Another one bites the dust. Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has resigned, the latest in a major reshuffle of the campaign. Manafort, who took over from Trump’s previous campaign manager Corey Lewandowski just two months ago, has recently come under scrutiny for his previous work for the Russian-backed ex-Ukrainian president. He’d previously been a driving force on campaigns for Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, George Bush Sr., and Bob Dole. Trump says Manafort’s left on amicable terms. As Trump’s campaign seeks stability amongst plunging polls, Manafort’s departure – and Trump’s recent apology for causing “personal pain” – signals a potential shift in tactics.
The Presidential Daily Brief
They got in over their heads. The U.S. Olympic Committee is considering sanctions after four swimmers made an allegedly false report to Brazilian authorities that they’d been held up by badge-wielding robbers. But video and other evidence told another story: One athlete vandalizing a gas station bathroom, a confrontation with security guards and a restitution payment. Swimmers Jack Conger and Gunnar Bentz were allowed to return to the U.S. after confirming the new story, while James Feigen will pay a $10,800 fine. Ryan Lochte has tweeted an apology, saying he was sorry “for not being more careful and candid.”
How’s this for shocking? Yesterday in North Carolina, the bombastic Republican said he regrets saying “the wrong thing” in “the heat of debate.” This comes after a year of refusing to apologize for even his most egregious moments, though Trump did not get specific on his failings. Reading from a teleprompter in his first post-campaign shakeup rally, Trump also called on Hillary Clinton to apologize for her “many lies.” The mogul is belatedly launching his first general election TV ads today in four key states where he trails in the polls.
Was it an inside job? Mexican police stand accused of executing 22 people in one of the bloodiest episodes in the country’s anti-drug war. The government’s human rights commission has released a report on a police raid last year of a drug cartel’s ranch in Michoacan state. The disproportionate death toll — 42 suspects and one police officer killed — raised eyebrows, and the commission’s report accuses police of covering up a mass execution which they hope will focus public pressure on dealing with state-sanctioned police corruption.
It’s a family affair. The media giant’s internal crisis has ended with owners Sumner Redstone and his daughter Shari reasserting control. Following a rough two years that included a Comedy Central talent drain and a 45 percent Viacom stock slide, CEO Philippe Dauman’s resigned and allied board members are departing. The Redstones opposed Dauman’s initiatives, including a plan to sell nearly half of Paramount Pictures to a Chinese investor. Media and Hollywood veteran Thomas Dooley is set to start as the new CEO, with Dauman having negotiated a $72 million golden parachute.
Know This: Life-sized statues of a naked Donald Trump popped up in cities around the U.S. — but the one in New York City’s Union Square was removed by the parks department as an “unpermitted erection.” The U.S. says the $400 million it paid to Iran was “leverage” for hostages, but not ransom. And the Clinton family’s promised that if Hillary’s elected, they’ll hand the Clinton Foundation over to “independent” parties.
Listen to This: Frank Ocean has been teasing fans, promising the release of his long awaited album “Boys Don’t Cry.” Last night he started livestreaming — but it was a different album, called “Endless,” which went up on Apple Music once the livestream ended. “Boys Don’t Cry,” which has been given a new title, will be out this weekend.
Try This: Feeling presidential after a week of briefings? Prove it with the PDB quiz.
Triple crown him, again. The World’s Fastest Man has retained his title by winning the 200-meter dash in Rio. It’s the Jamaican’s third consecutive Olympics winning the 100- and 200-meter races, and his eighth overall Olympic gold. While Bolt said he was going for the world record, he was impeded by a wet track and the 19.78-second time fell short of his own 19.19 record. American Ashton Eaton, meanwhile, retained his “world’s greatest athlete” status by defending his decathlon gold medal and tying an Olympic record.
Game, set, and match to Peter Thiel. The tech billionaire’s crusade against the gossipy news empire has ended with Gawker Media’s $135 million sale to Univision, which is shuttering the flagship site next week. Gawker’s 14 years of boundary pushing included outing Thiel as gay and publishing a sex tape featuring wrestler Hulk Hogan. Thiel funded Hogan’s invasion-of-privacy lawsuit, which bankrupted the site. While Gawker often ignored the boundaries of newsworthiness and good taste, many worry its demise encourages others to throw money into silencing disagreeable voices — thus threatening press freedom.
Sure, cigarettes can kill you. But a small study at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine found that vaping, which has been widely marketed as a safer alternative to traditional smokes, suppresses even more immune defense genes in the nasal passages than cigarettes do. Those nose genes are important because they’re our first line of defense when it comes to respiratory illnesses. While experts say research on the dangers of e-cigarettes is inconclusive, and its role in gene suppression needs wider study, vaping’s slowly losing its innocuous reputation.
They’re the original owners. Gold Butte, Nevada, might sound familiar: It’s where rancher Cliven Bundy led an armed anti-government standoff to dispute his own private land claims. Ironically, the Bundy incident has given Native Americans, who’ve long fought for land rights in the area, a fresh opportunity to push their case. Nevada’s Southern Paiute tribes want President Obama to make 350,000 acres of Gold Butte a national monument to offer the area unprecedented protection and reinforce Native American land claims. But some worry Obama won’t risk irritating swing state voters before November.
It all comes back to economics. Researchers have long puzzled over why a developing nation has an uncanny number of world-class sprinters, formulating theories about yam-heavy diets or aluminum-rich soil. But a recent study suggests Jamaica’s runners have a far more inorganic key to success – the country’s great public health initiatives. Over the past century, Jamaica’s routed many common infectious diseases and raised life expectancies, while inexpensive sports like running gained popularity — in what could be a blueprint to other countries with few resources and Olympic dreams.