Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 3, 2018

Giuliani says Trump repaid Cohen for Stormy Daniels' hush money, Trump hires lawyer who represented Clinton during impeachment, and more


Giuliani says Trump repaid Cohen for Stormy Daniels payment

Rudy Giuliani, who recently joined President Trump's legal team in the Russia investigation, told Fox News host Sean Hannity on Wednesday that Trump had repaid his longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, for the $130,000 Cohen paid porn star Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about her claim that she had a sexual encounter with Trump more than a decade ago. Giuliani, a former New York City mayor and federal prosecutor, said it didn't amount to an illegal campaign contribution because Trump used personal funds, not campaign money. Campaign finance experts disagreed. Trump has said he had no knowledge of the payment, and he tweeted Thursday morning that Cohen "received a monthly retainer, not from the campaign ... from which he entered into, through reimbursement," the non-disclosure agreement.


Trump hires a lawyer who represented Bill Clinton during impeachment

President Trump has hired veteran Washington lawyer Emmet T. Flood to replace White House lawyer Ty Cobb, who had taken the lead in handling Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russian election meddling and possible collusion by Trump associates. "Emmet Flood will be joining the White House staff to represent the president and the administration against the Russia witch hunt," White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement Wednesday. "Ty Cobb, a friend of the president, who has done a terrific job, will be retiring at the end of the month." Flood has experience to prepare him for facing inquiries by Mueller and Congress — he represented Bill Clinton during his impeachment.


Iowa lawmakers pass fetal heartbeat abortion ban

Iowa's Republican-controlled legislature on Wednesday passed the nation's tightest limit on abortion, outlawing it after a fetal heartbeat can be detected. That often happens before a woman even knows she is pregnant, at about six weeks. Gov. Kim Reynolds, a Republican and an abortion opponent, has not said whether she would sign the bill into law. State Sen. Rick Bertrand (R) said proponents created the bill to "take a run at Roe v. Wade" now that President Trump has restored the Supreme Court to full-strength with the appointment of Justice Neil Gorsuch. Planned Parenthood of the Heartland spokeswoman Becca Lee said the legislation "weaponizes fetal heartbeat" with an "intentionally unconstitutional ban on 99 percent of safe, legal abortion."


Cambridge Analytica is shutting down

Data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica shut down all operations Wednesday, reports The Wall Street Journal. The firm and its parent company have reportedly struggled to recover from the scandal over its misuse of Facebook user data, losing clients and getting buried in legal fees in recent months. Cambridge Analytica, known for working on data analytics for President Trump's 2016 campaign, came under fire when reports revealed that it had improperly obtained data from more than 80 million Facebook users. The company's chief executive, Alexander Nix, was suspended in March after a video showed him bragging about entrapping politicians as a business tactic. The company said it did nothing wrong, blaming a "siege of media coverage" for driving away customers.


18 House Republicans nominate Trump for Nobel

Eighteen House Republicans on Wednesday sent a letter to the Norwegian Nobel Committee formally nominating President Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of his effort to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. "Since taking office, President Trump has worked tirelessly to apply maximum pressure on North Korea to end its illicit weapons program and bring peace to the region," said the letter, led by Rep. Luke Messer (R-Ind.). "His administration successfully united the international community, including China, to impose one of the most successful international sanctions regimes in history." Messer announced his plan to nominate Trump after last week's summit between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who next plans to meet with Trump.


Trump sides with conservatives against DOJ and 'rigged' legal system

President Trump backed up conservative House Republicans who have drafted articles of impeachment against Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, tweeting that the U.S. legal system is "rigged." Trump repeated the conservative Republicans' complaint that the Justice Department is refusing to turn over documents requested by Congress. "At some point I will have no choice but to use the powers granted to the Presidency and get involved!" Trump tweeted. Trump has directed harsh criticism at Rosenstein, who appointed Special Counsel Robert Mueller and by law is the one who could fire Mueller and shut down his investigation into Russian election meddling.


Military cargo plane crashes, killing 9

A military cargo plane crashed near Savannah-Hilton Head International Airport shortly after takeoff on Wednesday with nine people on board. There were no apparent survivors. The C-130 Hercules, flown by members of the 156th Air Wing from the Puerto Rico Air National Guard, was more than 60 years old, and it was heading to Arizona for a retirement ceremony on what was to be its final flight. The plane crashed at an intersection near the airport, with part of the plane winding up scorched on the road. Gena Bilbo, spokeswoman for the Effingham County sheriff, said the wreckage caused a "huge footprint" that would leave at least one road closed for weeks. "As far as we know, there were no cars hit in this crash," she said. "It is an absolute miracle."


Basque separatist group ETA disbands

The Basque separatist group ETA announced in a letter Wednesday that it would dissolve, ending a nearly six-decade campaign of violence and terrorism that has killed more than 800 people in Spain. "ETA has completely dissolved all its structures and has terminated its political initiative," the letter said, according to Spanish news reports. ETA's ranks have been dramatically thinned by arrests and its popularity has waned in the Basque region, on Spain's north coast. The group's full Basque name is Euskadi Ta Askatasuna, or Basque Homeland and Freedom. It started out as a left-wing, student-led independence movement under Gen. Francisco Franco.


Boy Scouts change name as program opens to girls

The Boy Scouts of America announced Wednesday that it would drop "Boy" from the name of its scouting program for kids as it prepares to admit girls for the first time. The Boy Scouts will become Scouts BSA in February, with the organization planning a "Scout Me In" marketing campaign to call attention to the program's new inclusiveness. The Boy Scouts of America announced that it would start offering programs for girls in October as it battled declining participation. The Girl Scouts of the USA criticized the move, and noted that the Boy Scouts group had not announced any "girl specific" programming. "We are, and will remain, the first choice for girls and parents," said Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA.


NYT: Redskins cheerleaders say they endured sexist exploitation

Washington Redskins cheerleaders were often put in exploitative situations that appeared to be permitted by the team, The New York Times reported Wednesday, citing comments from former cheerleaders. In one case, some cheerleaders were required to pose topless or nude during a 2013 photo shoot in Costa Rica while an all-male group of sponsors the team had invited was "skeezing around in the background," one woman said. Some of the cheerleaders were assigned to escort male sponsors to a club that night. "They weren't putting a gun to our heads, but it was mandatory for us to go," one cheerleader said. The team said in a statement that "each Redskin cheerleader is contractually protected to ensure a safe and constructive environment."


Air New Zealand to weigh international passengers as part of safety survey
An Air New Zealand plane takes off from Sydney, Australia.
Step on the Scale

Air New Zealand to weigh international passengers as part of safety survey

China just sent its first civilian astronaut to space
Three Shenzhou-16 astronauts.
Blast off

China just sent its first civilian astronaut to space

Can the US stop Chinese cyberattacks?
A picture of a computer with code and a Chinese flag in the background
Today's big question

Can the US stop Chinese cyberattacks?

China plans to land astronaut on the moon by 2030, official says
Chinese astronauts Gui Haichao, Jing Haipeng and Zhu Yangzhu
race to the moon

China plans to land astronaut on the moon by 2030, official says

Most Popular

Disney hits back against DeSantis
Entranceway to Walt Disney World.

Disney hits back against DeSantis

What the shifting religious landscape means for American politics
Ballot box
Talking point

What the shifting religious landscape means for American politics

Is Minnesota a progressive 'laboratory' or an exceptional exception?
Minnesota lawmakers.
Today's big question

Is Minnesota a progressive 'laboratory' or an exceptional exception?