1.White House Spox Says Decision to Fire Comey Was Months in the Making
Deputy White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders held a press hearing Thursday at the White House to offer context for the dismissal of former FBI Director James Comey. President Donald Trump fired Comey late Tuesday afternoon, following “the clear recommendations” of Attorney General Jeff Sessions.
Speaking to reporters Thursday, Sanders said the president had wanted to give Comey a chance, but increasingly lost confidence in the FBI director in the months following his inauguration. The deputy press secretary noted that Hillary Clinton would have done the same if she were president.
— CSPAN (@cspan) May 10, 2017
2. New Report Shows Damage Caused by MOAB Mega-Bomb in Afghanistan
On Thursday, Fox News released an exclusive report highlighting the damage caused by the “Massive Ordnance Air Blast” (also referred to as the “Mother of All Bombs,” or MOAB). Last month the United States dropped its largest non-nuclear bomb on Afghanistan’s Nanganhar province, a known ISIS outpost.
According to Afghan defense officials, the attack was “very effective,” killing more than 90 ISIS fighters, destroying supply routes, and damaging morale within the Islamic terror group. Speaking to Fox on the condition of anonymity, a high-ranking Afghan defense official noted that the decision to employ the MOAB was “carefully calculated.”
3. Mormon Church Pulls Out of Boy Scouts Programs for Teens
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints released an open letter Thursday, announcing its withdrawal from the Boy Scouts of America’s programs for older teens, ages 14 to 18. The letter notes that while the church will continue its partnership with the youth organization, it will end its involvement in the Varsity and Venturing programs, noting that these “have historically been difficult to implement within the Church.” Read Faithwire’s full report here.
4. Chechnya Gay Rights Activists Arrested in Moscow
Russian police detained five gay rights activists Thursday in Moscow, the Independent reported. The arrests come amid multiple reports of the torture and killing of gay people in the Russian territory of Chechnya. The five activists were allegedly trying to deliver a petition to prosecutors in Moscow against the treatment of gay men in Chechnya when police arrested them. According to the Independent, the petition had received hundreds of thousands of signatures from people demanding an investigation into the reported abuse in the predominantly Muslim republic. Moscow police said the five activists arrested Thursday were engaging in unsanctioned protest.
5. VA Head Says Ending Veteran Homelessness Will Take Longer Than Predicted
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin says the effort to eliminate homelessness among some 40,000 veterans will require a “multi-year process.” Speaking to the Associated Press, Shulkin said reducing the number of homeless veterans to 10,000 or 15,000 over the next four years of President Trump’s administration is an “achievable goal.” By contrast, former VA Secretary Robert McDonald claimed in January that veteran homelessness could be completely eradicated within a couple of years. According to Shulkin, this goal is ideal but unrealistic.
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