After a massive bipartisan backlash against his assertion Monday that Russia didn’t meddle in U.S. elections, President Donald Trump backed off, claiming that when he said “I don’t see any reason why it would be [Russia]” he meant to say “wouldn’t.” Today, the administration appeared to reverse course twice: While Trump suggested Wednesday morning that Russia’s no longer targeting the U.S. — despite numerous assertions to the contrary by the U.S. intelligence community — White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders later claimed Trump misunderstood, adding that “the threat still exists.”
The Presidential Daily Brief
More than 2,500 victims of last year’s shooting from the windows of the Mandalay Bay resort have sued or threatened to sue the owner, MGM. Now the resort giant has filed countersuits in multiple states asking for those claims to be dismissed. MGM is citing the Safety Act, passed after the Sept. 11 attacks, which limits liability from terrorism when federally certified security is in place. Legal experts say there’s no precedent for this use of the Safety Act, which could lead to a public legal battle between victims and MGM.
Spanish charity Proactiva Open Arms says a small boy and a woman have died in the Mediterranean after Libya’s coast guard destroyed their ship, while another woman was found alive after about 60 hours at sea. Libya says it rescued 165 people, denying anyone was left behind. Proactiva, which also laid blame on Italy’s new interior minister and his hard-line position on refugees, posted photos and video of the migrants on Twitter, while Europe continues to debate the ethics and logistics of migration across the Mediterranean.
This has a familiar ring. Brussels is reportedly hitting the tech behemoth with a record $5 billion fine for anticompetitive behavior for forcing Android manufacturers to pre-install its own browser and apps, and preventing them from using rival operating systems. Google’s already conceded to similar regulatory actions in the Russian market, while the company is appealing last year’s $2.8 billion EU fine for favoring its own shopping results with its search engine. The European Commission is still investigating Google’s AdSense program.
Know This: Tesla CEO Elon Musk has apologized for lobbing accusations of pedophilia at a British diver who helped rescue 12 Thai children from a cave. New industry research indicates that after Brexit, dairy products like butter and infant formula may become a luxury for British consumers. Scientists warn that a warming planet may soon render parts of India literally uninhabitable. And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Bolivia, where one fashion designer is trying to make the traditional chic again.
Remember This Number: $77,000. That’s the sum paid by the U.S. government to President Trump’s golf resort in Scotland before he stayed there last weekend, raising the hackles of ethics experts concerned that he’s profiting off his presidency.
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Researchers from the Carnegie Institution for Science stumbled upon a dozen new Jovian moons while hunting for the mysterious “Planet Nine,” believed to orbit somewhere beyond Pluto. Among the newly discovered satellites — there are now 79 in total — is one the astronomers called “a real oddball.” Valetudo, with a tiny 0.6-mile diameter, circles Jupiter in the opposite direction of 42 other moons in a similar orbit, putting it on a collision course and potentially explaining how the largest planet in the solar system came to have so many satellites.
The big box retailer may take on Netflix and Amazon — both of which have more than 100 million streaming customers — by launching its own subscription video service that could cost less than $8 per month, according to a report in The Information. The potentially expensive move would also pit Walmart against giants like Facebook and Apple, both of which are attempting to up their original content game. But the retailer may get a helping hand: It’s just inked a five-year partnership to use Microsoft’s cloud-based services.
With help from a 2010 gender parity law, Bolivia became one of only two democracies in the world with more women in Congress than men. But it’s led to a violent backlash against female politicians who routinely face intimidation, harassment or worse. There have been reports of kidnapping attempts, beatings — including a pregnant councilwoman being kicked so hard she miscarried — and even murder. Now Bolivia’s Congress is working to adopt measures preventing violence against female members before the country backslides on gender equality.
The Royal Canadian Mounted Police blamed the popular FX crime drama, which ran from 2008 to 2014 and followed a motorcycle club in Northern California, for a rise in Nova Scotia gang activity. “People look at that and they think, ‘Oh that’s an attractive lifestyle,’” said Constable Mike Carter. Police estimate there are as many as 200 outlaw riders in Nova Scotia and increasing activity from the notorious Hells Angels. A Sons of Anarchy spin-off called Mayans MC is set to debut in September.
Two lawsuits filed by former student athletes claim the university didn’t take appropriate action about sexual abuse complaints against school doctor Richard Strauss. The allegations stretch back to 1978, when a wrestling team captain says he reported Strauss’ behavior, and one of the lawsuits estimates as many as 2,500 students may have been abused during his 20 years at the school. Strauss committed suicide in 2005. Meanwhile, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, who coached wrestling at OSU from 1987 to 1995, has denied players’ allegations that he knew about the abuse.