Donald Trump's "America First" slogan morphed Monday into "Me First" as the president unloaded on his own intelligence community and Justice Department to portray himself as the victim of a conspiracy to deny him legitimacy. Trump also blamed American "foolishness and stupidity" for the poor state of U.S.-Russia relations, returning to themes he has repeated at political rallies around the United States.
This time, though, he was on foreign soil, standing next to Vladimir Putin, the very man whose government is accused of interfering in the 2016 election to favor Trump. As such, his extraordinary performance fueled criticism of his presidency from both the right and left. And it will likely embolden Putin, who faced no pushback from Trump over the election allegations or a long list of other Kremlin actions, ranging from Syria to Ukraine.
Sure enough, critics and even some usually reliable defenders were quick to pounce.
Former U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday took aim at "strongman politics" in his highest-profile speech since leaving office, urging people around the world to respect human rights and other values now under threat in an impassioned address marking the 100th anniversary of anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela's birth.
While not mentioning his successor, President Donald Trump, by name, Obama's speech in South Africa countered many of Trump's policies, rallying people to keep alive the ideas that Mandela worked for including democracy, diversity and tolerance.
Obama opened by calling today's times "strange and uncertain," adding that "each day's news cycle is bringing more head-spinning and disturbing headlines." These days "we see much of the world threatening to return to a more dangerous, more brutal, way of doing business," he said.
Asked whether he believed U.S. intelligence agencies or Russian President Vladimir Putin on whether Russia meddled in the 2016 election, President Donald Trump declined to directly respond. Instead, he raised questions about the Russia investigation, including referring to a conspiracy theory that was shot down by his own Justice Department.
Facebook / Kelli Travers-Stafford
A South Florida mother says her 15-year-old daughter died after mistaking a Chips Ahoy cookie with peanut butter for a regular cookie and now her mother is calling for the company to make distinguishable packaging for foods with allergens.
Alexi Ryann Stafford, of Weston, made the fatal mistake when she was at a friend's house and reached into an open package of chewy Reese's Chips Ahoy cookies, thinking it was safe for her to eat because of the familiar red packaging. The top flap was peeled back, hiding the Reese's label on the package.
Police say a British woman was impaled by a beach umbrella on the New Jersey shore.
The Asbury Park Press reports 67-year-old Margaret Reynolds, of London, was at Seaside Heights Monday afternoon when part of the umbrella pierced her right ankle and was driven completely through due to the "force of the wind."
Borough Police Chief Tommy Boyd says fire crews had to use a bolt cutter on the umbrella to free the woman and put her in an ambulance.
President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in a highly anticipated and much scrutinized face-to-face on Monday.
Investigators in Texas captured a man who has been described as a possible serial killer, NBC News reported.
Jose Gilberto Rodriguez, 46, was wanted in connection with three killings over three days in Harris County and Houston beginning Friday, authorities said. He was also described as a "person of strong interest" in two other crimes: a July 9 home invasion committed by an armed suspect and the shooting of a bus driver on Monday morning.
Houston police tweeted Tuesday morning that Gilberto Rodriguez was in custody, but didn't give more details. Houston Police Chief Art Acevedo said Monday that he was armed and dangerous: "The sooner we can get him into custody the sooner we can breathe a little easier."
Acevedo said Gilberto Rodriguez had been on parole for unspecified crimes when he cut his ankle monitor a few days ago. He added that it wasn’t clear if the slayings were the work of a serial killer.
Get More at NBC News
Amazon Prime Day 2018 started on July 16 at 3 p.m. ET, although an outage brought error messages to some shoppers.
Today.com has done a round-up of good deals and will keep updating this page as new top deals come in.
Get More at Today.com
Petco is trying to Amazon-proof its business. Time will tell if the strategy really works.
The privately held pet-goods retailer has just opened a new service-focused store that aims to give shoppers something they can't buy online. A pilot location opened this past Friday in San Marcos, California. Called PetCoach, it offers grooming, training, veterinary care, dog walking and more to pet parents, in addition to a limited assortment of products.
The company said it plans to open more of these spaces in the future, using the San Marcos location as a testing ground. Part of this experiment also includes a new membership option.
Scott Olson/Getty Images, File
You don’t have to be awake at work as a Mattress Firm intern.
The mattress store is hiring a “snoozetern” to help the company’s social media team tease product launches and assist customers in selecting the ideal bed, it announced in a news release Tuesday.
The intern, who will be based at Mattress Firm’s headquarters in Houston, will be responsible for testing beds and creating written and video reviews for the store’s website, hosting Facebook Lives to give sleeping tips and generating videos that highlight Houston residents’ sleeping habits.
“We are excited to hire our first ever Snoozetern,” said Scott Thaler, Mattress Firm’s chief marketing officer, in a statement. “It’s not every day that an intern is hired to sleep on the job, but that’s just one of many perks.”
Getty Images, File
Police in a St. Louis suburb are reviewing what happened after 10 black college students were stopped by officers and escorted with squad cars back to a restaurant after being wrongfully suspected of leaving without paying.
The incident occurred earlier this month in Clayton. Police Chief Kevin Murphy said Monday that an internal review was launched after complaints from the parents of one of the students.
The students, all incoming freshmen at Washington University, a prestigious school that sits at the boundary of St. Louis and Clayton, were walking to a light rail station after a late-night meal at an IHOP restaurant. They were stopped by two officers around 12:30 a.m. July 8. The restaurant manager had told police that a group of young black men left without paying a $62 tab.
Body cam footage released by the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department shows an intense pursuit seen from the front seat of a patrol car. Officer William Umana was trying to stop a pair of suspected...
Boston Globe via Getty Images, File
Sen. Edward Markey and Rep. Joe Kennedy are pushing a bill that would end the use of so-called “gay panic” and “trans panic” defenses in federal court, NBC News reported.
The legislation, titled Gay and Trans Panic Defense Prohibition Act of 2018, states that those defenses “seek to partially or completely excuse crimes such as murder and assault on the grounds that the sexual orientation or gender identity of the victim is provocation enough for the violent reaction of the defendant.”
The rare defense tactic has already been banned in California and Illinois but is still theoretically usable in federal court. Markey and Kennedy, two Democrats from Massachusetts, aim to change that with the legislation.
“Gay and trans panic legal defenses reflect an irrational fear and bigotry toward the LGBTQ community and corrode the legitimacy of federal prosecutions,” Markey said in a statement. “These defenses must be prohibited to ensure that all Americans are treated with dignity and humanity in our justice system.”
Get More at NBC News
Mladen Antonov/AFP via Getty Images
A 29-year-old gun-rights activist served as a covert Russian agent while living in Washington, gathering intelligence on American officials and political organizations and working to establish back-channel lines of communications for the Kremlin, federal prosecutors charged Monday.
The announcement of the arrest of Maria Butina came just hours after President Donald Trump met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and just days after special counsel Robert Mueller charged 12 Russian intelligence officials with directing a sprawling hacking effort aimed at swaying the 2016 election.
Jack Taylor/Getty Images
Britain's pro-Brexit campaign broke spending rules in the June 2016 vote on whether to leave the European Union and has been referred to the police, NBC News reported.
Vote Leave was slapped with an $80,843 fine for overspending, according to an Electoral Commission ruling Tuesday. Britain is still figuring out how to leave the E.U., scheduled for March 20, 2019, which will bring changes in the country's foreign policy and trade partners.
The Brexit vote was narrowly in favor of leaving and the regulators' ruling brought new calls for a second referendum on Brexit.
Prime Minister Theresa May's government was plunged into crisis over her plan for how to leave the E.U. It brought a series of resignations from May's Cabinet before narrowly avoiding defeat in the House of Commons Monday.
Get More at NBC News