Morning Briefing

Take a look at the stories from around our area and world that are making news today.

Obama rues loss of ‘American leadership’ on climate change: Lisa Friedman of the New York Times reports: Former President Barack Obama on Saturday indirectly criticized President Trump in a speech delivered in Indonesia for withdrawing “American leadership” on climate change by abandoning the Paris accord. “In Paris, we came together around the most ambitious agreement in history about climate change, an agreement that even with the temporary absence of American leadership can still give our children a fighting chance,” Mr. Obama said at the Fourth Congress of Indonesian Diaspora in Jakarta, the capital, according to The Associated Press. Speaking at the end of a 10-day tour of the Southeast Asian country where he spent part of his childhood, Mr. Obama drew a sharp contrast to Mr. Trump’s “America first” philosophy, without mentioning his successor by name. He called for nations to come together to confront global challenges like terrorism and climate change, and he cautioned against “an aggressive kind of nationalism” creeping into politics. “The challenges of our times, whether it’s economic inequality, changing climate, terrorism, mass migration — these are real challenges, and we’re going to have to confront them together,” he said. 

Trump challenges states on voter fraud: ‘What are they trying to hide?’ : David Nakamura and Mark Berman of the Washington Post report: President Trump on Saturday lashed out at the more than two dozen states that have objected to a presidential commission's sweeping request for voter data, accusing them of circumventing public scrutiny over potential voter fraud. Trump's tweet, issued a day after he arrived at his Bedminster estate in New Jersey for a three-night stay, highlighted the political stakes over his effort to validate his widespread claims of rampant illegal voting through the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, which is being led by Vice President Pence and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R). Trump, who lost the popular vote to Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, has claimed that millions of immigrants living in the country illegally cast votes for her. The White House has said the commission will embark upon a “thorough review of registration and voting issues in federal elections,” but experts and voting rights advocates have pilloried Trump for his claims of widespread fraud, which studies and state officials alike have not found. They say that they fear the commission will be used to restrict voting.

University of Illinois kidnapping suspect graduated from UW-Madison: WKOW-TV reports: A UW-Madison graduate is charged with kidnapping a Chinese student who is now believed to be dead, according to reports by the Associated Press. Brendt Allen Christensen is in federal custody, awaiting a court appearance Monday in the kidnapping of Yingying Zhang, 26, a scholar at the University of Illinois. The Associated Press reports Christensen was admitted to the university's competitive physics graduate program in 2013. The AP reports public records show Christensen previously lived in Stevens Point and graduated from UW-Madison in 2013 with a bachelor's degree in physics and math.

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White House Debating Future Of Obama-Era Council On Women And Girls: Esme Cribb of Talking Points Memo reports: President Donald Trump’s administration is “evaluating” the future of the White House Council on Women and Girls and considering whether to keep or eliminate the council, according to several reports. Politico on Friday reported that the council has gone dark while the White House decides its future, according to three unnamed senior White House officials. ABC News reported on Friday, citing an unnamed senior White House official, that Trump’s administration is debating the future of the council created by former President Barack Obama.

Ron Johnson assumes outspoken role in a health care debate that is hazardous for his party: Craig Gilbert of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports: There is plenty about Ron Johnson’s stance on health care to aggravate people on both sides of the debate. And he’s more than happy to tell you about it. “I am the one getting the blame, (or) maybe from your standpoint, the credit for slowing this process down,” the Republican senator told “Kathy from Glendale” during a town hall he held last week by telephone and internet with some 9,000 Wisconsinites. “I am trying to make it a very open process,” he told her. “I am doing everything I can. I am doing a lot of radio hits, TV hits, telephone town halls, meeting people.” Johnson’s eagerness to be out front on this issue has been one of the most striking things about his idiosyncratic role in the health care fight, a politically tortured exercise for his party that has some of his GOP colleagues running away from the cameras, not toward them.