Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: December 24, 2017

Trump targets FBI's Andrew McCabe in tweets, court partially lifts Trump's refugee ban, and more


Trump targets FBI's Andrew McCabe in tweets

President Trump went after FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe in a series of tweets Saturday and Sunday, accusing him of corruption in the investigation of former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's private email server. Trump accused McCabe of taking "$700,000 for wife's campaign by Clinton Puppets during [the emails] investigation." In subsequent tweets he referenced reports of McCabe's forthcoming retirement and quoted Fox News as saying McCabe promoted the Clinton campaign with his government email account. McCabe's wife, Dr. Jill McCabe, did receive $450,000 for a 2015 state campaign from a PAC run by Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), who was co-chair of Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election campaign and chair of Hillary Clinton's run in 2008. However, Andrew McCabe did not have oversight of the Clinton emails investigation until after his wife lost.


Court partially lifts Trump's refugee ban

A federal judge on Saturday partially blocked President Trump's suspension of refugee admissions from 11 countries, nine of which are majority-Muslim: Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, North Korea, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen. After hearing arguments Thursday, U.S. District Judge James Robart ruled that refugee applications must be processed for those with "a bona fide relationship to a person or entity within the United States." The Trump administration claimed the ban "is a reasonable and appropriate way for agency heads to tackle gaps" in vetting procedure, but Robart said vetting is already rigorous.


Trump reportedly told Mar-a-Lago friends the tax bill made them 'a lot richer'

President Trump went to the "Winter White House," his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, on Friday, where CBS News reports he told friends dining at his club, "You all just got a lot richer" because of the GOP tax overhaul he'd signed several hours earlier. Two sources at a nearby table described the comments to CBS. In public statements before the bill became law, Trump repeatedly claimed he, as a wealthy person, would take a financial hit so that ordinary Americans could pay lower taxes. Since the legislation was finalized, analysis has shown Trump will save millions annually under the new system.


North Korea says new sanctions are 'an act of war'

North Korea in a statement Sunday harshly condemned new United Nations sanctions leveled against the isolated regime Friday. "We define this 'sanctions resolution' rigged up by the U.S. and its followers as a grave infringement upon the sovereignty of our Republic, as an act of war violating peace and stability in the Korean peninsula and the region and categorically reject the 'resolution,'" Pyongyang said, arguing that nothing can stop "the great historic cause of completing the state nuclear force." The sanctions were supported by Russia and China as well as the U.S.


White House denies Trump said Haitian immigrants 'all have AIDS'

At a June meeting on immigration policy, a frustrated President Trump said immigrants from Haiti "all have AIDS" and those from Nigeria will refuse to "go back to their huts" once they see America, The New York Times reported Saturday, citing two unnamed sources for each quote. The White House denied "these outrageous claims," the Times said, but did not deny "the overall description of the meeting." Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said it is "both sad and telling The New York Times would print the lies of their anonymous 'sources' anyway."


Dozens killed in Philippine mall fire

A fire in a shopping mall in the Philippines killed at least 37 people Saturday, and firefighters on Sunday were still struggling to locate the bodies of those trapped inside. Relatives of those who could not escape the building "were told that the chances of survival are zero," local authorities said. The blaze occurred in Davao City, where both the mayor and vice mayor are the children of controversial Philippines President Rodrigo Duterte, who went to the mall Saturday evening to meet with survivors.


DHS says Pennsylvania shooting was terrorism

The Department of Homeland Security's acting press secretary said Saturday the federal government considers a Friday attack on police in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, to be an act of terrorism. The suspect, Ahmed Amin El-Mofty, "was a naturalized U.S. citizen who was admitted to the United States from Egypt on a family-based immigrant visa," the DHS statement said. El-Mofty was shot and killed by police after he fired at a police car, mildly injuring one officer. The suspect's ex-brother-in-law pushed back on the terrorism label, telling ABC News El-Mofty was "a chicken," not a terrorist.


Miss America leaders resign after email leak

Four leaders of the Miss America pageant — CEO Sam Haskell, President Josh Randle, board chair Lynn Weidner, and board member Tammy Haddad — resigned over the weekend after leaked emails saw them disparaging past pageant winners for their appearance and behavior. The emails were first reported by HuffPost. Randle and Weidner will temporarily remain in their roles to transition in new staff, while Haskell and Haddad leave immediately. Randle issued an apology to Miss America 2013 Mallory Hagan for his email comments about her; Haskell said the emails were "conveniently edited."


Vice apologizes for culture of sexual harassment

A Saturday New York Times report described an entrenched culture of sexism and sexual harassment at Vice, an atmosphere that led to four sexual harassment or defamation settlements against Vice employees, including top leadership. The Times cites the testimony of nearly 30 women who worked at Vice and describe "a top-down ethos of male entitlement" where female employees felt "like just another party favor." A statement from Vice founders founders Shane Smith and Suroosh Alvi apologized for institutional failure "to create a safe and inclusive workplace where everyone, especially women, can feel respected and thrive."


Treasury Secretary Mnuchin receives gift-wrapped manure

A suspicious package addressed to Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and left near his California home on Saturday turned out to be gift-wrapped manure, Los Angeles police report. The package reportedly included a Christmas card signed by "the American people" with critical comments about the Republican tax plan President Trump signed into law on Friday. The package was investigated by an LAPD bomb squad and the Secret Service. It is unknown whether Mnuchin and his wife were at home at the time of the incident.


A surge in violence in Pakistan
The rubble of a Peshawar mosque damaged in a suicide bombing.

A surge in violence in Pakistan

The Adani Group scandal, explained
Gautam Adani.

The Adani Group scandal, explained

China says it successfully cloned 3 'super cows'
5 cows lined up at feeding trough.
carbon copy

China says it successfully cloned 3 'super cows'

Japanese restaurants fight back against viral 'sushi terrorism' trend
Photo of Kura Sushi, a Japanese conveyor belt sushi restaurant chain
save the sushi

Japanese restaurants fight back against viral 'sushi terrorism' trend

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The Hogwarts Legacy boycott controversy, explained
Hogwarts Legacy logo photo

The Hogwarts Legacy boycott controversy, explained

Republicans oust Ilhan Omar from House committee
Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn)
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Republicans oust Ilhan Omar from House committee

U.S. firm offers Ukraine 2 Reaper drones for $1, plus $10 million in shipping
MQ-9 Reaper drone
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U.S. firm offers Ukraine 2 Reaper drones for $1, plus $10 million in shipping