President Donald Trump comes down hard on TikTok, coronavirus aid talks look likely to stall, and N.Y. attorney general says NRA CEO used the organization as a 'personal piggy bank.'
Here's what we're watching this morning.
Trump issues executive order barring U.S. companies from doing business with TikTok's parent
President Donald Trump issued executive orders Thursday barring U.S. companies from doing business with ByteDance, the Chinese parent company of TikTok, and Tencent, the company that operates the app WeChat.
The orders are set to go into effect in 45 days. The order against ByteDance would be a major blow to TikTok, a popular short-form video app, if it is not sold to a U.S. company. Microsoft has been in talks to buy TikTok's U.S. operations and said last week that it would complete the discussions by Sept. 15.
The order says the risks posed by the platform constitute a "national emergency," with the app capturing "vast swaths" of information that "threatens to allow" Chinese government officials to track Americans, according to the order.
TikTok's meteoric rise in recent years coincided with increasing tension between the U.S. and China over the growing influence of both countries' technology companies. TikTok has maintained that it operates without influence from the Chinese government and that it stores U.S. user data in the U.S. and in Singapore.
Coronavirus aid negotiations look set to stall after days of talks
Democratic and White House negotiators trying to strike a deal for another round of coronavirus aid warned that a stalemate could be looming.
The two sides have been unable to reach even a top-line spending agreement, with more than a trillion dollar difference in how much should be spent.
Negotiations have focused on key points, including whether to continue boosted weekly unemployment payments and at what level, and whether to provide aid to local governments grappling with the pandemic.
The president has stayed largely removed from the negotiations, deferring to aides on the substance of a bill. It’s a role he’s embraced throughout his presidency, despite selling himself to Americans in 2016 as the ultimate deal-maker.
Meanwhile, the U.S. death toll passed 160,000 on Thursday and more than 4.8 million cases have been recorded.
Here are other coronavirus developments:
- He went to the U.S. for the American Dream. Then coronavirus hit. His ashes came back to Mexico.
- Extra credit for masks? With no mandate at their schools, teachers urge students to wear them
- Work will never look the same again. Employees have burning questions.
- Listen to our podcast, Into America: Should Americans be making on unemployment than they were when working?
- Track U.S. hot spots where COVID-19 infection rates are rising
Mourning turns to anger after massive Beirut explosion
Rescuers combed through the rubble in Beirut on Friday, continuing their search for victims in Tuesday’s massive explosion. Nearly 150 people died and thousands were injured when more than 2,700 tons of ammonium nitrate, a highly volatile chemical, detonated.
Tensions ran high in the capital as mourning turned to anger and protesters hit the streets. Some Lebanese blamed the country’s politicians for mismanagement and corruption.
The stockpile of ammonium nitrate had been left for years at the city's port in a densely populated neighborhood, according to government officials. The explosion was so loud it was heard nearly 140 miles away in Cyprus.
Wayne LaPierre used the NRA as a 'personal piggy bank,' N.Y. attorney general says
For nearly three decades, Wayne LaPierre has been the face of the National Rifle Association, burnishing the organization's influence and power in Washington.
On Thursday, LaPierre's position as CEO and executive vice president of the most dominant gun lobby in the United States became more precarious after New York Attorney General Letitia James sued him and three other high-ranking current or former NRA executives, alleging that they have undercut the nonprofit organization's charitable mission by engaging in illegal financial conduct.
That includes diverting tens of millions of dollars for personal trips and expenditures, lucrative no-show contracts to buy people's silence and other improper spending, according to the lawsuit.
"The NRA was serving as a personal piggy bank for four individual defendants," James, a Democrat, said at a news conference.
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- With out-of-work actors unable to afford NYC, will the curtain permanently fall on Broadway?
- Hunted to extinction, England's first wild beavers in 400 years allowed to stay
- After nearly 50 years on the run, 77-year-old prison escapee captured
- Lawmakers from both parties want Postal Service to undo changes that are slowing mail
- Ex-Saudi official alleges Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman sent hit squad to kill him
THINK about it
For too long, the NRA, because of leaders like Wayne LaPierre, has failed responsible gun owners, writes criminal defense lawyer Greg Hunter in an opinion piece.
'Doomscrolling' is bad for your mental health. Here's are six steps to help you break the habit.
High-tech or smart mattresses can regulate temperature and firmness, not to mention track how you sleep. Here’s how to choose a smart bed that’s right for you.
One fun thing
An Alabama principal is injecting a good dose of humor into a very different return to school.
Principal Quentin Lee's video on how to return safely to school went viral and has reached more than just the students at his high school.
To the tune of the 1990s hit “Can’t Touch This,” his catchy lyrics remind students to follow the CDC guidelines, wear masks and wash their hands.
“We are really driving in the social-emotional part of learning so that we can provide for our students every single way that we can," he said. "With this video, we are just hoping to give them something to be proud of to come back."
See his video and hear the answers to kids' questions about coronavirus on Nightly News Kids Edition.
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