Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 13, 2016

Harold Maass
A gender neutral bathroom sign
Sara D. Davis/Getty Images


Paul Ryan and Donald Trump step toward unity after meeting

House Speaker Paul Ryan and Donald Trump emerged from a high-profile meeting on Thursday pledging to work together to unite the Republican Party. Trump and Ryan clashed in recent days after Trump became the GOP's presumptive presidential nominee and Ryan said he was not ready to endorse him. "I was very encouraged by what I heard from Donald Trump today," said Ryan, who was the party's 2012 vice presidential nominee. Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus, who participated in the meeting, said there was "very good chemistry" between Trump and Ryan. [The New York Times]


Obama administration will tell school districts to allow transgender bathroom access

The Obama administration is planning to send public school districts a letter Friday telling them to let transgender students use bathrooms and locker rooms corresponding to their gender identity. "There is no room in our schools for discrimination of any kind, including discrimination against transgender students on the basis of their sex," Attorney General Loretta Lynch said. The directive is not legally binding, but schools that don't comply could face lawsuits or lose federal funding. [The Associated Press]


Pope Francis calls for study on whether women should be Catholic deacons

Pope Francis said Thursday that he would create a commission to study whether women could serve as deacons in the Catholic Church. The pope made the remarks in a meeting with 900 leaders of female religious congregations, suggesting he was open to reconsidering the church tradition of an all-male clergy. Meeting participants told the pope that women served as deacons in the early church so it made sense to "study the question." Pope Francis said he had discussed the matter with a "good, wise professor" years ago. [National Catholic Reporter]


Republicans win court case on some ObamaCare spending

A federal judge on Thursday ruled some of the Obama administration's spending on the Affordable Care Act unconstitutional. District Judge Rosemary Collyer, a Republican appointee, ruled that the ObamaCare law did not provide $175 billion that the administration has been using to reimburse health insurers to reduce co-payments for low-income people. The ruling was a win for House Republicans trying to unravel the law, but Collyer blocked her decision from taking effect pending a likely appeal. [USA Today, The Associated Press]


Brazil's Rousseff likens impeachment to 'coup'

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff on Thursday vowed to fight her suspension and impeachment, likening her treatment by lawmakers to torture she endured as a young Marxist guerrilla. She is accused of borrowing from a state bank to hide budget deficits. "I may have committed errors but I never committed crimes," Rousseff said. She called her removal from office a "devastating injustice" amounting to a "coup," and vowed to do everything in her power to fight the charges and avoid being permanently ousted. [The Associated Press, CNN]


Secret Service investigating former Trump butler for anti-Obama posts

The Secret Service is investigating a report that Donald Trump's longtime butler, Anthony Senecal, posted on Facebook that President Obama should be shot or hanged. Senecal, 84, worked for nearly 30 years for Trump at Mar-a-Lago, a Palm Beach estate the presumptive GOP presidential nominee bought in the 1980s and turned into a private club. Hope Hicks, a Trump campaign spokeswoman, said the campaign disavowed the "horrible statements" posted by Senecal "totally and completely." [Mother Jones, The New York Times]


Explosion kills top Hezbollah military commander in Syria

Hezbollah said Friday that its top military commander in Syria, Mustafa Badreddine, was killed in an explosion in Damascus, Syria's capital. U.S. officials have said Badreddine supervised Hezbollah's military operations supporting government forces in Syria since 2011. Hezbollah, a Shiite Islamist militant group based in neighboring Lebanon, said it was investigating the cause of the deadly blast. [BBC News]


Navy reassigns commander of sailors detained by Iran

The U.S. Navy on Thursday reassigned the officer who oversaw the 10 American sailors who were briefly held by Iran in January after straying into Iranian waters in the Persian Gulf. After an investigation, the Navy relieved Cmdr. Eric Rasch of his duties overseeing the 400-sailor Coastal Riverine Group "due to a loss of confidence in his ability to command," according to a Navy statement. Rasch had been responsible for the training and readiness of the riverine patrol boat squadron, which supports larger ships and provides security in harbor areas. [Navy Times, ABC News]


Zimmerman's gun auction hits snags

The first website where George Zimmerman was auctioning off the gun he used to fatally shoot unarmed black teen Trayvon Martin said Thursday it refused to sell the weapon. Zimmerman, who was acquitted last year on manslaughter and murder charges in connection with the 2013 Florida shooting, then listed the 9mm pistol on another site, United Gun Group. Bidding early Friday rapidly went from $5,000 to $65 million, although people using fake accounts appeared to have hijacked the auction with astronomical bids. The top bidder used the screen name "Racist McShootface." [Orlando Sentinel, USA Today]


Air Force general becomes first woman to lead U.S. combat command

Gen. Lori J. Robinson will become the first woman to head an American combat command on Friday when she takes control at the U.S. Northern Command and the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD). NORAD is one of nine U.S. unified combatant commands, key combat centers with a regional or specialized focus. It is charged with defending the U.S. and aiding civilian authorities in case of an emergency. Robinson, one of the Air Force's two female four-star generals, will be based in Colorado. [The Associated Press]