Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 28, 2017

Trump signs executive order for 'new vetting measures' for refugees, Vice President Mike Pence addresses March for Life in D.C., and more


Trump signs executive order for 'new vetting measures' for refugees

President Trump signed two new executive orders Friday, one focused on "the protection of the nation from foreign terrorist entry" and the other mandating "a great rebuilding" of the military. The first, Trump said, will establish "new vetting measures to keep radical Islamic terrorists" out of the U.S. while prioritizing Christian refugees. The order bans U.S. entry from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen, and Somalia for 90 days; suspends the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program for 120 days; and caps the number of admitted refugees in the 2017 fiscal year at 50,000. The second order regarding the military outlines a plan for "new planes, new ships, new resources, and new tools for our men and women in uniform," the president said.


Vice President Mike Pence addresses March for Life in D.C.

Vice President Mike Pence became the highest political official to ever address the annual March for Life on Friday as thousands of abortion opponents arrived in Washington, D.C., to protest the 1973 Supreme Court decision legalizing the practice. "This administration will work with the Congress to end taxpayer funding of abortion and abortion providers," said Pence, who was joined at the rally by Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president. The march drew comparisons to last weekend's Women's March, which attracted half a million people to Washington, but "I don't think that these numbers are the most important," said March for Life president Jeanne Mancini. "The number most important for us is 58 million, which is the number of Americans that have been lost to abortion."


President Trump meets with British Prime Minister Theresa May

President Trump hosted his first world leader Friday, holding talks and a joint press conference with British Prime Minister Theresa May. May and Trump separately addressed congressional Republicans on Thursday, with May touting the benefits of a strong United Nations, NATO alliance, and European Union, all organizations Trump has disparaged. The president applauded Brexit during his press conference with May after the meeting, predicting Britain's exit from the EU would be "a wonderful thing," because "you're going to have the people you want in your country." "Today," he vowed, "the U.S. renews our deep bond with Britain." May later announced Trump has accepted a state visit invitation from the Queen for later this year, and she said Trump has indicated he is "100 percent behind NATO."


Trump and Putin to speak Saturday

President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin will speak over the phone on Saturday, the Kremlin announced Friday, marking their first call since Trump took office. Putin's spokesperson said the two leaders will "exchange views about main parameters of current bilateral relations," but it is unclear exactly what will be discussed or if the two will decide to meet in person. Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) on Friday released a statement reminding Trump "the man on the other end of the line is a murderer" and urging the president not to drop U.S. sanctions on Russia, as Trump has said he may do. Trump will also speak Saturday with the leaders of Germany, Japan, and France.


Trump, Peña Nieto speak after White House floats 20 percent tariff on Mexican imports

President Trump spoke on the phone Friday with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto, one day after Peña Nieto canceled a scheduled meeting between the two over Trump's border wall proposal. The two men spoke for an hour in what Trump called a "very, very friendly" call, after which White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the Trump team's idea for a 20 percent tax on Mexican imports was merely an "example of options [for] how to pay for [the] wall" and not a concrete policy plan. Peña Nieto has repeatedly stated Mexico will not fund any such construction. Mexico was the United States' third largest supplier of imported goods in 2015.


New U.S. U.N. ambassador pledges to 'take names' of allies 'that don't have our back'

United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley on Friday put American allies at the United Nations on warning on behalf of the Trump administration. "Our goal with the administration is to show value at the U.N. and the way that we'll show value is to show our strength, show our voice, have the backs of our allies and make sure that our allies have our back as well," she said. "For those that don't have our back, we're taking names. We will make points to respond to that accordingly." The former South Carolina governor was sworn in to her new role on Wednesday and says her team has already "hit the ground running" to develop "a new U.S. U.N."


Congressional Republicans debate ObamaCare repeal in closed-door meeting

Congressional Republicans were divided in a closed-door meeting Thursday over how to best proceed with their pledge to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, according to a recording of the session first documented in a Washington Post report Friday afternoon. The lawmakers worried that the repeal process is moving too quickly and debated how to nix the parts of ObamaCare the GOP finds most objectionable without spiking the price of care, adding to the national debt, or leaving millions of Americans without coverage. "We're telling those people that we're not going to pull the rug out from under them," said Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) in a plea for a measured approach, "and if we do this too fast, we are in fact going to pull the rug out from under them."


Chris Christie will not be charged over Bridgegate

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie will not be charged in connection with the Bridgegate scandal, the Bergen County prosecutor's office said in a letter Friday, because there is insufficient evidence to show in court that Christie knew in advance about the plot to close several lanes of the George Washington Bridge as retribution against a local mayor who did not endorse Christie for re-election. Two former Christie allies were already found guilty on charges of conspiracy and fraud, and prosecutors have said they believe Christie was aware of the plan even if they cannot prove it. A statement from a Christie representative thanked the prosecutor's office for ending "this baseless fiasco."


Serena Williams beats Venus in Australian Open final

American tennis champions Serena and Venus Williams squared off against each other in the Australian Open final on Saturday, and Serena beat her older sister in two 6-4 sets. The win puts Serena back at the top of women's tennis rankings worldwide, while Venus moves up to 11th place. This marks Serena's 23rd major singles title, the highest count of any player in the open era of women's tennis. "I really would like to take this moment to congratulate Venus," Serena said while accepting her trophy. "She's an amazing person. There's no way I would be at 23 without her." On Sunday, longtime rivals Roger Federer, the No. 17 seed, and Rafael Nadal, the No. 9 seed, will face off in the men's singles finals.


Actor John Hurt dies at 77

Oscar-nominated British actor John Hurt died Wednesday after a long bout of pancreatic cancer, his representative announced Saturday. He was 77 years old. Perhaps best known for his role in 1980's The Elephant Man, Hurt's career spanned six decades and included roles in the Harry Potter movies as Mr. Ollivander, V for Vendetta, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, and Doctor Who as the War Doctor. He most recently appeared in Jackie, a biopic about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and completed filming on several projects that will be released posthumously. "John was the most sublime of actors and the most gentlemanly of gentlemen with the greatest of hearts and the most generosity of spirit," Hurt's wife, Anwen, said in a statement. "He touched all our lives with joy and magic and it will be a strange world without him."


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