5 Things for August 23: Trump, US Navy, Execution Stay, Afghanistan, Eclipse Injuries

CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 8/23/2017, 8:09 a.m.
Ever wonder what the weather's like on Mars or Neptune? Now, you don't have to (and spoiler alert: it involves ...
President Donald Trump

By Doug Criss, CNN

(CNN) -- Ever wonder what the weather's like on Mars or Neptune? Now, you don't have to (and spoiler alert: it involves diamond rain). Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.

1. President Trump

First, the nation saw Teleprompter Trump soberly announce a new strategy on Afghanistan. Next up: Freewheelin' Trump, during a rally Tuesday night in Arizona, and so... much... happened. Where should we begin?

With the fact that the President said he'll probably go ahead and pull the US out of NAFTA (the first round of negotiations with Mexico and Canada are underway). Or with his strong hint that he'll pardon controversial ex-Sheriff Joe Arpaio. There also was his threat to shut down the government over funding for his promised border wall. Plus, a 30-minute tirade against the media. And his mention of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, whom he hasn't spoken to in almost two weeks, and the last time they talked, well, it didn't go well.

But that wasn't all. The President defended his controversial remarks about the deadly violence in Charlottesville without mentioning his infamous "many sides" lines. Trump's base loved every bit of it, but the whole thing left James Clapper, ex-director of national intelligence, openly questioning Trump's fitness for office.

Finally there was action outside the rally, too, as thousands of protesters showed up and mixed it up with Trump supporters and the police. Rocks and bottles were thrown; tear gas was used; a few people got arrested.

2. US Navy

More fallout from the spate of ship collisions this year: The Navy is dismissing the 7th Fleet commander. Vice Adm. Joseph Aucoin has been removed "due to loss of confidence" as the investigation continues into the collision of the destroyer USS John S. McCain and a merchant ship near Singapore. Ten sailors are missing in the wreck, and the Navy said divers found some remains in the McCain's sealed compartments. One body has been found at sea, and officials are trying to determine if it is one of the missing. It's believed the McCain suffered a steering failure of some kind, but no one yet knows why.

3. Missouri execution

The planned execution of a Missouri inmate is on hold while new DNA evidence in the case is reviewed. Marcellus Williams was set to be executed for the stabbing death in 1998 of a former St. Louis newspaper reporter. But his attorneys say DNA evidence not available during his trial in 2001 proves his innocence. So, Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens issued a stay of execution and ordered a new panel to look at the case. The state attorney general's office says the DNA evidence "does not come close" to proving Williams' innocence.

4. Afghanistan

We've got a little more clarity on the Trump administration's strategy for the war in Afghanistan. New US troops -- we still don't know how many -- could start arriving there in the next few "days or weeks," said Army Gen. Joseph Votel, the top US commander in the Middle East. Votel said the hope is the troops will be available to take part in the current fighting season -- the warmer months in Afghanistan when the Taliban usually conducts more attacks. And Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the administration's goal is to put enough pressure on the Taliban to force its leaders to the negotiating table.