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Happening Today: Harvey, Joe Arpaio, Transgender Military Ban, Sriracha, Kathy Griffin

What to Know

  • After lingering over Texas for days before meandering back into the Gulf of Mexico, the deadly storm of Harvey made landfall again
  • The Irwindale, California-based company that makes Sriracha hot sauce is suing the company that supplies its chili peppers
  • Kathy Griffin retracted her apology for a gory image of a fake President Donald Trump head, saying anger against her was overblown

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Western Louisiana in Crosshairs as Harvey Makes Landfall Again

Western Louisiana residents braced for more wind and water as Tropical Storm Harvey made landfall in the state after dumping record rainfall on Texas, parts of which continue to see rising floodwaters. After lingering over Texas for days before meandering back into the Gulf of Mexico, the deadly storm made landfall again, this time just west of Cameron, Louisiana. Forecasters say another 5 to 10 inches of rain could fall in western Louisiana. A meteorologist warns that some coastal rivers won't be able to drain effectively because Harvey's winds are pushing in storm surge, aggravating flooding in areas already drenched by more than 20 inches of rain. Gusts up to 50 mph are predicted for coastal areas and up to 40 mph in Lake Charles and along the Interstate 10 corridor. Cameron Parish's Office of Emergency Preparedness said a curfew was in effect until the threat had passed and checkpoints have been set up at entry points into evacuated areas.

Presidential Pardons Might Not End Russia Prosecutions

President Trump’s pardon of former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, issued before his federal case was even finished, has sparked a debate over whether he could end Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia probe with a series of pre-emptive pardons. But even mass pardons of all suspects in the Russia case would not close the door to potential prosecutions, NBC News reported. While presidential pardons can halt the federal case, local prosecutors could then pursue any Americans suspected of aiding Russia’s election meddling. In fact, legal experts tell NBC News presidential pardons could make that prospect more likely. Federal pardons could open the door to local criminal investigations in several states, like New York, Illinois and Virginia, according to a new MSNBC legal analysis.

Panel Will Address Trump Transgender Military Ban, Mattis Says

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is assembling a panel of experts to discuss the matter of openly transgender individuals already serving in the U.S. military. President Trump directed the Pentagon to extend indefinitely a ban on transgender individuals joining the military, but he gave Mattis the authority to decide those already serving. Mattis says in a statement that the Pentagon, in consultation with the Department of Homeland Security, will develop a plan that "will promote military readiness, lethality and unit cohesion." He says, "Panel members will bring mature experience, most notably in combat and deployed operations, and seasoned judgment to this task." The White House had said that transgender people would be allowed to continue serving until Mattis had completed such an analysis.

Heating Up: Sriracha Maker Sues Chili Pepper Provider

The Irwindale, California-based company that makes Sriracha hot sauce is suing the company that supplies its chili peppers, alleging the firm is refusing to pay more than $1.4 million in overpayments and return some $7 million in equipment. Huy Fong Foods Inc. alleges breach of production agreement, breach of contract and civil theft in its Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit against Camarillo-based Underwood Ranches LP. An Underwood Ranches representative could not be immediately reached for comment on the suit, which states that Underwood has grown peppers used by Huy Fong in making its hot sauces for about 30 years.

Big Names Help Harvey Victims by Getting Big Money to Relief Effort

As victims of Hurricane Harvey fill Texas shelters, celebrities are pledging to make sizeable donations — and using their social media reach to challenge others to do the same — to bring relief to storm-torn areas in and around Houston. Sports franchises and tech giants have also pledged to give money to relief organizations like the American Red Cross. J.J. Watt, a defensive end for the Houston Texans football team, has raised about $4 million in crowdfunding since Sunday. Using Twitter, he has repeatedly upped the goal as it has been met. After breaking the $4 million mark, his goal is now $5 million. The Houston Rockets had originally pledged $4 million to Harvey victims but later announced they had raised the amount to $10 million. The Houston Astros-Texas Rangers baseball series was relocated to Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Florida, but that did not stop the flow of donations and support for Houston. Facebook and Google announced they would match funds up to $1 million in donations for Harvey victims.

Kathy Griffin Rescinds Apology for Trump Photo

Kathy Griffin retracted her apology for a gory image of a fake President Trump head, saying anger against her was overblown and should be directed at Trump and his administration. A feisty Griffin, interviewed on Australian TV in advance of an international comedy tour, slammed the president and his actions as she reversed course from her tearful mea culpa in May. The comedian condemned Trump's pardon of former Arizona lawman Joe Arpaio and the president's call for a ban on military service by transgender people. She also referred to Trump as a "fool," among other derogatory terms. One "Sunrise" host pressed her on whether it was out of line to pose for photos and a video with a mask of Trump covered in tomato sauce to simulate blood from a severed head. Griffin pushed back.

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