Drafts of new State Department mission statement delete promoting of democracy. Lawsuit alleges that Fox News worked with the White House to push discredited story on death of Democratic National Committee staffer Seth Rich. The Wall Street Journal doesn’t publish its full transcript of interview with the president but it leaks anyway, offering up more insights than made the paper. President Trump launches Facebook videos anchored by his daughter-in-law offering favorable updates as a counter to supposed “fake news.” Senior EPA official resigns in protest with exit memo that blasts “the temporary triumph of myth over truth.” -Dru Menaker, Chief Operating Officer


State Department considers scrubbing democracy promotion from its mission
Rex Tillerson has ordered his department to redefine its mission and issue a new statement of purpose. Former senior State Department officials have said that eliminating “just” and “democratic” from the list of desired outcomes in the draft statement under review is neither accidental nor inconsequential.

Lawsuit Asserts White House Role in Fox News Article on Seth Rich
In the suit, Mr. Wheeler, who is a Fox News contributor, asserts that the White House, a Trump supporter named Ed Butowsky, and Fox News planned to “shift the blame from Russia and help put to bed speculation that President Trump colluded with Russia in an attempt to influence the outcome of the presidential election.”

Full transcript: Trump’s Wall Street Journal interview
Donald Trump called his son-in-law a “good boy” while thanking Wall Street Journal editor-in-chief Gerard Baker for a positive editorial about Jared Kushner, and said the leader of the Boy Scouts told him his jamboree speech was “the greatest speech ever made to them.”

Trump Has Launched A “Real News” Program On His Facebook, Hosted By His Daughter-In-Law
Since the campaign, Trump has bragged that he doesn’t need the mainstream media to reach his supporters given his large audiences on social media. With her video update, Lara Trump offered one more way the president’s supporters could avoid news reporting on the issues surrounding the White House.

Top EPA official resigns over direction of agency under Trump
Elizabeth Southerland ended her 30-year run at the agency with a scathing exit letter in which she claimed that “the environmental field is suffering from the temporary triumph of myth over truth.” She last worked as the director of science and technology in the Office of Water.

Tillerson spurns $80 million to counter ISIS, Russian propaganda
Rex Tillerson is resisting the pleas of State Department officials to spend nearly $80 million allocated by Congress for fighting terrorist propaganda and Russian disinformation. More than five months into his tenure, Tillerson has not issued a simple request for the money earmarked for the State Department’s Global Engagement Center.

Justice Dept. to Take On Affirmative Action in College Admissions
The Administration plans to redirect the Department’s civil rights division’s resources towards affirmative action policies deemed to discriminate against white applicants. An internal announcement to the division seeks current lawyers interested in “investigations and possible litigation related to intentional race-based discrimination in college and university admissions.”


China gripped by censored essay on Beijing
A candid opinion piece describing the difficulties of living in Beijing appears to have become the target of Chinese government censorship. The essay, entitled “Beijing has 20 million people pretending to have a life”, spread widely on social media in China after being published last week.

Trump factor weighs as Vietnam intensifies crackdown on dissidents
In the largest crackdown on dissidents in years, activists say authorities have been emboldened by the Trump administration’s lack of emphasis on human rights. Vietnam has stepped up measures to silence critics whose voices have been amplified by social media in a country that is among Facebook’s top 10 by users.

Jailed for Journalism
The arrest of Ko Swe Win on Sunday raised the total number of journalists detained in Myanmar since June to five. Of the five, Ko Swe Win, chief editor of Myanmar Now, is the only one not being sued by the military—instead, a follower of the banned nationalist group Ma Ba Tha filed a complaint about an article criticizing ultranationalist monk U Wirathu, leading to defamation charges.

Journalist for Russian paper faces deportation to Uzbekistan
Novaya Gazeta said that a court has ordered the deportation of Khudoberdy Nurmatov. Nurmatov fled Uzbekistan, notorious for its right abuses, in 2008 after he was tortured and coerced into collaborating with intelligence agencies.

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