Democrat drops out
Kansas City, Mo.
Jason Kander, a rising star in the Democratic Party, dropped out of the Kansas City mayoral race this week to address mental health issues from a tour in Afghanistan. The 37-year-old was considered a front-runner in the mayoral election, to be held next June, and had even been discussed as a dark horse possibility for the 2020 presidential race. But he’s spoken openly about post-traumatic stress and depression stemming from a four-month tour as an Army intelligence officer, and said recent suicidal thoughts led him to halt the campaign. “I thought if I focused exclusively on service to my neighbors in my hometown that I could fill the hole inside of me,” he wrote in an online post. “But it’s just getting worse.” Kander drew national attention after he nearly unseated Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) in 2016. An ad went viral featuring Kander defending gun control while assembling an assault rifle blindfolded.
Kids crowd tent city
Hundreds of migrant children in government custody were moved this summer from foster shelters to a tent city in West Texas, The New York Times reported this week. More than 1,600 kids, mostly ages 13 to 17, have passed through the camp, about 35 miles southeast of El Paso—many of them awakened and transported to the camp in the middle of the night. Air-conditioned tents are lined with bunks. There’s no school, and access to legal services is limited. When the tent city opened in June, government officials insisted it was a temporary response to the influx of detained migrant children, who now number 13,000, the largest population ever. In September, the Tornillo camp’s capacity was expanded from 400 to 3,800 children, and some may stay there for months. Unlike privately run foster shelters, the camp is not subject to guidelines from state welfare authorities.
Trump’s love affair
President Trump told a crowd of supporters last week that he “fell in love” with Kim Jong Un while negotiating at the two leaders’ June summit. Trump has spoken warmly of the North Korean dictator, and explained at his rally that during their initial nuclear talks “I was really tough and so was he, and we went back and forth, and then we fell in love, OK?” Responding to the audience’s laughter, Trump added, “No, really, he wrote me beautiful letters” and soon “we fell in love.” Earlier that week, Trump said President Obama had been close to “pressing the trigger” on a nuclear war with North Korea that would have killed “millions of people,” and that “If I wasn’t elected, you’d be in a war.” Trump has called Kim “very honorable” and “very talented” between threats of calling off negotiations. North Korea, for its part, has resisted denuclearizing without concessions from the U.S.
White supremacists charged
Four men were arrested this week after being identified as “among the most violent individuals” at the “Unite the Right” rally last year in Charlottesville. Authorities said the four California men, ages 24 to 34, are members of a militant white supremacist group and flew to Virginia last August to protest the removal of a statue honoring Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. They’re charged with conspiracy to riot and with violating the federal riots statute after physically assaulting counterprotesters during a torchlit march and at a rally the following night. Prosecutors say the attacks were caught in photos and video. Previously, James Alex Fields Jr. was charged with killing Heather Heyer, 32, when he plowed his car through a crowd of counterdemonstrators. He pleaded not guilty to 30 counts. The four men were presented with charges in California courts this week and could each face 10 years in prison.
New York City
New York’s state tax agency this week said it may investigate whether President Trump devised fraudulent schemes to help his father give him the equivalent of $413 million in today’s dollars without paying taxes. The announcement followed an investigation by The New York Times, which detailed the transfer of wealth from Fred Trump’s real estate empire to his children, especially Donald, before his death in 1999. Trump’s parents gave “well over $1 billion” to their children, the Times reports, which could have resulted in $550 million in taxes. Instead, the Trumps paid a total of $52.2 million. The Times reviewed more than 100,000 pages of documents on the family’s finances, finding that Donald Trump received $200,000 a year from his father by age 3 and was a millionaire by 8. The family’s maneuvers included instances of “outright fraud,” the newspaper said. A lawyer for Trump called the report “100 percent false.”
Mystery at the Pentagon
Arlington County, Va.
The Pentagon this week detected multiple packages containing a suspicious substance addressed to Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations. The substance turned out to be castor seeds, the source of the poison ricin, for which the packages initially tested positive. President Trump was sent an envelope with a similar substance, and authorities believe the letters are part of an organized effort. The packages, flagged as suspicious, never reached the White House or the Pentagon’s main building. The Pentagon mail delivery center, which inspects 500,000 pieces of mail a year, and all mail received that day were put under quarantine. The envelope addressed to Mattis, who is currently abroad, contained a handwritten note on an index card, the contents of which were not disclosed. The FBI is leading the investigation into the source of the envelopes. ■