It’s Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. Let’s start here.
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1. ‘Worse before it gets better’
Chaos erupted again at Hong Kong International Airport on Tuesday as thousands of pro-democracy protesters occupied the terminal, sparking mass cancellations and violent clashes with police.
“It certainly feels like it’s going to get worse before it gets better,” reports ABC News’ Karson Yiu, who was at the airport. “I think both sides are engaged in the war of attrition, and escalation for that matter.”
The Chinese government alleged that the protests were approaching “terrorism” as video emerged on Chinese state media that showed military forces assembling near the Hong Kong border for what were referred to as drills.
The ramped-up rhetoric, Yiu says on “Start Here,” is Beijing signaling to the police in Hong Kong “to use any tactics they deem necessary to end this weekly cycle of chaos.”
2. ‘We’ve delayed it’
The U.S. has delayed until Dec. 15 a 10% tariff on $300 billion of Chinese imports, including cell phones and laptops and toys, that had been set to take effect next month.
“We’ve delayed it so they won’t be relevant to the Christmas shopping season,” President Donald Trump told reporters on Tuesday.
Wall Street rebounded on the news, but the Trump administration’s tough talk and backtrack could affect ongoing trade negotiations, according to ABC News Chief Business and Economics Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis.
“We may have given up some of our leverage here,” Jarvis says, “because we’ve shown China that we are willing to shift without any major concessions on their part.”
3. ‘Other people’
Amid an uproar over accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein’s apparent suicide behind bars, Attorney General William Barr has ordered the warden to be pulled from the Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan and temporarily reassigned.
Two guards on duty the night Epstein died also were placed on leave by the Bureau of Prisons. Sources said both were working overtime and reportedly did not follow protocol that required checking on Epstein every 30 minutes.
As investigators continue examining the circumstances surrounding Epstein’s death, law enforcement officials continue their own investigation into Epstein’s alleged crimes. The FBI and NYPD raided Epstein’s island home in the U.S. Virgin Islands, looking for evidence of the wealthy financier’s inner circle, sources told ABC News.
“What they might be looking for at this point clearly has to do with other people besides Epstein,” ABC News’ James Hill says on the podcast.
4. 2020 foresight
The vast Democratic field of presidential candidates could be cut down significantly when the third primary debate, hosted by ABC News in partnership with Univison, comes around in September, based on the strict polling and donor thresholds. In the meantime, some of the lower-polling hopefuls are being urged to consider other offices.
“Democrats are still focused on their big victories in 2018,” ABC News’ Adam Kelsey says. “We saw them pick up 40 seats in the House of Representatives, a number of governors’ mansions, and they’re really focused now on trying to win back the Senate.”
Colorado and Texas are among the Senate races Democrats are eyeing for current presidential candidates. Former Gov. John Hickenlooper could emerge as a front-runner to face off against Republican Sen. Cory Gardner, and in Texas, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke or Julian Castro could potentially take on Republican Sen. John Cornyn. Last weekend, the Houston Chronicle’s Editorial Board called on O’Rourke to switch contests.
“Start Here,” ABC News’ flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day’s top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.
‘The same as drinking bleach’: Don’t drink Miracle Mineral Solution.
‘My rhetoric brings people together’: Analysis by ABC News shows at least 36 criminal cases where Trump was invoked in direct connection with violence or threats of violence.
‘Police officers experience trauma on a regular basis’: Another NYPD officer, the eight in 2019, appears to have committed suicide.
From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:
Baseball’s 20-something sluggers are saving the sport: We’re really going to complain that there are too many home runs? Really? Even if you do take offense with the prevailing style of baseball in 2019, it shouldn’t obscure the fact that today’s up-and-coming stars are objectively awesome.
Doff your cap:
Today we’re highlighting some of the work by our friends at FiveThirtyEight and our friends of friends at The Trace who combined to produce a thoughtful piece on the quest for reliable data related to U.S. gunshot injuries.
Given the frequency of mass shootings in 2019 — in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, California, Texas, Illinois, Mississippi, Ohio, Missouri, Virginia, Washington state, California again, Missouri a second time, California a third time, Wisconsin, one more in Texas and one more in Ohio — and the clamoring of politicians for a meaningful change to U.S. laws, reliable data is a great place to start that conversation.