• The Latest: Iran supreme leader critical of FM in nuke deal
    World
    Associated Press

    The Latest: Iran supreme leader critical of FM in nuke deal

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — The Latest on increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran (all times local):

  • The Abortion Debate Is Not Part of the Culture Wars
    News
    Bloomberg

    The Abortion Debate Is Not Part of the Culture Wars

    All these states, plus a few more, have passed anti-abortion statutes recently, yet more evidence of the intense polarization around issues of gender, sex and religion. Abortion may be a uniquely divisive issue, and there are growing divisions among Americans along racial and economic lines. When it comes to issues of gender, sex and religion, however, Americans seem to be moving in tandem — and becoming more tolerant.

  • Researchers say a tiny planet slammed into the Moon a long time ago
    Science
    BGR News

    Researchers say a tiny planet slammed into the Moon a long time ago

    Earth's Moon only ever shows us one face. It's locked into its current orientation, with a permanent nearside and farside, but it wasn't until the Apollo missions that scientists were able to see just how different the two sides really are. The nearside, with its sea of dark gray basins standing in contrast to the brilliant white powder that covers the rest of its face, varies dramatically from the farside, which is marked with countless smaller craters in a more uniform distribution.The debate over how the Moon's split personalities developed has raged for decades, but new research seems to indicate that one of the possible explanations does indeed hold water. The theory, that Earth's Moon was struck by a tiny dwarf planet long ago, is the subject of a new research paper published in Journal of Geophysical Research: Planets.Using computer models to simulate what may have happened to the Moon's surface long ago, researchers suggest the most likely scenario seems to be the collision between the Moon and a very large body. The impact of a dwarf planet as large as 480 miles across would have struck what we see today as the Moon's nearside at a speed of 14,000 miles per hour.This theory stands in contrast to other proposed explanations, including the theory that Earth may have once had not one Moon, but two. The two-moon theory suggests that Earth's moon duo may have at one point collided and merged, leaving the Moon as we see it today looking oddly unsymmetrical.The dwarf planet collision scenario assumes that whatever the body that struck the Moon was, it was in its own path around the Sun and just happened to be in the right place at the right time to strike Earth's natural satellite. This, the researchers say, would also explain why the crust on the farside of the Moon is different than that of its nearside."We demonstrate that a large body slowly impacting the nearside of the Moon can reproduce the observed crustal thickness asymmetry and form both the farside highlands and the nearside lowlands," the paper explains. "Additionally, the model shows that the resulting impact ejecta would cover the primordial anorthositic crust to form a two‐layer crust on the farside, as observed."

  • Time to impeach Donald Trump, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urges congressional Democrats
    Politics
    The Independent

    Time to impeach Donald Trump, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez urges congressional Democrats

    Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has called on Democrats to begin impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump. Citing the White House's continued obstruction of oversight efforts by Congress, Ms Ocasio-Cortez said the US president's actions made such a move "entirely appropriate". The influential Democratic congresswoman's intervention piles pressure on House speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has so far resisted calls for Democrats to launch impeachment proceedings.Ms Pelosi instead backs continued investigations of Mr Trump and his administration by numerous congressional panels.But more Democrats are openly discussing impeachment, and liberals like Ms Ocasio-Cortez, a leader of the progressive left since she beat an established Democrat in a surprise primary upset last year, are stepping up the pressure."I think it's time for us to, at the very least, open an impeachment inquiry ... we've been given no choice I think, in this scenario," Ms Ocasio-Cortez said outside the House of Representatives.She said the Mueller report on Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign had described evidence of obstruction of the investigation by the executive branch, adding that the report had pointed directly to Congress as the body to take action.The report by special counsel Robert Mueller stopped short of declaring the president obstructed justice, but it also refused to exonerate him."We now have the president actively discouraging witnesses from coming in to answer a legally binding subpoena from Congress," Ms Ocasio-Cortez added.Former White House counsel Don McGahn on Tuesday defied a subpoena from the House judiciary committee, at the White House's request."It's getting to the point where we can't even do our own jobs. And I think it is entirely appropriate, given this overwhelming amount of evidence and the continued actions from the executive branch, that we exert our power as a co-equal branch of government," Ms Ocasio-Cortez said.She said she was not sure whether impeachment advocates were a majority of the Democrats in the House, but "I personally have not felt a very strong opposition to impeachment".Another Democratic politician, representative John Yarmuth, said on Tuesday he believed Ms Pelosi realises events were trending in the direction of impeachment, even as the Democratic leader argues for continued focus on House investigations of the Trump administration.Ms Pelosi listened as advocates of impeachment spoke at a Monday night meeting with senior Democrats, Mr Yarmuth said."I think she realises that the path is leading more and more inevitably toward an impeachment process. But she wants to let all these committees do their thing," Mr Yarmuth said outside the House.Additional reporting by Reuters

  • Guatemalan teen dies at Border Patrol station, 5th minor to die in US custody in 6 months
    News
    USA TODAY

    Guatemalan teen dies at Border Patrol station, 5th minor to die in US custody in 6 months

    Customs and Border Protection said the 16-year-old from Guatemala was found unresponsive during a welfare check in the Rio Grande Valley.

  • House Speaker Nancy Pelosi clashes with caucus over impeachment push
    Politics
    FOX News Videos

    House Speaker Nancy Pelosi clashes with caucus over impeachment push

    Democrats call meeting after former White House counsel Don McGahn defies House subpoena; Doug McKelway reports from Capitol Hill.

  • After Huawei, U.S. could blacklist Chinese surveillance tech firm - media
    Business
    Reuters

    After Huawei, U.S. could blacklist Chinese surveillance tech firm - media

    The U.S. administration is considering Huawei-like sanctions on Chinese video surveillance firm Hikvision, media reports show, deepening worries that trade friction between the world's top two economies could be further inflamed. The restrictions would limit Hikvision's ability to buy U.S. technology and American companies may have to obtain government approval to supply components to the Chinese firm, the New York Times reported https://nyti.ms/2MfgBS3 on Tuesday. The United States stuck Huawei Technologies on a trade blacklist last week, effectively banning U.S. firms from doing business with the world's largest telecom network gear maker, in a major escalation in the trade war.

  • Fears rise China could weaponise rare earths in US tech war
    World
    AFP

    Fears rise China could weaponise rare earths in US tech war

    The US has hit China where it hurts by going after its telecom champion Huawei, but Beijing's control of the global supply of rare earths used in smartphones and electric cars gives it a powerful weapon in their escalating tech war. A seemingly routine visit by President Xi Jinping to a Chinese rare earths company this week is being widely read as an obvious threat that Beijing is standing ready for action. Xi's inspection tour "is no accident, this didn't happen by chance," said Li Mingjiang, China programme coordinator at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) in Singapore.

  • Iran Has Amassed the Largest Ballistic Missile Force in the Middle East
    World
    The National Interest

    Iran Has Amassed the Largest Ballistic Missile Force in the Middle East

    Deterring regional adversaries from threatening Iran is the primary reason Tehran has amassed the largest ballistic missile force in the Middle East.The missile program actually began under the Shah, but it was accelerated during the Iran-Iraq War in order to threaten Saddam Hussein with strikes deep in Iraqi territory. Since then, Iran has worked with countries like Libya, North Korea and China in order to develop a large and diverse arsenal of ballistic and cruise missiles that form one part of its three-leg deterrent strategy. With Iran now using missiles in conflict, it’s worth taking a closer look at the weapons in its arsenal.(This first appeared back in 2017.)Shahab-SeriesThe backbone of Iran's missile forces are the Shahab-series of liquid-fueled (mostly) short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM). There are three variants of the missile: The Shahab-1, Shahab-2 and Shahab-3. The Shahab-1 was the first missile Iran acquired and is based on the Soviet Scud-B missile. Iran reportedly purchased these initially from Libya and possibly Syria, but North Korea has been its main supplier. The Shab-1 has a reported range between 285–330 kilometers, and can carry a warhead of around one thousand kilograms. Iran is believed to have three hundred Shahab-1 rockets.

  • Farage's Brexit Party to Trounce May, Sporting Index Says
    World
    Bloomberg

    Farage's Brexit Party to Trounce May, Sporting Index Says

    Prime Minister Theresa May’s Conservatives will win seven, while Labour will take 13 and the Liberal Democrats 12, Sporting Index predicted in an email in London on Tuesday. Sporting Index has had a consistently strong record in predicting some of the key twists and turns of the Brexit saga. Last month, about two hours before the latest vote on May’s Brexit deal, the spread betting firm forecast she’d lose by 60 votes.

  • U.S. Intel to Congress: No Evidence al Qaeda Is Helping Iran
    Politics
    The Daily Beast

    U.S. Intel to Congress: No Evidence al Qaeda Is Helping Iran

    Kena Betancur/AFP/GettyThe American intelligence community has no evidence that al Qaeda has cooperated with the Iranian government in its recent aggressive moves in the Persian Gulf region, a senior U.S. government official told members of Congress on Tuesday. That finding, which was relayed to The Daily Beast by three sources familiar with the matter, could undercut a potential legal case for going to war with Iran if tensions between Washington and Tehran keep escalating. The assessment was delivered in a classified briefing with dozens of House members on Capitol Hill. According to the three sources, one of the officials who briefed the members said the U.S. government does not have evidence of operational coordination between the Iranian government and the terrorist group responsible for 9/11 with respect to the current threat stream. The significance of the admission is likely to divide lawmakers. Democrats who worry about the prospect of war between the U.S. and Iran will likely say that the lack of intelligence means the Trump administration cannot use Congress’s 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF) to fight al Qaeda as a legal basis to start a war with the regional power. Republicans, in contrast, are likely to view it as a non sequitur, arguing that the administration isn’t trying to start a war but rather to act in defense of U.S. interests and forces in the Gulf region. Over the last decade, presidents from both parties have circumvented Congress when it comes to waging military campaigns. Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump have all used the 2001 AUMF to justify a wide range of military activity—drawing pointed but largely toothless criticism from Capitol Hill. Obama, for instance, used the 2001 AUMF to justify the American fight against the Islamic State, which did not exist in 2001. Trump Admin Moves Fueled Iran’s Aggression, U.S. Intel SaysLast month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo publicly connected Iran and al Qaeda, calling the ties “very real.” “They have hosted al Qaeda, they have permitted al Qaeda to transit their country,” said Pompeo, “There is no doubt there is a connection between the Islamic Republic of Iran and al Qaeda. Period, full stop.”When Pompeo testified to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last October, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) pressed him on whether the 2001 AUMF would permit a war on Iran. “I would prefer just to leave that to the lawyers,” he said, as France24 reported.Pompeo is not the only government official to see a connection between Iran and al Qaeda. In 2011, the Obama administration’s Treasury Department accused the two of forming an alliance to move arms and fighters. In February of this year, The Washington Times, a conservative paper, ran a story citing anonymous Trump administration officials saying that Iran is “providing high-level al Qaeda operatives with a clandestine sanctuary to funnel fighters, money and weapons across the Middle East”—a claim the newspaper noted could be used to justify war. Increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran have generated concern on the Hill about an escalatory spiral. Earlier this month, the U.S. moved an aircraft carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf, with administration officials saying Iranian proxies were threatening U.S. forces in the region. That came after the administration eliminated sanctions waivers for countries looking to buy Iranian oil and after the administration designated the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist group. The Daily Beast reported last week that officials in multiple U.S. government agencies have assessed that Iran’s increasingly hostile behavior came in response to those moves. A year ago, the Trump administration withdrew the United States from an international deal with the Iranian government intended to keep it from developing nuclear weapons by trading caps and insight on their program for targeted sanctions relief. Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.

  • Man who threatened to kill ‘as many girls as I see’ because he was repeatedly rejected set to be spared jail
    News
    The Independent

    Man who threatened to kill ‘as many girls as I see’ because he was repeatedly rejected set to be spared jail

    A man who threatened to murder “as many girls” as he could see may escape a jail sentence, despite pleading guilty to a charge of attempted threat of terrorism.Christopher Cleary wrote a detailed Facebook post about how he planned to become “the next mass shooter” in January 2019.The 27-year-old described himself as a virgin who had never had a girlfriend.He also said he wanted to make the fact that so many women had turned him down “right” by going on a shooting spree, according to documents filed by Provo Police.Cleary was arrested on 19 January after publishing the Facebook post.Cleary then struck a deal with Utah prosecutors, pleading guilty to a reduced criminal charge.Attempted threat of terrorism is a third-degree felony, punishable by up to five years in prison.But Utah prosecutors agreed to recommend him for probation, despite his extensive criminal record.A judge will decide whether or not to accept the deal at a hearing on Thursday.The 27-year-old has been accused of stalking multiple times, with at least eight alleged victims contacting the authorities about his behaviour since 2012, according to police and court records.He was on probation following a marijuana conviction in 2016 when he was charged with stalking two teenagers he had met online.Cleary was put on probation for the stalking cases but in 2017 was charged with stalking and harassing his case worker.In 2018 judges in Jefferson County, Colorado sentenced him, once again, to probation for all three stalking cases.In one of the cases a 19-year-old woman said she lived with Cleary for a fortnight in a hotel room. She said that he strangled and urinated on her during that time, court records show.Cleary was out on probation for the three cases when he was arrested in a McDonald's in January, after publishing his Facebook post.Pam Russell, a spokeswoman for the Utah’s county prosecutor’s office, said once the case was concluded Cleary would be returned to Colorado.Prosecutors in Denver will seek to revoke his probation and send him to prison in relation for the stalking and harassment cases, she added.“All I wanted to be was loved,” Cleary wrote in his Facebook post.“Yet no one cares about me, I’m 27 years old and I’ve never had a girlfriend before and I’m still a virgin, this is why I’m planning on shooting up a public place soon and being the next mass shooter cause I’m ready to die.”It is unclear how truthful the Facebook post was, as at least two of Cleary’s accusers have said they had a sexual relationship with him.Some news reports have speculated that Cleary could be part of the “incel movement”, which promotes the misogynistic idea that men are entitled to have sex with women.But a Colorado police detective, who investigated two accusations against the 27-year-old, said there as no evidence he was part of the movement.“I truly think he’s just wired differently,” he said. Additional reporting by agencies

  • Contempt or impeachment? Trump and Democrats locked in ultimate congressional battle
    Politics
    The Guardian

    Contempt or impeachment? Trump and Democrats locked in ultimate congressional battle

    The White House strategy appears to be designed to force the Democrats’ hand, but lawmakers are treading cautiouslyThe Trump administration has attempted to block any and all requests from Democrats in Congress. Photograph: Carlos Barría/ReutersDemocrats grabbed control of the House of Representatives in January of this year determined to restore congressional oversight. But with the Trump administration now at a moment of reckoning, a battle royal has unfolded. What exactly is the White House doing?The Trump administration’s strategy is simple: block any and all requests from Democrats in Congress, even if it means defying a subpoena, such as blocking compliance by former White House counsel Don McGahn, a key witness in the Mueller inquiry, to testify on Capitol Hill this week.Also this month, the attorney general, William Barr, has ignored a subpoena for the full report by Robert Mueller on his Trump-Russia investigation and treasury secretary Steven Mnuchin rebuffed a House request to hand over six years’ of Trump’s tax returns. Trump, who has dismissed the congressional inquiries as “presidential harassment”, suggested the Democratic chairs of House committees instead turn their powers to investigating his former political opponent Hillary Clinton. Why are the Democrats not looking into all of the crimes committed by Crooked Hillary and the phony Russia Investigation? They would get back their credibility. Jerry Nadler, Schiff, would have a whole new future open to them. Perhaps they could even run for President! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 20, 2019The White House strategy appears designed either to force Democrats to take the administration to court – which could take years – or pull the trigger on impeachment. What can Democrats actually do?Democrats on the House judiciary committee have voted to hold Barr in contempt and have threatened to hold McGahn in contempt, too.The House majority leader, Steny Hoyer, said the chamber may consolidate multiple contempt citations against officials. Some Democrats cite the House’s “inherent contempt” powers, which grant them the right to jail individuals in the Capitol – an action that hasn’t been taken since the 1930s – or issue fines.Adam Schiff, the House intelligence committee chairman, suggested US officials held in contempt of Congress be fined $25,000 a day.“We’re looking through the history and studying the law to make sure we’re on solid ground,” Schiff told Axios in a recent interview.Others see the third branch of US government, the judicial branch, as the answer.“The only recourse is litigation, which the president will likely lose, but it will cause delay,” said Greg Brower, a former assistant director in the FBI’s office of congressional affairs.The White House could drag court action out beyond the 2020 election. Is impeachment really in the cards?The heart of the debate among Democrats is whether or not to begin impeachment proceedings.Some rank-and-file lawmakers have already embraced the idea, stating the 11 instances outlined in Mueller’s report in which Trump or his campaign sought to obstruct justice are reason enough alone.But Democratic leaders are treading cautiously, because they would never win a conviction in the Republican-led Senate.The American public is split on the issue , with polls showing a majority against it and support for the idea falling even among Democrats.Justin Amash, a representative from Michigan, just became the first Republican to call for impeaching Trump, an important bipartisan point that drew widespread backlash for him.And Jerry Nadler, Democratic chair of the powerful House judiciary committee, signaled impatience on Tuesday, after McGahn was a no-show to testify.“We will not allow the president to stop this investigation, and nothing in these unjustified and unjustifiable legal attacks will stop us from pressing forward with our work on behalf of the American people,” Nadler said.“We will hold this president accountable, one way or the other.”

  • Could One of America's Allies Take Down the F-35 Program?
    Business
    The National Interest

    Could One of America's Allies Take Down the F-35 Program?

    What does America need to save its troubled F-35 stealth fighter?Turkey, that’s what.Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan recently warned that the multinational F-35 program, of which Turkey is a member, would fail if Turkey were excluded. Turkey is facing sanctions, including being dropped from the F-35 program if it goes ahead with purchasing Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft missile system, which has raised Washington’s fears that F-35 secrets might be leaked to Russia. The U.S. has stopped shipping equipment to Turkey for that nation’s planned purchase of 100 F-35s, while the first two aircraft officially delivered to Turkey are still in the United States.For its part, Ankara is adamant that it has a right to purchase both American stealth fighters and Russian anti-aircraft missiles, despite the fact that the S-400 is one of the most likely Russian weapons to be used against the F-35. “We were surely not going to remain silent against our right to self-defense being disregarded and attempts to hit us where it hurts,” Erdogan said at a Turkish defense trade show. “This is the kind of process that is behind the S-400 agreement we reached with Russia.”“Nowadays, we are being subject to a similar injustice - or rather an imposition - on the F-35s ... Let me be frank: An F-35 project from which Turkey is excluded is bound to collapse completely.”

  • U.S. eases curbs on Huawei; founder says clampdown underestimates Chinese firm
    Business
    Reuters

    U.S. eases curbs on Huawei; founder says clampdown underestimates Chinese firm

    The U.S. Commerce Department blocked Huawei Technologies Co Ltd from buying U.S. goods last week, a major escalation in the trade war between the world's two top economies, saying the firm was involved in activities contrary to national security. The two countries increased import tariffs on each other's goods over the past two weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump said China had reneged on earlier commitments made during months of negotiations. On Monday, the Commerce Department granted Huawei a license to buy U.S. goods until Aug. 19 to maintain existing telecoms networks and provide software updates to Huawei smartphones, a move intended to give telecom operators that rely on Huawei time to make other arrangements.

  • Iraq caught in the middle of US-Iran face-off
    Politics
    AFP

    Iraq caught in the middle of US-Iran face-off

    Scarred by two decades of conflict, Iraq finds itself caught in the middle of a US-Iranian tug-of-war, fearing it could pay the price of any confrontation between its two main allies. Analysts say third parties may seek to exploit the latest spike in tensions between Tehran and Washington to spark a showdown that serves their own interests. Iraq "pays a disproportionate tax on Iranian-American tensions and (has) an unenviable front-line position in any future conflict between the two," said Fanar Haddad, an Iraq expert at the National University of Singapore.

  • China's Navy Is Growing So Fast Its Running Out of Names For Its Warships
    World
    The National Interest

    China's Navy Is Growing So Fast Its Running Out of Names For Its Warships

    China’s navy has a new problem: not enough names for its rapidly growing fleet of warships.“China is running out of provincial capitals to name new destroyers, and it might have to turn to other big domestic cities, which reflects the country's rapid naval development in recent years,” according to Chinese newspaper Global Times.The People’s Liberation Army Navy recently named its first Type 055 destroyer the Nanchang, which is the capital city of East China's Jiangxi Province.One of the three other Type 055 destroyers will be named Lhasa, the capital of Southwest China's Tibet Autonomous Region, according to Chinese media. That just leaves Nanning and Taipei as the names of provincial capitals for destroyers (Taipei is Taiwan’s capital, though Taiwan has not yet declared independence as a separate nation from China).Which means non-capital cities will have to bequeath their names to Chinese destroyers. The latest destroyer is named Qiqihar, which is a non-capital city in in Northeast China's Heilongjiang Province. A few ships have been named after major cities, such as the Shenzen, a Type 051 destroyer.“Chinese destroyers and frigates should be named after big and medium Chinese cities, according to the naval vessels naming regulation,” Global Times said. “This means naming of destroyers does not necessarily have to use provincial capitals, as it was a non-binding tradition.”

  • Business
    USA TODAY

    American Airlines blames mechanics for 2,200 flight delays, cancellations, warns of summer travel trouble

    American Airlines says a slowdown by mechanics led to nearly 2,200 flight cancellations, delays since February and has intensified.

  • I'm the same age as Elizabeth Warren. We 70-somethings have no business being president.
    Politics
    USA TODAY Opinion

    I'm the same age as Elizabeth Warren. We 70-somethings have no business being president.

    I have nothing against old people — I'm one of them. But maybe it's time to add a maximum age limit to our minimum age requirement for our presidents.

  • Wild Pursuit of RV Through Los Angeles Ends with Crash, Driver in Custody
    U.S.
    KTLA - Los Angeles

    Wild Pursuit of RV Through Los Angeles Ends with Crash, Driver in Custody

    A wild pursuit of an RV through the Los Angeles County saw a dog leap from a moving vehicle, multiple crashes, and ended with the female driver taken into custody.

  • Hospital that treated baby cut from womb investigated
    News
    Associated Press

    Hospital that treated baby cut from womb investigated

    CHICAGO (AP) — The agency that licenses and inspects health care facilities in Illinois has started an investigation of a suburban Chicago hospital where doctors treated a baby brought in by a woman claiming to be his mother, a spokeswoman for the agency said Tuesday. The woman was charged weeks later with killing the actual mother and cutting the child from her womb.

  • Latest Sign of Beto O’Rourke’s Flameout: Opposition Research Requests Have ‘Died Off’
    Politics
    The Daily Beast

    Latest Sign of Beto O’Rourke’s Flameout: Opposition Research Requests Have ‘Died Off’

    Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast/GettyIn the days leading up to Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign, a top Republican opposition research firm was brimming with requests from political reporters angling for dirt. America Rising, a political action committee that shared details of its internal inquiries with The Daily Beast, said the asks came from a dozen or more reporters and ranged from broad questions to more tailored points of interest. But 10 weeks after O’Rourke’s official launch, those requests are virtually nonexistent.“The requests for oppo on him have completely died off,” a staffer at the oppo group said.The lack of oppo requests suggests a larger problem looming over O’Rourke’s campaign: a visible decline in public interest. Once elevated to the top of Democratic watch-lists, the former congressman is now registering in single digits in several national polls, nosediving from 12 percent in a Quinnipiac poll conducted in March to just 5 percent in the same survey in April. And while he’s beginning to roll out new hires in key voting states, some say he’s already fallen behind other candidates whose field operations have been interfacing with voters for months. Beto O’Rourke Blew ItAmerica Rising, which has cornered the market on opposition research on the nearly two dozen presidential contenders, has tracked what it considers a steady decline in the public’s interest in O’Rourke. The Republican National Committee, known for slinging insults about Democrats into mainstream consciousness, has not received any requests from reporters for O’Rourke information in recent weeks, according to a senior official. Typically, a high level of curiosity in revealing a candidate’s political past is one indicator of their perceived viability. And a noticeable downtick in interest could signal an enthusiasm gap between where O’Rourke started and where he’s ended up in two months. O’Rourke, himself, seemed to acknowledge the flagging interest in a recent  interview with MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow. “I recognize I can do a better job also of talking to a national audience,” O'Rourke said. “I hope that I’m continuing to do better over time, but we’ve been extraordinarily fortunate with the campaign that we’ve run so far.” His next big chance will be Tuesday night, when he’ll appear in his first CNN town hall at 10 p.m. from Drake University in Des Moines. The network has previously hosted such events for several of his rivals, giving a boost to some lesser-known candidates early into their campaigns. On Monday, O’Rourke told reporters he would participate in a Fox News town hall, a general-election strategy favored by some 2020 hopefuls as an attempt to reach voters beyond the traditional Democratic base. But according to an analysis shared with The Daily Beast by Media Matters, a nonprofit that tracks right-wing coverage, even Fox News’ daily mentions of O’Rourke online have visibly declined since he announced his bid, indicating that he may no longer be considered a serious threat as a Democratic contender. O’Rourke’s campaign sees it differently: “From my perspective there’s been no decline of oppo to respond to,” a source within the campaign said. Press requests from print and television outlets, including bookers in charge of getting candidates on the air, have not declined since the launch, the campaign source added. While it’s still early to plot ad buys—the Iowa caucuses are nine months away—a source who tracks ad information for multiple political campaigns says that O’Rourke’s failure to get into that world early coincides with a frenzied campaign that’s no longer top-of-mind for voters. “It fits with an overall theme of his campaign being a little disorganized,” the source who analyzes political ads said. “He had such a moment in 2018 but it seems to have fizzled out.”While no pollsters or ad makers have been hired, a source within O’Rourke’s campaign first told The Daily Beast that they have been in initial discussions with various polling, data, and analytics firms, as well as outfits who do campaign ads. Bringing on a pollster had not previously been a top priority, the source said, adding that the campaign has been focused on talking to voters in 154 town halls and traveling to 116 cities.O’Rourke has made recent inroads on the political staffing front, bringing on Jen O’Malley Dillon, Jeff Berman, and Rob Flaherty, top talent from Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama’s campaigns, among other recent national and state hires. But he has missed out on other high-level talent who wandered to other campaigns, multiple sources said.Meanwhile, other presidential campaigns have already hired staffers who previously worked with or expressed interest in O’Rourke. Shelby Cole, a top O’Rourke aide who helped him raise an eye-popping $80 million during his Senate campaign, joined California Sen. Kamala Harris’ team as its digital fundraising director. Emmy Ruiz, who served as Clinton’s state director in Nevada and Colorado in 2016, was thought to be seriously weighing joining O’Rourke before he announced, according to multiple Democratic sources unaffiliated with current campaigns. She later joined Harris as a senior adviser. One top Democratic operative admitted to eyeing O’Rourke for months, but changed candidate loyalty after reading his announcement article in Vanity Fair. “I was definitely interested in him back in January and February,” the veteran operative said, who has since joined another presidential campaign in a top position.   “The Vanity Fair story fed a fear I had, which was that he was a little too fly-by-the-seat-of-his-pants,” the veteran operative said. “I just felt that he hadn’t totally thought this through. So that kind of soured me on him.”—Asawin Suebsaeng contributed reporting for this article.Read more at The Daily Beast.Got a tip? Send it to The Daily Beast hereGet our top stories in your inbox every day. Sign up now!Daily Beast Membership: Beast Inside goes deeper on the stories that matter to you. Learn more.