Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: February 4, 2018

Trump says FBI, FISA court were used to manipulate the 2016 election, Amtrak crash leaves 2 dead, 70 injured, and more


Trump says FBI, FISA court were used to manipulate the 2016 election

President Trump followed up his initial claim that the Nunes memo "totally vindicates 'Trump'" in the Russia probe with additional tweets Saturday evening accusing the FBI and the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court (the FISA court) of being used to manipulate the 2016 election. Quoting a Wall Street Journal editorial, Trump aimed his worst ire at the FBI for becoming "a tool of anti-Trump political actors" and lying to Congress. The editorial's argument rests on the memo's statement that the FBI acquired FISA permission to spy on Trump campaign aide Carter Page based significantly on a dossier whose creation was partially funded by a Clinton campaign lawyer. The Journal rejected Trump's claim that the memo proves his campaign innocent of Russia-related allegations.


Amtrak crash leaves 2 dead, 70 injured

Two people were killed and at least 70 injured when an Amtrak train collided with a freight train early Sunday morning in Cayce, South Carolina. The passenger train was traveling between New York and Miami, Amtrak said in a statement, when it "came in contact with a CSX freight train at around 2:35 a.m." The crash derailed the lead engine car plus several passenger cars. About 5,000 gallons of fuel spilled; hazmat clean-up is ongoing. Lexington County, South Carolina, officials are responding at the scene, and victims are being treated at multiple area hospitals. The National Transportation Safety Board will investigate.


FBI urged to 'keep calm' amid unfamiliar controversy

FBI Director Christopher Wray filmed a video message urging agents to "keep calm and tackle hard" amid the political controversy engulfing his agency following the release of the Nunes memo Friday, The Washington Post reported Saturday. The FBI has long been accused of institutional misconduct, including constitutional violations, but it is unusual for the allegations to come from the right. President Trump's embrace of the memo's charges, on which the FBI has attempted to cast doubt, has created new political fault lines in Washington, with the FBI finding unusual bedfellows in the Democratic Party.


China decries U.S. 'Cold War mentality'

China on Sunday criticized the United States' new nuclear weapons policy, labeling it a throwback that undermines progress. "Peace and development are irreversible global trends. The United States, the country that owns the world's largest nuclear arsenal, should take the initiative to follow the trend instead of going against it," said a statement from Beijing. "We hope that the United States will abandon its Cold War mentality, earnestly assume its special disarmament responsibilities, correctly understand China's strategic intentions and objectively view China's national defense and military build-up."


DOJ requests dismissal of Manafort suit against Mueller

The Department of Justice filed Friday evening for the dismissal of a lawsuit brought by President Trump's former campaign chair, Paul Manafort, against Special Counsel Robert Mueller, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and the DOJ itself. Manafort is under indictment as part of Mueller's probe into Russian election meddling, an investigation overseen by Rosenstein and the DOJ. Friday's filing denies Manafort's allegation that Mueller has operated beyond "the scope of his authority, including with respect to Manafort's ongoing criminal prosecution." "These claims lack merit," said Rosenstein.


States reportedly consider individual health-care mandates

Nine states are considering implementing their own individual mandate requiring residents to purchase health insurance, The Wall Street Journal reported Saturday. The proposals would serve as a replacement for the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) mandate that was repealed in December as part of the Republican tax reform plan. The nine states are California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Vermont, and Washington, and the District of Columbia has a similar plan on the table.


Paul Ryan deletes tweet touting $1.50 pay raise

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Saturday tweeted, then deleted, a post celebrating a woman who received a small pay bump because of the GOP tax reform law. "A secretary at a public high school in Lancaster, PA, said she was pleasantly surprised her pay went up $1.50 a week," Ryan wrote, quoting an Associated Press report. "She said [that] will more than cover her Costco membership for the year." The tweet quickly came under fire as critics noted a $1.50 per week hike, or $78 per year, is not a large gain.


Moscow strikes Syrian rebels who downed a Russian fighter jet

A Russian fighter jet was shot down in Syria on Saturday in the Idlib province near the rebel-held town of Saraqib. The pilot reportedly survived the descent with a parachute but was killed by Syrian rebels on the ground. Moscow launched a retaliatory airstrike several hours later, claiming to kill more than 30 militants. The downed plane may have been involved in Saturday morning airstrikes on a convoy of civilian refugees in the same area that left seven dead. The provenance of the missile that hit the plane is unknown, but the State Department said it is not U.S.-supplied.


Uma Thurman accuses Harvey Weinstein of assault

Actress Uma Thurman became the latest in a long list of women to accuse disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein of sexual assault in a New York Times report published Saturday. "He pushed me down. He tried to shove himself on me. He tried to expose himself. He did all kinds of unpleasant things," Thurman said of Weinstein, whom she says later made a "half-assed apology" after he was confronted about the incident by director Quentin Tarantino. Thurman also recounted and shared footage of an incident on the set of Kill Bill in which Tarantino required her to drive an unsafe car that crashed into a tree, injuring her neck and knees.


Eagles face Patriots in Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII

The Philadelphia Eagles will face the New England Patriots at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis for Super Bowl LII on Sunday. The game starts at 6:30 p.m. Eastern and will air on NBC. Pink is scheduled to sing the national anthem, and Justin Timberlake will head the half-time show, his first appearance since the "wardrobe malfunction" show with Janet Jackson in 2004. Led by quarterback Tom Brady, the Patriots are expected by many to win their sixth Super Bowl, but an unusual number of $1 million bets have been placed on an Eagles upset victory.


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