$19.1 Billion in Federal Disaster Aid Stalls After Single Republican Objects

Rep. Chip Roy (R-TX) single-handedly stopped a $19.1 billion disaster aid package on Friday. Roy’s vote stalled legislation that would send federal funding to areas across the country devastated by natural disasters, such as victims of California wildfires, Midwestern flooding, and hurricanes that hit the Southeast and Puerto Rico. Roy said he objected to the bill because it would add to the country’s debt, and leaves out $4.4 billion in additional spending along the U.S.-Mexico border. Despite the missing border funding, the bill has the support of President Trump, and easily passed the Senate on Thursday. “This is a bill that includes nothing to address the clear national emergency and humanitarian crisis we face at our southern border,” Roy said.

The lawmaker immediately faced backlash from both sides of the aisle for his decision. Roy is a freshman congressman, but served as chief of staff to Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) in 2013 when Cruz helped force a partial government shutdown. The House will try to pass the legislation by unanimous consent again on Tuesday. When asked how he would vote, Roy responded: “We’ll see, I have not decided what I’m going to do next week.”


Fired Baylor Coach Art Briles Hired to Lead High School Football Team

Nearly three years after being fired from Baylor University for his handling of a sexual assault scandal, Art Briles is back to coaching with a new job as head football coach at a Texas high school. In a press release announcing the news late Friday, Mount Vernon High School said Briles had signed a two-year contract to lead the team and would begin coaching in the fall. Briles, who had trouble landing a job in the U.S. after leaving Baylor in disgrace in 2016, said in a statement that he was “excited” to be coaching again. “You'll make no bigger impact in this world than when you shape the lives of young people—one practice, one game, and one life at a time,” he said. Many on social media were quick to condemn Briles’ hiring. “Yes, Art, the Baylor rape survivors are very aware of your impact on young lives,” Brenda Tracy, an activist and sexual assault survivor, wrote on Twitter. Briles was fired from Baylor after an internal investigation found that at least 17 women had been raped by more than a dozen players over the period of a few years. A civil lawsuit put the number of sexual assaults much higher. Briles was accused of turning a blind eye to the sexual violence at the time, though he has denied knowing about the assaults.


Brooklinen’s New Summer Linen Sheet Collection Gives Us New Colorways for Perfect Spring Room Makeovers

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Federal Judge Blocks Part of Trump’s Border Wall Plans

A federal judge blocked parts of President Trump’s border wall plans late Friday, granting a preliminary injunction to stop the administration from using Defense Department funds for certain projects in Texas and Arizona. Judge Haywood Gilliam of the Northern District of California handed down a 56-page ruling saying Trump would have to halt projects relying on $1 billion in Pentagon counter-drug funding that was diverted to pay for certain expansions and enhancements of barriers at the southern border. “The position that when Congress declines the Executive's request to appropriate funds, the Executive nonetheless may simply find a way to spend those funds 'without Congress' does not square with fundamental separation of powers principles dating back to the earliest days of our Republic,” Gilliam wrote. The ruling, which does not bar the administration from using other sources of funding for the projects, came in response to a lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union.


Giuliani Meets With Former Ukrainian Diplomat in Push for Trump-Friendly Probes

Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani has met with a former Ukrainian diplomat as part of his push to prove Democrats worked with Ukrainian officials during the 2016 presidential election to undermine then Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort. “He was in Washington and he came up to New York, and we spent most of the afternoon together,” Giuliani told The Washington Post of his previously undisclosed meeting with Andrii Telizhenko. “I can’t tell you a thing about the meeting. When I have something to say, I’ll say it,” Giuliani was quoted as saying. Telizhenko also confirmed the meeting but said only that it was about “U.S.-Ukraine relations and politics in D.C. and Ukraine,” according to the Post. News of the meeting comes after Giuliani publicly announced and then promptly canceled a trip to Ukraine to push the incoming president to continue investigations that could be politically beneficial to Trump. One concerned former vice president and 2020 contender Joe Biden, who Giuliani has suggested may have abused his position to protect his son, Hunter, amid an investigation at the Ukrainian gas company where he was employed. Another concerns claims by Giuliani and other Trump allies that Ukrainian officials sought to help Hillary Clinton during the 2016 election by undermining Manafort. Ukraine’s top prosecutor has already publicly stated that investigators have no evidence of wrongdoing by either Biden or his son.  


Federal Judge Blocks Mississippi’s ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion Law

A federal judge on Friday blocked a new Mississippi law banning abortions as early as six weeks into a pregnancy, saying it “threatens immediate harm to women’s rights.” Judge Carlton Reeves noted in issuing a preliminary injunction against the law that “most women do not seek abortion services until after six weeks,” echoing one of the biggest criticisms of the state's “heartbeat” abortion ban. “Allowing the law to take effect would force the clinic to stop providing most abortion care,” Reeves wrote, adding that “by banning abortions after the detection of a fetal heartbeat, the law prevents a woman's free choice, which is central to personal dignity and autonomy.” The Center for Reproductive Rights had filed a lawsuit challenging the legislation, which was due to take effect on July 1.


Trump to Invoke Emergency Authority and Sidestep Congress to Secure Arms Deals With Saudi Arabia

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told lawmakers Friday that President Trump will invoke emergency authority to complete 22 arms deals—worth about $8 billion—without congressional approval. The move effectively allows the president to complete the sale and transfer of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other countries without congressional oversight. The sale includes bombs, missile systems, as well as drones. Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle fear the arms will be used by Saudi Arabia to fight civilians in Yemen.

Typically, the White House must notify Congress about potential arms sales. However, Pompeo stated in his letter to Congress that he had “determined that an emergency exists which requires the proposed sale in the national security interest of the United States and thus, waives the congressional review requirements.” Pompeo did not specify what the emergency is. “There is no new ‘emergency’ reason to sell bombs to the Saudis to drop in Yemen,” said Senator Chris Murphy (D-CN). “If we don’t stand up to this abuse of authority, we will permanently box ourselves out of deciding who we should sell weapons to.”


‘Virgin’ Anaconda Gives Birth at New England Aquarium

Anna the anaconda gave birth to a litter of baby snakes at the New England Aquarium in January—while she was completely isolated from any male snakes. The aquarium’s biologists said the birth had to be an immaculate conception, known as “parthenogenesis” in biology, which loosely translates to “virgin birth” in Greek. DNA testing confirmed that the 2-foot-long, green anaconda babies are the product of nonsexual reproduction. Parthenogenesis is an extremely rare reproductive strategy among vertebrate species, and Anna’s is only the second known confirmed case in a green anaconda.

“Genetically, it’s a vulnerable process,” aquarium spokesman Tony LaCasse said. “It’s among that tagline, ‘life will find a way.’ It’s a completely unique and amazing reproductive strategy, but it has a low viability compared to sexual reproduction.” The aquarium’s resident biologist found three live babies and about a dozen stillborn, a common occurrence with parthenogenesis births. The young snakes are genetic copies, or clones, of the mother.


Ex-Navy Sailor Pleads Guilty to Espionage After Contacting Russians to Offer Up Classified Intel

A former member of the U.S. Navy pleaded guilty to two counts of espionage after taking classified information about nuclear-powered warships in an effort to share the information with Russia. U.S. Navy Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephen Kellogg III was sentenced to three years for his acts, officials said Friday. Kellogg was a nuclear electrician’s mate with access to classified information relating to the capabilities, operations, and maintenance of the Navy’s nuclear propulsion systems. According to court documents, Kellogg was in contact with Sevmash, Russia’s largest shipbuilding enterprise and only nuclear submarine producer. Authorities learned of the plan after he was arrested for drunken and disorderly conduct at a San Diego Airport. Kellogg admitted in a pre-trial agreement to knowing that if the information he possessed became public, potential adversaries could learn the capabilities and limitations of the United States’ nuclear-powered warships.


First American Financial Corp. Inadvertently Exposed Hundreds of Millions of Mortgage Documents Online

The website for insurance giant First American Financial Corp. leaked hundreds of millions of documents related to mortgage deals onto the internet over a period of several years, KrebsOnSecurity reports. First American reportedly did not know about the massive leak until Krebs notified them. The website allegedly exposed approximately 885 million files, with the earliest dating back to 2003. The documents included bank account numbers and statements, mortgage and tax records, Social Security numbers, wire transaction receipts, and drivers license images. All of the documents were allegedly available to anyone with access to a web browser, Krebs reports. First American acknowledged in a statement Friday that a “design defect” had possibly allowed “unauthorized access to customer data” but gave no details on the scale of the breach.

First American is a leading provider of title insurance and settlement services to the real estate and mortgage industries. The leak is said to have allowed anyone who knew the URL for a document on the website to view other documents by simply modifying a single digit in the link. This hole in security could also potentially apply to anyone who’s ever been sent a document link via email by the company. First American is one of the most widely-used companies for closing real estate deals.