The number of hate crimes reported to the FBI jumped by 17 percent in 2017 — their biggest spike since 9/11.
Reported hate crimes have generally fallen since the FBI recorded an all-time high of 9,730 incidents in 2001, CBS News notes. But FBI data released Tuesday shows a recorded 7,175 crimes in 2017, up from 6,121 in 2016 and marking a third straight year of growth.
The majority of reported hate crimes — 59.6 percent — targeted a victim’s race, ethnicity, or ancestry, the FBI notes. About 2,000 of the reported crimes targeted black Americans. Another 20.6 percent were categorized as religiously motivated, and 15.8 percent targeted a victim’s sexual orientation.
In a Tuesday statement, acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker said he was “particularly troubled by the increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes.” Crimes against Jewish people went up 37 percent last year, making them the most common religiously motivated hate crimes last year, per The Washington Post. There were 938 reported anti-Semitic crimes in 2017.
These numbers increased in part due to an increase in the number of local police departments that report hate crimes to the FBI, the Post notes. Still, many local police departments still don’t share statistics with the bureau.
To combat this continued uptick, the FBI also launched a hate crimes website with resources for reporting a crime. It lists news and descriptions of hate crimes, and features a “safe exit” button that redirects away from the site.
Incoming congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez made her first visit to Capitol Hill this week for congressional orientation. And after meeting some fellow new recruits, she visited a Democratic veteran for an impromptu protest.
On Tuesday, Ocasio-Cortez joined protesters who gathered at House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s (D-Calif.) office to push for congressional action on climate change. The newly-elected New York Democrat had spent Monday evening rallying for “green jobs for all,” and it soon became clear she was behind the protest as well.
Ocasio-Cortez defeated longtime Rep. Joe Crowley (D-N.Y.) in a June primary and became the youngest woman elected to the House last week. But unlike some other congressional newcomers, she hasn’t explicitly said whether she’ll support Pelosi’s bid for House Speaker. And given how the Sunrise Movement, the organization behind Tuesday’s protest, had some less-than-kind tweets for Pelosi during its sit-in, it seems that Ocasio-Cortez is not on the minority leader’s side.
But in what seemed like an attempt to distance herself from anti-Pelosi rhetoric, Ocasio-Cortez later tweeted that activists at the office “asked [her] to join them” in protesting Pelosi. Ocasio-Cortez then tweeted that she’d reached an agreement with Pelosi and seemed pleased with the result — though the Sunrise Movement said Pelosi’s statement didn’t go far enough.
I have spoken with @NancyPelosi about how our commitments to climate change should take shape in the 116th Congress.
Her office has responded quickly, and she has recommended the reinstatement of the Select Committee on Climate Change. pic.twitter.com/LHI6koUto6
Amazon has officially announced its second global headquarters will be split between New York City and… some part of Virginia it’s calling “National Landing.”
As reports projected, the company revealed Tuesday that it’ll route 25,000 new jobs to its “HQ2” in New York’s Long Island City neighborhood, and another 25,000 to Arlington, Virginia. Except Amazon’s official announcement says its Washington-area headquarters will be in National Landing — a place Amazon seems to have pulled out of thin air.
Save for Amazon’s announcement, a quick search of The Washington Post reveals no previous references to this mystery area. So, reasonably, Twitter lit up with locals questioning just what a National Landing entails. Luckily, Amazon included a handy map to explain where this so-called National Landing office will, well, land.
Yes, “Amazon in Arlington” will be just west of Reagan National Airport, in the D.C. metro area currently known as Crystal City. Plenty of people think the area’s glimmering name is a bit of misnomer anyway, which could be why Virginia is officially okay with Amazon co-opting three whole neighborhoods. In a Tuesday statement, Arlington and Alexandria, Virginia called National Landing “a newly branded neighborhood encompassing Crystal City, Pentagon City, and Potomac Yard.” In a similar vein, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam (D) released a Tuesday video rehashing the state’s only noteworthy slogan as “Virginia is for Amazon Lovers.”
Amazon also unveiled its plans for a 5,000-employee Operations Center of Excellence on Tuesday. This office is slated for Nashville’s neighborhood of The Gulch, which is surprisingly not the made-up name in this situation.
It looks like Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen isn’t the only member of the Trump administration on the way out.
The president is also looking for candidates who could replace White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, ABC News reported Tuesday. Right now, the leading contender is reportedly Nick Ayers, Vice President Mike Pence’s 36-year-old chief of staff. President Trump has met with Ayers about potentially taking over for Kelly, and they had an “extended conversation” on Election Night, ABC News reports. Some sources said that this is essentially a “done deal,” though others said it’s not final yet.
It sounds like part of the reason Trump is interested in Ayers is that he sees him as someone who’s politically savvy, which he doesn’t think is true of John Kelly, per ABC News. Kelly has been rumored to be on the outs with Trump for months on end, but some believe the end is finally nigh now that the midterm elections have passed.
Trump is also reportedly getting ready to fire Nielsen, who has received support from Kelly even as some in the administration criticize her approach. Kelly, who last week was the one to phone Jeff Sessions and tell him he was being forced to resign as attorney general, has reportedly threatened to resign should Nielsen be fired. Now, it sounds like that won’t be a problem for Trump, who is ready to get rid of both of them, despite the fact that he had previously asked Kelly to stay on until 2020, reports CNN.
Conflict between Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) and Hamas militants in the Gaza Strip is at its most intense since 2014, The Associated Pressreports.
The IDF estimate Hamas has launched about 400 rockets since Monday, and Israeli strikes have reportedly hit around 100 targets in Gaza, including the building housing Hamas’s television station. Six Palestinians have been killed in this round of strikes, though reports vary as to how many were militants. Another two dozen people have been wounded, and one Israeli civilian has also died.
U.S. Middle East envoy Jason Greenblatt on Twitter Monday reiterated U.S. support for Israel against Hamas, which Washington considers a terrorist organization. “Terrorists in Gaza are again attacking Israel with tools of war,” he wrote. “These rocket & mortar attacks on Israeli towns must be condemned by all. Israel is forced once again into military action to defend its citizens. We stand with Israel as it defends itself against these attacks.”
Truce negotiations facilitated by the United Nations, Egypt, and Qatar are underway, and further escalation is expected if they are derailed by this week’s violence.
After the White House suspended CNN reporter Jim Acosta’s press credentials last week, the news network filed a lawsuit Tuesday, arguing that Acosta’s First and Fifth Amendment rights are being violated, CNN reports.
There are six defendants in the lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C.: President Trump, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, Deputy Chief of Staff for Communications Bill Shine, Secret Service Director Joseph Clancy, and an unnamed Secret Service officer who took away Acosta’s pass.
Acosta’s access was suspended after he would not give over the microphone to a White House intern while attempting to ask Trump a follow-up question at a press conference. The White House subsequently claimed that Acosta was being suspended because he “[placed] his hands on a young woman,” releasing a deceptively sped-up video as proof. Counselor Kellyanne Conway defended this decision Sunday. “You have to show respect to the White House, to the presidency certainly, to the president,” she said.
The network is seeking a preliminary injunction so that Acosta’s pass can be returned, as well as a ruling that Trump can not take such actions in the future. “If left unchallenged, the actions of the White House would create a dangerous chilling effect for any journalist who covers our elected officials,” CNN said.
A 26-year-old security guard at Manny’s Blue Room in suburban Chicago apprehended a gunman who had opened fire in the bar early Monday, but when police arrived, they shot the guard, Jemel Roberson, who is black. He was the only one killed in the incident, though four other people were injured. “Everybody was screaming out, ‘He was a security guard,’ and they basically saw a black man with a gun and killed him,” witness Adam Harris told Chicago’s WGN.
Manny’s is in Robbins, Illinois, but police from neighboring suburbs responded to the call about shots fired at the bar. It was an officer from the Midlothian Police Department who fatally shot Roberson. Illinois State Police will investigate the killing. Midlothian Police Chief Daniel Delaney did not say whether the officer who shot Roberson has been placed on administrative leave. Roberson had a valid permit to own a gun.
Roberson grew up in Wicker Park, he played the organ at several local churches, and he was studying to become a police officer. He is at least the 840th person shot and killed by a police officer in the U.S. this year, by The Washington Post‘s count, and one of 181 — or 22 percent — who were black. The U.S. is about 13 percent African American.
President Trump’s appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general is already facing a legal challenge.
The state of Maryland is preparing to ask a federal judge to declare Whitaker’s appointment illegal. This would mean Rod Rosenstein would be declared the legitimate acting attorney general, The New York Times reports. Plaintiffs argue Trump cannot “bypass the constitutional and statutory requirements for appointing someone to that office,” and they are seeking an injunction.
Critics have taken issue with the fact that Whitaker did not receive Senate confirmation before being appointed as Jeff Sessions’ replacement at the Justice Department. Others have argued it’s constitutional for Trump to fill Sessions’ role with someone who was not confirmed by the Senate, so long as it’s on a temporary basis. Whitaker has been an outspoken critic of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, and many have called for Whitaker to recuse himself from that investigation.
The court challenge is part of an unrelated Affordable Care Act lawsuit brought by the Maryland attorney general in which Sessions is named. The judge, Ellen L. Hollander, needs to replace Sessions as a defendant with his successor, which requires her to determine whether Whitaker is actually Sessions’ legal successor, the Times reports.
If the judge rules Whitaker’s appointment is illegal, the case would likely head to the Supreme Court, per NBC News.
Amazon is expected to announce Tuesday that it has decided to divide its new, second headquarters between New York City and Northern Virginia, several news organizations reported Monday night. The headquarters will be split between Long Island City in the New York borough of Queens and Crystal City, Virginia, with about 25,000 employees at each location. Amazon began the search for a second headquarters equal to its base in Seattle in September 2017. Cities across the country tried to lure the company with tax breaks and other incentives. Reports of the plan to split the new headquarters, dubbed HQ2, emerged last week. Some analysts say the decision makes sense, because it would be hard to find 50,000 qualified workers in a single region.
[The Washington Post, Politico]
President Trump on Monday blamed the stock market’s plunge on the prospect of investigations of his administration by Democrats when they take control of the House of Representatives when the new Congress convenes in January. “The prospect of Presidential Harassment by the Dems is causing the Stock Market big headaches!” Trump tweeted. U.S. stocks dropped sharply on Monday on concerns that technology stocks were in trouble. The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell by 2.3 percent, the S&P 500 dropped by 2 percent, and the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite plummeted by 2.8 percent. Analysts said the market’s volatility had nothing to do with politics.
[The Washington Post]
Apple shares fell by 5 percent Monday after a key supplier slashed its financial outlook, stoking concerns about sagging iPhone demand. Lumentum Holdings, which provides facial recognition technology used in the newest iPhones, cut its revenue expectations by $70 million, saying a major customer had reduced its orders. Lumentum did not mention Apple by name, but the tech giant accounted for 30 percent of its fiscal 2018 revenue. The drop in Apple shares fueled a broader market selloff. Lumentum shares plummeted by more than 30 percent.
Home Depot shares rose by 2.3 percent in pre-market trading on Tuesday after the home-improvement retailer reported quarterly earnings and revenue that exceeded analysts’ expectations. The company also raised its full-year outlook. Net income for the quarter rose to $2.51 per share from $1.84 in the same period last year. The FactSet consensus was $2.27 per share. Home Depot’s unexpectedly strong earnings report helped lift U.S. stocks after Monday’s nosedive. Dow Jones Industrial Average futures rose early Tuesday, pointing to gains of 150 points at the open after Monday’s 602-point drop.
Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has resumed discussions with his Chinese counterpart, Vice Premier Liu He, about easing trade tensions between the world’s two biggest economies. They spoke by telephone Friday, officials said Monday, as President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping prepare to meet at the end of the month. The U.S. is demanding that China make a concrete offer on a trade deal before negotiations start, but Chinese officials want to start discussions first, reportedly fearing they will lose leverage once they put an offer on the table. The Friday conversation did not produce a breakthrough.
Democratic Rep. Kyrsten Sinema won Arizona’s tight Senate race against Republican Rep. Martha McSally, flipping the seat and reducing the GOP’s Senate gain coming out of last week’s midterms. The seat was left open when Sen. Jeff Flake (R) decided not to run for re-election. Sinema was behind on election night but gained as more ballots were tallied, with her lead growing to 1.7 percentage points in the last few days, putting the contest out of reach for McSally. Sinema overcame GOP attacks over her liberal record in the Arizona state legislature, and pledged in her victory speech to “put country ahead of party” the way the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) did. McSally, a House freshman, had been considered a moderate but allied herself closely with President Trump in the Senate campaign.
[The Washington Post]
President Trump on Monday called on Florida election officials to end recounts in the too-close-to-call Senate and gubernatorial races, and declare fellow Republicans Rick Scott and Ron DeSantis the winners. Both held narrow leads on election night that have grown even thinner as more votes were counted in heavily Democratic Broward County. Scott, the state’s outgoing governor, now leads incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson and DeSantis leads Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum by less than 0.5 percent, the threshold to trigger automatic recounts that are now underway. Nelson is within 0.25 percent, close enough to qualify for a manual recount. Trump and Scott have claimed Democrats are resorting to fraud to win, but state law enforcement and elections officials say there is no evidence supporting their allegations.
The death toll from the Camp Fire in Northern California’s Butte County rose to 42 on Monday, making it the deadliest fire in the state’s history. The fire was still just 30 percent contained after burning 117,000 acres and destroying 7,177 homes and businesses, many in the devastated town of Paradise, according to the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection or Cal Fire. Two more fires threatened communities in Southern California. One of the blazes, the Woolsey Fire, grew to 93,662 acres on Monday in Los Angeles and Ventura counties. It has killed two people and destroyed 435 homes and other structures in the celebrity enclaves of Malibu, West Lake Village, and Calabasas.
Conservative conspiracy theorist Jerome Corsi, an associate of Trump confidant Roger Stone, said Monday that he expects to be indicted under Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion by Trump campaign associates. “I’m going to be indicted,” Corsi said on his YouTube show. “That’s what we were told. Everyone should know that, and I’m anticipating it.” Corsi’s attorney and Mueller’s office declined to comment. Mueller reportedly has been investigating alleged connections between Stone and WikiLeaks, which intelligence agencies have concluded got hacked Democratic emails from Russian agents. Corsi, former Washington bureau chief for the conspiracy theory outlet Infowars, said he did not remember ever meeting with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
[The Associated Press]
A member of the team of Saudi operatives who killed dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month told a superior by phone to “tell your boss” that the assassination had taken place, The New York Times reported Monday, citing three people familiar with a recording obtained by Turkish intelligence. The “boss” the operative is referring to is believed to be Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia, who has denied advance knowledge of any plan to kill Khashoggi. The man who was speaking, Maher Abdulaziz Mutreb, is a security officer who frequently traveled with the crown prince. Turkish intelligence officers believe he was speaking with one of the crown prince’s aides. The recording was shared last month with CIA Director Gina Haspel.
[The New York Times]
The mother of a black security guard, Jemel Roberson, who was killed by police at a suburban Chicago bar, filed a lawsuit seeking $1 million on Monday, saying the officer fired without provocation. Roberson, 26, had detained a man who allegedly opened fire in Manny’s Blue Room Bar in Robbins, Illinois, after a confrontation involving several men early Sunday. Roberson returned fire and caught a suspect before officers from suburban police departments responded. Roberson was holding a gun and subduing the suspect when officers arrived. “Everybody was screaming out, ‘He was a security guard,'” witness Adam Harris told WGN. Midlothian Police Chief Daniel Delaney said the officer from his department “encountered a subject with a gun” and shot him.
[The Associated Press, The Washington Post]
U.S. Roman Catholic bishops met in Baltimore on Monday planning to vote on measures to hold themselves accountable for the church’s child sexual abuse scandal, but in a last-minute surprise the Vatican told them to hold off until next year. Pope Francis plans to hold a summit in Rome in 2019 to discuss the abuse crisis with bishops from around the world. The U.S. bishops learned of the delay minutes before their meeting, and many were stunned. “We are not ourselves happy about this,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Houston, the president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. “We are working very well to move to action, and we’ll do it. We just have a bump in the road.” Abuse survivors denounced the delay.
[The New York Times]
The Department of Health and Human Services released new physical fitness guidelines on Monday, calling for adults to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week. The guidelines also recommended two sessions of muscle-strengthening activity per week. Less than a third of Americans meet the guidelines. The government said children ages 6 through 17 should get 60 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise per week, or more. Children should get three weekly sessions of muscle strengthening. Moderate-intensity activities include bike riding and brisk walking, while muscle-strengthening includes weight training, “heavy gardening,” and yoga.
President Trump has told advisers he wants to push out Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen as soon as possible, The Washington Post reported Monday, citing five current and former White House officials. An announcement could come as soon as this week, three of the officials said. Trump has complained about Nielsen for months and does not think she is doing a good enough job securing the borders, the officials said. People close to Nielsen said Trump gets frustrated when she tries to tell him about immigration laws and regulations, and he has berated her during Cabinet meetings. White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who once served as the department’s secretary, is Nielsen’s biggest defender in the administration, and is trying to either fight her dismissal or postpone it.
[The Washington Post]
Stan Lee, the legendary Marvel Comics writer and editor who helped revolutionize the comic book industry and created dozens of iconic superheroes, died Monday after being rushed to a hospital in Los Angeles. He was 95. The cause of death was not immediately known. Lee was forced to cancel numerous appearances earlier this year after he fell ill with pneumonia. Lee created heroes like the Fantastic Four, Iron Man, Thor, the Incredible Hulk, the X-Men, and Black Panther. He also had cameos in nearly every Marvel Comics film adaptation. “Stan Lee was as extraordinary as the characters he created,” Disney chairman and CEO Bob Iger said. “A superhero in his own right to Marvel fans around the world, Stan had the power to inspire, to entertain, and to connect.”
[NBC News, The Hollywood Reporter]