepticism in court<

CONGRESS-TRUMP-RECORDS:BLO — Lawyers for Donald Trump, in court Friday morning to keep the president's financial records out of Congress' hands, faced skeptical questioning.

The hearing, before a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, is over a subpoena from congressional Democrats seeking financial information from Trump's longtime accountants, Mazars USA LLP.

450 by Andrew Harris and Bob Van Voris in Washington. MOVED


^Trump surrender on census question may not end legal battle<

TRUMP-CENSUS-CITIZENSHIP:BLO — President Donald Trump's surrender in his fight to put a citizenship question on the 2020 census may not be the end of the legal war.

One of the groups that mounted a successful challenge to the question plans to continue pursuing its claim that two government witnesses testified falsely in a trial. The New York Immigration Coalition will file a motion seeking court sanctions against the government, according to Sarah Brannon, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union who represents the group.

350 by Bob Van Voris in New York. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED


^House Oversight Democrats call on Trump to pay DC for July 4 event, inauguration<

TRUMP-JULY4-COST:CON — Democrats on the House Oversight Committee are calling on President Donald Trump to commit to paying the District of Columbia back for providing public safety support for federal events in the city after Mayor Muriel Bowser said that Trump's "Salute to America" drained it.

The House Committee on Oversight and Reform Chairman Elijah E. Cummings, of Maryland, and D.C. Democratic Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton wrote to the White House on Friday asking Trump to reimburse the district's Emergency Planning and Security Fund for his inauguration and Fourth of July celebration.

400 by Chris Marquette in Washington. MOVED


^House votes 402-12 to pass 9/11 responders health bill <

CONGRESS-911FUND:NY — The House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed a $10 billion bill on Friday to renew the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund, prompting deceased first responder Luis Alvarez's brother to say he's "looking down and saying 'Let's get this done.'"

The bill passed by a 402-12 vote and makes the funding stream permanent. It now goes to the Senate where Republican Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says he will bring it up for a vote.

700 by Dave Goldiner and Michael McAuliff in Washington. MOVED


^House approves defense authorization bill with no Republican votes<

CONGRESS-SPENDING-DEFENSE:CON — The House on Friday approved its defense authorization bill after adopting a slew of progressive amendments that helped Democrats earn votes from the party's more dovish members in the face of Republican opposition.

The final vote on the fiscal 2020 bill was 220-197. No Republicans supported the typically bipartisan measure that traditionally has earned more than 300 of the 435 available House votes.

900 (with trims) by Patrick Kelley in Washington. MOVED


^Mnuchin warns Pelosi US may run out of cash in early September<

DEBTLIMIT:BLO — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin warned House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that the government may run out of cash in early September if Congress doesn't raise U.S. borrowing authority.

"Based on updated projections, there is a scenario in which we run out of cash in early September, before Congress reconvenes," Mnuchin said in a letter to Pelosi on Friday.

400 by Erik Wasson and Saleha Mohsin in Washington. MOVED


^Rep. Greg Meeks issues veiled primary threat to AOC amid 'convenient' racial feud with Pelosi<

OCASIOCORTEZ-MEEKS:NY — The Democrats' D.C. brawl is turning into a Queens street fight.

New York Rep. Greg Meeks warned fellow Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez to back off on her racially tinged feud with Democratic leaders — or face a battle for her own political life.

"If they want to come after members of the Black Caucus, it's two ways," Meeks, who is also the Queens Democratic party boss, told The Hill.

450 by Dave Goldiner in New York. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED


^Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez sued over Twitter blocking after judge rules against Trump<

OCASIOCORTEZ-TWITTER:CON — Days after a federal court said President Donald Trump could not block his critics from commenting on his tweets, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is being sued by two people she blocked on Twitter.

Ocasio-Cortez, who tweets from the handle @AOC, was sued by Democratic former New York state assemblyman Dov Hikind and YouTube personality and New York District 11 Republican candidate Joey "Salads" Saladino.

300 by Chris Cioffi in Washington. MOVED


^Trump cheers on Sebastian Gorka for starting scuffle with journalists in Rose Garden<

^TRUMP-GORKA:NY—<President Donald Trump cheered on Sebastian Gorka on Friday after the fired White House aide tried to start a fight with reporters at a Rose Garden news conference.

"Gorka Wins Big, no contest," Trump tweeted.

150 by Dave Goldiner. MOVED


^Former Sen. Harry Reid still has a few punches left<

REID:CON — Former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid retired from Congress back at the end of 2016, but the old boxer still has a few punches left for the institution he served in for 30 years, not to mention the New York Yankees.

The 79-year-old Nevada Democrat met with CQ Roll Call in his office off the casino floor at the Bellagio on the Las Vegas Strip last week to talk his health, politics and a little baseball.

1150 (with trims) by Niels Lesniewski in Las Vegas. (Moved as a Washington story.) MOVED



^Democratic winners start pulling ahead in the 2020 money race<

DEMOCRATS-2020-FUNDRAISING:BLO — In the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential field, campaign bank accounts are beginning to separate the contenders from the also-rans.

When the candidates report their second-quarter fundraising totals to the Federal Election Commission on Monday, the numbers will show who's catching fire — and who's not.

While it's still early in the election cycle, the figures are likely to cement Joe Biden, Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders and Kamala Harris as the big five — though political fortunes can change quickly.

1300 (with trims) by Bill Allison in Washington. MOVED


^With policy and outreach, Elizabeth Warren makes inroads with black voters<

WARREN-BLACKVOTERS:BLO — Elizabeth Warren's trademark pitch of her personal story blended with wonky policy proposals has helped her win over white liberals. Now, she's hoping her message will resonate with blacks, a crucial Democratic constituency that will play a large role in deciding who will challenge President Donald Trump next year.

More important, Warren is trying to avoid the missteps of her chief progressive rival Bernie Sanders in 2016, when his campaign was ultimately doomed by his inability to win over black voters.

850 (with trims) by Tyler Pager in New Orleans. MOVED



^Trump called Oakland mayor a 'disgrace' for revealing ICE raids. Then he did the same thing<

^TRUMP-MAYOR-IMMIGRATION-RAIDS:LA—<When Oakland, Calif., Mayor Libby Schaaf tipped residents off last year that immigration agents would be conducting enforcement operations, President Donald Trump called her actions a "disgrace."

A Republican congressman from Iowa proposed criminal penalties for officials in so-called sanctuary cities who make similar disclosures.

The acting Immigration and Customs Enforcement director at the time, Thomas Homan, said Schaaf was "no better than a gang lookout yelling 'police!' when a police cruiser comes in the neighborhood."

Then, in the last month, Trump himself announced impending immigration operations.

1150 by Brittny Mejia. MOVED


^4.6 earthquake shakes Seattle region overnight<

SEATTLE-EARTHQUAKE:SE — A magnitude 4.6 earthquake shook Seattle and the Puget Sound region just before 3 a.m. local time Friday, according to the United States Geological Survey.

"It's been widely felt throughout the Seattle area," said Paul Caruso, a USGS geophysicist.

The shaking emanated from Three Lakes, Snohomish County, about nine miles east of downtown Everett. The earthquake was relatively shallow, originating about 14 miles beneath the surface, according to a USGS map.

950 (with trims) by Evan Bush in Seattle. MOVED


^Chicago alligator stays out of sight as effort to capture beast enters 4th day<

CHICAGO-GATOR:TB — The Chicago alligator had gone to ground Friday morning, with no confirmed sightings of the animal since early the day before as attempts to capture it entered a fourth day.

Chicago police and animal control officials were called to the Humboldt Park lagoon around noon Tuesday, hours after people first reported seeing the reptile there and shared photos of it on social media.

After three days of unfruitful attempts, the team trying to capture the animal has reached out to biologists and other experts who recommended a machine used underwater to mimic the sound of a baby alligator.

600 by Marie Fazio in Chicago. MOVED


^Trump makes more false claims about 'thousands' outside during Orlando rally<

TRUMP-RALLY-CROWD:OS — President Donald Trump again made incorrect claims about the size of crowds at his June 18 rally in Orlando, telling a group at the White House on Thursday that there were thousands "outside" the Amway Center event during his speech — despite video and photos showing only a few dozen people left outside during the actual event.

The remarks at Thursday's "Social Media Summit" of conservative internet celebrities came two weeks after Trump had previously claimed that "literally tens of thousands of people" were outside the arena and couldn't get inside his 2020 reelection campaign kickoff event.

450 by Steven Lemongello in Orlando, Fla. MOVED


^Girlfriend of slain Grammy-winning jazz drummer and her friend are indicted on manslaughter charges<

MUSICIAN-SLAYING:NY — The girlfriend of Grammy-award winning jazz drummer Lawrence Leathers is one of two people facing manslaughter charges in Leathers' choking death in his Bronx apartment building.

Leathers, 37, died June 2 during a fight with his girlfriend, Lisa Harris, 41, in the couple's home in Mott Haven.

200 by John Annese in New York. MOVED


^St. Louis police union urges members to post controversial symbol on social media pages<

STLOUIS-POLICE-PUNISHER:SL — The St. Louis Police Officers' Association has urged its members to use a controversial symbol on their social media pages to show solidarity with officers who are now under investigation for using a similar image online.

The union's president, Ed Clark, posted a letter late Wednesday on the organization's Facebook page, asking members to use the "Blue Line Punisher" image as their profile picture on social media. The union represents about 1,200 officers; the union's Facebook site has more than 14,000 followers.

1050 (with trims) by Christine Byers in St. Louis. MOVED


^Minnesota State Fair pulls fill-your-own doughnuts that come with syringes<

STATEFAIR-DOUGHNUTS:MS — Doughnuts with a side of syringes? You won't find them at the Minnesota State Fair after all.

One of the new foods for 2019 has been drawing mounting controversy since it was announced last month, thanks to an unusual accessory to the dish. The Wingwalker Donut Flight of fill-your-own doughnut holes comes with three fillings: Bavarian cream, chocolate custard and Minnesota lingonberry jam. Each of the fillings was to be served in a plastic syringe.

"Incredibly wasteful," "a gimmick," and "gross" were some of the comments on the Minnesota State Fair's Facebook page.

600 by Sharyn Jackson in Minneapolis. MOVED


^Florida refuses to ban iguana sales, despite calling on landowners to kill them<

FLA-IGUANA-SALES:FL — You can still buy a live iguana in Florida, despite the state's call on homeowners to kill any on their property.

Anyone in Florida with a credit card and the desire for a 5-foot lizard can buy one for $179.99 or so, with guaranteed live delivery by overnight mail. Or they can pick one up in person at a bricks-and-mortar reptile store.

Despite the furor ignited by the state's recent call on the public to kill iguanas as non-native urban pests, it's still legal to buy and sell them.

750 by David Fleshler in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. MOVED


^NOAA seeks answers after impaled dolphin found in Florida<

IMPALED-DOLPHIN:OS — The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration is seeking help after a dolphin was impaled in the head and found dead in Florida in May, the organization said in a news release.

150 by Stephen Ruiz in Orlando, Fla. MOVED



^New video shines light on massacre of indigenous group by Venezuelan government<

VENEZUELA:MI — Brutal new images of an indigenous massacre in southern Venezuela emerged Friday, almost five months after the government deployed troops to keep international aid from entering the country.

The Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights organization and the Venezuelan nonprofit Foro Penal released footage Friday that appears to capture a government attack on a Pemon village, in which at least seven people died and 57 were injured.

500 by Jim Wyss. MOVED




NEWSBRIEFS:MCT — Nation and world news briefs.

Moving later


^A retired teacher found some seahorses off Long Beach. Then he built a secret world for them<

SCI-SEAHORSES-TEACHER:LA — Rog Hanson emerges from the coastal waters, pulls a diving regulator out of his mouth and pushes a scuba mask down around his neck.

"Did you see her?" he says. "Did you see Bathsheba?"

On this quiet Wednesday morning, a paddle boarder glides silently through the surf off Long Beach. Two stick-legged whimbrels plunge their long curved beaks into the sand, hunting for crabs.

But Hanson, 68, is enchanted by what lies hidden beneath the water. Today he took a visitor on a tour of the secret world he built from palm fronds and pine branches at the bottom of the bay: his very own seahorse city.

Hanson is a retired schoolteacher, not a scientist, but experts say he probably has spent more time with Pacific seahorses, also known as Hippocampus ingens, than anyone on Earth.

2100 by Deborah Netburn in Long Beach, Calif. MOVED


^Sobering up: In an alcohol-soaked nation, more seek booze-free social spaces<

SOBER-SOCIALIZING:KHN — Not far from the Anheuser-Busch brewery, Joshua Grigaitis fills a cooler with bottles and cans in one of the city's oldest bars.

It's Saturday night, and the lights are low. Frank Sinatra's crooning voice fills the air, along with the aroma of incense. The place has all the makings of a swank boozy hangout.

Except for the booze.

Pop's Blue Moon bar, a fixture of this beer-loving city since 1908, has joined an emerging national trend: alcohol-free spaces offering social connections without peer pressure to drink, hangovers or DUIs. From boozeless bars to substance-free zones at concerts marked by yellow balloons, sober spots are popping up across the nation in reaction to America's alcohol-soaked culture, promising a healthy alternative for people in recovery and those who simply want to drink less.

1350 (with trims) by Laura Ungar and Jayne O'Donnell in St. Louis. MOVED




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