Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 5, 2018

Trump signs an order to send National Guard troops to the Mexico border, Mueller's team questions Russian oligarchs, and more


Trump signs order to send troops to Mexico border

President Trump on Wednesday signed a proclamation calling for deploying an unspecified number of National Guard troops to the U.S. border with Mexico to help prevent illegal immigration. "The situation at the border has now reached a point of crisis," Trump said in his memo. Kirstjen Nielsen, secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, said she and the Pentagon are to work with border-state governors to get troops to the border as quickly as possible. Nielsen said the forces would focus on duties similar to those performed by troops dispatched under previous administrations, such as aerial surveillance. Critics said Trump was playing politics with immigration, noting that the number of people caught trying to illegally cross the southwest border in the 2017 fiscal year was 303,916, the lowest since 1971.


Mueller's team questions Russian oligarchs

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team has questioned Russian oligarchs traveling in the U.S. in recent weeks, CNN reported Wednesday, citing several people familiar with the matter. In at least one case, investigators searched a man's electronic devices after he disembarked from his private jet in the New York City area, CNN's sources said. Mueller is investigating Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. The interest in Russian oligarchs potentially suggests that Mueller's team is focusing on the possible flow of foreign money to President Trump's campaign and inauguration fund. Under campaign finance laws, foreign nationals are not allowed to donate to U.S. political campaigns.


Facebook now says Cambridge Analytica accessed 87 million users' data

Facebook said Wednesday that it now believes that data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica improperly accessed the data of 87 million users — 72 million of them Americans — rather than the 50 million previously reported. The new estimate, revealed in a Facebook blog post on its plans to protect user data, threatened to increase concerns over the social network's handling of private data. Facebook also said that "malicious actors" had exploited search tools to collect the identities and other information on most of the social network's 2 billion users worldwide. The company already has apologized publicly for the Cambridge Analytica case, and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg is scheduled to testify about the matter next week before the House Energy and Commerce Committee.


Thousands honor MLK on 50th anniversary of his assassination

Thousands of people gathered in Atlanta, Memphis, and other cities Wednesday to honor the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. on the 50th anniversary of his assassination. A crowd rallied outside a local union office in Memphis, the city where the civil rights leader was killed at age 39 by segregationist and career criminal James Earl Ray. King had been in town to support striking sanitation workers. Wednesday's crowd included current and former workers who participated in that 1968 strike, some of them saying they came to repay a debt to King. The civil rights leader delivered his last speech, "I've Been to the Mountaintop," the night before he was killed, saying he had "seen the Promised Land," adding that he might not get there, but that "we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land."


Parkland student who shielded classmates in shooting leaves hospital

Anthony Borges, the last Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School student still hospitalized after a Feb. 14 mass shooting, returned home on Wednesday. Borges, 15, has undergone nine surgeries, including an operation last month to close wounds in his legs. Borges was shot five times while using his body to block a classroom door and shield classmates during the shooting rampage, which left 17 students and teachers dead. "I feel good," he said after being released from Broward Health Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale. Borges was the most seriously wounded survivor. He was released briefly last month but had to return to the hospital due to the threat of an abdominal infection.


White House says Syria mission coming to 'rapid end'

The White House clarified U.S. policy on Syria on Wednesday after President Trump said he wanted the 2,000 American forces there to come home, with Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying the U.S. was committed to staying as long as it takes to wipe out Islamic State forces. "The military mission to eradicate ISIS in Syria is coming to a rapid end, with ISIS being almost completely destroyed," she said. "The United States and our partners remain committed to eliminating the small ISIS presence in Syria that our forces have not already eradicated." Trump's top military advisers have argued against a quick withdrawal, saying that maintaining a presence in Syria is critical to defeating ISIS and to keeping its forces from regrouping.


Stock turbulence continues as U.S.-China trade tensions rise

U.S. stocks fluctuated wildly on Wednesday as China and the U.S. announced tit-for-tat tariffs, escalating trade tensions between the world's two biggest economies. The Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged by nearly 2 percent in early trading before recovering and closing up by just under 1 percent. U.S. stock futures rose slightly early Thursday, suggesting the late rally could continue at the start of trading. The volatility came after China announced tariffs on $50 billion worth of U.S. goods just hours after the U.S. announced new taxes on imports of $50 billion worth of Chinese electronics and other goods. President Trump insisted in tweets that "we are not in a trade war with China" but "when you're already $500 Billion DOWN, you can't lose!"


Trump administration expected to hit Russian oligarchs with sanctions

The Trump administration is planning to impose new sanctions on Russia on Thursday or Friday, U.S. officials and other sources said Wednesday. The sanctions are expected to target at least a half-dozen Russian oligarchs tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin in what could be the most aggressive effort yet to hold Moscow accountable for its alleged effort to influence the 2016 presidential election. Russia denies the election meddling allegations. President Trump has faced criticism for not doing more to punish Russia, and his national security advisers have been pushing for more sanctions since the poisoning of a Russian spy with a nerve agent in England.


Jury seated in Bill Cosby's retrial after dispute over race

A jury was seated Wednesday in Bill Cosby's retrial on sexual assault charges. The jury includes seven men and five women, 10 white and two black. The race and gender makeup of the jury is the same as the one that failed to reach a verdict in the comedian's first trial. Cosby lawyer Kathleen Bliss said in court that the prosecution removed one "perfectly qualified" black potential juror for no apparent reason other than her race. District Attorney Kevin Steele said there was "absolutely no legitimacy" to the defense team's claim. Cosby, who is black, is accused of drugging and sexually assaulting former Temple University women's basketball administrator Andrea Constand at his suburban Philadelphia home in 2004. He says the encounter was consensual.


Brazilian high court rules Lula can be jailed pending appeal

Brazil's highest court ruled 6-5 early Thursday that former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva can be sent to prison while he appeals his 12-year sentence for corruption and money laundering. The ex-president, often called simply Lula, had requested to be allowed to remain free until his legal options were exhausted, which could take years. Lula, a 72-year-old leftist politician who served as the South American nation's president from 2003 to 2011, has called his prosecution an attempt to prevent him from winning back the office in an October election. He has a big lead in opinion polls, and if he is kept off the ballot many Brazilians will question the election's legitimacy.


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Chinese President Xi Jinping.
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Putin blames Kyiv for 'terrorist' drone attack as war comes home to Moscow
Moscow apartment damaged by drone
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a solar panel.

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