Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 19, 2017

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Bonnie Kristian
Stephen Bannon
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1.

Stephen Bannon fired from the White House

President Trump on Friday decided to fire his chief strategist, Stephen Bannon. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Bannon and Chief of Staff John Kelly "have mutually agreed that today would be Steve's last day," though The New York Times reported "a person close to Mr. Bannon insisted the parting of ways was his idea," initially to be announced earlier this week but rescheduled in light of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia. "I want to thank Steve Bannon for his service," Trump tweeted Saturday morning. "He came to the campaign during my run against Crooked Hillary Clinton - it was great!" [The New York Times, The Hill]

2.

Boston anticipates thousands at competing protests

Boston city officials have announced a heavy police presence will be on hand to contain potential violence at competing protests scheduled Saturday in Boston Common, the city's most historic park. What those officers — and protesters — will encounter is unclear. The event started with a permit for up to 100 people with the stated purpose of demonstrating for free speech, but counter-protests were planned when other local activist groups, including Black Lives Matter, noticed two of the scheduled speakers have ties to the alt-right, and one of those two attended the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. Thousands are expected to attend. [The Boston Globe, The New York Times]

3.

Terror investigation continues after additional Spain attack

Spanish police interrupted another major terrorist attack in the coastal city of Cambrils early Friday, just hours after a man killed 13 people and injured 100 more in Barcelona when he drove a van through a crowd. Six people were injured and one killed in Cambrils in another car attack. Police fatally shot four of the five attackers when they jumped out of the overturned vehicle, and the fifth died later from a gunshot wound. The search for a ringleader is ongoing Saturday. Authorities are linking the Cambrils and Barcelona attacks to an explosion at a house in Alcanar on Wednesday, which killed one person, bringing the total killed by the three acts of terrorism to 15. [BBC News, The Associated Press]

4.

American honeymooner identified among those killed in Barcelona attack

A California man named Jared Tucker, 42, has been named as one of the victims of the terrorist attack in Barcelona on Thursday. Tucker was on a delayed honeymoon to Spain with his wife, Heidi Nunes, celebrating their one-year anniversary. He stepped away from her to go to the bathroom when the vehicle attack began. "Next thing I know there's screaming, yelling," said Nunes. "I got pushed inside the souvenir kiosk and stayed there hiding while everybody kept running by screaming." The next morning, Tucker was identified among the 13 people killed. [NBC News, CNN]

5.

Bannon to return to Breitbart for 'war'

Ousted chief strategist Stephen Bannon will return to Breitbart News, the far-right website he helmed before joining the White House, Breitbart's editor-in-chief confirmed Friday night. New York's Gabriel Sherman reported the site is "ramping up for war" against President Trump, citing an unnamed Bannon friend, though Bannon himself told Bloomberg News he is "going to war for Trump against his opponents — on Capitol Hill, in the media, and in corporate America." In a Weekly Standard interview Friday, however, Bannon sounded a different note, saying the "Trump presidency that we fought for, and won, is over" and Trump will now become more conventional. [The Hill, The Week]

6.

Trump elevates U.S. Cyber Command to a unified combatant command

President Trump elevated the U.S. Cyber Command to become the 10th unified command in the U.S. military on Friday, saying the move will "strengthen our cyberspace operations and create more opportunities to improve our nation's defense" and "help streamline command and control of time-sensitive cyberspace operations." Cyber Command will continue to be led by the director of the National Security Agency, Navy Adm. Michael Rogers, though Defense Secretary James Mattis will reportedly consider further separating it from the NSA with a recommendation to come at a later date. [Politico, The Washington Post]

7.

Democratic lawmakers propose censuring Trump

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Friday endorsed censuring President Trump over his response to the protests in Charlottesville, Virginia, last weekend. Censure does not mean the public official in question must give up their office, but it "would be a formal and historic rebuke from Congress of Trump's remarks," ABC News explains. Democratic Reps. Pramila Jayapal (Wash.), Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.), and Bonnie Watson Coleman (N.J.) have planned to introduce a censure resolution against the president with 79 co-sponsors. [ABC News, The Washington Post]

8.

Carl Icahn resigns economic advisory post with Trump's 'blessing'

Investor Carl Icahn announced Friday he has stepped down from his advisory role to President Trump. Icahn was counseling the president regarding regulatory reform issues, but he said he was announcing his resignation after a conversation with Trump earlier Friday in which the president "agreed" with his decision. Shortly after Icahn's resignation, The New Yorker published a story suggesting he may be in "legal jeopardy" including "possible criminal charges" for reportedly attempting to use his position to change federal energy regulations to benefit a company in which he has invested. [Business Insider, The Week]

9.

Finnish police label fatal stabbing attack terrorism

Police in Finland arrested a man accused of stabbing eight people, killing two and injuring six more, on Friday in the southwest city of Turku. Police said they shot the 18-year-old Moroccan man in the leg after his alleged attack. "The act had been investigated as murder, but during the night we received additional information which indicates that the criminal offences are now terrorist killings," authorities said Saturday. Eyewitness reports of the incident offer conflicting accounts; some say the suspect was heard yelling "Allahu akbar," but others say the screams were people saying "watch out" in Finnish. [Reuters, The Washington Post]

10.

1 officer dead, 1 gravely wounded in Florida shooting

Two police officers, Matthew Baxter and Sam Howard, were shot in Kissimmee, Florida, Friday night while responding to a report of suspicious activity. Baxter was killed and Howard remains in "grave critical condition." The suspected shooter is in custody and three other people have been detained; details about their identities or the motives behind the attack have not been released. "My thoughts and prayers are with the @KissimmeePolice and their loved ones," President Trump promptly tweeted. Four other police officers were also wounded on duty Friday, two in another part of Florida and two in Pennsylvania. [ABC News, WFTV]