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Vox Sentences: The first double execution in the US since 2000

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Trump’s tariffs add to tension with Canada; Michael Flynn may have broken the law; Arkansas executed two men last night.


The US slaps new tariffs on Canadian lumber

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer Holds Daily Press Briefing
Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross discusses new tariffs on Canadian lumber.
Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images
  • Last Thursday, President Trump signaled he was ready to take action against Canada on trade, declaring, “We can’t let Canada or anybody else take advantage and do what they did to our workers and to our farmers.” [New York Times / Mark Landler]
  • Then yesterday, he took action: The administration announced new tariffs on Canadian softwood lumber imports that will range from 3 percent to 24 percent. [New York Times / Peter Baker, Ian Austen]
  • The administration and the Commerce Department allege that the Canadian government subsidizes lumber companies, and that the tariffs are commensurate with the help Canadian lumber companies get from their government. (The Canadian government has denied such claims multiple times over the years, and in 2004 the World Trade Organization took Canada’s side.) [CNN / Patrick Gillespie]
  • This dispute over lumber pricing is decades old (George W. Bush also imposed lumber tariffs), but Trump is far more anti-trade than previous presidents who’ve acted on this, and has promised to renegotiate NAFTA. [NPR / Mark Katkov]
  • Not satisfied with a fight merely about lumber, Trump took to Twitter today to lash out at the Canadian dairy industry. “Canada has made business for our dairy farmers in Wisconsin and other border states very difficult. We will not stand for this. Watch!” [Huffington Post Canada / Canadian Press / Alexander Panetta]
  • (Wisconsin, of course, is not a border state.)
  • Canada’s natural resources minister says the country is weighing both NAFTA and WTO challenges to the new tariffs. [Reuters / David Ljunggren]
  • The National Association of Home Builders, a construction lobbying group in the US, is also fighting the tariffs on the grounds that they make homebuilding more expensive. [The Hill / Vicki Needham​]

Michael Flynn may have broken federal law

Drew Angerer/Getty Images
  • Last month, former Trump National Security Adviser Michael Flynn offered to testify in the ongoing House Intelligence Committee investigation into ties between Russia and Trump associates — in exchange for immunity from prosecution. [CNN / Tom LoBianco, Manu Raju, Shimon Prokupecz]
  • (In 2016, Flynn said himself that “[w]hen you are given immunity, that means you probably committed a crime.”) [Washington Post / Fred Barbash]
  • Shortly after, it came out that Flynn had failed to list speaking fees he had received from Russia-related organizations when he filed a personal financial disclosure form to federal ethics officials. [Washington Post / Matea Gold, Rosalind S. Helderman, Sari Horwitz]
  • Now House Oversight Committee Chair Jason Chaffetz is saying that Flynn’s actions possibly violated federal law. [Politico / Austin Wright]
  • Flynn is a former Army officer and, as such, is not allowed to accept payments from foreign governments, except under very specific circumstances. [Wall Street Journal / Byron Tau, Natalie Andrews]
  • The Oversight Committee reviewed classified documents on Flynn from the Defense Intelligence Agency (which Flynn ran for a few years in the Obama administration), and said that Flynn neither sought permission from nor informed the US government about receiving tens of thousands of dollars from Russian entities. The committee noted that this raised questions about payments Flynn received from a businessman tied to the Turkish government who hired Flynn’s company for consulting work. [Associated Press / Chad Day, Stephen Braun]
  • Chaffetz told reporters, ”I see no data to support the notion that Gen. Flynn complied with the law.” [CNN / Tom LoBianco, Manu Raju]
  • The senior Democrat on the House Oversight Committee, Rep. Elijah Cummings, said that if Flynn indeed committed a felony of “knowingly falsifying or concealing a material fact,” it “may result in fines and/or up to five years imprisonment.” Chaffetz said that any improper payments should be recovered, at least. [New York Times / Emmarie Huetteman, Adam Goldman]
  • This afternoon, the White House blocked an Oversight Committee request for files on Flynn, including a request to see his application for security clearance. [BBC​]

Arkansas’s double execution

Midazolam, one of the drugs used for lethal injections The Washington Post / Contributor
  • As of last night, Arkansas has executed three death row inmates as part of a legally disputed plan to jam through eight executions before the state’s supply of lethal injection drugs expires. [Associated Press / Andrew DeMillo, Kelly P. Kissel]
  • Last Thursday, it carried out the first of the eight — and the first for the state since 2005. Ledell Lee was given a lethal injection that night after the US Supreme Court rejected requests to stay the execution at the last minute (Lee insisted to his death that he was innocent, and was denied DNA testing that could have exonerated him). He was pronounced dead at 11:56 pm; his execution warrant would have expired four minutes later. [Washington Post / Mark Berman]
  • Last night, Arkansas executed Marcel Williams and Jack Jones Jr., both of whom submitted last-minute appeals to the US Supreme Court that were rejected. It was the first double execution carried out in the US since 2000. [NPR / Camila Domonoske, Barbara Campbell]
  • The two men were executed on the same gurney roughly three hours apart. Williams’s execution was briefly delayed because officials botched Jones’s. Attorneys for Williams alleged that Jones “was moving his lips and gulping for air.” [ABC News / Associated Press / Andrew DeMillo, Kelly P. Kissel]
  • In Oklahoma in 2014, the last time a state tried to execute two inmates in one day, the first inmate writhed on the gurney before dying from a heart attack — causing the second scheduled execution to be stayed. The botched Oklahoma execution involved the same controversial sedative used in Arkansas this week, midazolam. [NPR / Camila Domonoske]
  • That sedative, and its presence in several botched executions, has been a key element in the protracted legal battles over Arkansas’s plan. [Mother Jones / Nathalie Baptiste]
  • Ultimately, those legal challenges resulted in staying four of the eight planned executions. Arkansas is scheduled to execute one more inmate on Thursday. [Associated Press / Andrew DeMillo, Kelly P. Kissel​]

Miscellaneous

  • Basically every other person in New Hampshire is a state representative, and it appears the creator of Reddit's hyper-misogynistic Red Pill forum is an NH state rep too. [Daily Beast / Bonnie Bacarisse]
  • One big loser if Trump gets his wish and corporate taxes are cut to 15 percent: affordable housing, which depends heavily on corporate tax credits that a low rate would make much less valuable. [Stateline / Elaine Povich]
  • On the rise and fall of the saxophone in pop music. [The Outline / Kelsey McKinney]
  • Leaked news footage of a Brazilian pink dolphin being killed by fishermen sparked a huge uproar and caused a government crackdown. Which is exactly what the Brazilian TV host and wildlife advocate who set up and filmed the dolphin killing wanted. [Vice / Sarah Jeong]
  • Today I learned that Michigan gained the Upper Peninsula as part of the settlement of a border war it waged with Ohio over a slice of territory around Toledo. [Now I Know / Dan Lewis]

Verbatim

  • “Flutes are an incredibly wack instrument. Possibly the wackest.” [GQ / Miles Raymer]
  • “‘Last Resort’ is the anthem of the owned-but-owning it, the internet loser's performative cry of pain, the cuck's winking lament.” [BuzzFeed / Joseph Bernstein]
  • “I’m an adult, I have a brain.” [Ginelle V to the Atlantic / Tara García Mathewson]
  • “It was this spirit of enquiry that first led him to the South Pacific. But in the beginning, it wasn’t rare wild dogs that lured him there. It was pigs — specifically intersexual ones.” [Huffington Post / Dominique Mosbergen]
  • “Juicero’s Press is an incredibly complicated piece of engineering. Of the hundreds of consumer products I’ve taken apart over the years, this is easily among the top 5 percent on the complexity scale.” [Bolt / Ben Einstein]

Watch this: How sanctuary cities actually work

President Trump says he wants to strip funding from so-called "sanctuary cities," but what exactly do these cities do? [Vox / Dara Lind, Liz Scheltens]


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