Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 17, 2016

Harold Maass
Trump Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort
Drew Angerer/Getty Images
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Donald Trump shakes up his campaign

Donald Trump announced major changes to his struggling presidential campaign late Tuesday, naming Breitbart News Executive Chairman Stephen Bannon as campaign CEO and elevating adviser Kellyanne Conway to campaign manager. The overhaul was widely seen as a demotion for Campaign Chairman Paul Manafort, who has urged Trump to tone down his aggressive rhetoric for the general election campaign against Democrat Hillary Clinton. Bannon has been urging Trump to press on with his combative, populist message. Trump called Bannon and Conway "champs," and said: "I want to win. That's why I'm bringing on fantastic people who know how to win and love to win." [The Washington Post, The Associated Press]


FBI sends documents on its Clinton email investigation to Congress

The FBI sent documents from its now-closed investigation into Hillary Clinton's email use to Republican congressional leaders on Tuesday. The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee requested the material, believed to include notes from the FBI's interview with Clinton, after FBI Director James Comey last month recommended no charges be filed over Clinton's use of a private email server while she was President Obama's secretary of state. Comey called Clinton's handling of sensitive material "extremely careless," but said it didn't justify criminal prosecution. [USA Today]


Trump falls farther behind Clinton in new polls

Two new polls released Tuesday showed Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton extending her lead over Republican rival Donald Trump in two key battleground states. A Washington Post poll found Clinton leading Trump in Virginia by 14 percentage points among registered voters, and by eight points among likely voters. A Monmouth University poll showed Clinton surging ahead of Trump by nine points among likely voters in Florida. Previously, her biggest edge in the state was six points. [Politico]


More than 82,000 evacuate as California wildfire explodes

California authorities on Tuesday ordered more than 82,000 people to evacuate the San Bernardino area as a brush fire exploded along the Cajon Pass, and burned 18,000 acres. The blaze, known as the Blue Cut fire, was fueled by dry brush, strong winds, and 100-degree temperatures. Gov. Jerry Brown declared a state of emergency in San Bernardino County, as the fire grew and cut off Interstate 15. [NBC News, Los Angeles Times]


Pennsylvania's attorney general resigns after perjury conviction

Pennsylvania Attorney General Kathleen Kane resigned on Tuesday, hours after a jury found her guilty of perjury and obstruction relating to a leak of grand jury testimony. Kane had denied releasing the grand jury information, but prosecutors said she orchestrated it to damage former state prosecutor Frank Fina, a political rival. Kane was considered a rising Democratic star in the state when she was elected in 2012. Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf (D) said Kane's decision to resign is the right one. [The Washington Post]


North Korea says it has started producing plutonium again

North Korea says it has resumed production of plutonium and intends to continue with its nuclear tests as long as it feels threatened by the U.S., Japan's Kyodo news agency reported Wednesday. Pyongyang's Atomic Energy Institute told Kyodo in a written interview that it had reprocessed spent fuel rods to produce plutonium, and produced highly enriched uranium for nuclear weapons and power, defying international pressure to curb its nuclear program. The International Atomic Energy Agency, a United Nations watchdog, said in June that the isolated North Korean regime had restarted the Yongbyon plant, which is central to its nuclear program, to turn spent fuel rods into plutonium. [Reuters]


Russian bombers take off from Iran to hit ISIS in Syria

Russian warplanes bombed Islamic State targets in Syria on Tuesday after taking off from a base in Iran — a first. The bombers were joined by Russian fighter jets based in Syria. Both Iran and Russia are allies of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government, but Iran has long prevented foreign militaries from operating from its territory. The raids signaled a growing alliance between Tehran and Moscow, and an expansion of Russia's military footprint in the Middle East. [The Washington Post]


Univision wins bidding war for Gawker

Spanish-language television network Univision has won a bidding war for Gawker Media, agreeing to buy the embattled online news outlet for $135 million, Recode reported on Tuesday. Recode, citing a person familiar with the deal, said Univision had beaten out rival bidder Ziff Davis, which withdrew after the price got too high. Gawker Media was forced to file for bankruptcy last year after losing a massive invasion-of-privacy lawsuit filed by pro wrestling star Hulk Hogan over Gawker's posting of a sex tape. [Recode, MarketWatch]


Political commentator John McLaughlin dies at 89

John McLaughlin, host of the political roundtable show The McLaughlin Group, died Tuesday at the age of 89, the show announced on its Facebook page. McLaughlin was best known for his Sunday panel show, which he created in 1982 and for which he had not missed a taping in 34 years — until this past Sunday, when he was too ill to appear. "[John] has said bye bye for the last time, to rejoin his beloved dog, Oliver, in heaven," the Facebook post read. "He will always be remembered." [The McLaughlin Group, Politico]


Simone Biles wins gold medal No. 4 in Rio

Simone Biles earned her fourth gold medal in Rio on Tuesday, winning the floor exercise event and tying a record shared with four other gymnasts for most wins at a single Olympic Games. Her teammate, Aly Raisman, took the silver. Their dominance was no surprise, as the floor exercise is the strongest event for both of the U.S. stars, who also took the gold and silver in the all-around competition. The team finished with nine medals — including Biles' bronze on balance beam — beating the team's haul of eight in 2008. [Time]