Daily briefing

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

FBI agents raid the office of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen, Xi Jinping promises to make China's markets more open, and more


FBI agents raid office of Trump lawyer Michael Cohen

FBI agents raided the office, home, and hotel room of President Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, on Monday. The material seized included documents related to Cohen's $130,000 payment just before the 2016 election to porn star Stormy Daniels, who says she had an affair with Trump more than a decade ago. The U.S. Attorney's office in Manhattan obtained a search warrant based partly on a referral from Special Counsel Robert Mueller. Cohen reportedly is being investigated for bank and wire fraud, and campaign finance violations. Cohen's lawyer, Stephen Ryan, called the search "completely inappropriate and unnecessary." Trump called the raid "disgraceful," a "witch hunt," and "an attack on our country," and suggested he might order Mueller fired.


Xi Jinping vows to open China's economy more to foreign firms

Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday promised to open his country's economy more to foreign companies and "significantly" lower auto tariffs. He also said Beijing would enforce intellectual property rights of foreign corporations, without directly mentioning trade tensions with the U.S. over those rights and China's massive trade surplus with America. "China does not seek trade surplus," Xi said at the annual Boao Forum for Asia. "We have a genuine desire to increase imports." U.S. stock futures surged early Tuesday after Xi's remarks, which were interpreted as a possible olive branch to ease trade tensions that have dragged down stocks. China, however, also filed a complaint with the World Trade Organization over Trump's new steel and aluminum tariffs.


Trump vows prompt decision on response to Syria chemical attack

President Trump said Monday that he would decide soon on how to respond to Syria's suspected chemical weapon attack on civilians in a rebel-held town outside Damascus. "We'll be making some major decisions over the next 24 to 48 hours," Trump said during a Cabinet meeting and before a meeting with top military advisers. "This is about humanity ... and it can't be allowed to happen." Trump vowed shortly after the Saturday attack, which reportedly killed dozens of men, women, and children, that there would be a "big price to pay." The options being considered reportedly include a missile strike like the one Trump authorized after a chemical attack last year. "Nothing's off the table," Trump said.


CBO: Federal deficit to rise over $1 trillion

The federal deficit will surpass $1 trillion by 2020, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office reported Monday. The deficit is growing at a faster rate than previously estimated, the CBO added, spurred on by recent legislative decisions including the Republican tax bill passed in December and last month's approval of increased military spending, which together will add $1.6 trillion to the deficit in the next decade. Federal debt will reach $804 billion by the end of the fiscal year in 2018, estimates showed. The last CBO report, published in June, projected that deficits wouldn't top $1 trillion until 2022, but increased federal spending and cuts to government revenue streams have bumped the estimate up two years.


Zuckerberg to admit 'big mistake' in testimony to Congress on Facebook privacy

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg met with senators privately on Monday, assuring them that his social-networking company will do a better job of protecting users' privacy. The meetings provided a preview of two days of questioning Zuckerberg will face in congressional hearings, starting Tuesday. Zuckerberg already has apologized to Facebook users after revelations that data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica, which worked for President Trump's campaign, accessed private information from 87 million Facebook users in its effort to influence elections. "We didn't take a broad enough view of our responsibility, and that was a big mistake," Zuckerberg says in prepared remarks. "It was my mistake, and I'm sorry. I started Facebook, I run it, and I'm responsible for what happens here."


Russian ex-spy's daughter released from hospital after recovery from poisoning

Yulia Skripal, 33, was discharged Monday from the English hospital where she was treated after she and her father, former Russian spy Sergei Skripal, were poisoned with a military-grade nerve agent more than a month ago. "Both patients have responded exceptionally well to the treatment we've been providing," Salisbury District Hospital medical director Christine Blanshard said, "but equally, both patients are at different stages in their recovery." Sergei Skripal, 66, is recovering more slowly but is out of critical condition. Britain has blamed Russia for the attack targeting Sergei Skripal, who betrayed dozens of spies to the U.K. Russia has denied any involvement.


Florida Gov. Rick Scott announces Senate run against incumbent Democrat

Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) officially declared Monday that he would run for Senate, challenging incumbent Sen. Bill Nelson (D) in the fall. The matchup is expected to be one of the most closely watched Senate races of the midterms. It pits a popular Republican governor who has closely aligned himself with President Trump against the only Democrat elected statewide in Florida, a crucial swing state. The contest is expected to cost at least $100 million with big spending on television advertising. Scott, a multimillionaire former health care executive, is expected to invest millions of his own money if necessary, as he did in his successful campaigns for governor in 2010 and 2014.


Cindy Hyde-Smith becomes first woman to represent Mississippi in Senate

Cindy Hyde-Smith took the oath of office on Monday and became the first woman to represent Mississippi in the U.S. Senate. Hyde-Smith, a Republican, was appointed to replace fellow Republican Sen. Thad Cochran, who announced last month that he was resigning due to health problems. He stepped down last week. With Hyde-Smith's arrival, there are now 23 women serving in the Senate, an all-time high. Hyde-Smith will serve in the seat until a special election in November, when Mississippi voters will decide who will serve out the remainder of Cochran's term, which ends in 2020.


Trump Organization sought Panama president's help in legal case

The Trump Organization appealed directly to the Panamanian president during a recent dispute over control of its 70-story property in Panama City, essentially requesting the country's executive branch ignore the separation of powers, The Associated Press has learned. The request came during a dispute over the control of Panama City's Trump International Hotel; majority owner Orestes Fintiklis had successfully evicted the Trump Organization after arguing it poorly managed the property. In a letter to Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela, the Trump Organization "URGENTLY" requested judicial help and cited a treaty between the U.S. and Panama in its appeal. "It is a letter that urges Panama's executive branch to interfere in an issue clearly of the judicial branch," Panama's foreign secretary said.


Duckworth becomes first senator to give birth while in office

Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) gave birth to a daughter on Monday, becoming the first sitting U.S. senator to have a baby while in office. The child, Maile Pearl Bowlsbey, is the second for Duckworth, 50, and her husband, Bryan Bowlsbey. Their first daughter, Abigail, was born in 2014 when Duckworth was serving in the House. Duckworth is one of 10 women who have given birth while serving in Congress; the others were all members of the House. Duckworth, an Iraq war veteran who lost both legs when the Black Hawk helicopter she was piloting was shot down in 2004, said in a statement that motherhood has made her "more committed to doing my job and standing up for hardworking families everywhere."


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Flooded cemetery in Jakarta
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Ukraine says Kahkovka dam destruction won't derail counteroffensive
Flooding in Kherson after dam failure
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Ukraine says Kahkovka dam destruction won't derail counteroffensive

Why does India have so many train crashes?
Balasore train crash
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Why does India have so many train crashes?

Iran claims to have built its first hypersonic missile
The Fattah missile unveiled by Iran.
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Iran claims to have built its first hypersonic missile

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Former Vice President Mike Pence on a motorcycle
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Ban the Bible?
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Actors union votes to authorize strike
A writers strike picket line outside Sony Studios in Culver City
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