Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Sunday called Steve Bannon a “specialist in nominating people who lose,” in reference to the former White House chief strategist’s campaign to topple him and other incumbent Republicans. “Trying to cook up an issue like this that’s irrelevant is only going to create divisions and make it more difficult for us to win in November,” McConnell said on Fox News Sunday. Bannon has waged war against McConnell, and has pledged to defeat every Republican incumbent up for re-election in 2018 except for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX).
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Sunday won an overwhelming governing mandate in the country’s snap elections, with his Liberal Democratic party and its affiliate retaining its two-thirds supermajority in the lower house. Abe won in part due to his strong stance against North Korea. “At a time when North Korea is threatening us and increasing tensions, we must never waver,” Abe said immediately before the vote. “We must not yield to the threat of North Korea.”
Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl said returning home to the U.S. was more difficult than being held hostage by the Taliban. “At least the Taliban were honest enough to say, ‘I’m the guy who’s gonna cut your throat,’” Bergdahl told The Sunday Times. “Here, it could be the guy I pass in the corridor who’s going to sign the paper that sends me away for life.” Bergdahl, who was held in Afghanistan for five years after leaving his base, pleaded guilty last week to desertion charges.
Retired four-star Gen. David Petraeus on Sunday hit back at White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders’ suggestion that it would be “highly inappropriate” to question a four-star general. “I think we’re all fair game,” Petraeus, the former CIA director, said on ABC’s This Week. “We, in uniform, protect the rights of those to criticize us, frankly … we are fiercely protective of the rights of our Americans to express themselves, even if that includes criticizing us.” Sanders was referring to White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, a retired four-star general himself, who defended the president from criticism over his phone call with a Gold Star widow by slamming Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-FL) using incorrect information. Sanders defended Kelly by suggesting that four-star generals are not to be questioned.
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Former President Jimmy Carter told The New York Times in an interview that he wants to be President Trump’s North Korea envoy. “I would go, yes,” Carter, 93, said. “I’m afraid, too, of a situation. I don’t know what they’ll do. Because they want to save their regime.” Carter, a Democrat, said he has spoken with Trump’s national security adviser, H.R. McMaster, about the job. During the interview, Carter lashed out at the Obama administration’s foreign policy more than Trump’s.
Dr. Phil reportedly crashed into a skateboarder with his car on Friday. According to TMZ, the incident occurred when the TV doctor was exiting a parking lot near Universal Studios. He reportedly tried to pass a van and in doing so crashed into a skateboarder on a crosswalk. Dr. Phil reportedly got out of his car to check on the man, in his early 20s, and he drove away after the man said he was fine. But when police officers showed up, they called an ambulance. The skateboarder refused to take it and said he would go on his own. TMZ reports “it doesn’t look good” for Dr. Phil.
The World Health Organization on Sunday reversed its decision to appoint Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe as a “goodwill ambassador,” following an outcry from human rights groups. “Over the last few days, I have reflected on my appointment of H.E. President Robert Mugabe as WHO Goodwill Ambassador for NCDs in Africa. As a result I have decided to rescind the appointment,” WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a statement. Two dozen international health organizations had released a joint statement condemning the decision because of Mugabe’s “long track record of human rights violations.”
Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, a vocal critic of President Vladimir Putin, was released from jail on Sunday after spending 20 days behind bars for organizing public meetings and rallies unlawfully. Navalny is likely to run for president against Putin next year, but he has been declared ineligible for office over a suspended prison sentence. Navalny says the decision was politically motivated. If Putin runs again next year, he is expected to win a fourth term.
President Trump on Saturday said he would allow the release of confidential files on the assassination of former President John F. Kennedy. “Subject to the receipt of further information, I will be allowing, as President, the long blocked and classified JFK FILES to be opened,” Trump announced on Twitter. It was not immediately clear what “further information” was required. Thousands of documents are slated to be released in accordance with the President John F. Kennedy Assassination Records Collection Act of 1992, which gave the federal government a deadline of Oct. 26, 2017 to disclose the documents. Amid reports earlier this week that some administration officials were concerned about the files revealing information on U.S. intelligence programs, a White House spokeswoman on Friday said the administration would seek to “to ensure that the maximum amount of data can be released to the public,” Politico Magazine reported. Longtime Trump confidant Roger Stone, an enthusiastic peddler of conspiracy theories, had reportedly been pushing him to release the documents.