Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: March 16, 2018

Mueller reportedly subpoenas Trump Organization documents, the U.S. sanctions Russia over election meddling, and more


Mueller reportedly subpoenas Trump Organization documents

Special Counsel Robert Mueller has subpoenaed the Trump Organization for documents, some of them related to Russia, The New York Times reported Thursday, citing two people briefed on the development. The move marked the first known instance in which Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion by Trump associates has made such a direct demand for records from Trump's business. The new line of inquiry suggested that the investigation, which Trump says should be wrapped up, is broadening and could continue for months. Alan S. Futerfas, a lawyer representing the Trump Organization, says the company has been fully cooperating with all investigations since they began last summer.


Trump administration sanctions Russia over election meddling

The Trump administration on Thursday imposed new sanctions against 19 Russians and five Russian entities, including intelligence services, for meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, and for a massive and destructive cyberattack against Ukraine and other countries last year. The penalties amounted to the Trump administration's strongest actions yet for Russian hacking and other efforts targeting the U.S. Skeptics, however, called the measures weak, noting that 13 Russian hackers and the Internet Research Agency, a Russian troll farm, had already been hit with sanctions.


Trump reportedly decides to oust H.R. McMaster

President Trump has decided to remove H.R. McMaster as his national security adviser but plans to wait to avoid humiliating the three-star general, The Washington Post reported Thursday, citing five people with knowledge of the plans. Trump reportedly is actively looking for a successor and plans to delay the move until a strong candidate has been selected. The Wall Street Journal reported that Trump had informed his chief of staff, John Kelly, of the plan. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump was not preparing to oust McMaster, tweeting, "Just spoke to @POTUS and Gen. H.R. McMaster - contrary to reports they have a good working relationship and there are no changes at the NSC."


U.S. joins allies in condemning Russia for attack on ex-spy in England

The U.S., France, and Germany on Thursday backed Britain's claim that Russia was responsible for the recent poisoning of a former Russian double-agent and his daughter in southern England with a nerve agent. In a joint statement, the U.S. and its three allies said Moscow's responsibility became clear when investigators determined that the nerve agent used in the attack was developed by the former Soviet Union. The U.K. on Wednesday announced the expulsion of 23 Russian diplomats in London believed to be Russian intelligence operatives, and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Friday Moscow would respond by booting British diplomats.


Saudi leader says his country will acquire nuclear weapons if Iran does

Saudi Arabia's crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman Abdulaziz Al Saud, said Thursday that his country would develop a nuclear weapon if Iran did. "Saudi Arabia does not want to acquire any nuclear bomb, but without a doubt, if Iran developed a nuclear bomb, we will follow suit as soon as possible," he told CBS News. The comments came a day before the scheduled start of a new round of talks on the 2015 nuclear deal the U.S. and other major powers signed with Iran, which insists its nuclear program is only for peaceful purposes. The Saudi crown prince accused Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, of trying "to expand" and "create his own project in the Middle East."


At least 6 people killed in pedestrian bridge collapse near Miami

At least six people were killed Thursday when a pedestrian bridge under construction in South Florida collapsed onto a busy road below. The fallen concrete bridge crushed a row of at least eight vehicles stopped at a traffic light. A motorist who was stopped at the light nearby said it was immediately clear that people had been killed. One young woman was sitting in the front of a car when the rear half was crushed. She was freed by rescuers, unscathed. The 174-foot, 950-ton span had just been hoisted into place on top of its concrete supports a few days earlier. Work was ongoing and the bridge, which connects Florida International University with the city of Sweetwater west of Miami, was not yet open to pedestrians.


Sheriff releases video showing deputy standing outside during Parkland school shooting

The Broward County, Florida, sheriff's office on Thursday released surveillance video showing now-former deputy Scot Peterson standing outside a building at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the Feb. 14 mass shooting that left 17 students and teachers dead. The 27-minute video shows Peterson riding in a golf cart with another school employee, then standing next to the building where the massacre was occurring. He stands in the spot for several minutes. An attorney for Peterson, who resigned after being suspended without pay, said he was following an agency policy not to enter a building to engage an active shooter. The sheriff's office issued a statement saying, "The video speaks for itself."


Law firm involved in Panama Papers leak closing down

Mossack Fonseca, the Panamanian law firm whose 11.5 million leaked documents revealed how the world's super-rich hide financial assets, is shutting down at the end of March. The trove of documents, known as the Panama Papers, was published by an international consortium of journalists. The firm said in a statement that the "reputational damage" from the revelations, and the damage to many of its wealthy and powerful clients, left it with no option but to close. Since the publishing of the papers, the firm had cut back to a staff of 50, down from about 600 employees in 40 countries before the 2016 report, which won the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists a Pulitzer Prize it shared with McClatchy and The Miami Herald.


Vanessa Trump files to divorce Donald Trump Jr.

Vanessa Trump, President Trump's daughter-in-law, reportedly filed for divorce from Donald Trump Jr. in a Manhattan court on Thursday, Page Six and TMZ reported. The couple announced their separation in a joint statement, saying, "After 12 years of marriage, we have decided to go our separate ways." They said they still had "tremendous respect" for each other and that their five children "remain our top priority." Sources close to the couple had said their relationship had been "bad for a while," partly because Vanessa "hates politics and Don Jr. is gone all the time," TMZ reported. Vanessa Trump reportedly filed for an uncontested divorce, suggesting that no legal battle over custody of the children or the division of assets is expected.


Loyola-Chicago scores first upset of March Madness, beating Miami

No. 11 Loyola-Chicago defeated No. 6 Miami in Dallas on Thursday, notching the first upset of the 2018 NCAA men's basketball tournament. The Ramblers' 64-62 defeat of the Hurricanes came thanks to a last-second 3-pointer from senior guard Donte Ingram. Thursday's game was the Ramblers' first appearance in the Big Dance in 33 years. Earlier in the day, the No. 7 Rhode Island Rams overcame the No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners — and their sharpshooting freshman guard, Trae Young — in overtime, while No. 1 Kansas survived a hot first half from No. 16 Pennsylvania to advance. No. 2 North Carolina, last season's champions, will begin their repeat attempt Friday against No. 15 Lipscomb.


Officials suspect dozens of girls in Afghanistan were poisoned at school
Girls in Afghanistan walk to school.

Officials suspect dozens of girls in Afghanistan were poisoned at school

Robert Hanssen, ex-FBI agent who became Russian spy, dies at 79
U.S. spy Robert Hanssen being arrested in 2001.
A Spy Passes Away

Robert Hanssen, ex-FBI agent who became Russian spy, dies at 79

Saving Spots initiative protects wildcats and cultural traditions in Zambia
A leopard in the wild.
a leopard can change its spots

Saving Spots initiative protects wildcats and cultural traditions in Zambia

Thousands march for democracy in Poland
Protesters march in Poland against the government.
A Polish Protest

Thousands march for democracy in Poland

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'Meet the Press' anchor Chuck Todd.
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