TPM News

NEW YORK (AP) — The mouse is chasing the fox.

Disney is upping the ante for Fox, making a $70.3 billion counterbid for Fox’s entertainment businesses following Comcast’s $65 billion offer for the company.

The battle for Twenty-First Century Fox reflects a new imperative among entertainment and telecommunications firms. They are amassing ever more programming to better compete with technology companies such as Amazon and Netflix for viewers’ attention — and dollars. The bidding war comes after AT&T bought Time Warner for $81 billion, after a federal judge rejected the government’s antitrust concerns.

Disney’s move had been expected ever since Comcast’s bid, which was higher than Disney’s original offer in December of $52.5 billion in stock. Comcast’s offer was all cash. Disney’s new offer of $38 per share is half cash and half stock.

In a statement Wednesday Disney said it is raising its offer because Fox’s value increased due to “tax reform and operating improvements.” In a call with analysts.

“After six months of integration planning we’re even more enthusiastic and confident in the strategic fit of the assets and the talent at Fox,” said CEO Bob Iger in a statement.

In a call with analysts, Iger said he believes Disney’s bid is superior to Comcast’s from a regulatory perspective, and said that six months of dealing with regulators both in the U.S. and internationally has given Disney a “meaningful head start.”

Comcast, based in Philadelphia, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

So just how high can the bidding war go? GBH Insights analyst Dan Ives said he thinks the “line in the sand” is $75 billion to $80 billion.

“Above $80 billion would be a tough pill to swallow for Disney shareholders given the steep price,” he said. “That said, this poker game appears to be just getting started and now it’s Comcast and (Comcast CEO Brian) Roberts move to show their next hand.”

The deal would include Fox film and TV studios, some cable networks and international assets, but not Fox News Channel or the Fox television network.

Fox CEO Rupert Murdoch said the company “firmly believes” that the combination with Disney is a good fit.

“We remain convinced that the combination of 21CF’s iconic assets, brands and franchises with Disney’s will create one of the greatest, most innovative companies in the world,” he said in a statement.

But the New York company also said it is still weighing both offers, and noted that Disney’s new bid doesn’t have any provisions in it that prevents Fox from considering other offers.

Fox and Disney shareholders had been scheduled to vote on Disney’s original bid July 10, but that meeting has been postponed.

In morning trading, shares of Twenty-First Century Fox rallied 6 percent to $47.47. Disney edged up 89 cents to $106.99 while Comcast rose 8 cents to $32.89.

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Rep. Mark Sanford (R-SC), a congressman who recently lost the Republican primary for his reelection bid to a far-right challenger, earned an entire Trump digression Tuesday evening, as the President veered off his immigration script to slam the lawmaker in a room of his peers.

According to a Tuesday Washington Post report, Trump called Sanford a “nasty guy” and made fun of him for losing his race before a stone-cold audience, smattered with booing.

For Sanford, the display was a perfect summation of his problems with Trump.

“I would say the comment goes to the core of why I have at times agreed with policies of the administration but at the same time found the President’s personal style so caustic and counterproductive,” Sanford told The Washington Post. “The tragedy of the Trump presidency is that he thinks it’s about him. The President has taken those earnest beliefs by so many people across the country and has unfortunately fallen prey to thinking it’s about him.”

He reportedly added that he was gratified that his colleagues booed the President for the “biased, demeaning and pejorative comment.”

“You have really big issues happening, and in that context, the President felt it was necessary to take time to say something pejorative about some member of Congress,” he told the Post. “You have that environment, with so many important policies to be discussed, and the president takes time to do that. It is symptomatic [of] how far this administration has drifted from important ideas and policy that really impact people’s lives.”

When asked why Trump has sustained such a vitriolic grudge against him, Sanford expressed his bemusement. “I have no clue,” he said and started laughing.

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NEW YORK (AP) — MSNBC political commentator Rachel Maddow broke down while trying to read an exclusive Associated Press story about babies and toddlers taken from their parents at the southern border and sent to “tender age” shelters.

The host of “The Rachel Maddow Show” was live on the air Tuesday evening when she tried to read the AP’s exclusive story. After trying to get through the first couple of sentences she said, “I’m sorry. I think I’m going to have to hand this off,” ending her segment.

Maddow issued an apology on Twitter with a link to the story saying, “Again, I apologize for losing it there for a moment. Not the way I intended that to go, not by a mile.”

Since the White House announced its zero tolerance policy in early May, more than 2,300 children have been taken from their parents at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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A prominent Republican strategist, who worked on the campaigns of former President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), renounced the Republican Party early Wednesday morning, citing his revulsion to President Donald Trump and the administration’s family separation policy as the final straw.

Steve Schmidt, who is a political analyst for MSNBC and has been regularly vocal about his distaste for Trump, said he now plans to vote independently and align himself with Democrats. He called that party the “only party left in America that stands for what is right and decent and remains fidelitous to our Republic, objective truth, the rule of law and our Allies.”

With Trump at the helm, Schmidt said the GOP has become “corrupt, indecent and immoral,” with the exception of just a few Republican governors. He decried GOP leaders Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) and Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), invoking the spirit of Republican darling President Ronald Reagan, who he said would be “ashamed” of the Party for remaining complacent while “this corrupt government establishes internment camps for babies.”

“Today the GOP has become a danger to our democracy and values,” he said.

Read the full tweet thread below:

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) announced Tuesday that he will launch a multi-agency lawsuit against the Trump administration for its separations of families at the border, citing the infringement of the constitutional rights of the children and families.

“The Trump Administration’s policy to tear apart families is a moral failing and a human tragedy,” he said. “We will not tolerate the constitutional rights of children and their parents being violated by our federal government. New York will act and file suit to end this callous and deliberate attack on immigrant communities, and end this heartless policy once and for all.”

Cuomo likely has multiple motivations for the legal action, as he is currently fighting off primary challenger and actress Cynthia Nixon from the left and wants to boost his liberal credentials.

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The Texas non-profit organization hired to care for the immigrant children who are detained and separated from their parents will be paid almost half a billion dollars this year by the Trump administration, according to Bloomberg’s assessment of government data.

The group, Southwest Key Programs, will be paid more than $458 million in fiscal year 2018. Southwest operates 12 detention facilities in Texas, the largest scope of any non-profit or agency paid with grants by the Department of Health and Human Services to care for the migrant youth, according to Bloomberg.    

The federal government intends to spend $943 million already this year to detain and house the children, a number that nearly exceeds what was spent in all of fiscal year 2017, which ended in September — $958 million.

Additionally, an NBC News report found that it costs far more to hold children in these new “tent city” facilities than it would cost if the kids and parents were housed together. The new tent facilities have been thrown together in reaction to the significant uptick in the number of children who have been separated from their parents in recent weeks after Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ new “zero tolerance” border crossing policy was instated.

According to an HHS official who spoke with NBC, it costs an average of $775 per person per day to hold the children in the tents, while it only costs $298 per person, per day to keep the families together. The cost increase associated with the “tent cities” is primarily due to air conditioning, security and staffing expenses, according to NBC. The more permanent shelters for just children, like the ones operated by Southwest, cost an average of $256 a day.  

Prior to “zero tolerance,” families were detained together in an Immigration and Customs Enforcement center for no more than 20 days. Families were then released and given ankle monitors until their court dates. Now, every adult caught illegally entering the U.S. is arrested, criminally charged and children are placed in a separate shelter.

According to NBC and Bloomberg, HHS is holding at least 12,000 immigrant children in detention facilities currently, 3,000 of whom were separated from their parents since Trump came into office. Others entered the U.S. on their own. On average, immigrant children stay in the custody of HHS for two months before being released to foster care or to live with a relative.

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The city council in what was once a key seaport for slave trade adopted a resolution Tuesday apologizing for slavery.

By voice vote, the Charleston City Council approved the resolution which offers a denouncement of slavery, a promise of tolerance in the future and a proposal for an office of racial reconciliation. The vote came after an hour of public comment followed by nearly two hours of comments from council members, one of whom led to heckling which led Mayor John Tecklenburg to have the chamber cleared.

The vote coincided with “Juneteenth,” a celebration of the end of slavery and just two days after the third anniversary of the racist attack by a white man that killed nine black church members.

In expressing support, Councilman William Dudley Gregorie compared slavery and the immigration policy that has resulted in children being separated from their families.

“I do think that as a council, we have an opportunity to make history, not to right wrongs, but to recognize that the seat of the Confederacy was wrong,” Gregorie said. “It was wrong to enslave people. It was wrong to treat people as property and chattel and sell their children and breakup families, Sound familiar. It’s happening today, folks.”

Councilmen Harry Joseph Griffin and Perry Waring expressed opposition to the resolution, both saying the city needed to focus on economic development. Waring also accused a member of Tecklenburg’s executive staff of pressuring white council members to vote for the resolution or risk being labeled racists.

“That should never be a part of our city government,” Waring said. “It’s unfair and it’s abhorrent.”

Griffin said the city needed to make sure the city fixed a flooding program, an accomplishment that he added would make ancestors proud.

“I understand why people are hurt, but . . .” Griffin said before one last interruption from the audience led him to end his remarks.

The vote was full of symbolism. It was taken by a majority-white council that meets in a City Hall built by slaves and was less than a mile (1.5 kilometers) from the old wharf where slave ships unloaded. That site is soon to be the location for a $75 million African-American history museum.

Organizers, including former Charleston Mayor Joe Riley, are trying to raise the millions of additional dollars they will need to break ground this summer and open the museum in 2020. It will be located on the site of the old wharf where slave ships unloaded.

The museum will tell the story of African-Americans in the U.S. from slavery to today. It also will include genealogy resources to help families trace their roots.

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ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — The governors of multiple East Coast states have announced that they will not deploy National Guard resources near the U.S.-Mexico border, a largely symbolic but politically significant rejection of the Trump administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy that has resulted in children being separated from their families.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, announced Tuesday morning on his Twitter account that he has ordered four crewmembers and a helicopter to immediately return from where they were stationed in New Mexico.

“Until this policy of separating children from their families has been rescinded, Maryland will not deploy any National Guard resources to the border,” Hogan tweeted.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, who like Hogan is a Republican governor in a blue state, on Monday reversed a decision to send a National Guard helicopter to the border, citing the Trump administration’s “cruel and inhuman” policy.

On the Democratic side, governors in Connecticut, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, New York and Virginia have all indicated their refusal to send Guard resources to assist with immigration-related issues.

The resources in question from each state are relatively small, so the governors’ actions aren’t likely to have a huge practical impact. But they are a strong symbolic political gesture, said Mileah Kromer, the director of the Sarah T. Hughes field Politics Center at Goucher College in Towson, Maryland.

“I think at a time when you have a large percentage of the country questioning the leadership of the Trump administration, it certainly is a moment for the governors across the country to show leadership, particularly at a time when this is so divisive,” Kromer said.

The forced separation of migrant children from their parents has fueled criticism across the political spectrum and sparked nationwide protests of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies.

“Ever since our founding – and even before – our nation has been a beacon for families seeking freedom and yearning for a better life,” Democratic New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy said Tuesday as he signed an executive order prohibiting the use of state resources. “President Trump has turned this promise on its head by doubling down on his inhumane and cruel policy of separating families.”

In New York, Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday reiterated a decision he first made earlier this year to not send Guard resources to the border to assist with immigration-related duties. He’s also asked for a federal investigation of the policy relating to the separation of the children from their families.

Delaware Gov. John Carney, a Democrat, said he turned down a request he received on Tuesday to send National Guard troops to the southwest border, while the Democratic governors of Virginia and North Carolina said they would recall Guard members and equipment they already had sent to the border.

“If President Trump revokes the current inhumane policy of separating children from their parents, Delaware will be first in line to assist our sister states in securing the border,” Carney said in a statement.

Governors are not the only ones taking action: Mayors from across the U.S. announced plans to travel to the Texas border on Thursday to protest the “zero tolerance” policy. The mayors will gather at a point of entry near where migrant minors began arriving at a tent-like shelter last week.

The U.S. Conference of Mayors last week unanimously passed a resolution registering its opposition to separating children from their families at the border.

The summary of this story has been edited to correct that Massachusetts did not issue declaration Tuesday; it was Monday.

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On Tuesday evening, Secretary of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen was driven out of a Mexican restaurant a few blocks from the White House when a dozen protesters arrived shouting “shame!” and “if kids don’t eat in peace, you don’t eat in peace!” according to a Wednesday Washington Post report.

She reportedly sat with her head down, listening to the chanting for about 10 minutes and making a phone call before paying her bill and leaving.

According to video footage posted to Facebook, one protester approached the table to address her.

“Secretary Nielsen!” he said. “How dare you spend your evening here eating dinner as you’re complicit in the separation and deportation of over 10,000 children separated from their parents? How can you enjoy a Mexican dinner as you’re deporting and imprisoning tens of thousands of people who come here seeking asylum in the United States? We call on you to end family separation and abolish ICE!”

Other protesters joined the chorus, yelling “in a Mexican restaurant, of all places!” and “have you listened to it? Do you hear the babies crying?” in reference to the viral audio leaked from a detention center.

A statement released to the Washington Post by a DHS spokesman after the interrupted meal painted a very different scene.

“While having a work dinner tonight, the Secretary and her staff heard from a small group of protesters who share her concern with our current immigration laws that have created a crisis on our southern border,” it said. “The Secretary encourages all — including this group — who want to see an immigration system that works, that contributes to our economy, that protects our security, and that reflects our values to reach out to Members of Congress and seek their support to close the terrible immigration loopholes that have made our system a mess. The Secretary has been working with Members of Congress for months in search of a solution and she will continue to do so this week.”

The protest was organized by the Metro D.C. Democratic Socialists of America.

“While Secretary Nielsen’s dinner may have been ruined, it is nothing compared to the horrors she has inflicted on innocent families,” the organization said in a statement.

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