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Anthony Scaramucci is already out; Russia sends home US diplomats; the jury in Martin Shkreli’s trial starts deliberating.
“A clean slate”
- Anthony Scaramucci lasted only 10 days as White House communications director. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
- If you’re feeling like you’ve suffered political whiplash, you’re not alone. The Trump administration is losing people left and right; Scaramucci’s predecessor Sean Spicer resigned 10 days ago in protest of Scaramucci’s appointment, and White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus departed on Friday night. [NYT / Glenn Thrush and Maggie Haberman]
- Not to mention, as Scaramucci was promising to crack down on leakers, he spoke with the press about his plans to fire assistant press secretary Michael Short. Short quickly resigned. [Politico / Tara Palmeri]
- Ultimately, Scaramucci’s obsession with getting rid of leakers, combined with his colorful language, was his downfall.
- Just a few days into his tenure, he called reporter Ryan Lizza of the New Yorker to grill him in an attempt to find out who was leaking from the White House. [New Yorker / Ryan Lizza]
- What followed was an profanity-laced tirade against other White House officials, in which Scaramucci promised to fire the entire White House staff, called former White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus “a fucking paranoid schizophrenic,” and said he wanted to “kill” leakers (among other things). [New Yorker / Ryan Lizza]
- Just a few days after the New Yorker interview, Priebus resigned. [NYT / Maggie Haberman and Peter Baker]
- Apparently, Scaramucci’s language and attitude didn’t fly with brand new White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, the former Department of Homeland Security secretary and a Marine general. (The official line from the White House has been that Scaramucci left to give Kelly a chance to build his own staff.) [Associated Press / Catherine Luce]
- Scaramucci’s personal life appears to be in shambles as well; his wife is reportedly divorcing him because of his political ambition and because she so intensely dislikes Trump. [Page Six / Emily Smith]
- Scaramucci’s departure technically happened before his official start date of August 15, and his 10-day-total tenure was far shorter than Spicer’s. [Vox / Carly Sitrin]
- It remains to be seen if Kelly can corral the rest of the White House. Given Trump’s love for drama and infighting, it’s going to be a difficult job. [Vox / Dara Lind]
- In a dramatic move on Sunday, Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the United States to remove 755 diplomats from Russia. [Agence France-Press]
- The move is being interpreted as retribution after President Trump indicated he would sign tough new Russia sanctions passed by Congress to punish Putin for meddling in the 2016 elections. [Vox / Zeeshan Aleem]
- There was some speculation that Trump might veto the sanctions after Congress passed them, but the White House quashed that on Friday night, saying the president planned to make them official. [‘CNN / Nicole Gaouette and Jeremy Herb]
- Putin’s diplomatic tit-for-tat is stunning for its scale; under former President Obama, the United States kicked out 35 Russian diplomats as retribution for election meddling, though hundreds more remain in the country. [Vox / Zack Beauchamp]
- That said, it’s important to note that not all of the 755 people who will have to leave Russia are Americans. That number includes Russian support staff, whom Putin can’t expel from their own country. [Washington Post / Andrew Roth]
- Big picture: This is further evidence that relations between Russia and the United States are deteriorating. Putin and others in the Russian government believed Trump would be friendlier than Obama (and for some time, he appeared to be), but the sanctions are quickly dashing those hopes. [NYT / Neil MacFarquhar]
“Pharma bro” gets his day in court
- A jury has started to deliberate in the fraud case of “pharma bro” Martin Shkreli, and will announce a verdict soon.
- Shkreli, also known as “the most hated man in America,” rose to infamy a couple of years ago when he took over the pharmaceutical company Turing and raised the cost of an AIDS drug from $13.50 to $750 per pill, an increase of 5,000 percent. [Fortune / Laura Lorenzetti]
- Far from being apologetic, Shkreli seemed to revel in his status as a villain, bragging about his wealth and dating options on Twitter and insulting people who criticized him. [Vox / Sarah Kliff]
- Shkreli’s trial, though, is unrelated to Turing. Shkreli is standing trial on eight counts of securities fraud, and faces up to 20 years in prison. [CNN Money / Aaron Smith and Julia Horowitz]
- Prosecutors allege that he conned his investors, losing millions of money by mismanaging two hedge funds he operated and lying to cover it up. [CNN Money / Aaron Smith and Julia Horowitz]
- The question the jury has to decide is whether Shkreli’s bid to keep the investment funds and his company afloat was criminal or not. [Associated Press]
- Prosecutors allege that Shkreli lied to investors about the health of the hedge funds (which were close to going broke), and used money from his biopharmaceutical company Retrophin to cover his tracks. [NYT / Stephanie Clifford]
- Shkreli’s defense, meanwhile, has essentially argued that investors have no right to complain because the hedge funds ultimately turned a profit. His lawyer called their concerns “rich people BS.” [Washington Post / Renae Merle]
- The trial is expected to wrap up this week. [Associated Press]
- Private marijuana growing operations are having an impact on Colorado’s housing market — most noticeably with the mold they’re leaving on walls of high-priced homes. [Denver Post / Tom McGee]
- A group of LGBTQ activists from across the globe are fighting ISIS in Syria, saying they are retaliating against the group’s violent homophobia in the Middle East. [Newsweek / Jack Moore]
- It’s not just frequent fliers who are upset about shrinking real estate on planes. A federal judge has ordered the Federal Aviation Administration to investigate “the Case of the Incredible Shrinking Airline Seat.” [Washington Post / Avi Selk]
- The Republican National Committee is ordering its staff to preserve all documents related to the 2016 convention as Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian’s 2016 election meddling continues. [BuzzFeed / Henry Gomez]
- Washington, DC, has become a hub for the ivory trade as other cities like New York and San Francisco ban it. DC and surrounding states have no bans or regulations on ivory trading. [National Geographic / Rachael Bale]
- “It’s no secret that radio tends to be white, so one of the reasons I liked it was that we weren’t trying to blend in.” [Kathy Tu to Mashable / Sirena Bergman]
- “This is the bed Reince has been making for himself since he was my general counsel. He’s a guy who’s always positioning himself for the next thing. Karma’s a bitch, ain’t it?” [Michael Steele to the Atlantic / Molly Ball]
- “It is true that, in general, it’s less complicated for men to go to the bar with colleagues, and that women disproportionately bear the costs of having to stay late at work, whether for a meeting or a margarita.” [The New Yorker / Lauren Collins]
- “Broads are women, not girls. Broads aren’t ‘nice.’ Broads don’t put up with Tom Hardy’s shit on set. Broads, like bitches, get shit done — on their own terms.” [BuzzFeed / Anne Helen Petersen]
- “You’re turning Manhattan upside down and inside out to accommodate a handful of bicyclists and activists. Ride your bikes, enjoy your life, but leave the rest of us alone.” [Daniel Kayton to NYT / Winnie Hu]
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Nature fanaTICKS beware: Cases of Lyme disease are on the rise. [YouTube / Gina Barton and Julia Belluz]
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