News from the note…
A round up of the day’s news that might be of interest to you.
Consider this an OPEN THREAD, folks. Chat about any of the stories listed, share links to stories that caught your eye today, and generally have a good time discussing whatever you want.
From Washington Examiner
The House on Wednesday unanimously approved a resolution supporting NATO just hours after President Trump rebuked intergovernmental military alliance.
The House approved the nonbinding measure by voice vote. The Senate passed a similar resolution on Tuesday by a vote of 97-2. Republican Sens. Mike Lee, of Utah, and Rand Paul, of Kentucky, voted against the Senate measure.
Hours before the House vote, Trump, who is attending at NATO summit in Brussels, criticized the alliance by attacking Germany’s reliance on Russian gas. Trump also called for NATO nations to pay more to support the alliance.
From The Hill
North Korean state media released a series of photos of Kim Jong Un visiting a potato farm, suggesting he may have opted to visit the farm instead of meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
KCNA, the official North Korean news agency, put out several detailed reports about Kim’s trip, according to multiple reports.
While the agency usually reports on Kim’s activities, several outlets, including CBS News, reported that the photos of the visit to the Junghung potato farm were far more in-depth than usual.
Prosecutors say Paul Manafort’s July trial in the Eastern District of Virginia should not be postponed as Manafort requested — and they drop several details about Manafort’s extensive contact with the outside world while he’s behind bars.
Manafort has had hundreds of phone calls to his lawyers and even more to others from jail and sent emails through his lawyers to outside contacts, special counsel Robert Mueller’s team wrote in a new filing. Regarding how he’s prepared for trial, prosecutors heard him say on a taped call that he’s reviewed all evidence before his trial, met with his lawyers every day and has “all my files like I would at home,” the filing says.
“On the monitored prison phone calls, Manafort has mentioned that he is being treated like a ‘VIP’,” the filing stated.
The filing also gives a few more details about the “solitary confinement” conditions Manafort’s attorneys previously described — making it sound like he’s had a far easier living situation than other jail inmates.
From The Hill
President Trump’s spiritual adviser Paula White said this week that Jesus would have been sinful and “would not have been our Messiah” if he had broken immigration laws.
White, who recently toured an immigrant detention center in Virginia, said during an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) on Monday that there was a difference between the immigrants being detained for illegally entering the U.S. and Jesus being a refugee in Egypt.
The Gospel of Matthew describes Jesus and his parents Mary and Joseph fleeing to Egypt shortly after Jesus’s birth to escape King Herod, who sought to kill the infant.
“I think so many people have taken biblical scriptures out of context on this, to say stuff like, ‘Well, Jesus was a refugee,’ ” White told CBN. “And yes, he did live in Egypt for 3 1/2 years. But it was not illegal. If he had broke the law then he would have been sinful and he would not have been our Messiah.”
Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker bluntly warned Wednesday that US influence around the world is “diminishing” and said that President Donald Trump’s comments about NATO have been “damaging” to American leadership in an apparent effort to “tear apart” a critical alliance.
Corker has grown increasingly unnerved about Trump’s sharp attacks against NATO, raising alarms that the President’s rhetoric and actions have “destabilized” a key part of the post-World War II order.
“It’s palpable,” Corker said when asked if Trump has damaged US standing around the world. “The concern people have is to our reliability.”
Corker added that “I do worry” Trump is trying to “tear apart” NATO.
From The Hill
U.S. officials at the southern border may have taken a child of a U.S. citizen into custody, administration lawyers revealed Tuesday.
In a court filing to give an update on efforts to reunite families, lawyers for the Department of Justice (DOJ) said the administration is unable to determine if the child was separated from the parent, and the government hasn’t been able to locate the parent for more than a year.
The child is under the age of 5, according to the filing. Officials did not give any other details about the child or the parent’s potential whereabouts.
One child “cannot be reunified at this time because the parent’s location has been unknown for more than a year,” the filing said. “Defendants are unable to conclusively determine whether the parent is a class member, and records show the parent and child might be U.S. citizens.”
A band of Democratic National Committee superdelegates is staging a revolt against a Bernie Sanders-endorsed plan to reduce their influence in the presidential nominating process, mounting a longshot bid to block the measure when the DNC meets in Chicago next month.
The proposal, a priority of Sanders’ supporters since the Vermont senator‘s defeat in a bitterly contested 2016 primary, would prohibit superdelegates — who made up roughly 15 percent of the delegates during the 2016 convention — from voting on the first presidential nominating ballot at a contested national convention.
But even as the DNC’s Rules and Bylaws Committee moved forward with the proposal Wednesday, superdelegates outside of Washington were beginning to organize opposition ahead of the August vote by the full DNC in Chicago.
So what exactly is NATO, and why is the organization so significant? How are these tensions affecting the organization? ABC News breaks down NATO’s history, importance and criticisms.
What is NATO?
NATO stands for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a security alliance established in 1949 during the early days of the Cold War to counter Soviet aggression in Europe.
Now numbering 29 countries in Europe and North America, the alliance’s goal is to “safeguard the freedom and security of its members through political and military means,” according to its website.
The organization promotes “democratic values” and encourages member nations to work together on issues of defense and security to prevent long-term conflict.
When security disputes occur, NATO advocates peaceful resolutions. There are guidelines for the use of military force, outlined in Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, the founding treaty of NATO.