5 things to know for July 18: Politics, Puerto Rico, cops’ social posts, Kevin Spacey

Posted at 4:02 AM, Jul 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-18 06:37:16-04

If you’ve been looking (unsuccessfully) for Impossible burgers, here’s some good news: Shortages of the plant-based meat products appear to be over.

Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. Politics

If “lock her up” was the definitive chant at Donald Trump’s rallies in the 2016 campaign, the 2020 race might have a new — and ugly — counterpart. The crowd last night at the President’s campaign rally in North Carolina repeatedly shouted, “Send her back!” after Trump mentioned US Rep. Ilhan Omar. The President spent a big chunk of the rally going after Omar and the three other congresswomen of color known as “the squad.” They’ve blasted the Trump administration over its handling of migrants in detention centers on the US-Mexico border. Trump said if they don’t like the policies, they can leave the country. And when the chant started, he made no effort to stop it.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, the House shot down an effort to impeach Trump. The vote illustrated the divide in the Democratic caucus over the issue, with 137 Dems joining all Republicans in defeating the measure. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has resisted impeaching the President, fearing a political backlash that could cost the Democrats their House majority next year. The House also voted to hold Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross in criminal contempt in a subpoena dispute related to the administration’s attempt to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

2. Puerto Rico

Demonstrators overturned barricades and police fired tear gas as protests continued through the night in San Juan against Gov. Ricardo Rosselló. Protests started days ago after nearly 900 pages of leaked chats from the governor’s private group chat were published. The messages between the governor and his inner circle revealed a seemingly vengeful approach to running the US territory. Protesters and even some celebs mentioned in the chats say Rosselló is abusive and corrupt and want him to resign immediately. But Rosselló says he won’t step down. Similar protests against him have unfolded in New York, Miami and Orlando.

3. Police and social media

As many as 13 Philadelphia police officers are expected to be fired after an investigation into racist or offensive social media posts by cops. The officers will be suspended with intent to dismiss, according to The Philadelphia Inquirer. The police department launched an investigation last month, after a watchdog group published screenshots of offensive comments made on Facebook by law enforcement officers across the nation. Police departments in Dallas, St. Louis and Lake County, Florida, also launched investigations into claims their officers posted hateful or racist remarks. It’s not clear at this point which Philadelphia officers might be fired or what they may have posted.

4. Kevin Spacey

A criminal charge against actor Kevin Spacey has been dropped. Prosecutors in Massachusetts made the decision after the man who accused Spacey of assault pleaded the Fifth on the witness stand. Spacey, a two-time Oscar winner, faced a charge of indecent assault and battery for allegedly groping a young man in 2016 at a bar. Spacey’s career collapsed almost two years ago — during the beginnings of the #MeToo movement — after several allegations of sexual assault and harassment. He’s reportedly been questioned in the US by London police over alleged sex assault allegations in the UK.

5. Climate crisis

The effects of climate change aren’t things that will happen in the distant future in South Asia. They’re happening now. More than 100 people are dead and almost 6 million are under threat from rising flood waters in the region. Hundreds of thousands have been displaced by heavy monsoon rains. Droughts and heat waves in India have killed at least 137 people. Experts say more than 100 million people there could be left without access to water in five years if the country doesn’t find a solution to severe water shortages. Drought has wrecked farming in Afghanistan, while monsoon floods have marooned villages in Bangladesh. The changes are creating a new refugee crisis and sparking a terrifying question: Is this part of the world becoming unlivable for humans?


Devastating fire

At least 23 people are feared dead after a suspected arson attack at an animation studio in Kyoto, Japan.


Engaging television

It’s like the ultimate TV crossover event: “Modern Family’s” Sarah Hyland got engaged to “The Bachelorette” contestant Wells Adams.

Social media used for good

The Vietnam vet had no known living relatives when he died. Still, thousands of people showed up at his funeral.

Not too early to think about Halloween

They’re special costumes for special kids: Target is selling Halloween costumes designed for children with disabilities.

So sweet

An 11-year-old girl wasn’t sour after thieves stole $9 from her lemonade stand for charity. That’s because neighbors and police donated more than $300.

Secret spilled

Another day, another reboot. Teen soap “Gossip Girl” is coming back next year, via HBO Max (which is owned by WarnerMedia, CNN’s parent company).


“There was no justice here.”

Mexican drug lord Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, speaking in court before he was sentenced to life in prison (plus 30 years). He was also ordered to pay $12.6 billion in forfeiture.


2.7 million

The number of new subscribers Netflix added in the second quarter. It was a little more than half of what analysts were expecting, so Netflix’s stock dropped 12% in after-hours trading.


The number of months a social media blackout lasted in Chad. The government has finally lifted restrictions on platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook and Twitter that had been in place since March 2018.


Debate draw

It’s kind of like March Madness but with politicians. The drawing for candidate lineups in the upcoming Democratic presidential debates are at 8 ET tonight on CNN and CNNgo. The debates in Detroit will be July 30 and 31 on CNN.



Just saying hi

It’s all fun and games until the bear starts climbing up to the balcony. (Click to view.)