Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: April 25, 2018

A third federal judge rules against Trump's order to end DACA, Trump defends embattled VA nominee Ronny Jackson, and more


Third federal judge rules against Trump's order to end DACA

A federal judge on Tuesday called the Trump administration's justification for ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program "arbitrary" and "capricious." Judge John Bates gave the Department of Homeland Security 90 days to challenge the ruling before fully reinstating DACA and accepting new applications. Bates, the third federal judge to reject President Trump's effort to end the program, said DHS had "failed adequately to explain its conclusion that the program was unlawful." Former President Barack Obama established the program to protect undocumented immigrants brought into the U.S. as children from deportation. President Trump announced in September he was ending DACA, and gave Congress six months to restore it, although that deadline has passed.


Trump defends embattled VA nominee Ronny Jackson

President Trump hinted Tuesday that White House physician Ronny Jackson, his nominee to be Veterans Affairs secretary, might drop out. The Senate delayed Jackson's confirmation hearing after allegations surfaced that he possibly improperly dispensed medication, oversaw a hostile work environment in the White House, and was potentially drunk at times while on duty. "It's too ugly," Trump said. "I said to Dr. Jackson, what do you need it for? To be abused by a bunch of politicians? ... If I was him ... I wouldn't do it." A White House statement released later, after Trump and Jackson talked, defended Jackson, calling his record "impeccable." Jackson, who had been scheduled to testify before the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs on Wednesday, declined to comment.


Trump expresses willingness to talk to allies about preserving Iran deal

President Trump indicated Tuesday that he was willing to discuss with European allies how to preserve the Obama-era Iran nuclear agreement. Trump, speaking alongside French President Emmanuel Macron, also renewed his criticism of the Iran deal, saying it was "terrible" and "should have never, ever been made." Macron, who is in the U.S. on a state visit, is urging Trump not to scrap the agreement, and said he would support stronger measures to make sure Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon. Trump has until May 12 to decide whether to extend the terms of the Iran deal, including the lifting of punishing economic sanctions.


Toronto van attack suspect charged with 10 counts of murder

Alek Minassian, who is suspected of plowing a rented van down a crowded Toronto sidewalk, was charged with 10 counts of murder and 13 counts of attempted murder on Tuesday. The 25-year-old suspect's father, Vahe Minassian, cried and told the victims' families, "I'm sorry." Witnesses said Alek Minassian appeared in control and determined as he drove the van through the crowd. "It was like he was playing a video game, trying to kill as many people as possible," said witness Panna Patel, 42. Just before the attack, Minassian reportedly posted on Facebook about an "incel rebellion," a reference to the "involuntary celibacy" of a community of online misogynists.


Trump says Kim Jong Un has been 'very honorable'

President Trump said Tuesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "has really been very open and I think very honorable based on what we are seeing" ahead of a historic meeting between the two leaders planned for next month. The praise contrasted sharply with Trump's previous references to Kim, whom he has mocked as "Little Rocket Man." Trump declined to explain why he referred to the unpredictable North Korean dictator as "honorable." Kim said over the weekend that his government would suspend its missile and nuclear weapons test, and that he would be willing to discuss denuclearization.


Trump calls question about Cohen pardon 'stupid'

President Trump on Tuesday batted down a question from a reporter about whether he would consider pardoning his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, if he is convicted of a crime, calling the query "stupid." Trump has harshly criticized the recent federal raid on Cohen's home and office, which some legal experts said was such an unusually aggressive move that it suggested Cohen could soon face criminal charges. Trump has said the seizing of Cohen's documents trampled the concept of attorney-client privilege, but he said he was not worried Cohen would "flip" and give prosecutors incriminating information on him. "Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if it means lying or making up stories," Trump tweeted over the weekend. "Sorry, I don't see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!"


Republican Debbie Lesko wins Arizona special election

Republican Debbie Lesko won a special election in Arizona's 8th Congressional District on Tuesday, a race that was closer than expected in a strongly conservative area. Lesko beat Democrat Hiral Tipirneni, 53 percent to 47 percent, in a district President Trump won by 20 percentage points. The seat was vacated by former Rep. Trent Franks (R), who resigned last year in the midst of a sexual impropriety scandal. Republican groups put more than $1 million into the race, swamping Tipirneni's war chest, but GOP pollster Mike Noble said the narrow win is still worrisome for the party: "This district isn't supposed to be competitive, and so to see this margin, especially with the Republicans pouring in resources here — again, it's a tough year."


Online music streaming becomes industry's biggest money maker

Online streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music have overtaken CD and digital download sales to become the recording industry's largest revenue source, according to IFPI's Global Music Report 2018, released Tuesday. Rapid growth for streaming music services has helped the music industry post its third year of revenue growth, with total recorded music revenue rising 8.1 percent in 2017 to $17.3 billion. Streaming expanded by 41 percent, accounting for 38 percent of the industry's revenue, up from 29 percent in 2016. Music sales fell by 40 percent over the 15 years ending in 2014 as music file-sharing services eroded CD sales, and revenues for 2017 were just 68.4 percent of the market's 1999 peak.


Amazon launches deliveries to parked cars

Amazon on Tuesday started offering deliveries to customers' parked cars. The new service, coming to 37 cities, is free to Prime members but only available to people with vehicles equipped with the proper technology. Amazon couriers can use smartphones to unlock the customer's car, then leave the package in the trunk or on the back seat, and lock the vehicle again before moving on to the next delivery. The service targets people who want to avoid the risk that someone will steal a package left on their front porch, or who want their items delivered to a workplace but their employer can't or won't allow it. To use the service, customers must have a 2015 or later Chevrolet, Buick, GMC, or Cadillac with active OnStar roadside assistance accounts, or a Volvo with the similar On Call service.


Scott Pruitt proposes limiting scientific research used by the EPA

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt on Tuesday proposed a rule to restrict scientific research used by the agency to make regulatory decisions. Under the rule, the EPA could only consider studies where the data is publicly available, something conservatives have long wanted. "The science that we use is going to be transparent," Pruitt said. "It's going to be reproducible." Scientists and public health experts warned that the rule would prevent the EPA from using landmark studies on pollution and pesticides that rely on confidential personal and medical data. There will be a 30-day comment period, and if the rule goes through, it is expected to be challenged in court.


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