Trump escalates Iran tensions by sanctioning Foreign Minister Javad Zarif

The Trump administration has just sanctioned Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister, as part of its “maximum pressure” campaign on Tehran.

The move, which goes into effect on Wednesday, is one of the most dramatic by President Donald Trump yet since he withdrew America from the Iran nuclear deal — which Zarif helped negotiate — last year. It was expected, though, as Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said last month that Trump ordered him to sanction the Iranian diplomat.

Senior administration officials on a call with reporters Wednesday said the main reasons for the move were because the diplomat represents a …

Democrats tried to win over working-class voters. But they ignored their biggest worry.

The first night of the second Democratic primary debate was political theater for a very specific audience: white working-class Trump voters.

That was clear when moderate candidates tried to distance themselves from the word “socialism.” It was clear when Rep. Tim Ryan (D-OH) said Trump’s trade war was “effective.” It was obvious when Montana Gov. Steve Bullock bashed the idea of providing unauthorized immigrant workers with free health care.

The questions and answers painted a caricature of the voter Democrats think they need to “win back” to take the White House: old white male workers who don’t really like immigrants. …

Jake Paul and Tana Mongeau’s giant YouTuber wedding married reality TV to the internet

When the whirlwind July 28 wedding of YouTube superstars Tana Mongeau and Jake Paul finally got underway, three hours late, it went off exactly as planned — which is to say, it was a dizzying clusterfuck.

The live-streamed, hotly anticipated ceremony took place in Las Vegas’s Graffiti Mansion with a giant hashtag (#JanaForever — “Jana” being the couple’s ship name, a portmanteau of “Jake” + “Tana”) scrawled across the roof, amid a backdrop of celebrity impersonators, a fistfight, a crowd of dazed reporters, and a collection of outdoor mall outlets. What was promoted as an exchanging …

Vox Sentences: Another mass shooting

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

A shooting in California leaves four dead, including the shooter, and 12 injured; under Brazil’s Bolsonaro, Amazon deforestation accelerates.

Police search for answers in California shooting

Neal Waters/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images
  • Another mass shooting rattled California on Sunday, injuring 12 victims and killing three, including a 6-year-old boy. [Vox / Aaron Rupar]
  • The shooting occurred at the annual Gilroy Garlic

Marianne Williams proposes new government department focused on children

Marianne Williamson might have raised some eyebrows when she said she would outdo New Zealand in making sure the United States is the best place in the world for a child to grow up during the first Democratic presidential debate, but the candidate is dead serious about it: she just rolled out a proposal to create a new federal government department dedicated to children and youth.

On Sunday, Williamson announced a plan to build a US Department of Children and Youth as part of her pledge to “prioritize a massive realignment of investment in the direction of our children” as …

The woman in line to be Puerto Rico’s next governor says she doesn’t want the job

The day after Puerto Rico’s Governor Ricardo Rosselló announced he would resign following weeks of massive protests against his administration, the woman legally in line to be his successor, Wanda Vázquez Garced, was already trending on Twitter.

Activists who organized mass protests against Rosselló using #RickyRenuncia had their next hashtag ready: #WandaRenuncia.

Now Vázquez, Puerto Rico’s current justice secretary, says she doesn’t want to be governor at all. In a Sunday tweet, Vázquez said that she wants Rosselló to appoint a secretary of state, who, under the territory’s constitution would be next in line the for the governorship, before …

Trump says Daniel Coats, America’s top spy, will step down

President Donald Trump’s Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats will soon be replaced because he kept doing the one thing Trump couldn’t stand: telling the truth.

In a Sunday tweet, Trump wished Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats well after serving two years in his position and said that Coats will resign officially on August 15. Trump added that he will nominate Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-TX), a staunch Congressional ally who fiercely sided with the president during the Mueller probe, as the nation’s next top spy.

There have been rumblings in recent days that Coats’s departure was imminent. One …

Orange Is the New Black’s final season finds hope in a hopeless place

This article contains spoilers for the complete final season of Orange Is the New Black. Read at your own risk!

Spoilers below!

Midway through the series finale of Orange Is the New Black, Tamika (Susan Hayward), an old friend of Taystee’s who became a prison guard at the very prison where Taystee was incarcerated, has lost her job as warden of Litchfield Maximum Security Prison, a job she mostly got because of the optics of hiring a black woman to run Litchfield but a job she proved terrific at. Tamika doesn’t deserve to lose her job. The “evidence” …

Trump launches another racist attack on a lawmaker of color

President Donald Trump lashed out against Rep. Elijah Cummings in a series of tweets on Saturday, calling the Maryland congressman “a brutal bully” and the majority-black district he represents “disgusting.”

The early morning screed against Cummings, who chairs the House Oversight Committee, appeared to be in response to Cummings’s criticism of policies at the border during recent hearings. It also follows Cummings calling on Americans to “pay attention to what is going on” and to protect democracy in the wake of special counsel Robert Mueller’s testimony Wednesday.

“Elijah Cummings has been a brutal bully, shouting and screaming at the great …

Vox Sentences: Thank the consumers

Vox Sentences is your daily digest for what’s happening in the world. Sign up for the Vox Sentences newsletter, delivered straight to your inbox Monday through Friday, or view the Vox Sentences archive for past editions.

American economy slows, although consumer spending keeps it afloat; US reveals an alleged Venezuelan corruption scheme that exploited the hungry.

Q2 economic growth drops to 2.1 percent

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
  • US economic growth may have starkly fallen to 2.1 percent in the second quarter, but strong consumer spending is keeping the economy afloat. [CNN / Lydia DePillis]
  • While the growth rate