'Start Here': Trump rallies base after 'go back' tweets, privacy concerns over FaceApp, Ebola emergency

Here's what you need to know to start your day.

July 18, 2019, 6:18 AM

It's Thursday, July 18, 2019. Let's start here.

1. 'Go back'

President Donald Trump blasted four Democratic congresswomen of color at a campaign rally on Wednesday night as a controversy over racist tweets telling them to "go back" to where they came from continues to rile both ends of the political spectrum.

Before departing for Greenville, North Carolina, Trump told reporters he was confident he was "winning the political fight" by doubling down on his attacks on Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., and Ayanna Pressley, D-Mass.

He targeted the progressive congresswomen again later at his rally, eliciting "send her back" chants, and painting the Democratic Party as socialists to stoke his conservative base, says ABC News' Rachel Scott.

"His base was energized," Scott tells us on "Start Here." "They wanted him to talk about this issue, and they responded."

The House this week condemned the president's tweeted remarks in a resolution of disapproval, but lawmakers moved on Wednesday to table consideration of impeachment with a majority of Democrats voting with Republicans. Democratic leaders like Speaker Nancy Pelosi have continued to oppose impeachment efforts out of fear of overplaying their political hand going into the 2020 election, according to ABC News' Trish Turner.

"The moment they cross into impeachment territory," Turner says, "they think they turn off moderates, they turn off independents and that's a really risky strategy."

2. In your FaceApp

FaceApp, which can make users look younger, older or like a different gender, has gone viral on social media with several celebrities trying it out, but it's raising privacy concerns because of its Russian origins.

Lawmakers have suggested investigating the app, and the Democratic National Committee warned 2020 presidential candidates to avoid it in a letter on Wednesday: "Unfortunately, this novelty is not without risk: FaceApp was developed by Russians."

Digital Trends' Mathew Katz reviews FaceApp's terms of service on "Start Here" and concludes, "This is not anything more nefarious because it's Russian than if it were from any other country."

FaceApp founder Yaroslav Goncharov responded to the privacy concerns in a statement, noting that the company doesn't "sell or share any user data with any third parties" and although "the core R&D team is located in Russia, the user data is not transferred to Russia."

3. Ebola emergency

The World Health Organization has declared the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of Congo an international health emergency after a case was confirmed in Goma, a major transportation hub along the country's eastern border with Rwanda.

The epidemic's spread to to the city, home to more than 2 million people, raised alarm for officials within the global health arm of the United Nations, says ABC News' Morgan Winsor, as health experts criticized the WHO for not declaring the Ebola outbreak an emergency sooner.

"A lot of experts have said that this outbreak has long met the conditions to constitute such a proclamation," Winsor says on the podcast. "This type of declaration often mobilizes more aid, more resources to the region, and commands global attention."

There have been 1,676 deaths so far, according to the country's health ministry, including 1,582 from confirmed cases of Ebola and the rest from probable cases.

PHOTO: An Ebola victim is buried at a cemetery in Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo, July 14, 2019.
An Ebola victim is buried at a cemetery in Beni, Democratic Republic of Congo, July 14, 2019.
Jerome Delay/AP

4. Reform is the new prison

"Orange is the New Black" author Piper Kerman appeared in front of a House Judiciary subcommittee this week urging criminal justice reform for the growing number of women behind bars.

"I can assure you that there is no institution more hierarchical, dominance-oriented, patriarchal and operating constantly on the threat and the promise of violence than an American prison -- and this is not an accident, it is by design," she said in her testimony on Tuesday, reflecting on her own time served for drug trafficking and money laundering.

A large topic of discussion during the hearing was the treatment of jailed mothers and how their families are affected by imprisonment, says ABC News' Serena Marshall: "When you take a woman and send her to prison, you're separating the family, and in many cases those children end up in foster care."

PHOTO: From right, Piper Kerman, Cindy Shank, and Jesselyn McCurdy, testify during the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security hearing, July 16, 2019 in Washington.
From right, Piper Kerman, Cindy Shank, and Jesselyn McCurdy, testify during the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security hearing, July 16, 2019 in Washington.
Tom Williams/AP

"Start Here," ABC News' flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day's top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.


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Doff your cap:

Amid the rowdy celebrations on the pitch in France after the U.S. won the World Cup, a player kneeled so her young son could sprinkle a handful of confetti over her head. Jessica McDonald closed her eyes and smiled.

"I know all the girls, we all have something to play for, we all have this goal and we're all on the same page as to what we want at the end of the day," McDonald told ABC News. "But as for me, I have something a little bit more to play for, and that's my kid."

McDonald is the only mother on the cup-winning U.S. women's national team, and one of seven mothers in the National Women's Soccer League, where she plays for the North Carolina Courage.

She said celebrating the World Cup win with her son Jeremiah, 7, almost didn't happen.

"About four or five years ago," she told ABC News, "I thought about retirement, because getting paid on the salary from the NWSL and being a parent is probably -- no, I shouldn't say 'probably' -- is one of the most difficult things to do."

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