Mueller looking at payments between Russians who arranged Trump Tower meeting
Special counsel Robert Mueller is reportedly looking into payments made by two Russians who organized a 2016 Trump Tower meeting with senior Trump campaign officials. Mr. Mueller’s team is asking questions about a $3.3 million in payments between Aras Agalarov and his longtime employee, Irakly Kaveladze, BuzzFeed News reported Friday. A Russian billionaire with ties to both President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr. Agalarov helped plan the June 2016 meeting. BuzzFeed reported officials at three separate banks raised concerns about the money transfers, although they do not appear to related to the Trump Tower meeting.
Washington Times
VOA VIEW: Mueller posturing.

GOP Judiciary Committee gives Ford additional time in decision to testify against Kavanaugh
Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are giving Christine Blasey Ford additional time to decide whether she will testify against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, who she accused of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers. Ford and her attorneys have until 10 p.m. EDT to decide whether she will testify. If she does not respond by then, committee chairman Chuck Grassley, R-IA, threatened a Monday vote on Kavanaugh's confirmation. "It’s Friday night and nothing’s been agreed to despite our extensive efforts to make testimony possible," Grassley said. "In the event that we can come to a reasonable resolution as I’ve been seeking all week, then I will postpone the committee vote to accommodate her testimony. We cannot continue to delay." USA Today
VOA VIEW: Grassley must move forward.

Schumer rallies behind Rosenstein, warns Trump not to fire him
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said Friday the bombshell report of Rod Rosenstein suggesting wearing a wiretap to record President Trump shouldn’t be used to fire the deputy attorney general. “This New York Times report must not be used as a pretext for the corrupt purpose of firing Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein in order to install an official who will allow the president to interfere with the Special Counsel’s investigation,” Schumer wrote in a tweet. Fox
VOA VIEW: Schmer is a big mouth idiot.

Saudis face delicate balancing act at OPEC meeting
Oil prices were up Friday as analysts noted that Saudi Arabia must be careful this weekend at balancing the wishes of OPEC member countries and Russia with those of the Trump administration. Saudi Arabian leaders find themselves in a tough spot going into meetings with OPEC, Russia and other top oil producers in Algiers this weekend. The Saudis, who lead the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, face pressure from President Donald Trump to increase production to stabilize crude oil prices. But the Saudis must also appease their fellow OPEC countries, who could threaten their leadership within the oil cartel. UPI
VOA VIEW: Saudis must stand with Trump.


Rosenstein reportedly discussed wearing 'wire,' invoking 25th Amendment against Trump
The Trump administration was rocked Friday afternoon by a bombshell report saying Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein last year suggested secretly recording President Trump to expose chaos in the White House and enlisting Cabinet members to invoke the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. Rosenstein adamantly denied the accusations. “The New York Times’s story is inaccurate and factually incorrect,” he said in a statement to Fox News. “I will not further comment on a story based on anonymous sources who are obviously biased against the department and are advancing their own personal agenda. But let me clear about this: Based on my personal dealings with the president, there is no basis to invoke the 25th Amendment.” Fox
VOA VIEW: Rosenstein may not have said what is being reported, but he is not for Trump.

Trump holds 'MAGA' rally in Missouri
President Trump held a “Make America Great Again” rally on Friday night in Springfield, Missouri, where state Attorney General Josh Hawley is battling to unseat Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. Kicking off the rally, Trump told the crowd that the U.S. was "winning again" and was "being respected again," while adding that he thought Hawley is "a star." Trump said that Hawley was needed "in the Senate to fight for Missouri" because the Republican party would "never get a vote" from McCaskill, including on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. Fox
VOA VIEW: Good positive rally.

Ice arrests more than 40 people trying to sponsor migrant children
The Trump administration, in its continued immigration crackdown, has arrested more than 40 people who came forward to help undocumented migrant children, in a move that is sparking alarm among advocates. Parents, relatives and friends of children in federal custody can apply to become sponsors and take in minor detainees from government shelters – but authorities are now using their information to pursue and deport such would-be caretakers when they are themselves undocumented immigrants, an Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (Ice) official told Congress this week. “We’ve arrested 41 individuals thus far,” Matthew Albence, Ice’s acting deputy director, said at a Senate committee hearing. “Our data that we’ve received thus far indicates close to 80% of the individuals that are either sponsors or household members of sponsors are here in the country illegally, and a large chunk of those are criminal aliens. Guardian


Democrats taking Senate 'would be bigger shock than Trump in 2016'
Democrats aiming to take the US Senate in November need results “more shocking than Trump winning the 2016 election”, a leading polling expert said on Monday, playing down expectations of a blue wave. Democrats lead Republicans nationwide by 54% to 46%, enough to take 225 seats and claim a narrow majority in the House, according to YouGov data released at the Hoover Institution, a conservative thinktank in Palo Alto, California. In the Senate, where Republicans currently hold a narrow 51-49 majority, 10 incumbent Democrats are defending states that Donald Trump won in 2016. “The chances of the Democrats winning all of those seem to me pretty slim,” Doug Rivers, chief scientist at YouGov global polling, told reporters. Guardian

Rep. Nunes faulted by rival for photo with hand symbol
Republican U.S. Rep. Devin Nunes of California is being criticized by his Democratic rival in the November election after a photograph on social media showed the congressman next to a supporter making a hand gesture that some consider racist. In a photo taken at a Tuesday event, a man standing beside the congressman is making an A-OK sign with his hand, a gesture the Southern Poverty Law Center says is used by white supremacists to signal their beliefs. Ben Bergquam, the man in the photo, said in a video that only those on the political left see the gesture as offensive and it signifies support for those "willing to fight" for the country. Las Vegas Sun
VOA VIEW: Dems don't have anything good to say about anything.

Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to be deposed in census case
A judge says Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross can be questioned under oath by lawyers challenging a decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census. U.S. District Judge Jesse Furman ruled Friday, saying Ross's testimony was necessary because his intent and credibility are directly at issue. The judge also said aggressive efforts to shield Ross from answering questions were "surprising, if not unsettling." Furman says it wasn't a close call as to whether Ross must be deposed. He said the public interest weighs heavily in favor of requiring Ross to answer questions. The judge said the deposition will be limited to four hours. Kate Bailey, a Justice Department lawyer, has said the government will immediately appeal any requirement that Ross answer questions. Las Vegas Sun

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In Broward to talk about guns, Andrew Gillum deflects questions about Sheriff Israel
Andrew Gillum came to Broward County Friday to raise money and talk about guns. Sheriff Scott Israel helped him with one, but not so much the other. Appearing outside his campaign’s Plantation office to unveil an endorsement from gun-control group Every Town for Gun Safety Action Front, the Democratic nominee for governor parried questions about whether he has confidence in the embattled sheriff and softly deflected criticisms from the father of a slain Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student who ripped his appearance at a morning fundraiser with Israel. Miami Herald
VOA VIEW: Guillum is a liberal loser.

Rosenstein spoke of possible secret Trump taping
Attorney General Rod Rosenstein discussed secretly recording President Donald Trump last year amid law enforcement concerns about chaos in the White House, according to people familiar with exchanges at the time. One person who was present said Rosenstein was just being sarcastic. Rosenstein's comments were first reported Friday by The New York Times. Trump spoke later Friday of a "lingering stench" at the Justice Department, though he didn't name names. The Times also said Rosenstein raised the idea of using the 25th Amendment to remove Trump as unfit for office. Miami Herald
VOA VIEW: Rosenstein has stated he made no statement, nor is there any reason to remove the President.

Cruz, O'Rourke clash on issues — and get personal — in feisty first debate for Texas Senate seat
In the fiery first debate between GOP incumbent Sen. Ted Cruz and Democratic Rep. Beto O'Rourke, the differences couldn't have been more clear. They split sharply during the hour-long face off on immigration, the National Football League kneeling controversy, gun rights, marijuana legalization, police-involved shootings, the confirmation of Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and more. There was virtually no common ground, on anything. And they didn't hesitate to get in each other faces. Cruz hammered O'Rourke, who represents the border town area of El Paso, over his support for undocumented immigrants, known as "Dreamers," or children who were brought to the United States as children. NBC
VOA VIEW: O'Rouke is and acted like an idiot.


HUD Secretary Ben Carson defends Kavanaugh by bringing up paternity claim he faced
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson on Friday questioned the credibility of the woman who says Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her while they were in high school — by connecting it to his own story about a woman who sued him for a paternity test several years ago. Carson, speaking to a crowd at the Value Voters Summit in Washington, D.C., called sexual predators "abominable," but added there are "two sides to every story" — recalling the time an unidentified Florida woman claimed he was the father of her child and demanded a paternity test and child support. NBC

Fugitive accused of threatening Trump arrested in Ohio
The US Marshals Service says a Pennsylvania man accused of threatening President Donald Trump and law enforcement officials has been arrested in Ohio. They say Shawn Richard Christy was arrested at 4:45 p.m. Friday in Mifflin Township, near Columbus, by marshals and task force members from Ohio and Pennsylvania. A federal warrant was issued June 19 for the 27-year-old McAdoo man in connection to Facebook posts threatening to shoot Trump and a district attorney in Pennsylvania. Officials say he also threatened a police chief. Pennsylvania warrants issued for Christy allege burglary, probation violation and failure to appear for an aggravated assault case. New York Post

Trump hints Rosenstein may not have a job much longer
President Trump hinted Friday that Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein may not be working at the Department of Justice much longer. During a campaign rally in Springfield, Missouri, Trump suggested that about “95 percent” of people at the Department of Justice and the FBI supported him, “but you’ve got some real bad ones,” pointing out that at the FBI “they’re all gone.” “But there’s a lingering stench and we’re going to get rid of that too,” Trump proclaimed. He made the comment hours after the New York Times reported that Rosenstein had discussed recruiting members of Trump’s cabinet to invoke the 25th Amendment against the president in the days following FBI Director James Comey’s dismissal. New York Post

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Ford requests more time before Kavanaugh testimony decision, blasts GOP's response
Lawyers for Christine Blasey Ford are asking for an additional day to consider whether she will testify against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh and blasted Republicans for "cavalier treatment of a sexual assault survivor." An attorney for Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her when they were teenagers, said Friday evening in a letter obtained by USA TODAY that Republicans have created "tremendous and unwarranted anxiety and stress" on her by rushing the decision on whether she will testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee. USA Today

Grassley grants Kavanaugh accuser another extension
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley late Friday night granted another extension to Christine Blasey Ford to decide on whether she will testify to the committee. The new deadline was unclear, but Ford had requested that a 10 p.m. ET Friday deadline be extended until Saturday. Ford has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault, citing an incident that she said occurred decades ago, when both were in high school. Grassley issued his latest extension decision in a tweet addressed to Kavanaugh, adding that he hopes the judge can “understand” his reasoning behind the delay. Fox

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Ultra-Orthodox Jews prepare for Sukkot in Jerusalem
Ultra-Orthodox Jews prepare for the upcoming festival of Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, in Jerusalem on Friday. The weeklong holiday begins at sunset Sunday. It commemorates the Jews' exodus from Egypt and 40 years wandering in the desert. Ultra-Orthodox Jews buy palm fronds for their sukkahs, temporary huts, erected for the upcoming Jewish festival Sukkot, the Feast of Tabernacles, in the Mea Shearim neighborhood, in Jerusalem. UPI

Peace is at risk and violated in many places, but ‘we will not give up,’ says UN chief Guterres
According to the UN chief, the Declaration, which turns 70 this year, provides a reminder that peace takes root when people are free from hunger, poverty and oppression and can thrive and prosper. The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), adopted by UN Member States in 2015, also aim to serve this purpose by building a peaceful world through economic and social development for all with guaranteed human rights. And yet, “when we are celebrating the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we know that human rights are violated in so many parts of the world, we even know that the human rights agenda is losing ground,” he said at the ceremonial ringing of the Peace Bell to commemorate Peace Day. UP

Human rights under attack, ‘no longer a priority; a pariah’ – UN rights chief
In a hard-hitting speech marking the 25th anniversary of the World Conference on Human Rights that underscored the “universal, indivisible, interdependent and interrelated” nature of human rights, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, said that a quarter century on, the world seemed instead to be “headed in another direction.” At the 1993 Conference, 171 States adopted the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, to strengthen human rights around the world. It was widely viewed as the blueprint for rights in the post-Cold-War era. The conference also set in motion the establishment of the UN human rights office, or OHCHR, which Mr. Zeid now heads. Addressing the conference on Tuesday, he said there was a drift “backwards, to an era when racists and xenophobes deliberately enflamed hatred and discrimination among the public, while carefully cloaking themselves in the guise of democracy and the rule of law.” UP

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