Thursday’s Mini-Report, 8.31.17

Updated

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Texas: “Two explosions shook a flooded chemical plant near Houston early Thursday, sending a plume of black smoke into the air and triggering an intense fire that continued to burn. Authorities warned that further blasts were likely to occur on site since chemicals weren’t being stored at the appropriate temperatures after the facility lost power following Hurricane Harvey.”

* Well, that’s interesting: “Paul Manafort’s notes from a controversial Trump Tower meeting with Russians during the 2016 presidential campaign included the word ‘donations,’ near a reference to the Republican National Committee, two sources briefed on the evidence told NBC News.”

* Here’s hoping he follows through on this: “President Trump is pledging to donate $1 million of his personal money toward hurricane disaster relief in Texas and Louisiana, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Thursday.”

* Another storm to watch: “While Texas is still struggling to recover from Harvey, more trouble was brewing Thursday out in the Atlantic – and her name was Irma. Already packing 100-mph winds and strengthening rapidly, Hurricane Irma was about 3,000 miles southeast of Miami and heading west at a speed of 10 mph, the National Hurricane Center reported.”

* Trump permitted this? “The Trump administration on Thursday ordered Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco and two diplomatic annexes, in New York and Washington, retaliating against Russia’s order for the United States to reduce its embassy staff in Moscow by 755 people.”

* Neighborly assistance: “White House homeland security adviser Tom Bossert on Thursday said ‘there’s no reason to not’ accept Canada’s and Mexico’s offers of aid in the ongoing Hurricane Harvey recovery effort.”

* In case you missed Rachel’s report on this last night; “A federal judge in San Antonio on Wednesday blocked Texas from enforcing its ban on so-called sanctuary cities, questioning the constitutionality of a law that has pitted Republican state leaders against several Democratic-leaning cities.”

* The real estate business owned by Jared Kushner’s family owes “hundreds of millions of dollars on a 41-story office building on Fifth Avenue.” And as a result, “Over the past two years, executives and family members have sought substantial overseas investment from previously undisclosed places: South Korea’s sovereign-wealth fund, France’s richest man, Israeli banks and insurance companies, and exploratory talks with a Saudi developer, according to former and current executives. These were in addition to previously reported attempts to raise money in China and Qatar.”

* Wells Fargo, back in the news for the wrong reason: “The scope of Wells Fargo’s fake accounts scandal grew significantly on Thursday, with the bank now saying that 3.5 million accounts were potentially opened without customers’ permission between 2009 and 2016. That’s up from 2.1 million accounts that the bank had cited in September 2016, when it acknowledged that employees under pressure to meet aggressive sales targets had opened accounts that customers might not have even been aware existed.”

* The GAO and the GSA: “Two federal offices are looking into leases of federal properties to private businesses, including the Trump Organization’s lease of the Old Post Office building in Washington, D.C.”

* Good move: “William C. Bradford, a Trump administration appointee who heads the Energy Department’s Office of Indian Energy, resigned Thursday after claiming this week inflammatory comments that appeared to have been made by him online were the result of hacking.”

* I have no words: “A veteran police lieutenant in Georgia who was caught on camera during a traffic stop last year saying officers ‘only kill black people’ will be fired, authorities announced Thursday.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Thursday's Mini-Report, 8.31.17

Updated