10 things you need to know today: March 23, 2017

London grapples with a deadly terror attack, CNN reports the FBI might have evidence of cooperation between Russia and Trump aides, and more

Terror in London
(Image credit: Daniel Sorabji/Getty Images)

1. Terror attack kills three in London

A man killed at least three people and injured 40 more in an attack with a vehicle and a knife at Britain's Parliament on Wednesday, sending lawmakers and tourists dashing for safety. Two of the people killed were among pedestrians the attacker plowed through on Westminster Bridge near the Parliament building. The other was a police officer stabbed at the House of Commons. Police then fatally shot the alleged assailant. Investigators are treating the attack as terrorism, and believe the assailant acted alone but was inspired by international terrorists. The alleged attacker was British-born and had been investigated by British spies, but was not "part of the current intelligence picture," according to Prime Minister Theresa May. Some of the wounded pedestrians had what were described as "catastrophic" injuries, and one woman was pulled, alive but badly hurt, from the River Thames. Police arrested seven people in connection with the attack in overnight raids.

NBC News The Associated Press

2. Report: FBI may have evidence of Russia-Trump team coordination

The FBI is reviewing information suggesting that people linked to President Trump's campaign might have communicated with suspected Russian operatives about coordinating the release of information harmful to Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign last year, U.S. officials told CNN on Wednesday. FBI Director James Comey on Monday confirmed to lawmakers that his agency was investigating alleged Russian efforts to influence the election, including possible cooperation between Trump associates and Moscow. The officials said the information included human intelligence, business and phone records, as well as accounts of face-to-face meetings, but that it was not considered to be conclusive.

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3. Conservative resistance threatens health bill

President Trump continued pressuring wavering Republican lawmakers to support the House leadership's proposal to repeal and replace ObamaCare ahead of a planned Thursday vote. Conservatives are vowing to oppose the plan because they say it doesn't go far enough in rolling back the Affordable Care Act's provisions, and some moderates are balking because of expectations that millions more Americans will wind up uninsured. Mark Meadows, leader of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, said his group has more than enough votes to defeat the bill. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said enough fence-sitters were getting behind the legislation to pass it. "The count keeps getting stronger for us," Spicer said. "There is no Plan B. There is Plan A and Plan A. We're going to get this done."


4. House intelligence chair: Trump aides possibly intercepted in normal foreign surveillance

House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said Wednesday that it was possible that communications involving President Trump or members of his transition team were picked up inadvertently in normal surveillance of foreign nationals. "What I've read seems to me to be some level of surveillance activity, perhaps legal. I don't know that it's right," Nunes said. "I don't know that the American people would be comfortable with what I’ve read." Nunes went to the White House to brief Trump on the reports, which were unrelated to Trump's unsubstantiated claim that former President Barack Obama had him wiretapped. Trump said he felt "somewhat" vindicated by what Nunes told him. "I very much appreciated the fact that they found what they found," he said.

The Washington Post

5. Democrats step up Gorsuch questioning ahead of confirmation hearing's final day

Democratic senators grew more aggressive in their questioning of President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch, on Wednesday, the third day of his confirmation hearing. Gorsuch deflected questions from Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) about the Constitution's "emoluments clause" prohibiting a president from accepting gifts from foreign agents, part of a grilling on Trump's foreign business interests. Gorsuch said that due to "ongoing litigation" he had to be "very careful about expressing any views." Some Democrats pressed a new strategy to delay Gorsuch's confirmation, arguing that the vote shouldn't take place until the FBI's investigation into communication between the Trump campaign and Russia is completed. Republicans praised Gorsuch and expressed confidence that his confirmation was assured ahead of the final day of his hearing.

The Washington Post The Hill

6. 30 Syrian civilians reportedly killed in U.S.-led coalition airstrike

At least 30 Syrian civilians were killed this week in an airstrike by the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State, witnesses, activists, and Syrian state TV said Wednesday. The attack occurred Tuesday in Raqqa province, where the coalition is supporting forces advancing toward the city of Raqqa, ISIS' de facto capital. The strike reportedly hit a school where civilians took shelter Tuesday night in the town of Mansoura. The U.S. military is investigating the report, which came after a strike by U.S. warplanes last week reportedly killed 49 people in western Aleppo province.

The New York Times

7. Trump Jr. faces backlash over tweet following London attack

Britons harshly criticized Donald Trump Jr. for tweeting criticism of London's mayor in the wake of yesterday's attack. "You have to be kidding me?!" President Trump's eldest son tweeted. "Terror attacks are part of living in big city, says London Mayor Sadiq Khan." The comment referred to a September article in a British newspaper in which Khan reacted to a bombing in New York City, but Trump misrepresented the quote. Khan did not say that terror attacks were part of city life. He said that supporting police in terrorism preparedness was "part and parcel of living in a great global city." Ciaran Jenkins, a correspondent for Britain's Channel 4, asked Trump via Twitter whether he thought "goading" Khan was "helpful." Trump declined to discuss the matter, saying, "I'm not going to comment on every tweet I send."

The Telegraph The Washington Post

8. Acosta vows to avoid partisanship in Labor Department if confirmed

Alexander Acosta, President Trump's second labor secretary nominee, said in his confirmation hearing Wednesday that he would not let partisanship influence his department. Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said Acosta did not do enough as assistant attorney general to prevent an official under him from "inappropriately" hiring mostly conservative lawyers in DOJ's civil rights division during the George W. Bush administration. Acosta said he would not allow partisan hiring at the Labor Department if confirmed. He also defended a controversial plea deal he struck with wealthy financier Jeffrey Epstein. Acosta, now a law school dean, declined to say how he would handle Obama administration rules, such as one expanding the number of workers eligible for overtime pay.

The New York Times The Washington Post

9. Police say suspect in fatal Manhattan stabbing wanted to kill a black person

New York City police said Wednesday that a white suspect who turned himself in for the fatal Monday stabbing of a 66-year-old African-American man, Timothy Caughman, said he came to New York from Maryland because he want to kill a black person. The suspect, James Harris Jackson, surrendered to police at the Times Square substation after surveillance images showing him running down a street after the stabbing was widely publicized. "His intentions were to come here to harm male blacks," NYPD Chief of Manhattan Detectives William Aubry said. "The reason why he picked New York is because it’s the media capital of the world, and he wanted to make a statement."

CBS News The Associated Press

10. U.S. trounces Puerto Rico to win its first World Baseball Classic title

The U.S. beat Puerto Rico 8-0 on Wednesday to win its first World Baseball Classic title. Pitcher Marcus Stroman helped shut out the Puerto Rican team, which entered the finals unbeaten in two weeks of play, by throwing six no-hit innings. The U.S. offense was propelled by Ian Kinsler's two-run home run, a single, and two runs scored in a rout before 51,565 people at Dodger Stadium. "We wanted to put USA on top of the baseball world, where it belongs," Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer said.

Los Angeles Times The New York Times

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Harold Maass

Harold Maass is a contributing editor at TheWeek.com. He has been writing for The Week since the 2001 launch of the U.S. print edition. Harold has worked for a variety of news outlets, including The Miami Herald, Fox News, and ABC News. For several years, he wrote a daily round-up of financial news for The Week and Yahoo Finance. He lives in North Carolina with his wife and two sons.