Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: November 12, 2017

Trump tweets insult of 'short and fat' Kim Jong Un, Trump offers mediation assistance in the Philippines, and more


Trump tweets insult of 'short and fat' Kim Jong Un

Before leaving Vietnam early Sunday morning, President Trump posted a series of bombastic tweets. Reflecting on his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin the day before, Trump asked when "all the haters and fools" will "realize that having a good relationship with Russia is a good thing." He suggested favorable Russia relations would be better received if proposed by a Democrat and then turned to North Korea, writing, "Why would Kim Jong-un insult me by calling me 'old,' when I would NEVER call him 'short and fat?' Oh well, I try so hard to be his friend - and maybe someday that will happen!" White House Chief of Staff John Kelly reportedly said of the posts, "They are what they are."


Trump offers mediation assistance in the Philippines

President Trump arrived in the Philippines from Vietnam on Sunday, where he was greeted by controversial Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte, who has been accused of human rights abuses including the promotion of extrajudicial killings. Trump offered Duterte mediation assistance in his country's dispute with China over the South China Sea, calling himself "a very good mediator and arbitrator." Duterte declined the offer, saying the issue "is better left untouched" because "nobody can afford to go to war." This is the last stop in Trump's inaugural tour of Asia as president; he will have more formal meetings with Duterte on Monday.


Trump reiterates support for U.S. intelligence after Putin comments

President Trump on Sunday reiterated his support for and confidence in American intelligence agencies after making comments suggesting he is less trusting of their account of Russian election meddling than that of Russian President Vladimir Putin. "What I said is, I believe [Putin] believes" Moscow did not interfere with the United States' 2016 election, Trump said in Vietnam. "I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election. As to whether I believe it or not, I'm with our agencies, especially as currently constituted, with their leadership."


60,000 nationalists march in Poland

An estimated 60,000 nationalists marched in Warsaw to celebrate Poland's 99 years of independence on Saturday. While many simply waved Polish flags, some demonstrators threw red smoke bombs and carried signs with slogans like, "Europe must be white," "white Europe of brotherly nations," and "pray for an Islamic Holocaust." They shouted chants including, "glory to our heroes," "pure Poland, white Poland, "refugees get out," and "death to enemies of the homeland." Among the marchers were supporters of Poland's governing party, Law and Justice (PiS). Interior Minister Mariusz Blaszczak downplayed the racist elements in comments praising the "beautiful sight" of Poles celebrating independence.


Roy Moore pushes back on sexual misconduct allegations

Embattled Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) on Saturday continued to push back on allegations that he pursued sexual encounters with teenagers as young as 14 when he was in his 30s. The accusations published by The Washington Post are nothing but "a desperate attempt to stop my campaign for U.S. Senate," Moore said while speaking at a Mid-Alabama Republican Club event. "These attacks involve minors and they are completely false and untrue — about something that happened nearly 40 years ago." A growing number of GOP lawmakers have urged Moore to withdraw his candidacy before his Dec. 12 special election.


Lebanon becomes central to regional conflict

The small Mideast country of Lebanon has become central to regional Sunni-Shiite conflict spearheaded by Saudi Arabia and Iran. Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri unexpectedly resigned last week while visiting Saudi Arabia, reportedly at the insistence of the Saudi monarchy, which sources told Reuters believed the Sunni prime minister was too unwilling to confront the Shiite, Iran-backed Hezbollah in his country. On Saturday, Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah said Hariri "is detained in Saudi Arabia and forbidden until this moment from returning to Lebanon," accusing the Saudis of "declaring war" on Lebanon.


Texas church shooting survivors gather for memorial

Members of the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, the site of last week's church shooting that killed 26 people, will gather with hundreds of mourners Sunday for an outdoor memorial service. The church building, which may soon be demolished, is open as a memorial site with 26 empty chairs. Funerals for several of the victims were held over the past few days, as was a special Veterans Day ceremony on Saturday, as nearly half of those killed had ties to the Air Force.


Texas shooter 'had a lot of demons,' says ex-wife

The gunman who killed 26 people at a Baptist church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, "just had a lot of demons or hatred inside of him," shooter Devin Patrick Kelley's ex-wife Tessa Brennaman told CBS News Friday in her first interview since the attack. Brennaman, 25, described an abusive and frightening marriage. Once, she said, he threatened to kill her over a speeding ticket. Brennaman and Kelley married in 2011 and divorced in 2012. He later remarried, and investigators believe the church attack was connected to conflict with his second wife's family.


Star Trek's George Takei accused of sexual assault

Actor George Takei of Star Trek was accused of sexual assault in a Hollywood Reporter story published Friday night. Takei's accuser is a former model named Scott R. Brunton who says that while sharing a drink at Takei's apartment in 1981, he began to feel "very disoriented and dizzy." He passed out and awoke to find "[Takei] had my pants down around my ankles and he was groping my crotch and trying to get my underwear off." THR spoke to four of Brunton's friends, who said he told them this story "years ago." Takei categorically denied the allegations in a tweeted statement Saturday, writing that the events Brunton describes "simply did not occur," and that he does not recall ever meeting Brunton.


Jaws' Richard Dreyfuss accused of sexual harassment

Actor Richard Dreyfuss, known for films like Jaws and American Graffiti, was accused Saturday of sexually harassing a writer named Jessica Teich over the course of several years in the 1980s while they worked together on a television show. Teich told Vulture Dreyfuss exposed himself to her and "created a very hostile work environment, where I felt sexualized, objectified, and unsafe." Dreyfuss said in a statement he never exposed himself but did "flirt with" Teich and tried to kiss her "as part of what I thought was a consensual seduction ritual." Dreyfuss added that he is "horrified and bewildered to discover that it wasn't consensual."


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