Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: November 30, 2017

Trump faces backlash after retweeting anti-Muslim videos, more sexual allegations surface against Matt Lauer, and more


Trump triggers controversy by retweeting inflammatory anti-Muslim videos

President Trump retweeted videos from fringe British ultranationalist party leader Jayda Fransen claiming to show Muslims committing violence. The videos had titles such as "Muslim migrant beats up Dutch boy on crutches!" and "Muslim Destroys a Statue of Virgin Mary!" British Prime Minister Theresa May condemned the move. "It is wrong for the president to have done this," May's office said in a statement, because Fransen's group, Britain First, "seeks to divide communities by their use of hateful narratives that peddle lies and stoke tensions. They cause anxiety to law-abiding people." Trump tweeted back saying, "Theresa, don't focus on me, focus on the destructive Radical Islamic Terrorism that is taking place within the United Kingdom."


More sexual impropriety allegations surface against Lauer after firing

Variety on Wednesday released the results of a two-month investigation into allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior against Matt Lauer, hours after NBC fired the longtime Today host over what it called the first official complaint it had received against him. Variety reported that it uncovered claims that Lauer gave a colleague a sex toy and a note on how he wanted to use it on her, and dropped his pants in front of an employee, then got angry when she refused his advances. Lauer reportedly was fired over an underling's sexual harassment complaint. NBC received two more complaints Wednesday. One woman said Lauer summoned her to his office. Afraid of losing her job, she had sex with him and said nothing to management.


GOP tax plan clears another hurdle

Republican Senate leaders scrambled to win over fence-sitting colleagues as they voted Wednesday to open debate on their version of the GOP tax overhaul. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) set aside early concerns about the deficit, and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) also said he would back the bill. On Wednesday, Sens. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) and Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) both flipped to "yes" in the Senate Budget Committee vote that advanced the bill to the full Senate. Corker and others have threatened to vote against the bill if the final version doesn't include a "trigger" to raise taxes if economic growth projections aren't met. Colleagues aren't sure how Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) will vote. With a 52-48 majority, Republicans can't afford to lose more than two GOP votes.


Minnesota Public Radio fires Garrison Keillor over allegation of inappropriate behavior

Minnesota Public Radio on Wednesday cut ties with A Prairie Home Companion creator Garrison Keillor after he was accused of inappropriate behavior with someone he worked with. MPR said it learned of the allegations in October and is investigating. "I put my hand on a woman's bare back," Keillor said in an email to the Minneapolis Star Tribune. He said she was unhappy and he was consoling her, but didn't know her shirt was open. "She recoiled. I apologized," he said, adding that they remained "friendly right up until her lawyer called." Keillor, 75, retired as his show's host last year. He said his firing was ironic because he rarely touched people, but fans frequently groped him when taking pictures with him. MPR did not immediately confirm the incident was the reason he was fired.


Trump announces 'major' new sanctions against North Korea

President Trump announced "additional major sanctions" against North Korea on Wednesday, a day after Pyongyang tested an intercontinental ballistic missile that analysts believe could strike anywhere in the United States. "Just spoke to President Xi Jinping of China concerning the latest provocative actions of North Korea," Trump tweeted. "Additional major sanctions will be imposed on North Korea today. This situation will be handled!" Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said during an emergency Security Council meeting that China should cut off all of Pyongyang's oil, and warned that North Korea's regime will be "utterly destroyed" if war comes.


Former Bosnian general drinks poison in courtroom after conviction upheld

Former Bosnian Croat general Slobodan Praljak died Wednesday after drinking poison in a United Nations tribunal at The Hague. Shortly after the judges upheld his conviction for war crimes against Bosnian Muslims in the former Yugoslavia, Praljak shouted, "Praljak is not a criminal. I reject your verdict," and he put a small brown bottle to his lips. "I just drank poison," he said. "I am not a war criminal." The presiding judge immediately suspended the proceedings against Praljak and five co-defendants. Praljak was rushed by ambulance to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead. The court is expected to investigate how the 72-year-old got his hands on the poison and smuggled it into the courtroom.


Heckler to Moore: 'All the girls are lying?'

Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore of Alabama continued to deny sexual molestation allegations, saying at a Wednesday church appearance that the women who say Moore made sexual advances when there were in their teens and he was in his 30s are lying. "The attacks have been false, numerous, and vicious," Moore said. "I do not know any of these women. I did not engage in sexual misconduct. It's simply dirty politics." One man interrupted Moore at one point, saying, "All the girls are lying?" Moore briefly lost his polling lead to Democrat Doug Jones after the stories surfaced, but he has regained a narrow edge. Also this week, Leigh Corfman, who says Moore touched her sexually when she was 14 and he was 32, released an open letter calling for Moore to stop calling her a liar.


Snap unveils major Snapchat redesign

Snap on Wednesday unveiled a major redesign of its Snapchat messaging app, hoping to revive sagging growth since it went public in March. The new design still opens with a camera but draws a clearer line between content from friends and publishers. Users can swipe right to see stories from publishers and creators, as well as community-curated posts, or swipe left to see a Friends page with their own chats and Snapchat stories. "One of the complaints we've heard about social media is that photos and videos from your friends are mixed in with content from publishers and creators and influencers," Evan Spiegel, Snap's CEO, said in a statement. "But your friends aren't content, they're relationships."


Report: Mueller team interviewed Kushner about Flynn

President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner spoke to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team of investigators this month about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, The Associated Press reported Wednesday, citing a person familiar with the investigation. Flynn is under investigation by the special counsel, which has been looking into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election and any ties between Russian officials and the Trump campaign. One aim in the interview with Kushner was determining whether he had any information that might exonerate Flynn. Prosecutors have postponed grand jury testimony on Flynn, whose lawyers have stopped sharing information with Trump's legal team, fueling speculation Flynn is discussing a deal.


Judge scolds Uber for withholding info in trade secrets case

Judge William Alsup scolded Uber lawyers Wednesday for withholding evidence in its trial over the alleged theft of trade secrets from Waymo, the self-driving car unit of Google parent Alphabet. Alsup on Tuesday rescheduled the trial a day before jury selection was supposed to begin, pushing its start to Feb. 5 and heard two days of testimony on a wave of last-minute evidence on such things as a letter and email with damning claims and a $4.5 million payment to an Uber employee threatening to become a whistleblower. "I have never seen a case where there were so many bad things done like Uber has done in this case," Alsup said. An Uber lawyer said the ex-employee's incriminating letter was "clearly extortionist."


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