U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: October 8, 2016

Ethan Miller/Getty Images


1. Donald Trump apologizes for graphic comments about women in hot mic recording from 2005
The Washington Post on Friday released audio of an extremely vulgar conversation Donald Trump had in 2005 with former Access Hollywoodhost Billy Bush. “I’m automatically attracted to beautiful [women] — I just start kissing them,” Trump says while he and Bush ogle a nearby woman. “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. … Grab them by the p—y.” Trump initially issued a statement dismissing the conversation as “locker room banter,” adding, “Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course.” But as furor over the comments grew, he released an apology video just after midnight on Saturday, saying, “Anyone who knows me knows these words don’t reflect who I am. I said it, I was wrong, and I apologize.” He also argued Hillary Clinton’s record in office is a more serious offense than his crude remarks and pledged “to be a better man tomorrow.”

Source: The New York Times, The Week

2. GOP heavyweights denounce Trump’s remarks about women
The graphic remarks Donald Trump made about women in 2005 have thrown the GOP into tumult, with multiple big-name Republicans denouncing Trump’s comments, retracting their endorsements, or even calling him to step out of the presidential race. House Speaker Paul Ryan called Trump’s words “sickening” and uninvited the candidate from a scheduled joint event, while Trump’s running mate, Mike Pence, is reportedly “beside himself.” Trump faced particular backlash from Utah Republicans: Utah Sen. Mike Lee told Trump to drop out, while Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Utah Rep. Jason Chaffetz took back their endorsements. Nevertheless, the Republican National Committeedenied a report that party leadership is meeting “to discuss what options the party has going forward in case Trump isn’t the nominee.”

Source: The Hill, Politico

3. U.S. government accuses Russia of hacking election system
The Obama administration on Friday formally accused the Russian government of attempting to “interfere with the U.S. election process” via a series of cyber attacks, including hacking the Democratic National Committee. “We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia’s senior-most officials could have authorized these activities,” read a joint statement from the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence. The statement further blamed Vladimir Putin’s government for leaking the stolen information to sites such as WikiLeaks and DCLeaks. U.S. intelligence officials for weeks have unofficially pointed fingers at the Kremlin, but this statement marks the first public accusation.

Source: NBC News, The Washington Post

4. Hurricane Matthew downgraded to Category 1 after killing nearly 900 in Haiti
Hurricane Matthew was downgraded to a Category 1 storm Saturday as it headed toward the Carolinas, though flooding, winds up to 85 mph, and storm surges up to 9 feet are expected. “I just want to emphasize to everybody that this is still a really dangerous hurricane, that the potential for storm surge, loss of life, and severe property damage exists,” President Obama said Friday as the storm weakened. Before making landfall in the United States, Matthew wreaked havoc in Haiti, where the death toll has nearly reached 900 with tens of thousands more Haitians displaced or made homeless by the storm’s devastation.

Source: Reuters, USA Today

5. Leaked Wall Street speeches see Clinton worry about email security
Transcripts of closed-door speeches Hillary Clinton gave to Wall Street bankers were published by Wikileaks Friday as attachments to leaked emails from Clinton campaign staff, sharing with the public content the Democratic nominee refused to release herself. In comments at a 2013 conference sponsored by Goldman Sachs, Clinton expressed concern about digital security threats, particularly from China and Russia. Clinton described disabling her devices while traveling abroad to avoid hacking, but FBI Director James Comey has since said she did no such thing. The documents also see campaign staff discussing how to deal with off-message speech excerpts — “policy positions that we should give an extra scrub” — to avoid bad press.

Source: Associated Press, Politico

6. EpiPen maker agrees to $465 million settlement to the government.
Mylan, the pharmaceutical company that produces the EpiPen, agreedFriday to pay the federal government $465 million to settle accusations from the Department of Justice and other agencies that the corporation misclassified their device to they could hike prices for Medicare and Medicaid billing. An analysis released Thursday by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) demonstrated the extent of the hikes: “Total government charges for EpiPens increased 463 percent while EpiPen unit sales at large increased only 51 percent from 2011 to 2015.” Grassley praised the settlement Saturday but warned other companies could be similarly fleecing taxpayers.

Source: CNBC, CNN Money

7. Vermont becomes the second state to make Columbus Day into Indigenous Peoples’ Day
In advance of Columbus Day on Monday, Vermont became the second state to nix the controversial holiday in favor of celebrating Indigenous Peoples’ Day. South Dakota was the first state to make the switch, though several large cities — including Minneapolis, Phoenix, and Seattle — have done so as well. In an executive order announcing the change Thursday, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin encouraged “all Vermonters to recognize the sacrifice and contributions of the First Peoples of this land” and acknowledged his state “was founded and is built upon lands first inhabited by the Indigenous Peoples of this region.”

Source: NBC5, NPR

8. Evangelical campus organization asks employees to resign over gay marriage position
InterVarsity, one of the largest evangelical Christian organizations on American college campuses nationwide, has asked employees who do not share its official view on same-sex marriage to disclose their conflict and resign. The policy was first reported by Time on Thursdayand rapidly fueled culture war flames, with critics leveling charges of bigotry on Friday as the story spread. InterVarsity said in a statement its policy does not concern the legality of gay marriage, only employees’ theological perspective; and the ministry’s vice president, Greg Jao, saidInterVarsity does not actively question employees on their view but simply asks them to come forward if they do not share the organization’s stance.

Source: Time, Christianity Today

9. Economy adds a healthy but lower-than-expected 156,000 jobs
The Labor Department reported Friday that the economy added 156,000 jobs in September, falling slightly below expectations but adding to recent evidence that the jobs market is solid. Economists had predicted payrolls to increase by about 172,000, just under the 2016 average of 180,000 per month. Unemployment ticked up to 5 percent — analysts had expected it to stay put at 4.9 percent — as more Americans returned to the labor market. The news came a day after the Labor Departmentsaid U.S. jobless claims fell last week to nearly their lowest level since 1973.

Source: MarketWatch, Bloomberg Markets

10. Tiger Woods to play Safeway Open in return to competitive golf
Beleaguered golf star Tiger Woods will make his return to competition next week, ending a 14-month hiatus. Woods announced he would be playing in the Safeway Open in Napa, California — news the PGA also confirmed Friday. Woods’ long break from golf was the result of multiple back surgeries last fall, and the last time he played a PGA Tour event was the Wyndham Championship in August 2015. The 14-time major champion will tee off for his first round at Safeway nextThursday, Oct. 13.

Source: ESPN, USA Today

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