It’s Wednesday, July 17, 2019. Let’s start here.
1. Tweet firestorm
Amid an uproar over President Donald Trump’s attacks on four Democratic congresswomen of color, in which he tweeted at them to “go back” to where they came from, Democrats in Congress voted to condemn his remarks and to put Republicans on the record with their disapproval.
Although four Republicans crossed party lines to vote with Democrats, many GOP lawmakers have dodged commenting on the debate entirely as Trump urged the party not to “show weakness.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell spoke out on the issue for the first time on Tuesday,
calling on both sides to tone down the rhetoric, but declined to address the president’s tweets directly.
“There’s no question that Donald Trump and … the nationalist movement that he represents has an absolute iron grip on the Republican Party,” ABC News Senior National Correspondent Terry Moran tells “Start Here.” “You really can’t diverge from him and survive as a Republican.”
2. ‘We can’t breathe’
A New York City police officer will not face federal civil rights charges in the choking death of Eric Garner, whose final words caught on video, “I can’t breathe,” sparked national protests.
Responding to the decision on Tuesday, Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, said the Department of Justice “failed” her family: “Five years ago, my son said, ‘I can’t breathe’ 11 times, and today we can’t breathe.”
The Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice and federal prosecutors in Brooklyn debated whether they could prove beyond a reasonable doubt NYPD Officer Daniel Pantaleo violated Garner’s civil rights, according to ABC News’ Aaron Katersky, and ultimately the decision was left
up to Attorney General William Barr.
“He sided with prosecutors in Brooklyn, who didn’t think they could convict,” Katersky tells us. “Members of the Civil Rights Division really wanted this case to move forward. The attorney general at the time it happened, Eric Holder, had pushed for it, and there was always this dispute internally.”
3. Unrest in Puerto Rico
Police in Puerto Rico fired tear gas on protesters Monday night outside the governor’s mansion as large crowds gathered to call on Gov. Ricardo Rossello to resign amid a group-chat scandal that led to the resignation of multiple government officials.
On Saturday, the non-profit journalism group Center of Investigative Journalism published nearly 900 pages of conversations made through the Telegram app that detail efforts to manipulate public narratives, operations to discredit negative press coverage and criticism of opposition leaders.
The report also details multiple sexist, homophobic and misogynistic comments from the members of the group.
These messages have not been independently authenticated by ABC News.
ABC News’ Joshua Hoyos says Rossello is standing firm amid plans for an even larger protest Wednesday.
4. A warmer Earth could be a more violent Earth
Two new studies are shining light on the potential effects of global warming.
Penn State atmospheric science professor Michael Mann weighs in on one study, which finds that we could be see entire months with heat index temperatures above 100 degrees by 2050.
Then, Cullen Hendrix, a University of Denver professor specializing in international security, explains a second report that details the spike in violence that could accompany those rising temperatures.
“Start Here,” ABC News’ flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day’s top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.
‘It can live in a proper and healthy habitat’: “Chance the Snapper” is finally apprehended in Chicago.
‘They are not really prepared for meth’: Authorities warn that flushing drugs down the toilet could lead to “meth-gators.”
From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:
Our way-too-early projections for the 2019-20 NBA season: The NBA, it is often said, has no offseason anymore — and so, we are determined to keep pace. That’s why we have already reloaded the FiveThirtyEight NBA prediction model to include updated projections and probabilities for the 2019-20 season, three months before the regular season actually tips off. Because the NBA never stops.
Doff your cap:
Jimmy Kimmel has finally written a book. He’s also illustrated it. It’s also about a goose. A serious goose. Seriously.
.@jimmykimmel is adding author to his resume! Proceeds from his new children’s book “The Serious Goose” will be donated to children’s hospitals all over the country in honor of his son Billy. pic.twitter.com/8iUuFdqY8U
— Good Morning America (@GMA) July 16, 2019
Kimmel, 51, announced the book on Tuesday.
All proceeds will be donated to children’s hospitals, including the one in Los Angeles that saved his son, Billy, who was born with a heart defect that required multiple surgeries.