August 10, 2018

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach has recused himself from overseeing the recount for the state's Republican gubernatorial primary — but he's not doing so quietly.

In a sharply-worded letter to incumbent Gov. Jeff Colyer (R), who is also his opponent in the race, Kobach conceded that recusing himself was the right thing to do. However, he also accused Colyer of undermining "the public's confidence in the election process," and claimed the governor must not trust Kansas voters. Read the full letter below to see the word "puzzling" wielded like a sword. Summer Meza

9:24 a.m.

Writer E. Jean Carroll is speaking out in a new interview after accusing President Trump of sexual assault, saying she has put her life on the line in doing so.

Carroll spoke on CNN's New Day after on Friday accusing Trump of sexually assaulting in a Bergdorf Goodman dressing room in the 1990s, saying the experience of coming forward is "not easy." While saying she has stayed off the internet, she said she has been told she has received death threats.

"I would never ask another human being to go through this," Carroll said. "I put my reputation on the line. I put my livelihood on the line ... And I put my life on the line." She went on to say that "people have told me I have to be careful."

Trump has denied Carroll's allegation, accusing her of making up the story to sell books. Carroll denied this, saying her book is not about Trump and that "male authors never get this question." She also denied that she's coming forward with her allegation for political reasons.

"I'm barely political," Carroll said. "I can't name you the candidates who are running right now." She added that she is "fed up" and that she "can't believe that he is in the White House," later saying that Trump — and "a lot of guys" — must be held "accountable." Brendan Morrow

8:42 a.m.

Last week, lawyers representing all detained migrant children under the 1997 Flores class-action settlement interviewed detained children at several facilities in Texas, and they brought along a local physician, Dr. Dolly Lucio Sevier. They all left with horror stories. "The conditions within which they are held could be compared to torture facilities," Lucio Sevier wrote in a medical declaration obtained by ABC News. She had assessed 39 children under age 18 at U.S. Customs and Border Protection's largest detention facility, Ursula, in McAllen, which she described to ABC News as feeling "worse than jail" and "lawless."

The unaccompanied minors, as young as 2 1/2 months old, endured "extreme cold temperatures, lights on 24 hours a day, no adequate access to medical care, basic sanitation, water, or adequate food," Lucio Sevier wrote, and the teens said they had no access to hand-washing, which she described as "tantamount to intentionally causing the spread of disease." A flu outbreak at Ursula had sent five infants to the neonatal intensive care unit, and all the children Lucio Sevier saw showed signs of trauma.

Warren Binford, one of the Flores compliance lawyers who visited Border Patrol's facility in Clint, Texas, told The New Yorker about lice outbreaks, the punitive removal of mats and blankets when children lost one of two lice combs they were all using in one cell, and guards creating a food-plied "child boss" to keep other kids in line, among other disturbing incidents.

Binford told The New Yorker that "laws were being broken right and left" and almost all of the 350 children held at the Clint facility "have family members, including parents, in the United States, who are able to and want to take care of their children." Most of the kids were separated from family members, including parents, when crossing the border and lawfully seeking asylum. More than 700 children were separated from their parents between June 2018 and May, federal documents show, often with iffy legal justification. Peter Weber

8:27 a.m.

Former Vice President Joe Biden touted his "sensible" immigration proposals and hit President Trump for a re-election strategy he called "morally bankrupt" in an op-ed published Monday.

In the Miami Herald, Biden called on Congress to "make it official" that "DREAMers are Americans," also saying undocumented immigrants in the United States must be "brought out of the shadows through fair treatment, not ugly threats." The U.S asylum system needs to be improved in ways that will "streamline and strengthen it," Biden wrote.

Biden went on to say that it's "imperative" to secure the border by "improving screening procedures at our legal ports of entry and making smart investments in border technology," but not through building a wall, which Biden referred to as a "slogan divorced from reality."

The Democratic presidential frontrunner went after Trump in the op-ed for policies he says are intended to "assault the dignity of the Latin community and scare voters to turn out on Election Day," also saying that the president "invokes racist invective to describe anyone south of the Rio Grande" while describing "horrifying scenes at the border of kids being kept in cages" that "subvert American values and erode our ability to lead on the global stage."

Biden published his op-ed three days before he'll head to Miami for the first Democratic presidential debate; he's set to take the stage on the second night, June 27. Brendan Morrow

6:09 a.m.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) will propose Monday eliminating all $1.6 trillion of U.S. student debt and making all public universities, community colleges, and trade schools tuition-free. His plan is broader and more expensive than those offered by fellow 2020 Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Julián Castro. Warren's plan, for example, would cost an estimated $640 billion and eliminate up to $50,000 in debt of people earning less than $100,000, effectively wiping out the student loans of 75 percent of borrowers. Sanders proposes to cancel all student debt, including for private colleges and graduate schools..

Sanders says he will pay for it with a tax on stock transactions and bonds. "This is truly a revolutionary proposal," he told The Washington Post. "In a generation hard hit by the Wall Street crash of 2008, it forgives all student debt and ends the absurdity of sentencing an entire generation to a lifetime of debt for the 'crime' of getting a college education." Sanders said his tax on investments would raise $2 trillion over 10 years, though some tax experts call that an optimistic figure.

Critics say the Sanders proposal would primarily help educated Americans, who typically earn more, and more affluent families. Sanders and his supporters say creating programs that help all Americans, regardless of income, makes the programs more politically durable. Peter Weber

4:58 a.m.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg held a contentious town hall on Sunday to address anger over the June 16 police shooting of a black man, Eric Logan, by a white police officer. Prosecutors investigating the shooting said Logan, 54, approached Sgt. Ryan O'Neill with a knife after O'Neill confronted him for allegedly breaking into cars. But O'Neill's body camera was not on, and many people at the town hall placed the shooting in the broader context of longstanding tensions between South Bend's black community, which makes up about a quarter of the city's population, and its police force, which is now about 5 percent African American.

Buttigieg, who returned to South Bend from campaigning for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, said he has asked the Justice Department's civil rights division to investigate the shooting and the local prosecutor for an independent investigator. He took responsibility for failing to reform the police department. "The effort to recruit more minority officers to the department and the effort to introduce body cameras have not succeeded and I accept responsibility for that," Buttigieg said. He was joined onstage by Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski.

Buttigieg, 37, has had a sometimes-fraught relationship with his city's black community since he demoted the city's first black police chief during his first term as mayor. "Get the people that are racist off the streets," one woman in the audience said during Sunday's town hall. "Reorganize your department. You can do that by Friday." Buttigieg suggested the attention on this police shooting of a black man might "help us do some good" and said he's not "running away from it," and neither can America. "This problem has to get solved in my lifetime. I don't know of a person or a city that has solved it," he said. "But I know that if we do not solve it in my lifetime, it will sink America." Peter Weber

3:39 a.m.

"Everest was first summited in 1953 by Sir Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay," John Oliver said on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. "Before then it had been seen as almost an impossible feat," which probably explains why "Everest" has "become everyone's go-to metaphor for a significant challenge," warranted or not. Now however, "climbing Everest has become dangerously popular," he said. That means high death tolls and long lines to the summit, tons of trash, and a "fecal time bomb" as human waste melts and slides downhill.

"So tonight, let's look at what is causing these issues, how Everest's climbing industry operates, and how we can potentially make things safer," Oliver said. The first problem is that there is a narrow window in which people can summit Everest, sometimes just a few days, and starting in the 1990s, commercial expeditions became available, sometimes with six-figure luxury packages. Oliver explained the difference between Sherpas and sherpas, and the very dangerous and integral role sherpas play. "Huge risks are being taken by sherpas to give their client the bragging rights of conquering 'the ultimate mountain,'" he said, noting that Everest isn't actually the hardest mountain to climb.

Everest is still deadly to unprepared or inexperienced climbers, there is essentially no gate-keeping at the Nepal end — Tibet is stricter in granting permission — and some climbing outfits let anyone try to summit, Oliver said, citing one specific example. "Even Sir Edmund Hillary was depressed at what he had seen Mount Everest become," he said. "Some of the people climbing Everest aren't doing it out of a passion for mountaineering, but just because they want to say they climbed Everest," because "a selfie from the summit of Makalu" won't "get Everest levels of Instagram love." But Oliver had a solution, plus a few interludes from sherpa Rick Astley and some NSFW language. Watch below. Peter Weber

2:36 a.m.

An unidentified U.S. service member was found dead near Ajo, Arizona, on Sunday, according to a statement from Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado, home of U.S. Northern Command. It is the second such death this month. On June 1, U.S. Army PFC Steven Hodges was found dead near Nogales. Both service members were assigned to the Southwest Border Support Mission, President Trump's deployment of several thousand active-duty troops to the U.S.-Mexico border. Both deaths are under investigation, but foul play isn't suspected in either case.

Hodges had been assigned to "Task Force Red Lion," a mobile surveillance operation, with the 1st "Tomahawk" Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment, 1-2 Stryker Brigade Combat Team, part of the 7th Infantry Division at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. His body was found on federal land, but few other details have been reported. It is also unclear what the unidentified service member was doing when he died. Ajo is the nearest community to Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument, where the Department of Homeland Security plans to build new border fencing.

Other than hanging razor wire through border towns and spending the summer painting border fencing near Calexico, California, to improve its "aesthetic appearance," it's not clear what U.S. troops are doing at the U.S. border. In Arizona, the Tucson Sentinel reports, "the weather has been hot and dry: temperatures in Arizona's west deserts peaked at about 98 degrees on Sunday, with humidity below 10 percent." Peter Weber

See More Speed Reads