Trump: ‘American Hostage’ in Venezuela Has Been Released

President Trump on Saturday took to Twitter to announce that a Utah resident held in Venezuela for the past two years was now free and on his way to the White House. “Good news about the release of the American hostage from Venezuela. Should be landing in D.C. this evening and be in the White House, with his family, at about 7:00 P.M.,” Trump wrote. Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) confirmed the news, saying in a statement that Joshua Holt and his wife Thamara were on their way "home" to the U.S. “after two years of hard work.” Holt, a Mormon missionary from Utah, was thrown in a Venezuelan jail in 2016 days after arriving to meet Thamara, whom he’d met online. He was accused of stockpiling weapons but was never given a trial. His release comes a week after he released a video plea begging Washington to save him during a prison riot.

2. Déjà vu

South, North Korean Leaders Hold Surprise Meeting

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met on Saturday to discuss sticking to their commitments to peace and Kim’s on-again, off-again summit with President Trump. South Korea’s presidential office said the meeting took place in a border truce village at the Demilitarized Zone, the second such high-level meeting in recent weeks. Seoul offered few details on the pair’s discussions but said the results would be made public on Sunday. The meeting came just hours after Trump took to Twitter to say the June 12 summit with Kim he’d canceled on Thursday may still be revived after the two sides had “productive talks.”


Report: FBI Has Wiretap of Putin Ally Linked to Trump Jr.

Spanish authorities have reportedly provided the FBI with secret wiretapped conversations involving Alexander Torshin, a Vladimir Putin ally with links to the National Rifle Association who made a “Russian backdoor overture” to Trump’s campaign. José Grinda, a Spanish anti-corruption prosecutor familiar with the conversations, told Yahoo News that Torshin was recorded speaking with convicted Russian money launderer Alexander Romanov, who refers to Torshin in the tapes as “El Padrino,” or “the godfather.” Grinda reportedly suggested the wiretap touches on a May 2016 meeting Torshin had with Donald Trump Jr. at the NRA’s annual convention in Louisville. “Mr. Trump’s son should be concerned,” Grinda was quoted as saying. Trump Jr. has acknowledged speaking with Torshin at the event but said the two shared only a brief moment of “small talk.” Torshin was hit by U.S. sanctions last month and has come under scrutiny amid the ongoing Russia investigation. During the 2016 presidential campaign, he used an intermediary to pitch a meeting between Trump and the Russian president, though Trump’s team is said to have passed on the offer.

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Sesame Street Sues Over ‘Violent, Ejaculating Puppets’ Film

The creators of the iconic children’s show Sesame Street are suing over an upcoming Melissa McCarthy film that they say hijacks the show’s brand to depict puppets engaging in lewd activities. In a lawsuit filed this week against the STX film studio, Sesame Street’s parent company says the R-rated movie, The Happytime Murders, threatens to damage its brand with “explicit, profane, drug-using, misogynistic, violent, copulating, and even ejaculating puppets.” The film, slated for an August release and directed by one of Jim Henson’s family members, features the tagline, “No Sesame. All Street.” “Sesame seeks an injunction that forces Defendants to cease and desist their trading upon the goodwill associated with Sesame Street in furtherance of box office receipts,” the lawsuit says. “The promotion of The Happytime Murders should succeed or fail on its own merits, not on a cynical, unlawful attempt to deceive and confuse the public into associating it with the most celebrated children’s program in history.” STX responded by expressing disappointment that Sesame Street “does not share in the fun” and vowed to fight the lawsuit in court.


Border Patrol Changes Story on Migrant’s Fatal Shooting

U.S. Customs and Border Protection has released a new account of a border agent’s fatal shooting of an undocumented immigrant that now excludes claims of an attack with “blunt objects.” The agency had initially said 20-year-old Claudia Patricia Gomez Gonzalez was killed in Laredo, Texas, on Wednesday after joining others in assaulting an agent with “blunt objects.” In the original statement, Gonzalez was described as “one of the assailants.” On Friday, however, a new statement provided a drastically different account, saying Gonzalez was a “member of the group” of migrants that “rushed” the border agent. The agency issued the new account of the incident in lieu of a news conference on Friday that it canceled. The shooting is currently under investigation by the FBI and Texas Rangers.


USC President Steps Down Over Gynecologist Scandal

University of Southern California president C.L. Max Nikias has agreed to resign amid mounting public outrage over a university gynecologist accused of sexually abusing his patients for decades. “We have heard the message that something is broken and that urgent and profound actions are needed,” Rick J. Caruso, the chairman of the university’s board, said in a letter to students and faculty. The board has “agreed to begin an orderly transition and commence the process of selecting a new president,” Caruso said. The announcement came amid calls for Nikias’ ouster from hundreds of students and faculty who say the university ignored numerous complaints about the gynecologist, Dr. George Tyndall. Tyndall, 71, is accused of taking inappropriate photos of patients’ genitals, touching them inappropriately under the guise of medical treatment, and making crude sexual comments during exams. He worked at the university’s clinic for 30 years.


Ireland Votes in Landslide to Repeal Abortion Ban: Exit Poll

According to an Irish Times exit poll, conducted by Ipsos/MRBI, Ireland has voted in a landslide to repeal the country’s abortion ban. “The poll suggests that the margin of victory for the Yes side in the referendum will be 68 per cent to 32 per cent—a stunning victory for the Yes side after a long and often divisive campaign,” the Times reported. In particular, the referendum asked voters whether to repeal a constitutional ban on abortion, enacted as Ireland’s Eighth Amendment in 1983. The debate over the motion became so massive that emigrant supporters of both repealing and upholding the law flew back to Ireland just to vote in the referendum.


Three Women Injured in Hit-and-Run Crash in Portland

Three women were injured Friday when they were struck by an SUV while walking on a sidewalk in downtown Portland Friday morning, according to The Oregonian. One woman is reportedly in critical condition at Oregon Health & Science University Hospital, with the others are in serious and fair condition. Portland Police Department tweeted Friday afternoon that they located the blue Mazda Tribute used in the incident, and believe there is no “danger to the community connected with this incident.” A police source told the newspaper that the registered owner of the car was “flagged in the bureau's database as suicidal with mental health issues,” and said police believe the incident was “intentional” based on witness statements. There may have been “a fourth victim who left the scene,” according to law enforcement. The hit-and-run was close to the Portland State University Urban Center, where “university departments,” restaurants, and public transportation stops are located. The newspaper reports that witnesses saw the car “traveling in the transit-only lanes” and said it didn’t “stop or slow down.”


Report: Virginia Congressman Made Staff Clean Up Dog Poop

Rep. Tom Garrett (R-VA) and his wife reportedly made office staff and interns do “mundane” personal tasks like picking up groceries, driving their children, and picking up dog poop, according to Politico. Garrett and his wife, Flanna, would often come to the office with their dog, whom staff were told to watch during office hours, former aides told the outlet. The staffers were also told to clean up after the Jack Russell-Pomeranian mix if she happened to defecate in the office. When Garrett showed up to the office with a stain on his shirt or without a belt, staffers were asked to pick up new clothes for him, his former employees said. One time, a staffer was asked to pick up food from the grocery store and help Flanna unload them in her Washington apartment. Aides and interns were also asked to drive to Scottsdale, Virginia—a three-hour drive from Washington—to pick up Garrett’s two daughters from a previous marriage and drive them to D.C. Garrett’s spokesman said there was currently  “no ethics investigation” into the office, but Garrett has had “lawyers from the House Ethics Committee meet with him and his staff[.]” Sixty percent of Garrett's staff left in 2017, while the typical rate for staff turnover in the House is around 25 percent.