TRUMP ENRAGES MUSLIM NATIONS WITH RECOGNITION OF JERUSALEM AS CAPITOL: The Arab League said it will hold an emergency meeting for foreign ministers on Saturday and Turkey announced it would host a meeting of Islamic nations next week to give Muslim countries' leaders an opportunity to act together and coordinate following Trump's move. Palestinian officials declared the Mideast peace process "finished." Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, slammed Trump's imminent recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel while in Syria, a Foreign Ministry statement said the anticipated announcement is a "dangerous step" that will fuel global conflict. It described Trump's imminent move as the "culmination of the crime of the seizing of Palestine and the displacement of the Palestinian people" and urged Arab states to stop normalizing relations with Israel. Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said the "whole world is against" President Donald Trump's move and argued that moving the embassy to Jerusalem would be a "grave mistake."
TILLERSON TRIES TO PUT LIPSTICK ON PIG, FAILS MISERABLY: U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the Trump administration continues to believe there's "a very good opportunity" to achieve Middle East peace despite President Donald Trump's impending moves on Jerusalem. Tillerson is speaking in Brussels ahead of Trump's announcement that he's declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Tillerson says he doesn't want to discuss any decision before Trump announces it himself. But he says people should "listen carefully" to Trump's speech in its entirety. Tillerson says Trump is "very committed" to the peace process. He says the team led by Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner is working "very diligently" to achieve it. Hundreds of Palestinians in Gaza have rallied against President Donald Trump's imminent announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital and his plan to move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to the holy city.
PUTIN PUTS ON SHOW OF "THINKING ABOUT" RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT AGAIN IN MARCH: Russian President Vladimir Putin has inched closer to declaring his intention to seek re-election in next March's vote, saying he will weigh the decision based on public support. Speaking at a meeting with volunteers Wednesday, Putin was asked if he would run and said that public trust would be a key factor in his decision. He said he would decide "shortly" if he will run in the March 18 vote, adding — to massive applause — that he would take the audience's support into account. Putin, whose approval ratings top 80 percent, is set to easily win the vote, but he has dragged his feet on announcing his bid. He's expected to make the move after the upper house of parliament formally launches the race later this month.
CONYERS RESIGNS FROM CONGRESS AMIDST SEVERAL SEXUAL HARASSMENT CLAIMS: Democratic Rep. John Conyers resigned from Congress on Tuesday after a nearly 53-year career, becoming the first Capitol Hill politician to lose his job in the torrent of sexual misconduct allegations sweeping through the nation's workplaces. The 88-year-old civil rights leader and longest-serving member of the House announced what he referred to as his "retirement" on Detroit talk radio, while continuing to deny he groped or sexually harassed women who worked for him. "My legacy can't be compromised or diminished in any way by what we're going through now," said the congressman, who called into the radio show from the hospital where he was taken last week after complaining of lightheadedness. "This, too, shall pass. My legacy will continue through my children." He endorsed his son John Conyers III to succeed him.
DURHAM PROTESTER WHO HELPED TOPPLE CONFEDERATE STATUE SAYS CAUSE IS JUST, REFUSES PLEA DEAL: The protester who climbed a North Carolina Confederate statue to help topple it said Tuesday that she plans to fight rioting and property damage charges by seeing the case through to trial. Takiyah Thompson was among nine protesters who appeared in court on charges that they tore down the statue in front of Durham’s old courthouse. One fellow defendant struck a deal with prosecutors to avoid a felony, while Thompson and others had their cases continued until 2018. Thompson said after the hearing that she won’t take any prosecution deals and plans to go to trial because she believes the charges are unfair. Thompson has publicly acknowledged climbing a ladder and attaching the rope so that protesters on the ground could pull down the statue on Aug. 14. She told reporters Tuesday that toppling the statue of an anonymous rebel soldier was the “will of the people” and that the legal case is symbolic of a larger struggle. “It doesn’t end until the fight against white supremacy is won, until white supremacy is abolished,” she said.