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5 things for October 5: Las Vegas, Tillerson, Niger, Equifax, tropical depression
Despite an almost laser-like focus on the details of his life, much remains unknown about Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock. Police now believe Paddock had planned to escape after committing the massacre that left 58 people dead, but he left a note instead and killed himself. And Sheriff Joseph Lombardo of the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police thinks Paddock may have had some help planning the attack.
So far, Paddock's girlfriend, Marilou Danley, hasn't been able to shed much light. She said she didn't know Paddock was planning a mass shooting. She thought he sent her to the Philippines two weeks ago to break up with her.
President Trump visited survivors of the shooting, and this attempt at being the comforter-in-chief went much better than it did in Puerto Rico. Trump was gracious and deferential as he met with survivors, doctors, nurses and first responders.
And more heartbreaking stories about what went on during the shooting have come out. One man saved 30 people before he was hit by gunfire, while a hotel security guard took a bullet as he approached the shooter during his spree. And many relatives and friends watched helplessly as their loved ones perished. You can read profiles of those who died here.
Did the secretary of state call the President a moron? NBC News says yes. President Trump says no, that's just fake news. Rex Tillerson, well, he just doesn't want to talk about it. Tillerson did reaffirm his commitment to Trump during a hastily called news conference, as a report began circulating that Vice President Pence had to step in to get Tillerson to stay.
There's no doubt things have been tense lately between the President and his top diplomat. Trump has publicly undermined Tillerson on several foreign policy initiatives; NBC reported on Tillerson's "fury" over Trump's meddling (and that's when the moron comment was allegedly made). But with a nuke crisis with North Korea, the Iran nuke deal under fire and the President's big trip to Asia looming, the Trump-Tillerson team is staying together, at least for now.
Three US Special Ops troops were killed when they were ambushed in Niger. The Americans were taking part in a joint patrol with Nigerien troops when they were attacked near the Mali-Niger border. Two other members of the special operations force were wounded. The US military has kept a presence in Niger, helping the West African country battle ISIS and a branch of al Qaeda.
Guess who got a government contract to help the IRS guard against fraud? Equifax. Yes, that Equifax, the same credit-monitoring agency that just last month announced it had been hit with a massive security breach that may have exposed the personal information of as many as 145.5 million people. Members of the Senate Banking Committee aren't pleased about this, and they let Richard Smith, Equifax's ex-CEO, know it. "To many Americans right now, that looks like we're giving Lindsay Lohan the key to the minibar," Louisiana Sen. John Kennedy told Smith. Other senators wanted to know if there's any way for the IRS to get out of the $7.25 million deal.
Hurricane season is in full swing, and another storm looms in the Caribbean. Tropical Depression 16 is just off the Nicaragua-Honduras border and is expected to strengthen into Tropical Storm Nate before making landfall on Nicaragua's east coast later this morning. Then, the storm is expected to pass over Honduras before hitting open water again. Forecasters think it could rapidly intensify into a Category 1 hurricane before hitting Sunday morning near Panama City Beach, Florida.
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