White House to Conway: Ignore House subpoena — White House officials directed Kellyanne Conway on Monday not to comply with a congressional subpoena compelling her to answer to accusations of multiple violations of a federal ethics law, invoking the “long-standing principle of immunity for senior advisers to the president.” The House Oversight and Reform Committee authorized a subpoena for Conway last month after a special counsel told the committee that Conway should be fired from the White House for her “egregious, repeated and very public violations” of the Hatch Act.
‘Toxic stew’ stirred up by disasters — New research shows the extreme weather and fires of recent years, similar to the flooding that has struck Louisiana and the Midwest, may be making Americans sick in ways researchers are only beginning to understand. By knocking chemicals loose from soil, homes, industrial-waste sites or other sources, disasters like these appear to be exposing people to an array of physical ailments including respiratory disease and cancer. Last year, the World Health Organization issued a report warning about the public health effects of chemical releases caused by natural disasters. Research examined Hurricane Harvey in Houston, and the wildfires in Northern California, looking at the contaminants dislodged during those disasters and the health effects of those contaminants, which can include sewage, asbestos, heavy metals and others. “Typically with these situations you have a mixture, a toxic stew,” said Aubrey Miller, senior medical adviser to the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, part of the National Institutes of Health. He said the danger is compounded because the mix of toxins could lead to unexpected interactions.
New asylum restrictions — Long before a surge of migrants from Central America overwhelmed the southwestern border, the Trump administration was already waging a broad assault on the rules determining who can seek asylum in the United States. But Monday, the administration announced one of its most restrictive rules yet for a system, enshrined in international law, that President Donald Trump has called “ridiculous” and “insane.” In a move that would stop virtually all Central American families who are fleeing persecution and poverty from entering the United States, Trump administration officials said they would deny asylum to migrants who failed to apply for protections in the first country they passed through on their way north. Under the new rule, Hondurans and Salvadorans would have to apply for — and be denied — asylum in Guatemala or Mexico before they were eligible to apply for asylum in the United States. Guatemalans would have to apply for and be denied asylum in Mexico. The rule would effectively limit asylum protections to Mexicans and those who cross the United States’ southwestern border by sea. Guatemala and Mexico have refused to go along with the plan.
62 border agents linked to degrading posts — At least 62 current federal border agents have joined private Facebook groups and other social media pages that included obscene images of Hispanic lawmakers and threats to members of Congress, internal investigators said Monday. In all, 70 current and former Customs and Border Protection employees were identified as members of the groups, officials from the agency’s Office of Professional Responsibility said. Investigators are examining inappropriate images, memes and comments in multiple Facebook groups, said Matthew Klein, a Customs and Border Protection assistant commissioner.
Storm Area 51? Air Force is concerned — UFO enthusiasts and conspiracy theorists have long argued that the secretive Nevada base known as Area 51 was devoted to the study — or even the captivity — of extraterrestrial life forms. Now, a Facebook event has proposed “swarming” the base this fall. “Storm Area 51, They Can’t Stop All of Us,” is scheduled for Sept. 20 in Amargosa Valley, Nevada. The idea has captured the interest of more than 1 million people on social media. It also has caught the attention of the Air Force. A spokeswoman warned that acting on the plan would be dangerous.
Europe rushes to preserve Iran deal — European foreign ministers declared Monday that Iranian breaches were not serious enough to take steps that could lead to reimposed international sanctions and a collapse of the accord. That conclusion, reached at a meeting in Brussels, effectively extended a lifeline for the 2015 nuclear agreement in defiance of pressure by the Trump administration. The agreement has been increasingly imperiled since the United States abandoned the accord more than a year ago and renewed its own sanctions on Iran. The EU ministers reiterated their view that the agreement was the only option for curbing Iran’s nuclear program.
Nuclear negotiators in Geneva — President Donald Trump is sending a high-level delegation to meet with Russian counterparts in Geneva this week to pursue an arms control treaty that for the first time would cap the nuclear arsenals of not just the two largest powers, but China as well. Trump broached the idea with President Vladimir Putin of Russia during their meeting in Osaka, Japan, last month and has also signaled his ambition for such a three-way accord to President Xi Jinping of China, administration officials said Monday. Russia has expressed interest; China has not.