What We're Reading

Morning Reads: Wells Fargo Slammed With $185 Million Fine; Today’s The First Day of Voting

A roundup of some of the stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

Morning Reads: Wells Fargo Slammed With $185 Million Fine

Pedestrians pass in front of a Wells Fargo & Co. bank branch in New York City (Photographer: Eric Thayer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Let the general election begin –> North Carolinians can mail in the first absentee ballots today, Bloomberg’s Greg Giroux reports.

Wells Fargo fine is win for CFPB –> The New York Times’ Dealbook: “For years, Wells Fargo employees secretly issued credit cards without a customer’s consent. They created fake email accounts to sign up customers for online banking services. They set up sham accounts that customers learned about only after they started accumulating fees. On Thursday, these illegal banking practices cost Wells Fargo $185 million in fines, including a $100 million penalty from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the largest such penalty the agency has issued.” What’s more, the bank has fired some 5,300 employees said to have been involved in the scam.

Pence makes Trump ticket complicated for Wall Street –> Bloomberg News: “Wall Street is getting the memo: donating to the Trump-Pence ticket may be more trouble than it’s worth. Goldman Sachs Group Inc. joined Credit Suisse Group AG and Northern Trust Corp. in warning or restricting employees regarding political donations to avoid violating the federal pay-to-play rule. The rule, meant to prevent firms and employees from making contributions as a quid pro quo for winning business, is complicating donations to the presidential race since Republican nominee Donald Trump chose Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the de facto head of the state’s public pension, as his running mate.”

Drop in death penalty –> The AP reports (via The New York Times), “There have been just two executions since May 1 and the total for 2016 probably will hit a 25-year low. Execution drug shortages, sometimes grotesque errors in death chambers and legal challenges to sentences imposed by judges have contributed to a dramatic decline in the number of states that are carrying out executions…

“The reduction in executions and in the number of states that are enforcing death sentences led Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg to conclude recently, ‘I think the death penalty is fading away.’ There is not enough support on the court to abolish capital punishment, Ginsburg said, but added that may not be necessary.”

Another North Korean nuke –> The BBC: “World leaders have reacted with anger after North Korea carried out its fifth and reportedly biggest nuclear test. The South accused the North’s leader Kim Jong-un of ‘maniacal recklessness.’ China ‘firmly opposed’ the test, Japan ‘protested adamantly’ and the US warned of ‘serious consequences.’ The UN Security Council will meet later behind closed doors to discuss the issue.

“Such nuclear tests are banned by the UN but this is North Korea’s second this year.”

9/11 families could soon sue Saudi Arabia –> The House will likely vote today on a measure that sailed through the Senate months ago allowing the families of 9/11 victims to sue Saudi Arabia if the country is found guilty of funding the terror attacks. The bill has bipartisan support, although President Obama has threatened to veto. At USA Today, Brian Tumulty notes that the vote follows a July decision by the White House that “finally declassified 28 pages of the report from the 9/11 Commission that pointed to multiple links between the terrorists and associates of Saudi Arabian Prince Bandar, the former longtime ambassador to the United States. The report also mentions possible conduits of money from the Saudi royal family to Saudis living in the United States and two of the 9/11 hijackers in San Diego. The documents also indicate substantial support to California mosques where radical Islamist sentiments ran high.”

Trump causes Mexican government shake-up –> David Graham at Reuters: “President Enrique Pena Nieto on Wednesday replaced his close ally and finance minister, Luis Videgaray, after the two were heavily criticized for Republican US presidential candidate Donald Trump’s controversial visit to Mexico last week. A somber-looking Pena Nieto told a news conference that Videgaray, who officials said was the architect of Trump’s visit, would make way for former Finance Minister Jose Antonio Meade.”

“What is Aleppo?” –> MSNBC’s Mike Barnicle asked Libertarian Party presidential candidate Gary Johnson yesterday about Aleppo, the beseiged Syrian city. Johnson had no idea what he was talking about. New Yorker editor David Remnick writes, “Johnson’s inability to locate Aleppo, where men, women and children are being eradicated every day, most recently by chlorine-gas attacks, was pathetic, the equivalent of a candidate for president in 1964 being unable to summon the location of Hanoi or Saigon.”

But Johnson isn’t the only one confused. A New York Times story on his gaffe first misidentified Aleppo as the capital of ISIS. (The fighting in Aleppo is between government forces and other rebel groups, not ISIS. And the de facto capital of ISIS is Raqqa.) Then, in a correction, the newspaper of record ID’d the city as the capital of Syria (that, in fact, is Damascus).

Silver lining –> “The head of the Federal Bureau of Investigation sought to calm fears that Russians or others could electronically sabotage the nation’s election in November, saying the 50-state voting system is so dispersed and ‘clunky’ it would be difficult for hackers to affect the outcome.” Devlin Barrett reports for The Wall Street Journal.

Morning Reads was compiled by John Light and edited by Michael Winship. See a story that you think should be included in Morning Reads? Tell us in the comments!

We produce this news digest every weekday. You can sign up to receive these updates as an email newsletter each morning.