Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: November 23, 2017

Rep. Joe Barton's future in doubt as he apologizes over nude selfie, New York tightens security for Thanksgiving parade, and more

1

Congressman apologizes for nude selfie

Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) apologized Wednesday for a nude picture of him that circulated on the internet. "While separated from my second wife, prior to the divorce, I had sexual relationships with other mature adult women," Barton, 68, said in a statement. "I am sorry I did not use better judgment during those days." Barton, the ninth longest-serving House member, announced plans to seek re-election three weeks ago, but now says he is reconsidering his political future. Barton once told a woman to whom he sent sexually explicit photos and videos not to release them or he would report her to the Capitol Police, The Washington Post reported, citing a recording of a 2015 phone call it reviewed. "I want your word that this ends," he said in the recording.

2

New York tightens security to keep Thanksgiving parade safe

New York City has stepped up security for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade following terrorist attacks on outdoor gathering spots in several cities around the world, including a Manhattan bike path. The Thursday parade is one of the country's biggest outdoor holiday events, and features performances of Broadway hits, marching bands, elaborate floats, and signature giant balloons in the shapes of cartoon characters. Police will protect crowds with everything from portable radiation detectors to sharpshooters on rooftops and sand-filled city sanitation trucks as barriers at cross streets on the two-and-a-half-mile route. "Every year the NYPD has done more to keep this event tonight and the parade itself safer," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "Because we understand we are dealing with a very challenging world."

3

Myanmar and Bangladesh reach deal on return of some Rohingya refugees

Myanmar and Bangladesh signed an agreement on Thursday to allow the return of an unspecified number of Rohingya Muslims who fled across the border to escape violence in Myanmar's Rakhine state. More than 620,000 Rohingya have sought refuge in Bangladesh since Aug. 25, when an army crackdown started in response to attacks on police post by Rohingya insurgents. Bangladesh said the first repatriations would start in two months. The news came a day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson referred to the violence against the Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar as "ethnic cleansing."

4

Former ethics chief accuses Kellyanne Conway of violating Hatch Act for Doug Jones criticism

Walter Shaub, who resigned in July as leader of the Office of Government Ethics, said via Twitter on Wednesday that he had filed a complaint against White House counselor Kellyanne Conway, accusing her of violating the Hatch Act by attacking Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore's Democratic opponent, Doug Jones. "Folks, don't be fooled, he'll be a vote against tax cuts," Conway told the hosts of Fox & Friends. Conway called Jones "weak" on crime and borders. Conway did not explicitly tell people to vote for Moore, who is embroiled in controversy over allegations that he made inappropriate sexual advances toward teenage girls while in his 30s. Still, Shaub said, Conway's comments probably violated the Hatch Act, which bars White House officials from publicly advocating candidates.

5

Federal judge blocks part of Texas abortion restriction

U.S. District Judge Lee Yeakel in Austin on Wednesday struck down parts of a Texas law that would ban the most common type of second-trimester abortions in the state. Yeakel said provisions in the law "are facially unconstitutional," interfering with women's choices "in an unduly burdensome manner." Texas' Republican-controlled legislature has passed several abortion restrictions in recent years that federal courts have said place unconstitutional restrictions on women without public health benefits. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, a Republican, said he was appealing to preserve the law, which he said protected "unborn human life from ghastly dismemberment abortions."

6

2 more women say Franken touched them inappropriately

Two more women have said Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) groped their butts, The Huffington Post reported Wednesday. The report came days after radio host and model Leeann Tweeden said Franken kissed and groped her during a 2006 USA tour, and another woman, Lindsay Menz, said Franken squeezed her buttocks while they posed for a photo at the Minnesota State Fair in 2010. The two new accusers spoke on the condition of anonymity, and said they did not know about each other's stories. Franken told HuffPost: "It's difficult to respond to anonymous accusers, and I don’t remember those campaign events."

7

Zimbabwe's next leader returns from exile

Emmerson Mnangagwa, the former Zimbabwe vice president fired less than three weeks ago, triumphantly returned from abroad Wednesday a day after longtime President Robert Mugabe resigned. Mnangagwa promised a "new, unfolding democracy" as he prepared to take over Friday as president following the departure of Mugabe, who was placed under house arrest by the military. Critics of Mugabe, 93, had interpreted his firing of Mnangagwa as a sign he was paving the way for his wife, Grace Mugabe, to succeed him. Angry protesters have called for Mugabe to go. He tried to cling to power but stepped down after lawmakers started impeachment proceedings. Mnangagwa said Zimbabwe would need international aid to rebuild its ruined economy.

8

Slain Baltimore detective was due to testify in police corruption case

Baltimore homicide Detective Sean Suiter, who was fatally shot, had been scheduled to testify the next day before a federal grand jury about a squad of officers accused of shaking people down and conspiring with drug dealers, Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis said Wednesday. Suiter was the first Baltimore officer killed on duty by a suspect in a decade. Police have not arrested anybody for the death of Suiter, who appeared to have been shot at close range with his own pistol after a struggle. Investigators have found no evidence linking the killing to his pending testimony.

9

Trump Organization to be bought out of struggling SoHo hotel

The Trump Organization said Wednesday it reached a deal to extricate itself from involvement with its struggling hotel in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan, selling its stake to the building's owner. The plan for the 46-story skyscraper was unveiled 11 years ago with promises that it would be "an awe-inspiring masterpiece." But the hotel became a focus of criticism by locals and anti-Trump political protesters. It closed its main restaurant earlier this year due to a decline in business since Trump's election. It is the second hotel slated to lose the Trump name this year, following a similar move in Toronto. On Monday, The Telegraph reported that the average price for a weekend at a Trump hotel dropped 36 percent in the last year.

10

Olympic gymnastics doctor pleads guilty to molesting 7 girls

Former USA gymnastics team doctor Larry Nassar pleaded guilty Wednesday to molesting seven girls, including three under the age of 13. In total, Nassar is accused of having abused more than 130 of his patients during medical exams between 1998 and 2015. Among his accusers are gold medalists Gabby Douglas, McKayla Maroney, and Aly Raisman. "I am so horribly sorry that this was like a match that turned into a forest fire out of control," Nassar said Wednesday while entering his guilty plea. He agreed to a sentence between 25 and 40 years.

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