TRUMP WALKS BACK REMARKS… President Trump declared yesterday that he has “full faith and support” in his intelligence agencies, reversing remarks he made the previous day in front of Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump had sparked widespread outrage when he said “I don’t see any reason why it WOULD be Russia” in reference to election-interference allegations. Trump says he intended to use the word “wouldn’t” instead.
MUELLER SEEKS IMMUNITY FOR FIVE WITNESSES… Special counsel Robert Mueller is seeking immunity for five witnesses who could testify against former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort at trial. Mueller wants the requests to remain sealed and has not named the witnesses so they don’t suffer “undue harassment” or “reputational harm.” These witnesses would testify at Manafort’s trial on tax evasion and bank fraud charges and their statements would not be used against them.
OBAMA IN SOUTH AFRICA… Ex-President Barack Obama celebrated the legacy of Nelson Mandela yesterday in a powerful speech he delivered to honor the 100 year anniversary of the former South African president’s birth. At the event in Johannesburg, South Africa, Obama called attention to the “strange and uncertain” world in which “each day’s news cycle is bringing more head-spinning and disturbing headlines.” He also mourned the “utter loss of shame among political leaders” and “politics of fear, resentment, retrenchment.” Obama did assure the crowd, “We’ve been through darker times. We’ve been through lower valleys.”
STATES SUE OVER FEDERAL DEDUCTIONS… Four U.S. states filed suit against the federal government yesterday in an effort to remove the new $10,000 cap on federal deductions for state and local taxes included in President Trump’s 2017 tax overhaul. The lawsuit by New York, Connecticut, Maryland and New Jersey comes seven months after Trump signed the $1.5 trillion tax overhaul passed by Congress. Critics say the cap would disproportionately harm “blue” states that tilt Democratic.
MANDALAY BAY SUES SHOOTING VICTIMS… The Mandalay Bay hotel in Las Vegas is suing more than 1,000 victims of last year’s mass shooting that killed 58 people at a country music festival. The suit filed by the hotel’s owner, MGM Resorts International, does not seek money and is being interpreted as a legal maneuver to avoid liability claims. MGM Resorts International argued in complaints filed in Nevada and California that it could not be held liable for any deaths, injuries or damages caused during the attack.
CW TO AIR ‘BATWOMAN’ SERIES… A TV version of “Batwoman” is set to become the first live-action superhero series with an openly gay lead character. The series adds to CW channel’s lineup of shows based on DC comics characters. “Batwoman” is described as an “out lesbian and highly trained street fighter primed to snuff out the failing city’s criminal resurgence.”
MICHELLE WILLIAMS SEEKS TREATMENT… Singer Michelle Williams revealed yesterday that she’s seeking help for depression. Williams said she has struggled with for years but gave no specifics on her treatment. The 37-year-old Williams, along with Beyonce Knowles and Kelly Rowland, was a core member of Destiny’s Child.
MLB ALL-STAR GAME…
American League 8 – NATIONAL LEAGUE 6 (10 innings)… Alex Bregman smacked a tie-breaking homer to lead off the top of the 10th inning and his Houston Astros teammate George Springer homered on the next pitch as the American League outslugged the National League in last night’s 89th Major League Baseball All-Star game. Bregman was named the game’s MVP. Mike Trout, Jean Segura and Aaron Judge also went deep for the American Leaguers. The Nationals got homers from Joey Votto, Christian Yelich, Scooter Gennett, Trevor Story and Wilson Contreras. The 10 home runs set a record for the game, shattering the previous record of six set by future Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Hank Aaron, Reggie Jackson, Frank Robinson, Harmon Killebrew and Roberto Clemente in the 1971 game.