Out of Africa
An Idaho wildlife official resigned this week after photos of him posing with a family of baboons and other animals he killed on a recent hunting trip to Africa went viral. Blake Fischer, a member of the state’s Fish and Game Commission, said in a statement that he “did not display an appropriate level of sportsmanship and respect for the animals I harvested.” Fisher and his wife vacationed in Africa last month, during which they killed a giraffe, leopard, impala, and an antelope—plus the even more exotic waterbuck, kudu, warthog, gemsbok, and eland. One photo shows a smiling Fisher squatting next to a family of four dead baboons he killed by bow and arrow, including a youngster covered in blood. Another photo shows Fisher with his gun propped up against a dead giraffe. A former Idaho fish and game commissioner called the baboon photo “absolutely deplorable.”
‘Game on,’ again
A federal judge this week threw out a defamation lawsuit against President Trump from adult-film actress Stormy Daniels, sparking a new and ugly exchange of insults. Daniels has asserted she had sex with Trump in 2006; she received a hush payment of $130,000 from the Trump campaign. She filed the suit in April after he called her claim that she’d been threatened to keep silent “a total con job.” Daniels has another pending lawsuit over a nondisclosure agreement she signed regarding the alleged affair. The judge in the defamation case said Trump’s tweet amounted to ordinary “rhetorical hyperbole” in politics and ordered Daniels to pay Trump’s legal fees. In response, Trump posted on Twitter, “Now I can go after Horseface and her 3rd rate lawyer,” Michael Avenatti. Avenatti hit back, calling Trump a “disgusting misogynist.” Daniels offered up her own salacious nickname, tweeting at Trump, “Game on, Tiny.”
Living tax free
New York City
Jared Kushner paid almost no federal income taxes during at least five of the past eight years despite seeing his net worth quintuple to nearly $324 million, The New York Times reported this week. President Trump’s 37-year-old son-in-law and senior adviser does not appear to have broken any laws, based on financial documents obtained by the Times covering 2009 to 2016. Rather, his family’s real estate company used a common tax maneuver to report millions of dollars in losses based on the depreciating value of his buildings, despite not actually losing any money. In 2015, for example, Kushner reported $1.7 million in income and investment gains but $8.3 million in losses, resulting in a tax refund of $4,000. Earlier this month, the Times reported that Trump’s family participated in “outright fraud” over several decades to avoid paying inheritance taxes.
The White House is weighing whether to resume separating migrant families along the U.S.-Mexico border, President Trump confirmed this week. If families are allowed to stay together, Trump said in an interview on CBS’ 60 Minutes, “what happens is people are gonna pour into our country.” The number of migrants from Central America seeking asylum has exploded this year, and Border Patrol arrests of would-be immigrants traveling in families hit a record 16,658 in September. Earlier this year the separation policy was advertised as a deterrent, but it drew overwhelming backlash after more than 2,600 children were detained. Rather than revive that program of forced separations, the Trump administration is considering offering parents a choice: Keep their children with them in detention awaiting an immigration trial or allow their children to be taken to government shelters until relatives can take custody.
‘Proud Boys’ wanted
New York City
After members of the “Proud Boys” far-right men’s group beat up protesters outside a Republican event in Manhattan, police this week asked for the public’s help finding nine people involved in the brawl. The violence followed a speech by Gavin McInnes, who founded the organization of men who describe themselves as “Western chauvinists” and are aligned with neo-Nazis. Upon leaving the event, about 30 Proud Boys members encountered masked “antifa” protesters and a melee ensued. Surveillance video captured Proud Boys members pummeling the protesters and shouting slurs. Police arrested three antifa protesters that night, but none of the Proud Boys; New York’s police commissioner said the officers were outmatched, with “just two or three cops on scooters.” Police are now seeking charges of “riot or attempted assault” against the nine wanted Proud Boys members.
Death toll rises
As residents of the coastal Southeast sorted through the wreckage from Hurricane Michael this week, officials estimated that the Category 4 storm killed 29 people, including 19 Floridians. In Florida, more than 150,000 people were without power a week after the storm made landfall. President Trump visited to survey the damage, observing rows of roofless houses and roads buried beneath uprooted trees. The coastal town of Mexico Beach, Fla., is mostly in ruins, and many residents haven’t been authorized to return to what’s left of their homes. Residents feared the town of wooden houses and no stoplights would be replaced by another patch of seafront high rises. Experts wondered if a community so exposed to disaster should be rebuilt but acknowledged it could be hard to make that case to “someone whose family has lived in that house for three generations.” ■