Peter Strzok’s lawyer claims Deputy Director David Bowdich ordered his client’s dismissal on Friday. A key member of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, Strzok was removed from Mueller’s team last year after the discovery of personal text messages he sent to a colleague criticizing President Donald Trump. Strzok’s attorney, Aitan Goelman, says the move contradicts an earlier decision by the FBI to discipline Strzok with a demotion and a 60-day suspension. “This decision should be deeply troubling to all Americans,” he said. The agency has not yet commented on the matter.
The Presidential Daily Brief
The Turkish lira plunged to a new low this morning, hitting 7.23 to the dollar as jittery investors waited for Ankara to unveil a new economic action plan meant to calm markets after days of precipitous drops. The new plan reportedly focuses on banks and the smaller businesses most vulnerable to currency fluctuations. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed foreign meddling for the crisis, which he called a “storm in a tea cup,” but analysts warned that the situation is likely to push Turkey into a recession and could cause a larger banking crisis.
Thousands of people converged in front of the White House yesterday to protest a planned White nationalist rally. Jason Kessler, who espouses white superiority and helped organize last year’s Unite the Right protest in Charlottesville that saw one professed Nazi kill an anti-racist protester, obtained a Sunday permit for 400 followers. But fewer than 40 came — and they were overwhelmed by counterprotesters chanting “Go home, Nazis!” A heavy police presence kept the two sides apart, avoiding violence, and D.C. officials say they’re still tallying the cost to taxpayers.
Former White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman told Meet the Press yesterday that she’s heard a recording of President Trump using a racial slur during filming of The Apprentice, leading her to conclude that “he is truly a racist.” She also revealed a secret recording of her 2017 firing in the White House Situation Room, where electronic devices are forbidden. In the recording, Chief of Staff John Kelly tells Newman her reputation might be damaged if she doesn’t leave the administration amicably. Newman’s promoting her new memoir, Unhinged, which will be released Tuesday.
The U.N. aired its concerns Friday over hearing “credible reports” that Beijing had detained more than 1 million of its Uighur Muslims, prompting a Communist Party-run media site, Global Times, to defend the crackdown that followed separatist attacks in 2013 and 2014. The westernmost region of Xinjiang, it opined, would have otherwise become “China’s Syria.” Calling the detentions “a phase that Xinjiang has to go through in rebuilding peace and prosperity,” the outlet repudiated “Western public opinions.” A U.N. official estimated that another 2 million Uighurs may be held in re-education camps.
Know This: President Trump tweeted approvingly Sunday about a planned boycott of Harley-Davidson by owners annoyed that it’s moving some manufacturing overseas. A mother killer whale who carried her dead calf over 1,000 miles off the coast of Canada has reportedly let it go. More than 300 people were injured when a platform fell into the sea at Spain’s O Marisquiño music festival. And today OZY’s Around the World campaign takes you to Azerbaijan: Find out why the country’s experiencing a shortage of lawyers.
Read This: What really killed the dinosaurs? It’s a debate that’s been raging in science for decades, but the current favorite theory — a meteor impact — has a new challenger.
We’re hiring: OZY is looking for a talented Social Media Manager to engage and expand our audience. Could this be you? Check out the job description for more details.
When the world’s largest hacking conference convened last weekend, organizers hoped to educate people on the risks U.S. voting systems face from cybercriminals. Then an 11-year-old girl broke through a mock-up of the Florida secretary of state’s website to change a vote count — in less than 10 minutes. Election officials counter that DEFCON’s simulations don’t include real-world safeguards and damage public trust in their systems. One of the conference’s Voting Village organizers begged to differ, saying, “It’s only through scrutiny that we’re going to have confidence in elections.”
Before construction began on Baku’s Heydar Aliyev International Airport seven years ago, the Caucasian country was served by only a few international flights. These days, the new regional hub features more than 30 carriers flying to 40 destinations, something the oil-rich state has combined with boosting its flagship airline, AZAL, as well as efforts to cement itself as a local tourism hotspot. Officials hope that such new amenities will encourage more tourists to come Instagram Azerbaijan’s points of interest — rather than focusing on its ongoing crackdown on political dissent.
“My name’s Elba, Idris Elba.” That’s what the star of The Wire tweeted Sunday after speculation spread that he’d take over the role of James Bond from Daniel Craig. Elba, 45, later confused fans by posting a photo of the group Public Enemy, captioned “Don’t believe the HYPE.” Last week a British tabloid reported the Bond franchise’s owner had suggested Elba for the role, stoking what Elba called the “wildest rumor in the world” in 2016. Meanwhile, Craig has agreed to play the spy again for the as-yet-untitled 25th 007 installment.
The Trinidad-born writer, who explored postcolonial realities in novels like A Bend in the River and won the 2001 Nobel Prize for literature, died Saturday at his London home. Naipaul attracted controversy reporting on his ancestral land, India, which he believed mimicked its conquerors, and eastern Islamic societies, where, he suggested, faith fostered tyranny. Known for his cantankerous personality, the author’s later years included a heated, 15-year feud with friend Paul Theroux, who nevertheless described Naipaul as “one of the greatest writers of our time.”
Koepka won his second major tournament of the year in St. Louis on Sunday, finishing 16 under — and leaving Tiger Woods in 2nd place — to take home the $1.89 million PGA Championship purse. The 28-year-old hit back-to-back birdies on the 15th and 16th holes, while setting a tournament record of 264 over 72 holes. Woods’ comeback was credited with the tournament’s 54 percent ratings jump over last year. Next season, Koepka will likely focus on trying to crack the Masters Tournament top ten for the first time.