Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 21, 2018

Hundreds of thousands rally for Women's March, Washington returns to shutdown talks and blame, and more

1

Hundreds of thousands rally for Women's March

The Women's March returned for a second year Saturday as hundreds of thousands of women rallied in cities across the country and at sister marches abroad. The march in Washington proceeded despite the government shutdown, which many demonstrators referenced as part of their critique of the Trump administration. Immigration policy, the #MeToo movement, health care, and the 2018 midterms were of central concern to protesters, who encouraged each other to vote against President Trump's GOP this year. Trump responded on Twitter Saturday, commenting that the weather was nice for women to celebrate his many accomplishments, particularly in the economic realm.

2

Washington returns to shutdown talks and blame

After a late night of unproductive talks, Congress reconvened Saturday morning to continue negotiations to end the government shutdown. Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney said he believes there is a "really good chance" the matter will be resolved by Monday, but many lawmakers were not so optimistic, blaming the opposing party for the impasse. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promised late Saturday he will call a vote by Monday at the latest on a temporary funding provision to re-open the government until Feb. 8 as talks continue. Moderates in both parties reportedly support the measure.

3

Schumer says Trump impedes shutdown deal

President Trump's involvement in spending negotiations to end the government shutdown is slowing the process, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor Saturday. "I told the president we Democrats were willing to fund the military at the highest levels in history," said Schumer, complaining the president then changed his terms. "Negotiating with this White House is like negotiating with Jell-O," Schumer continued. "It's next to impossible." Meanwhile, Trump's campaign released an ad linking Democrats to murders committed by illegal immigrants. And Sunday, Trump tweeted the GOP should change Senate rules to pass a funding bill without Democrats' help.

4

Pence Mideast trip proceeds despite shutdown

Vice President Mike Pence departed for the Middle East Friday for visits to Egypt, Jordan, and Israel. The trip was labeled a national security measure, the White House told Politico, to avoid shutdown-related cancellation. In Cairo on Saturday, Pence met with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, who expressed displeasure with President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. On Sunday, Pence spoke with King Abdullah II of Jordan, who said after the Jerusalem announcement, the U.S. must "rebuild trust and confidence" in the possibility of a two-state solution.

5

Trump editorial celebrates first year

President Trump published an editorial at the Washington Examiner Saturday to celebrate his first year in office, the same anniversary the Women's March gathered to protest. "Even as Democrats continue to obstruct and play politics, I have never stopped fighting for the people," he wrote, "and I have no intention of changing course." Trump primarily focused on his economic milestones, like passage of the GOP tax plan and a decline in the unemployment rate, but also touched on law enforcement and foreign policy themes. He declared that because of his administration, the "American Dream is real again."

6

House Ethics Committee member removed over sexual misconduct allegation

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) removed Rep. Patrick Meehan (R-Pa.) from the House Ethics Committee on Saturday in response to a New York Times report that Meehan used tax dollars to settle a case with a former female aide who accused him of sexual misconduct. Ryan also directed Meehan to repay the unknown amount out of his own pocket, and to submit to an ethics investigation. The Times reported that Meehan, who is married, expressed romantic interest in the aide, and "grew hostile" when she rebuffed him. Meehan has denied any inappropriate behavior.

7

Turkey attacks U.S.-backed Kurds in Syria

Turkish troops on Saturday attacked an enclave of U.S.-supported Kurdish YPG militia fighters in the northern Syrian city of Afrin. After airstrikes, Turkish state media reported, ground troops entered the area Sunday. The YPG allied with the U.S. in the fight against the Islamic State in Syria, but Ankara considers the Kurdish fighters terrorists because of their ties to Kurdish rebels in Turkey. Earlier this week, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced the United States will have an open-ended military presence in Syria, including ongoing support for the Kurds. Tillerson's statement angered Turkey, a U.S. ally via NATO.

8

Afghan forces retake Kabul hotel after siege

Afghan security forces reclaimed control of the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul on Sunday after a 12-hour siege, local officials reported. The luxury hotel was raided by gunmen Saturday. The attackers held guests and workers hostage, killing six people, including one foreign woman of unknown nationality. Another seven people were injured, and the four gunmen were also killed. The attack was claimed by the Taliban in a statement saying there was a fifth assailant. More than 150 people were rescued from the hotel over the course of the siege.

9

Beijing says U.S. warship violated Chinese sovereignty

The Chinese government on Saturday claimed a U.S. guided missile destroyer, the USS Hopper, violated its sovereignty by sailing through disputed waters in the South China Sea. The destroyer came within 12 nautical miles of the uninhabited Huangyan Island, also called Scarborough Shoal, which is claimed by both Beijing and the Philippines. Unnamed U.S. officials confirmed to Reuters the Hopper did sail this route, but labeled its path an "innocent passage," a permissible action under international law. China said it would take "necessary measures" to guard its sovereignty.

10

Captive siblings kept hundreds of journals

The 13 California siblings discovered last week held captive in deeply abusive conditions were permitted to keep journals, investigators have learned. In fact, authorities have found hundreds of journals in the California home where the children's parents, David and Louise Turpin, allegedly chained them to furniture, refused to let them outdoors, and gave them only one meal per day. The journals are difficult to read because of the siblings' limited language development, but investigators expect them to provide "strong evidence of what occurred in that home" as the case proceeds to trial.

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