Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: October 2, 2016

Bonnie Kristian
Donald Trump
Jessica Kourkounis/Getty Images


Trump may have avoided taxes for up to 18 years

Republican Donald Trump reported a $916 million loss on his 1995 tax returns that he could have used to avoid paying federal income taxes for 18 years to come, The New York Times reported Saturday, by canceling out equivalent income to the tune of $50 million per year for nearly two decades. The analysis is based on three pages of Trump's 1995 tax returns that were mailed anonymously to a Times reporter and verified by Jack Mitnick, the accountant who prepared Trump's taxes until 1996. The tax experts who reviewed the documents made clear they do not suggest any illegal behavior and noted the Internal Revenue Service would have subjected Trump's returns to extra scrutiny because he posted such a large loss. The Trump campaign released a statement neither confirming nor denying the newspaper's conclusions but charging that the tax documents were "illegally obtained" and their publication evidence of media bias. Trump himself tweeted, "I know our complex tax laws better than anyone who has ever run for president and am the only one who can fix them. #failing @nytimes." [The New York Times, Politico]


U.K. prime minister says formal Brexit process will begin by the end of March

British Prime Minister Theresa May said Sunday the formal process of removing the United Kingdom from the European Union will be underway by the end of March. May will trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty early in 2017, starting a two-year negotiation process that will see Brexit accomplished by summer 2019, three years after U.K. voters approved the plan. May's Conservative Party also announced its intention to introduce a "Great Repeal Bill" that will allow the U.K. to retain, discard, or amend existing EU law to which it is still subject until Brexit is complete. [BBC News, Independent]


Sacramento cops tried to run over homeless man before shooting him

Dashcam footage released by police in Sacramento, California, shows two officers attempting to run over a mentally ill homeless man before fatally shooting him 14 times. The encounter with law enforcement that left Joseph Mann dead happened July 11, and the police video was first reported by local news outlets this Thursday. In a captioned version of the video with enhanced audio published by The Sacramento Bee Friday, one of the two officers can be heard saying, "F--k this guy" as they approach the scene in their cruiser. The driving officer then says, "I'm going to hit him," and the other cop replies, "Okay. Go for it. Go for it." The car swerves at Mann, who was African-American, and misses. Moments later, Mann was fatally shot. He was discovered to be armed with only a 4-inch knife. Both officers are now on "modified duty." Mann's family is suing the city in civil court. [The Sacramento Bee, Sacramento News & Review]


SNL skewers Trump with debate spoof at season premiere

Saturday Night Live kicked off its 42nd season Saturday night with a sketch mocking the first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Reprising her role as Clinton was current SNL mainstay Kate McKinnon, who played a confident — if not exactly likeable — Clinton thrilled with Trump's erratic performance. Alec Baldwin debuted as a perfectly orange and angry Trump, complaining that his microphone was broken and blaming it on Clinton herself. "She broke it, with Obama. She and Obama stole my microphone," he said. "They took my microphone to Kenya and broke it and now it's broken." Baldwin will return as Trump throughout this season. [Associated Press, The Hill]


Colombia votes on FARC peace deal

Colombian voters are expected to approve a historic peace deal in a referendum Sunday, ending 52 years of brutal fighting between the government in Bogotá against the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) that has claimed more than 220,000 lives and displaced millions. The ballot asks voters to answer a single question — "Do you support the final accord to end the conflict and build a stable and lasting peace?" — and, if approved, will allow most FARC fighters to avoid jail time as well as transforming the guerrilla movement into a political party with a presence in Colombia's congress. [Reuters, CNN]


Supreme Court returns to work with 8 justices

The Supreme Court opens a new term Monday with only eight judges on the bench as the late Justice Antonin Scalia's seat remains unfilled. Because of the potential for 4-4 splits, the court is expected to gravitate toward cases where justices are unlikely to be evenly divided, avoiding more controversial topics — like immigration or transgender bathroom rules — until the last seat is occupied post-election. "The justices are showing obvious caution. They are not eager to resolve big-ticket questions with eight justices," explained Georgetown University law professor Martin Lederman. [Associated Press, L.A. Times]


Hurricane Matthew threatens Caribbean islands, possibly East Coast

A Category 4 hurricane named Matthew blew across the Caribbean Sunday on a path toward Haiti, Jamaica, and Cuba, where residents are furiously preparing to weather the storm. Matthew is one of the strongest storms to batter the Caribbean in recent years, and the only one in nearly a decade to briefly be placed in Category 5. The hurricane is expected to hit several island nations Monday before moving toward the Bahamas and Florida's eastern seaboard. It is still too early to say whether Matthew will then proceed up the East Coast of the United States. [Associated Press, AccuWeather]


Gas leak explosion in Spanish restaurant injures more than 70

About 77 people were injured by an explosion in a restaurant in Velez-Malaga, Spain, on Saturday. The cause of the blast is believed to be a gas leak, said the town's mayor. Though five people sustained more serious injuries, none of the victims are in life-threatening danger, thanks in significant part to a cook who was able to warn most people in the cafe to escape before the fire grew too large. [BBC News, The Telegraph]


The first grader shot in a South Carolina playground has died

Jacob Hall, the first grader who was shot in the leg by a 14-year-old in his elementary school playground Wednesday, died midday Saturday, his family said. He was 6 years old. "Jacob came into our lives six years and four months ago and changed it completely," his family said in a statement. "We know that Jacob has already forgiven this child for what he did to him and his family because that's the kind of child he was." Once the autopsy is complete, the shooter's charge will be adjusted from attempted murder to murder. [USA Today, NBC News]


Some bee species placed on the endangered species list

Seven species of bees native to Hawaii were placed on the federal list of endangered species Friday night by the Fish and Wildlife Service, a decision that will go into effect Oct. 31. As protected species, the bees will be eligible for recovery programs funded with federal money. "What we saw was really alarming — the bees were doing a lot worse than we thought," said Cynthia King, a Hawaiian entomologist who believes with this new protection "we're really well positioned right now to make headway for the bee." [National Geographic, CNN]