10 things you need to know today: April 1, 2017

Financial disclosures reveal wealth of top Trump advisers, Senate Intelligence Committee reportedly denies Flynn's immunity request, and more

President Trump, Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner
(Image credit: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

1. Financial disclosures reveal wealth of top Trump advisers

That many of President Trump's top advisers are drawn from the ranks of the financial elite is no surprise, but White House disclosures Friday night revealed just how wealthy the president's confidants really are. The combined assets of 27 White House officials topped $2.3 billion when they joined the administration, The Washington Post calculates, with investments and holdings spanning a wide range of business sectors. One of the richest officials is Gary Cohn, director of the National Economic Council, who is alone worth at least $252 million (the key economic adviser's wealth could top $600 million, as government forms allow officials to report ranges of wealth rather than specific figures). Chief strategist Stephen Bannon reported between $13 and $56 million. Trump himself does not have to make another disclosure of his own finances until 2018.

The Washington Post The Hill

2. Senate Intelligence Committee reportedly denies Flynn's immunity request

The Senate Intelligence Committee on Friday reportedly rejected ousted National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's request for immunity in exchange for testimony on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Flynn's lawyer claimed any "reasonable person" would make that request before being questioned in "such a highly politicized, witch hunt environment without assurance against unfair prosecution," an argument reiterated by President Trump on Friday morning. A senior congressional official told NBC News Flynn's request was deemed "wildly preliminary" and "not on the table." However, CNBC noted immunity could be reconsidered down the road, as the investigation is ongoing.

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3. Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner still benefit from $700 million business empire

President Trump's daughter, Ivanka Trump, and his son-in-law and adviser, Jared Kushner, continue to benefit from their business interests worth as much as $700 million, financial disclosures released Friday reveal. The couple remain beneficiaries of the 267 real estate assets in the Kushner empire even though Kushner has stepped down from managing his family's company amid conflict of interest concerns. Ivanka Trump maintains a stake in the president's controversial Washington, D.C., hotel property, but it is not clear she is earning income from that tie. This information comes from Kushner's disclosure alone; Ivanka's formal role in the White House was just announced, and she has yet to file disclosures of her own.

The New York Times CNN

4. Treasury Department announces new sanctions on North Korea

The U.S. Treasury Department on Friday announced sanctions against 11 North Korean individuals and one North Korean entity in response to Pyongyang's ongoing nuclear weapons testing and its violations of United Nations Security Council resolutions. The sanctions target "North Korean nationals working as agents of the regime in Russia, China, Vietnam, and Cuba to provide financial support or [weapons of mass destruction] procurement services for U.N.- or U.S.-designated sanctioned entities," the Treasury Department said in a statement. Separately on Friday, Defense Secretary James Mattis warned North Korea is "going in a very reckless manner" which "has got to be stopped."

ABC News NBC News

5. McCaskill will not support Gorsuch over his 'stunning lack of humanity'

Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) announced Friday she will not support President Trump's Supreme Court nominee, Neil Gorsuch. Her announcement came a day after leaked audio heard McCaskill, whose state gave Trump a 19-point victory, warning Democratic donors that blocking Gorsuch could be detrimental to Democrats in 2018. The senator argued Gorsuch "has shown a stunning lack of humanity" in his judicial career and "always puts the little guy under the boot of corporations." Republicans need the support of eight Democrats to avoid a filibuster; two Democrats have pledged to back the judge so far.

Medium The Week

6. Federal judge approves $25 million settlement over Trump University

U.S. District Judge Gonzalo Curiel on Friday ruled in favor of a $25 million settlement between President Trump and customers of his defunct Trump University. The settlement was reached shortly after the election, and Trump did not admit to wrongdoing. But "this never was a university," New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "The fraud started with the name of the organization. You can't just go around saying this is the George Stephanopoulos Law Firm/Hospital/University without actually qualifying and registering, so it was really a fraud from beginning to end."

NBC New York The Week

7. 3 arrested in connection to Atlanta highway collapse

Three people have been arrested in connection to the fire which caused a section of I-85 in Atlanta to collapse during rush hour Thursday night. All three are believed to be homeless, and at least one, Basil Eleby, is suspected of intentionally setting the road on fire. Eleby has been charged with first-degree criminal damage to property, while the other two have been charged with criminal trespassing. Authorities have not suggested a motive for the fire, though terrorism is not suspected. No one was injured in the collapse. Investigation is ongoing.

CNN Los Angeles Times

8. Protesters in Paraguay set legislature on fire after term limit vote

Protesters in Paraguay set their legislature building on fire after the country's Senate secretly voted to repeal a constitutional provision that limits the Paraguayan president to a single, five-year term. The vote was supported by President Horacio Cartes, who wants to run for re-election. "A coup has been carried out," said Senator Desiree Masi, whose Progressive Democratic Party opposed the change. "We will resist and we invite the people to resist with us." The fire was set after members of the Paraguayan Congress left the building and was contained by firefighters as riots continued in the capital city of Asuncion and nationwide throughout the night.

BBC News Reuters

9. NCAA men's Final Four tips off Saturday

The NCAA men's basketball Final Four tips off Saturday night at 6:07 p.m. ET when Gonzaga faces off against underdog No. 7 seed South Carolina in Phoenix. "This could be an ugly one. Hide-the-children ugly," writes Fox Sports in its game preview, citing the teams' impressive defenses. Next is the matchup between No. 1 seed North Carolina and No. 3 Oregon, which begins Saturday at 8:49 p.m. ET. The winners of these two games will fight for the title in the NCAA final on Monday. All Final Four games are available to stream live on the NCAA website.

Fox Sports NCAA

10. Disney reportedly wants Beyoncé to voice Nala in The Lion King remake

Director Jon Favreau is eyeing Beyoncé to voice Nala in his upcoming live-action remake of the Disney classic, The Lion King, Variety reported late Thursday. Beyoncé, who is pregnant with twins, is believed to have been approached about the role, but has yet to accept. Favreau and the studio reportedly offered to make any accommodations necessary to get Beyoncé to sign on. The remake's release date has yet to be announced, but Disney reportedly "fast-tracked" the film. Donald Glover is slated to voice Simba, and James Earl Jones will reprise his role as Mufasa.


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Bonnie Kristian

Bonnie Kristian was a deputy editor and acting editor-in-chief of TheWeek.com. She is a columnist at Christianity Today and author of Untrustworthy: The Knowledge Crisis Breaking Our Brains, Polluting Our Politics, and Corrupting Christian Community (forthcoming 2022) and A Flexible Faith: Rethinking What It Means to Follow Jesus Today (2018). Her writing has also appeared at Time Magazine, CNN, USA Today, Newsweek, the Los Angeles Times, and The American Conservative, among other outlets.