Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 13, 2017

D.C. and Maryland sue Trump, Golden State beats Cleveland to win NBA title, and more


D.C. and Maryland file lawsuit accusing Trump of violating emoluments clause

The attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia filed a federal lawsuit Monday accusing President Trump of violating the Constitution's anti-corruption emoluments clause by profiting from payments from foreign government sources. Trump has retained ownership of his real estate empire but transferred day-to-day control to his sons, although he continues to get information on the Trump Organization's operations and profit reports. "The suit alleges that President Trump is flagrantly violating the Constitution," said D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine, who like Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh is a Democrat. The lawsuit, the first of its kind filed by government entities, also seeks Trump's tax returns, which he has declined to release, through the discovery process.


Golden State beats Cleveland to win NBA title

The Golden State Warriors beat the Cleveland Cavaliers 129-120 on Monday to win their second NBA title in three years. The Warriors entered the game on their home court with a 3-1 lead, the same advantage they had last year when the Cavaliers staged a stunning comeback to win the championship. This time, Kevin Durant led the Warriors to victory, finishing a stellar first year with the Warriors by scoring 39 points and earning unanimous selection as the most valuable player in the NBA Finals. Stephen Curry added 34 points, 10 assists, six rebounds, and three steals. Cavaliers star LeBron James piled up 41 points, 13 rebounds, and eight assists in the effort to keep his team alive, and Kyrie Irving contributed 26 points.


Trump friend says president weighing firing special prosecutor

Newsmax Media CEO Christopher Ruddy, a longtime friend to President Trump, said on Monday that Trump was considering "terminating" former FBI Director Robert Mueller as the special counsel investigating Russia's attempts to interfere in last year's presidential election, and possible ties between Moscow and Trump's campaign. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said Trump had never discussed the issue with Ruddy. "With respect to this subject, only the president or his attorneys are authorized to comment," Spicer said. Ruddy's remarks on PBS' NewsHour came as influential Republicans, including former House leader Newt Gingrich, have started questioning Mueller's ability to be fair.


Sessions to testify in open Senate hearing

Attorney General Jeff Sessions will testify Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee in an open hearing on matters related to Russia's alleged meddling in last year's presidential election. Lawmakers are expected to follow up on last week's testimony by former FBI Director James Comey, whom President Trump fired last month, by questioning Sessions on his involvement in Comey's dismissal, despite his decision to recuse himself from the Russia investigation because of his own contacts with Russian officials. Comey said last week that the FBI had information on Sessions that would have made it "problematic" for him to be involved in the inquiry into Russia's attempts to interfere with the election, and the possible collusion of Trump associates.


Second appeals court upholds freeze on Trump's revised travel ban

A second federal appeals court on Monday upheld a freeze on President Trump's revised travel ban, saying many parts of the executive order targeting six majority-Muslim countries violated the Constitution's prohibition against a government establishment of religion. The unanimous decision from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, in San Francisco, followed a flurry of court rulings against Trump's order to temporarily block travelers from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen so that vetting procedures could be tightened to keep out terrorists. The Trump administration has requested that the Supreme Court review a similar ruling by the Fourth Circuit appeals court in Richmond, Virginia.


Hundreds detained at Russia anti-corruption protests

Russian authorities detained hundreds of people at anti-corruption rallies held in more than 100 cities across Russia on Monday. Police arrested prominent Kremlin critic Alexei Navalny, who orchestrated the protests, outside his apartment as the anti-government demonstrations swept the country on Russia Day, a national holiday. Navalny was sentenced to 30 days in jail. In Moscow — where demonstrators shouted "Putin, thief!" and "Russia will be free" — riot police appeared to have pulled protesters out of the crowd at random. In the Siberian city of Novosibirsk, an estimated 5,000 people took to the streets in the largest protest since the 1991 demonstrations against the Soviet Union. More than 800 people were arrested in Moscow and roughly 500 in St. Petersburg.


Senate Republicans keeping health bill draft secret

Senate Republicans do not plan to publicly release their draft health-care bill, two senior Senate GOP aides tell Axios. Top Senate Republicans said Monday that the draft was nearly completed. One of the aides explained that Senate Republicans are "still in discussions about what will be in the final product, so it is premature to release any draft absent further member conversations and consensus." By not releasing a draft of the GOP-backed American Health Care Act, Republicans will likely further enrage Democrats already irked about the lack of transparency surrounding the writing of the plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Senate Republicans are eyeing a vote on the bill before the July 4 recess.


Gianforte fined $385, sentenced to anger management sessions

Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte (R-Mont.) was sentenced Monday to a $385 fine, 20 hours of anger management counseling, and community service for assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs the night before his election. Gianforte pleaded guilty to misdemeanor assault. Judge Rick West asked Gianforte whether he believed he had injured Jacobs after the reporter tried to ask him about the Republican bill aiming to repeal and replace ObamaCare. "Although it was not my intention to hurt him, I understand Ben was injured," Gianforte said. Jacobs said in a statement to the court that Gianforte slammed him to the floor and punched him. The men reached a settlement in which Gianforte, a tech multimillionaire, apologized and said he was contributing $50,000 to the Committee to Protect Journalists.


Rodman returns to North Korea

Former basketball star Dennis Rodman arrived in North Korea on Tuesday for his fifth trip to the Hermit Kingdom, and his first since President Trump took office. The visit comes at a time of rising tensions over Pyongyang's missile and nuclear weapons programs. Rodman, who has been received warmly by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in past trips, said he was "pretty sure" Trump would be happy about his trip, because he is "trying to accomplish something that we both need." Rodman said he was "just trying to open a door" and did not plan to bring up the four Americans being detained in North Korea. The U.S. State Department said it was aware of Rodman's trip, noting that he was traveling as a private citizen. "We wish him well, but we have issued travel warnings to Americans and suggested they not travel to North Korea for their own safety," said U.S. Undersecretary of State Thomas Shannon.


Cosby's defense rests in sexual assault trial

Bill Cosby's defense team rested its case after just three minutes on Monday without calling the comedian and actor to the stand to defend himself against a sexual assault allegation. Cosby told the judge that he intended a "limited defense," saying he wouldn't testify or bring any character witnesses forward to testify on his behalf. Cosby's lawyers called just one witness, Det. Richard Schaffer, who was also called by the prosecution. Cosby faces three sexual assault charges for a January 2004 encounter with Andrea Constand, who says Cosby gave her sedatives that left her unable to rebuff his unwanted touching. After fiery summations, in which the prosecution focused on Cosby's admission that he gave pills to Constand and the defense called the sexual assault accusation a lie, the case went to the jury.


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