Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 27, 2018

Trump tells Davos America is 'open for business,' Hillary Clinton reportedly protected staffer accused of sexual harassment, and more


Trump tells Davos America is 'open for business'

President Trump brought his "America First" message to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, on Friday, although he told assembled leaders that "does not mean America alone." Trump was characterized as "sober" but nevertheless a "salesman-in-chief" in his remarks, which emphasized the health of the economy and declared the U.S. "open for business." He addressed immigration and terrorism, vowing to do "whatever is necessary" to protect U.S. citizens. "When people are forgotten, the world becomes fractured," Trump said in closing comments. "Only by hearing and responding to the voices of the forgotten can we create a bright future that is truly shared by all."


Hillary Clinton reportedly protected staffer accused of sexual harassment

Against the advice of staff, Hillary Clinton chose to retain a top aide to her 2008 presidential campaign despite multiple allegations of sexual harassment, The New York Times reported Friday. The aide, Burns Strider, was Clinton's faith adviser in her first presidential run. He was accused by a fellow staffer of "[rubbing] her shoulders inappropriately, [kissing] her on the forehead, and [sending] her a string of suggestive emails." Clinton "said she did not want to" fire Strider, the Times reported, and he was required to forfeit "several weeks of pay" and made to seek counseling. A Clinton representative said "appropriate action was taken."


Trump reportedly mulls firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein

President Trump reportedly backed off his threats to fire Special Counsel Robert Mueller last year under pressure from his White House Counsel Don McGahn, but more recently, CNN reports, he has expressed an interest in firing Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein instead. Rosenstein oversees Mueller's probe into Russian election meddling efforts and alleged Trump campaign collusion, and multiple unnamed sources tell CNN the president has complained about him in recent weeks. "Let's fire him, let's get rid of him," Trump reportedly says of Rosenstein. White House attorney Ty Cobb denied the report.


Taliban ambulance attack kills 40 in Kabul

At least 40 people were killed and another 140 injured Saturday by a Taliban suicide bomber who detonated an ambulance full of explosives in Kabul, Afghanistan. The attacker made it past two security checkpoints to explode the vehicle near the capital city's former interior ministry building in a neighborhood hosting foreign embassies and the police headquarters. Afghanistan's Chief Executive, Abdullah Abdullah, condemned the "insane, inhuman, heinous" attack on Twitter, labeling it a war crime and vowing both justice and "necessary measures to avoid such barbarism in the future." This comes one week after a Taliban-claimed hotel siege in Kabul left 22 dead.


White House reschedules congressional immigration briefing after cancellation uproar

The White House on Friday canceled, then rescheduled, a Monday briefing with a bipartisan group of lawmakers about President Trump's immigration policy proposal released Thursday. The administration first denied the cancellation, but after staff of Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) shared an email showing it did happen, the meeting was rescheduled for the original time. Trump's immigration plan — with a path to citizenship for up to 1.8 million immigrants brought to the U.S. illegally as children, plus $25 billion for border security, and more — was designed to get 60 votes in the Senate. At present, it seems unlikely to succeed.


GOP 'open' to bills protecting Mueller after report Trump tried to fire him

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) on Friday confirmed he is "open to considering" legislation to protect Special Counsel Robert Mueller from being unjustly fired by President Trump. This comes after reports Trump attempted to oust Mueller last June, stories Trump called "fake news." Democratic lawmakers have demanded such a vote, and already two bipartisan bills in Congress seek to limit Trump's ability to remove Mueller. One is sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Cory Booker (D-N.J.), and it would require a three-judge panel to approve the firing. Previously, many Republicans resisted such legislation, deeming it unnecessary.


2017 ended with 2.6 percent growth

The U.S. economy grew at a 2.6 percent annual rate in the fourth quarter of 2017, the government announced Friday. The mark was underwhelming after 3.2 percent growth in the third quarter raised expectations. Overall, American GDP grew by 2.3 percent in 2017, slowed by strong consumer spending in the fourth quarter that provoked a surge of foreign imports. Troublingly, consumer spending has risen faster than disposable income, and individual saving is at a near-record low. President Trump has promised to spur a booming 4 percent annual growth rate.


Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal released

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal was released from detention Saturday two months after he was arrested under accusation of corruption. Prince Alwaleed was detained — along with other investors, officials, and members of the Saudi royal family — on order of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The sweep was described as a corruption purge but is widely considered an effort to consolidate the crown prince's power. "There are no charges. There are just some discussions between me and the government," Prince Alwaleed said after his release. "I believe we are on the verge of finishing everything within days."


Jemele Hill to leave SportsCenter

Jemele Hill is leaving ESPN's SportsCenter, where she hosts the 6 p.m. hour with Michael Smith. After her last day, Smith will host the program solo while Hill continues to write for the ESPN-owned website The Undefeated. Hill said in a farewell statement she approached ESPN brass to ask for a change. Last fall, the White House called for Hill's ouster after she labeled President Trump a "white supremacist." She was later suspended for her response to the news that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones told players they would be benched if they knelt during the national anthem.


New Prince music is 'coming soon'

Prince is said to have recorded enough unpublicized music to fill 100 posthumous albums, and Troy Carter, a Prince estate adviser, told Variety Friday "there will be unreleased Prince music coming soon." Before his fatal fentanyl overdose in April 2016, Prince "was a guy who practically lived in a recording studio," Carter said. "I heard some music the other night that was pretty mind-blowing, and we're getting some stuff mixed right now." Variety notes a legal dispute over ownership of Prince's later recordings has made record labels reluctant to release his work.


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