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The Dossier: Las Vegas shooting a year later; China escalates anti-US cyber war

Las Vegas shooting one year later

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history. 

On October 1, 2017, Stephen Paddock opened fire on concertgoers attending a country music festival on the Las Vegas Strip. From his 32nd-floor hotel room, Paddock fired over 1,000 rounds of ammunition, killing 59 innocents and injuring over 500 more. 

We still do not know what motivated Paddock to kill. The FBI has proclaimed that “we may never know” why he decided to take so many lives. 

The Las Vegas shooting represents a massive failure of federal law enforcement, which largely failed to keep the public informed about its investigation into the mass shooting. The FBI has failed to solve the several mysteries concerning the shooting in a timely manner, leaving the victims’ families — and the public at large — with more questions than answers. A final FBI report on the shooting is expected by the end of the year.

Canada agrees to new NAFTA deal

Canada has agreed to terms on a new trilateral trade agreement with the U.S. and Mexico, the Trump administration announced late Sunday.

The new accord is called the U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, or USMCA. President Trump initially floated the idea that the new agreement could use the USMC acronym as a way to pay homage to the U.S. Marine Corps.

President Trump hosted a news conference at 11:00 a.m. in the Rose Garden Monday morning to deliver additional details on the new pact.

60-year anniversary of NASA moon shot

Today also marks the anniversary of the beginning of NASA’s moon shot mission, which eventually resulted in a successful U.S. landing on the moon. On October 1, 1958, just ten days after its creation, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, or NASA, began its moon shot quest. About one year before, the Soviet Union had launched Sputnik, the first satellite to successfully orbit the earth, marking the beginning of the space race.

In the 21st century, NASA has reprioritized its budget and no longer competes in the aerospace manufacturing and space transportation industry. NASA relies on private contractors such as SpaceX, Blue Origin, Boeing, and others to build the tools necessary to complete space missions.

China ramps up cyber war against America

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats spoke out about China’s nefarious cyber warfare activities, calling Beijing’s actions “unprecedented in scale” and specifically designed to undermine U.S. national interest.

Speaking at The Citadel over the weekend, Coats said China’s cyber intrusions are "trying to exploit any divisions between federal and local levels on policy."

Earlier last week, President Trump warned that China is attempting to interfere in the upcoming 2018 U.S. elections.

Indonesia earthquake death toll skyrockets

Authorities continue to raise the approximate number of people killed by a massive earthquake and tsunami that wreaked havoc in Indonesia over the weekend. On Monday, officials estimated that 844 people were killed in the natural disaster. The devastation has also created a humanitarian disaster, with many now living without food and/or water supplies. The Indonesian Disaster Management Agency now estimates that 2.4 million people were impacted by the disaster.

China & U.S. cancel security talks

Amid high tensions stemming from a growing trade war and interference allegations fired back and forth between the top two global powers, the U.S. and China have canceled a planned security summit that was due to take place in October, a U.S. official told Reuters.

“The official said it was not clear whether the cancellation was because of the broad range of disputes between Beijing and Washington on issues such as arms sales and military activity in the South China Sea and other waters around China,” the report added.

When will POTUS meet with Rod Rosenstein?

President Trump was due to speak face to face last week with Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who has empowered the Mueller probe and the president’s adversaries, marking him as a major thorn in the side to the president’s mandate. 

Their meeting is now supposed to take place this week. However, given the administration’s current focus on Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the Supreme Court, the Rosenstein meeting may get pushed back again, according to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

Some of the president’s most high-profile supporters have urged him to get rid of Rosenstein, given his support of the Mueller probe’s seemingly unlimited mandate, in addition to his signing off on controversial FISA surveillance applications. Others have advised that the president push off the decision until after the midterm elections, so as not to give the Democrats a talking point to rally behind.

Author’s note: This post originally appeared in CRTV’s The Dossier newsletter. For foreign policy news and views delivered to your inbox twice a week, subscribe here or use the form below!

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