Turkey’s president threatens to flood Europe with refugees as Syria offensive ramps up

(CNN)Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to allow millions of refugees into Europe if it described Turkey’s military offensive in northeast Syria as an “occupation.” “It was said that any movement of refugees would respect the principles of voluntariness, safety and need,” he told reporters in Denmark. Turkey claimed its offensive, which has drawn international condemnation, has been successful as its operation went into its second day. Amid reports of further air and ground assaults by Turkish forces, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said more than 60,000 people have been displaced in camps in northeastern Syria. Turkey’s Foreign Affairs Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu told CNN Turk that its incursion will not go further than 30 kilometers (18.5 …

Harry Reid warns Democrats: Trump is a ‘very, very smart man’ who won’t be easily beaten in 2020

Washington (CNN)Former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has a new assessment of President Donald Trump as “a very, very smart man” who won’t be easy for Democrats to defeat in the 2020 election. “I don’t think he’s, intellectually, a powerhouse but he is basically a very, very smart man. No matter what the subject, any argument he involves himself in, it’s on his terms. You’re always arguing against him. He never, never, is willing to debate an issue on terms that aren’t his,” Reid told Axelrod. Asked how he would advise a candidate running against Trump, Reid warned, “Anyone that thinks Trump’s going to be beaten easily should have another thing coming.” Reid also argued that the “evidence is very …

GOP challenger says Trump is a traitor for asking Ukraine and China to investigate Bidens

Washington (CNN)Former GOP Rep. Joe Walsh, a longshot candidate for the Republican nomination for president, on Sunday called President Donald Trump a “traitor” for asking Ukraine and China to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, and again argued Trump should be impeached for asking other countries to “interfere in our election.” Walsh told Tapper that he is “not accusing this President of treason,” but he said Trump has betrayed the nation. “Our founders were very specific as to what treason is. But when you look at traitor more broadly defined, this President betrayed our country again this week,” Walsh said. During a contentious exchange with Walsh on the same program, former Republican Rep. Mark Sanford, who …

Acting spy chief says his office consulted with White House over whistleblower complaint

Washington (CNN)Acting spy chief Joseph Maguire acknowledged Thursday that his office consulted with White House counsel after receiving a complaint detailing allegations about President Donald Trump’s communications with Ukraine, because calls with foreign leaders usually fall under executive privilege. Initially, Maguire seemed to waver about the chronology of events related to his handling of the complaint but ultimately told lawmakers on the House Intelligence Committee that his office did seek guidance from the White House before raising the issue with the Office of Legal Counsel and Department of Justice, which advised he was not legally bound to provide it to the committee. “Such calls are typically subject to executive privilege, as a result we consulted with the White House counsel’s …

Boris Johnson calls for ‘Trump deal’ to fix Iran nuclear standoff

PM says president could come up with better pact, in apparent shift from European position Boris Johnson has sided with Donald Trump in calling the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran a bad deal, while praising the US president as a very brilliant negotiator capable of achieving a better one. The prime ministers remarks, made in a NBC interview, marked a sharp change in UK rhetoric. British leaders, including Johnson, had until now upheld the 2015 accord between six major powers and Iran as a major diplomatic achievement. British officials insisted that the prime minister continued to support full compliance with that deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Programme of Action (JCPOA). However, Johnson had clearly come to the UN determined …

Bolton’s influence waned the moment he became National Security Adviser

Washington (CNN)For John Bolton, it was almost destined to end this way. Couldn’t agree to disagree A Republican fixture for decades in Washington, Bolton’s reputation is as someone who prefers to speak his mind, not get in line. That certainly held true during his time in the Trump administration. After months of tension, the last straw for Bolton appears to be a dispute over Afghanistan on the eve of the anniversary of 9/11. A notable War on Terror hawk, Bolton opposed Trump’s idea to meet with Taliban officials this week at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland. That prompted a heated argument between Bolton and the President Monday night, as CNN reported. Bolton claims he offered to resign, while …

Bolton-Pompeo relationship hits new low as foreign policy tests mount

Washington (CNN)Long-simmering tensions between top figures on President Donald Trump’s national security team have devolved into all-out hostility, creating a deep disconnect between staffers on the National Security Council, led by John Bolton, and the rest of the administration, six people familiar with the matter said. Trump hasn’t indicated whether he minds the dispute underway among his team. In fact, he’s said in the past that he tends to enjoy when his aides are at odds with each other. But the current situation has led to a deep sense of isolation for NSC staffers working under Bolton, who are charged with coordinating foreign policy and national security options for the President. The internal rift has only added to the sense …

New York Times: New England Patriots unlikely to make customary visit to White House

Washington (CNN)As football season heats up, the New England Patriots are increasingly unlikely to celebrate their Super Bowl victory with one of their biggest fans — President Donald Trump. Three Patriots players, though, have already said in interviews with the New York Times that they are not interested in attending a ceremony at the White House, one even suggesting he would rather meet with former President Barack Obama. The friendly relationship between the Patriots and the President has been well-documented, but at times has been bogged down by controversy. Robert Kraft, the team’s owner who has been close friends with Trump for decades, was charged in February with soliciting sex acts at a massage parlor. He has pleaded not guilty …

No 10 expects rebel move against no-deal Brexit on 9 September

Boris Johnson thinks EU will do nothing until it sees outcome of parliamentary battle Downing Street believes rebel MPs will try to make a move to stop a no-deal Brexit in the second week of September, with the EU unlikely to respond until after that battle has played out. A senior government source said the date for a parliamentary battle was expected to be 9 September a week after MPs return from their summer break. Boris Johnson may meet key EU leaders, such as Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron, but not Irelands Leo Varadkar, before the G7 summit in Biarritz, France at the end of August. However, No 10 is not expecting any breakthrough until the EU has seen what …

Does the NRA still have power? The pro-gun group is in uncharted territory after latest mass shootings

Washington (CNN)The pressure is on the National Rifle Association from typically friendly corners — President Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress — after last week’s deadly mass shootings in Ohio and Texas. But now, the NRA’s tight-knit circle is broken. Its top lobbyist, Christopher Cox, has departed. Oliver North, its well-known president and public face, has been pushed out. The NRA’s chief ad man, Angus McQueen, died last month. LaPierre, the NRA’s combative CEO, has just emerged from an attempted coup and finds himself mired in legal battles with Ackerman. This leaves LaPierre and the NRA in uncharted territory. El Paso and Dayton present them with a crucial test, and many observers — in Congress, among the NRA’s membership and …

Brussels repels Boris Johnson’s quest for new Brexit deal

Juncker said to have told new PM current agreement is the best and only one possible Brussels has roundly rebuffed Boris Johnson after he laid down tough conditions for the new Brexit deal he hopes to strike over the summer. Speaking to the House of Commons for the first time as prime minister on Thursday, Johnson reiterated his campaign pledge of ditching the Irish backstop and promised to ramp up preparations for a no-deal Brexit immediately. I would prefer us to leave the EU with a deal, he said. I would much prefer it. I believe that it is possible even at this late stage, and I will work flat-out to make it happen. But certain things need to be …

South Carolina lesbian couple sues after foster agency turns them away

(CNN)A lesbian couple in South Carolina is challenging the state’s practice of letting taxpayer-funded foster care agencies reject prospective parents who don’t share their religious beliefs. The lawsuit is the latest touchstone in the debate over religious exemptions and “conscience protections” in health care and other arenas. Opponents call it state-sponsored discrimination that targets non-Christians and the LGBTQ community. The administration says the measures are necessary to let faith-based organizations operate without compromising their beliefs. The South Carolina couple’s lawsuit seeks to rescind the waiver. It also asks for a permanent injunction that would prevent the state from contracting with or licensing agencies that discriminate against prospective foster parents based on their religion, sex, sexual orientation or marital status as …

Wake up, England: Boris Johnsons charm is just the arrogance of those born to rule | Suzanne Moore

The Tory leadership contest shows well keep running back to the posh boys, no matter how much they use and abuse us, says Guardian columnist Suzanne Moore I recognise this feeling and I hate it. A friend is going out with a guy who humiliates her, spends her money, has affairs and is abusive. Yet she feels lost and is somehow dependent and when he promises he will make it all OK somehow, that he will change, and the future will be wonderful, she decides to give it another whirl. Anyway, she says, what else is there? Half-broken, she has lost the ability to even imagine a better life for herself. It is no use, my anger on her behalf …

El Chapo: what the rise and fall of the kingpin reveals about the war on drugs

The long read: As the capture and conviction of Mexicos notorious drug lord has shown, taking down the boss doesnt mean taking down the organisation Just after midday on Tuesday 12 February, word came down that the verdict was ready in what had been widely described as the trial of the century. United States of America v Joaqun Guzmn Loera had lasted approximately three months it took prosecutors that long to present what they described as an avalanche of evidence, which had taken more than a decade to compile. The government called 56 witnesses, the defence called only one: an FBI agent, who finished testifying within an hour. There was little expectation that Guzmn would mount a convincing defence. The …

Socialism for the rich: the evils of bad economics

The long read: The economic arguments adopted by Britain and the US in the 1980s led to vastly increased inequality and gave the false impression that this outcome was not only inevitable, but good In most rich countries, inequality is rising, and has been rising for some time. Many people believe this is a problem, but, equally, many think theres not much we can do about it. After all, the argument goes, globalisation and new technology have created an economy in which those with highly valued skills or talents can earn huge rewards. Economics Corrupted Us by Jonathan Aldred, published by Allen Lane and available at guardianbookshop.co.uk Follow the Long Read on Twitter at @gdnlongread, and sign up to the …