Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: March 23, 2018

Congress approves $1.3 trillion spending plan to avert a shutdown, Trump replaces H.R. McMaster with John Bolton, and more


Congress approves $1.3 trillion spending bill before shutdown deadline

The House approved a bipartisan $1.3 trillion spending package on Thursday and the Senate followed early Friday. The proposal increases spending on the military and border protection and provides $1.6 billion for President Trump's proposed border wall, but it does not address the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals immigration program or defunding sanctuary cities. It also would result in a budget deficit of more than $800 billion this year, a fact that drew angry opposition from some conservatives. The bill would fund the government through Sept. 30. The bill now goes to President Trump in time for him to sign it before a Friday night deadline to prevent what would have been the third federal government shutdown this year.


Trump replaces H.R. McMaster with John Bolton as national security adviser

President Trump said in a tweet Thursday that he was replacing National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster with former United Nations Ambassador John Bolton. "I am pleased to announce that, effective 4/9/18, @AmbJohnBolton will be my new National Security Advisor," Trump said. "I am very thankful for the service of General H.R. McMaster who has done an outstanding job & will always remain my friend." McMaster had been rumored to be the next top Trump aide to go after Trump's ouster of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson last week. Tensions between McMaster and Trump had heightened recently, such as when Trump differed with McMaster's description of Russia's election meddling. Bolton is a strong advocate for the aggressive use of American power overseas.


Trump and China threaten tariffs in trade dispute that spooks stocks

The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged more than 700 points, or 2.9 percent, on Thursday as President Trump unveiled his plan to impose tariffs on about $60 billion in Chinese goods annually, stoking fears of a trade war between the world's two biggest economies. The White House plan aims to punish China for forcing U.S. companies to hand over their technology to local partners in exchange for access to the Chinese market. Early Friday, China criticized the proposed tariffs and said it would impose tariffs on $3 billion worth of U.S. goods, including pork, fruit, and scrap aluminum, in retaliation. "China does not want to fight a trade war, but it is absolutely not afraid of a trade war," China's Commerce Ministry said.


John Dowd resigns as Trump's lead attorney in Russia investigation

President Trump's lead attorney in matters related to Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, John Dowd, resigned on Thursday. Dowd pushed a strategy of cooperating with Mueller and found his advice increasingly ignored as Trump publicly criticized the investigation into Russia's election meddling, which has increasingly focused on whether Trump tried to obstruct the investigation as it examined the dealings of his associates. Dowd's departure amounted to a significant shakeup of Trump's legal team. He quit days after Trump brought on board one of his longtime friends, Joseph E. diGenova, who has pushed the theory that people within the FBI and Justice Department are trying to pin phony crimes on Trump. Trump repeated Thursday that he would "like to" sit for an interview with Mueller's team.


Police shut down entry to Sacramento Kings game due to police-shooting protests

Police shut down admission to a Sacramento Kings basketball game on Thursday after demonstrators blocked entrances to the arena as they protested the fatal police shooting of an unarmed black man, Stephon Clark, 22, in his own backyard. Protesters held signs with such messages as "end police brutality," and chanted Clark's name. Facing a growing outcry over Clark's death, Sacramento police released body-cam and police helicopter footage showing a frantic foot chase. Clark is seen running and hopping a fence to get to a house that turns out to be his family's. He reaches the back patio when two police officers come around the corner of the house. One shouts "Show me your hands!" then "Gun, gun, gun!" Both officers then open fire. Clark had an iPhone, not a gun, in his hand.


Hamas says suspect in assassination attempt killed

Hamas said Thursday that its security forces in Gaza fatally shot the main suspect in an assassination attempt against Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah. A suspected accomplice also died in the shootout. Hamdallah's convoy was targeted with a bomb blast last week in the central Gaza Strip, which is controlled by Hamas, the Islamist Palestinian faction. The attack threatened to derail Hamas' reconciliation agreement with the government that controls the West Bank. Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas blamed Hamas for the blast. After the raid, Hamdallah's government cast doubt on Hamas' claim that it had killed the ringleader, saying that Hamas bore "full criminal responsibility" for the attempt on Hamdallah's life.


French public workers strike against Macron labor reforms

French civil servants and rail workers went on strike on Thursday to protest President Emmanuel Macron's labor reforms. About 30 percent of flights to and from Paris were canceled, as was travel by 60 percent of high-speed TGV trains. Schools, daycare centers, libraries, and other public services also were closed. French media estimated some 47,800 demonstrators filled the streets of the French capital. The country's powerful public sector employs more than 5 million people. Macron last year changed rules to make it easier to hire and fire public workers without much pushback, but he is facing greater resistance to coming proposals to cut 120,000 public-sector jobs, hire more contract workers, and deeply cut budgets.


Citigroup announces restrictions on gun sales by business customers

Citigroup plans to bar retailers who are customers from selling guns to people who have not passed background checks, or who are under 21. The bank also barred the sale of bump stocks and high-capacity magazines. The restrictions apply to companies that issue store credit cards through Citigroup, or use the bank for lending or other services. "The policy was designed to respect the rights of responsible gun owners while helping to keep firearms out of the wrong hands," Citigroup Chief Executive Officer Mike Corbat said in a Thursday memo to staff. Citigroup is the first major bank to impose restrictions regarding firearms, although numerous retailers have done so on their own in response to the Feb. 14 school shooting in Parkland, Florida, that left 17 dead.


Ex-Playboy model Karen McDougal talks about alleged Trump affair

Former Playboy model Karen McDougal said in an interview broadcast by CNN on Thursday that President Trump once tried to pay her after they had sex. "After we had been intimate, he tried to pay me, and I actually didn't know how to take that," she told CNN's Anderson Cooper. "I don't even know how to describe the look on my face. It must have been so sad." McDougal said she felt bad about having her alleged affair with Trump while he was married to Melania Trump. "What can you say except I'm sorry?" she said. The interview was McDougal's first since she filed a lawsuit this week against National Enquirer parent American Media seeking to be released from an agreement requiring her to stay silent.


Loyola-Chicago and Florida State advance with NCAA tournament upsets

Loyola-Chicago beat Nevada 69-68 on a three-pointer by Marques Townes with six seconds remaining in the NCAA men's basketball tournament's South Regional semifinal on Thursday night. Loyola (31-5) has won three tournament games by a combined four points, including Thursday's in its first Sweet 16 appearance in 33 years. "The whole nation must be sort of sitting on the edge of their chairs tonight," said Sister Jean Dolores Schmidt, Loyola's 98-year-old team chaplain. Florida State also advanced to the Elite 8, beating Gonzaga 75-60 in the Seminoles' third upset of the tournament. The other Thursday winners were Kansas State, which upset Kentucky 61-58, and Michigan, which rolled over Texas A&M 99-72. The remaining four Sweet 16 games are set for Friday night.


Iran carries out 1st execution of Masha Amini protests
Mohsen Shekari
Iran protests

Iran carries out 1st execution of Masha Amini protests

Who is Paul Whelan?
Paul Whelan.

Who is Paul Whelan?

Why Russia would only trade Griner for 'Merchant of Death' Viktor Bout
Viktor Bout, Brittney Griner
One or None

Why Russia would only trade Griner for 'Merchant of Death' Viktor Bout

Ukraine's custom drone strikes showed Russia it can hit Moscow
Tupolev Tu-141 Strizh drone

Ukraine's custom drone strikes showed Russia it can hit Moscow

Most Popular

The 1st 3 weeks of Trump's presidential campaign have been brutal
Donald Trump
Maybe it's a sign?

The 1st 3 weeks of Trump's presidential campaign have been brutal

The rumored reason why AOC is facing a House ethics probe
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez shows off her infamous "Tax the Rich" dress at the 2021 Met Gala.
dress drama

The rumored reason why AOC is facing a House ethics probe

Gen Z congressman can't rent apartment in Washington
Incoming Gen Z congressman Maxwell Frost

Gen Z congressman can't rent apartment in Washington