10 things you need to know today: November 21, 2017
Trump returns North Korea to the list of terrorism sponsors, CBS suspends Charlie Rose following sexual harassment allegations, and more
Trump puts North Korea back on list of terrorism sponsors
President Trump on Monday designated North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, clearing the way for new U.S. sanctions against the isolated communist-run, nuclear-armed nation. Trump has traded harsh words with North Korea's combative leader, Kim Jong Un, while not ruling out talks to ease rising tensions. Trump said, however, that the Treasury Department would announce additional sanctions on Tuesday. He said Pyongyang has been "threatening the world by nuclear devastation" and supporting terrorist acts, including assassinations in other countries. North Korea was on the list for years, but removed in 2008 ahead of talks that quickly failed. North Korea on Tuesday called Trump "an old lunatic, mean trickster, and human reject."
CBS suspends Charlie Rose after wave of sexual harassment allegations
CBS, PBS, and Bloomberg suspended TV host Charlie Rose on Monday after eight women told The Washington Post that he made unwanted sexual advances, from groping them to making lewd phone calls to walking around naked in front of them. The women worked for Rose or applied for jobs with his Charlie Rose show as early as the late 1990s, and as recently as 2011. Rose acknowledged acting "insensitively," although said not all of the details were accurate. "It is essential that these women know I hear them and that I deeply apologize for my inappropriate behavior," said Rose, 75, who hosts a show on PBS and co-hosts CBS This Morning. He also contributes to 60 Minutes. Three of the women spoke on the record; the others spoke on condition of anonymity, citing Rose's power in the industry and his allegedly volatile temper.
Report: Rep. John Conyers settled sexual harassment, dismissal complaint
Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich.) in 2015 settled a wrongful dismissal complaint filed by a former employee who said she was fired after refusing to "succumb" to Conyers' "sexual advances," BuzzFeed News reports, citing sworn affidavits and other documents from the complaint. The woman, who asked to remain anonymous fearing retaliation, said she complained in 2014 to Congress' Office of Compliance, which has paid out $17 million over 20 years for 264 settlements with federal employees over sexual harassment and other violations. The accuser ultimately signed a confidentiality agreement in exchange for a settlement of $27,111.75, which came from Conyers' office budget. Conyers admitted no fault under the settlement, according to BuzzFeed News. His office did not respond to BuzzFeed News' requests for comment.
Trump promises 'huge tax cut for Christmas'
President Trump on Monday promised Americans a "huge tax cut for Christmas." Speaking before a Cabinet meeting, Trump said, "hopefully that will be a great big, beautiful Christmas present." Trump's pledge came a day after his budget director, Mick Mulvaney, said the White House would be willing to drop a provision in the Senate version of the tax overhaul that would repeal the ObamaCare health insurance mandate, if removing it would help win over enough votes to pass the tax cut. Removing the health-care element, however, would leave the Senate GOP bill $338 billion short of the savings they seek over 10 years to help pay for massive corporate and individual tax cuts, so Senate Republicans would have to find the money elsewhere.
Second woman accuses Franken of inappropriate touching
A second woman on Monday accused Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) of inappropriately touching her. The woman, Lindsay Menz, 33, told CNN that Franken grabbed her buttocks while they posed for a photo taken by her husband at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010. Unlike radio news anchor Leeann Tweeden's allegation that Franken forcibly kissed and groped her during a 2006 USO tour, Menz accused the former comedian of impropriety after his election. Menz said Franken pulled her "really close, like awkward close, and ... put his hand full-fledged on my rear." She said the incident left her feeling "gross." Franken, who has apologized to Tweeden and vowed to cooperate with a Senate ethics investigation, said he did not remember the alleged incident involving Menz.
Trump charitable foundation dissolving
President Trump's charitable foundation is shutting down, NBC News reported Monday, citing newly filed documents. In tax documents filed last year, the Donald J. Trump Foundation admitted to violating rules against "self-dealing," or steering payments to itself or family businesses. Trump said last December that he would close the organization after he took office to avoid potential conflicts of interest. The foundation's 2016 tax filing, which was uploaded this month to its website, said it would wind down its activities and distribute its remaining money, reportedly just under $1 million, to other charities. The New York attorney general's office ordered the organization to stop soliciting outside donations, and said the foundation could not dissolve until an investigation is finished.
Court blocks Trump executive order on sanctuary cities
U.S. District Court Judge William Orrick on Monday permanently blocked President Trump's executive order to cut funding to so-called sanctuary cities, calling it "unconstitutional on its face." Sanctuary cities and other local jurisdictions limit cooperation with federal agencies enforcing immigration laws. California's San Francisco and Santa Clara counties sued to block the law. A government lawyer said Trump's order applied to less than $1 million in grants for Santa Clara and San Francisco counties, but Orrick disagreed, saying the order was written so broadly it could threaten hundreds of millions of dollars in funding for the counties. Orrick, who previously had put a temporary hold on the executive order, ruled that Trump could not set new conditions for spending approved by Congress.
Justice Department sues to block $85 billion AT&T acquisition of Time Warner
The Justice Department launched a lawsuit on Monday seeking to block AT&T Inc.'s proposed $85.4 billion takeover of Time Warner. "This merger would greatly harm American consumers," said Makan Delrahim, head of the department's antitrust division. "It would mean higher monthly television bills and fewer of the new, emerging innovative options that consumers are beginning to enjoy." The move amounted to a potentially major setback for AT&T's effort to merge its telecommunications empire with Time Warner's media content. The lawsuit marked the first time in decades the Justice Department has tried to prevent a merger that wasn't between direct competitors. "Today's DOJ lawsuit is a radical and inexplicable departure from decades of antitrust precedent," AT&T said in a statement.
Assad meets with Putin ahead of summit on Syria
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Black Sea resort of Sochi on Monday to discuss Syria peace initiatives being proposed by Russia, Moscow announced Tuesday. Russia wants Assad to sign on ahead of a summit it is hosting with Turkey and Iran as it moves toward winding down its military involvement in Syria's six-year civil war. Assad has now traveled abroad twice during the conflict, both times visiting Russia. Putin said he would call President Trump and Middle Eastern leaders to follow up on his discussions with Assad. "We still have a long way to go before we achieve a complete victory over terrorists," he said, but "... this military operation is indeed wrapping up."
Trump administration ends post-earthquake deportation protections for Haitians
The Trump administration announced Monday that it was ending a humanitarian program that has let 59,000 Haitians live and work in the U.S. since a powerful earthquake devastated the Caribbean nation in 2010. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Elaine Duke said the Haitians who have been protected from deportation under the policy have 18 months to leave the U.S. Haiti is the poorest country in the region, and its government had requested that the U.S. leave the protections in place. The program, known as Temporary Protected Status, was enacted by Congress in the 1990s to help large groups of people who fled from natural disasters and wars, and there is a total of about 320,000 people from various countries currently benefiting from it.