Mueller Plans to Grant Immunity to Witnesses Before Manafort Trial; Second Night of Protests Erupt Outside of White House
By: StaffJuly 18, 2018
Here is the Daily Briefing for Wednesday, July 18, where we round up the day's biggest headlines for your perusal. Take a look.


Mueller Plans to Grant Immunity to Witnesses Before Manafort Trial

Special Counsel Robert Mueller plans to grant immunity to five witnesses who could testify at the upcoming trial for former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. Mueller and his team of prosecutors revealed the use of the “limited immunity” offers in papers filed in federal court on Tuesday. Mueller is asking a federal judge to file the immunity records under seal in order to prevent the identities of the five witnesses from being made public. The court filing says that the five witnesses, who have not been publicly identified, have so far invoked their Fifth Amendment rights against self-incrimination.


Second Night of Protests Erupt Outside of White House After Trump-Putin Summit

For the second night in a row, protesters gathered in front of the White House on Tuesday, this time joined by Stormy Daniels' lawyer Michael Avenatti and actress Alyssa Milano, who delivered speeches regarding President Donald Trump’s relationship with Russia and more. The #OccupyLafayettePark protest comes as a response to Trump’s apparent defense of Vladimir Putin at the Trump-Putin summit. On Monday, after the impromptu protest, videos and photos show protesters chanting "Putin's puppet" and "traitor" and carrying signs that read "liar."  It is unclear how many people joined the protest, though people in attendance said there were "hundreds" who came on last-minute notice for the rally. Some protesters say they plan to continue protesting outside the White House until Trump resigns. 


U.S. to Make More Drugs Easily Available Without the Help of Doctors 

Americans may soon be able to get cholesterol-lowering medications and other widely used prescription drugs without seeing a doctor, a first step in what could amount to sweeping changes to how patients access treatments for chronic conditions. The Food and Drug Administration in a draft guideline outlined how such a status, which the agency said could help lower health-care costs, would work. Patients could answer questions on a mobile-phone app to help determine whether they should be able to access a medication without a prescription. The proposal is meant to help companies start thinking about how they might seek approval for such drug sales. A new FDA regulation that would make the pathway official is expected next year. The move isn’t expected to lower the bar for shifting prescription drugs to over-the-counter status, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said.


Japan, EU Sign Free Trade Pact Amid Worries About Trump

Japan and the European Union signed a wide-ranging free trade deal that both sides hope will act as a counterweight to the protectionist forces unleashed by U.S. President Donald Trump. The ambitious trade pact, which creates the world’s largest open economic area, comes amid fears that a trade war between the United States and China will diminish the role of free trade in the global economic order. “There are rising concerns about protectionism, but I want Japan and the EU to lead the world by bearing the flag of free trade,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a news conference after the signing ceremony.


Sacha Baron Cohen’s ‘Who Is America?’ Fails Among Viewers

Having generated a lot of chatter recently, Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime have caused a lot of hoopla around the debut of Cohen’s Who Is America? series, the 10 PM satire offering attracted a pretty meager viewership on July 15, at least on the small screen. Just 327,000 sets of eyes tuned in to the premium cable network on Sunday night to see the Borat star spoof Senator Bernie Sanders, gun activists, Trent Lott, supporters of Donald Trump and more. Among the key demographic of adults 18-49, Who Is America? pulled in a low 0.1 rating. That put the secretive and controversial Who Is America? in the hinterland of the 70th highest-rated original show on cable on July 15.


73% of Democrats Want ‘A Fresh Face’ As 2020 Nominee

Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden are among those touted as serious Democratic presidential contenders in 2020, but three-out-of-four Democrats think their party needs to turn to someone new. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that 73% of Likely Democratic Voters believe their party should look for a fresh face to run for president in 2020. Just 16% disagree and think the party should promote a candidate who has already run in the past. Eleven percent (11%) are undecided. Among all likely voters, 65% say Democrats should find a new face for 2020, while only 19% think it should go with someone who has run for the White House before. Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure.


Lawsuits Claim MGM Has No Liability to Las Vegas Shooting Victims

MGM Resorts International has filed federal lawsuits against more than 1,000 Las Vegas mass shooting victims in an effort to avoid liability. The company, which owns Mandalay Bay and the Route 91 Harvest festival venue, argues that it cannot be held liable for Oct. 1 deaths, injuries or other damages, adding that any claims against MGM parties “must be dismissed,” according to complaints filed Friday in Nevada and California. “Plaintiffs have no liability of any kind to defendants,” the complaints argue. The company cites a 2002 federal act that extends liability protection to any company that uses “anti-terrorism” technology or services that can “help prevent and respond to mass violence.” In this case, the company argues, the security vendor MGM hired for Route 91, Contemporary Services Corp., was protected from liability because its services had been certified by the Department of Homeland Security for “protecting against and responding to acts of mass injury and destruction.”


Middle-Income Students ‘Less Represented’ at America’s Top Colleges

Middle-income student enrollment rates are falling at top colleges, while low-income student enrollment rates have increased. A study released last week by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) found that middle-income student enrollment at America’s top 200 colleges fell between 2000 and 2016. The study says, “it is middle-income students, not low-income students, who are becoming less represented on these campuses.” Jason Delisle, co-author of the study said, “In terms of middle-class students, it looks like that is the one group we can pretty clearly say from our data is shrinking at these schools.”


Chicago Could Soon Test Universal Income Program

Chicago may soon become the largest municipality in the U.S. to test a universal basic income program. Chicago Alderman Ameya Pawar recently proposed legislation that would provide 1,000 families with a $500 monthly stipend -- no questions asked. The bill already has the backing of the majority of city lawmakers, and Pawar hopes to soon work with Mayor Rahm Emanuel to implement the pilot program, The Intercept reported. “Nearly 70 percent of Americans don’t have $1,000 in the bank for an emergency,” Pawar told the outlet. “UBI could be an incredible benefit for people who are working and are having a tough time making ends meet or putting food on the table at the end of the month.”


Employee Gifted Car After Walking to Work

A U.S. company owner gave an employee a new car after he went the extra mile, 20 miles in fact, walking all night to make his first day at work. After his own car broke down, Walter Carr made the long commute by foot through the suburbs of Birmingham, Alabama, to his new job in removals. A police officer spoke to Carr en route to work and impressed by his grit, took him to get some breakfast. Luke Marklin, the chief executive of the moving company, Bellhops, drove from Tennessee over the weekend to meet his new employee. After chatting over a cup of coffee, Marklin handed Carr the keys to his own 2014 Ford Escape.


Southwest Airlines Debuts Special Paint Jobs for Shark Week

Southwest Airlines passengers may notice a special paint job on some jets in honor of the 30th anniversary of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel. Five planes are now sporting a variety of unique liveries, with each dedicated to a specific kind of shark. The types of shark include: the great white, hammerhead, mako, tiger and bull. Southwest passengers also got a chance to watch the premiere of a Shark Week episode. Shark Week content will remain available via the airline’s onboard entertainment portal. Shark Week airs on the Discovery Channel between July 22 and 29. Southwest is encouraging people who spot the planes to share their photos with the hashtag “#SharksTakeFlight.”

ADHD Study Links Teens’ Symptoms with Digital Media Use

The more teens check social media and stream video, the more likely they might develop symptoms of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, a study suggests. The study, published in the medical journal JAMA on Tuesday, sheds light on how more research is needed to determine whether symptoms of the disorder, commonly called ADHD, are possibly caused by digital media use. The researchers found that, on average, 10.5 percent of the students who reported engaging in digital media activities reported ADHD symptoms. By comparison, only 4.6 percent of the students who reported not engaging in any of the digital media activities also reported ADHD symptoms throughout the study.


Tweets You Might Have Missed!

@realdonaldtrump, July 18, 2018: “3.4 million jobs created since our great Election Victory - far greater than ever anticipated, and only getting better as new and greatly improved Trade Deals start coming to fruition!”

@realdonaldtrump, July 18, 2018: “Some people HATE the fact that I got along well with President Putin of Russia. They would rather go to war than see this. It’s called Trump Derangement Syndrome!”

@Comey, July 17: “This Republican Congress has proven incapable of fulfilling the Founders’ design that “Ambition must ... counteract ambition.” All who believe in this country’s values must vote for Democrats this fall. Policy differences don’t matter right now. History has its eyes on us.”

@NancyPelosi, July 17: “President Trump’s attempt to walk back the dangerous, disgraceful & damaging show of his Blame America First policy embarrasses our nation even further. After watching the President cower in front of Putin, the American people now deserve to know what Trump will do now.”

@MichaelAvenatti, July 18: “We had a tremendous crowd last night. Thank you @PhilippeReines @AdamParkhomenko @Alyssa_Milano and so many others for making it a reality. We must all demand answers as to why Mr. Trump continues to choose Putin and Russia over us! #Basta


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