Tuesday’s Mini-Report, 7.31.18

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* And so it begins: “President Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, is on trial for tax evasion and money laundering. Proceedings began with jury selection – six men and six women – with opening statements taking place a short time ago.”

* Afghanistan: “A roadside bombing hit a passenger bus in western Afghanistan on Tuesday, killing at least 11 people, as militants launched a coordinated attack on a city in the country’s east where initial reports said four people were killed, according to officials.”

* We’re gong to need more information about this network: “Facebook said Tuesday that it had uncovered a new covert campaign to spread divisive political messages on its social network, its first acknowledgment of potential political meddling before this year’s midterm elections.”

* An unexpected move: “White House chief of staff John Kelly told staff on Monday that President Trump had asked him to remain in his post through the 2020 election, White House officials said, a request that came as tensions between the two men have eased in recent months.”

* Indefensible: “A federal judge on Monday found that U.S. government officials have been giving psychotropic medication to migrant children at a Texas facility without first seeking the consent of their parents or guardians, in violation of state child welfare laws.”

* An interesting moment at an Indo-Pacific business forum: “Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pledged on Monday to ramp up the Trump administration’s diplomatic engagement with Asia in a speech that followed a blistering attack on the president’s trade policies by a usually stalwart Republican business ally.”

* A welcome acknowledgement of reality: “Two years ago, a foreign power launched a brazen, multi-faceted influence campaign … to distort our presidential election,” said Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen during an opening roundtable at the DHS National Cybersecurity Summit in New York. “Let me be clear: Our intelligence community had it right. It was the Russians.”

* A principled stand: “On Monday morning, two prominent historians, professors William Hitchcock and Melvyn Leffler, resigned from the University of Virginia’s prestigious Miller Center to protest that institution’s decision to offer a yearlong paid academic fellowship to … former White House director of legislative affairs Marc Short.”

* File this away for future reference: “Former Trump Organization executive Barbara Res tells CNN’s Anderson Cooper that it’s ‘impossible’ that President Trump didn’t know about the Trump Tower meeting with Russian officials beforehand.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.