Daily briefing

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

Trump to issue order unraveling Obama climate policy, Democrats call for Nunes to recuse himself from Russia inquiry, and more


Trump ordering regulators to undo Obama climate rules

President Trump on Tuesday plans to sign an executive order seeking to undo much of former President Barack Obama's environmental legacy. Administration officials said Trump would tell the Environmental Protection Agency to start the legal process necessary to rewrite Obama's Clean Power Plan, which aimed to cut carbon dioxide emissions from electricity by 32 percent by 2030. The sweeping order also would seek to lift a moratorium on federal coal leasing and end a requirement on federal officials to consider how their decisions impact climate change. The White House said Trump's order would increase the nation's "energy independence" and restore thousands of coal mining jobs. Harvard energy economist Robert Stavins said the impact on energy independence was overblown. "We don't import coal," he said.


Democrats call for GOP panel chair to recuse himself from Russia inquiry

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, and other leading Democrats on Monday called on the panel's chairman, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), to recuse himself from the investigation into Russia's meddling in last year's election, and possible collusion with Moscow by associates of President Trump. Nunes has acknowledged that he had met at the White House with the source of his report that U.S. intelligence agencies inadvertently intercepted communications by some Trump associates during the course of normal international spying. Schiff said that revelation, along with Nunes' participation on Trump's transition team, could cause the public to question his objectivity. Nunes dismissed calls for him to step aside, saying Democrats "want me to quit because they know that I'm effective at getting to the bottom of things."


Kushner to meet with lawmakers investigating Russia's meddling

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law, has volunteered to meet with the Senate Intelligence Committee regarding its investigation into Russia's alleged interference in the 2016 election, panel leaders said Monday. Lawmakers and the FBI are looking into possible cooperation between Trump associates and Moscow, and Kushner is one of several high-ranking members of Trump's campaign, transition, and White House teams who had contact with Russia's U.S. ambassador and other officials. No date has been set for Kushner's appearance. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Kushner would clarify to senators his role as "a conduit" for foreign leaders during Trump's transition.


Russian opposition leader sentenced to 15 days in prison over protest

A Russian court on Monday sentenced Alexei Navalny, a leading opponent of President Vladimir Putin, to 15 days in prison for resisting arrest. The court also fined him $350 for organizing an illegal protest. Navalny was among more than 1,000 protesters arrested in Sunday demonstrations held in cities across Russia to protest corruption in Putin's government. Tens of thousands of Russians, many in their 20s or younger, poured into the streets at the urging of Navalny, defying government warnings that the rallies were unsanctioned.


Sessions says 'sanctuary cities' risk losing grant money

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday spelled out ways the Trump administration plans to deny federal money to "sanctuary cities" and other state and local governments that refuse to comply with federal immigration laws. The Trump administration has threatened to retaliate against "sanctuary" jurisdictions since January, and is stepping up the pressure on them as part of its crackdown on people violating immigration laws. Sessions said in order to receive federal grants and other funding, cities and states must comply with federal law requiring them to share people's immigration status with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, when requested.


Trump approval rating hits new low

President Trump's approval rating hit a new low Monday, with just 36 percent of Americans approving of the president, Gallup found. Fifty-seven percent of people disapprove of Trump's performance in office. Prior to Monday, Trump's lowest approval rating was 37 percent, which he hit March 18 following the announcement of the Republican health-care bill to replace ObamaCare and Trump's claims that he was "wiretapped" by former President Barack Obama. The highest disapproval rating of Obama's entire presidency was 55 percent, which he hit twice in his eight years as commander-in-chief. Trump has scored 55 percent or higher disapproval ratings more than 12 times since becoming president on Jan. 20.


U.S. and allies oppose nuclear weapons ban as unrealistic

United Nations Ambassador Nikki Haley said that the U.S. was joining nearly 40 nations, including allies Britain and France, that are declining to join talks on a nuclear weapons ban treaty that started at the U.N. on Monday. Haley said the U.S. and its allies were instead committed to the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty aiming to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons technology, because it is naive to think rogue nations would comply with a ban aiming to eliminate nuclear weapons altogether. "There is nothing I want more for my family than a world with no nuclear weapons. But we have to be realistic. Is there anyone that believes that North Korea would agree to a ban on nuclear weapons?" Haley said.


Musk confirms looming launch of new company aiming to link brains to devices

Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, founder of space-flight company SpaceX and electric-car maker Tesla, confirmed Monday that he is launching another start-up, Neuralink, aiming to help humans link their brains to devices. In a tweet, Musk said that in "about a week" an article would come out offering more details. The new company will work on the development of "neural lace," something Musk has discussed in the past. "Neural lace" has been described as an implant or an appendage attached to the brain to help it interact with devices, augmenting human intelligence. "Difficult to dedicate the time," Musk tweeted, "but existential risk is too high not to."


NFL team owners approve Raiders' move to Las Vegas

NFL team owners on Monday voted 31-1 to approve the Oakland Raiders' request to move to Las Vegas by the 2020 season. The team plans to play in a new 65,000-seat stadium in Las Vegas. The Raiders will stay in Oakland for the 2017 season, and possibly for the 2018 season, too. They might share Levi's Stadium with the San Francisco 49ers for the 2019 season while they wait for construction to be completed on their new home. "The Raiders were born in Oakland and Oakland will always be part of our DNA," Raiders owner Mark Davis said in a statement. The Raiders are the third NFL franchise to relocate in the last year, after the Rams and the Chargers both moved to Los Angeles.


UConn and South Carolina round out women's Final Four

UConn trounced Oregon and South Carolina defeated Florida State to advance to the Final Four of the NCAA women's basketball tournament, joining Stanford and Mississippi State in the national semifinals. UConn has now won 111 straight games and is the favorite to win it all. They'll play Mississippi State on Friday. South Carolina's win made them the 13th school to make it to the Final Four in both the women's and men's tournaments in the same year. They'll play Stanford on Friday for a shot at the title game.


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