Daily briefing

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

Giuliani backtracks statements about Stormy Daniels payment, Trump addresses NRA convention in Dallas, and more


Giuliani backtracks statements about Stormy Daniels payment

Rudy Giuliani issued a statement Friday backpedaling comments he made earlier this week about President Trump's knowledge and reimbursement of a $130,000 payment his personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, made to adult film actress Stormy Daniels in exchange for her silence about an alleged affair with Trump. Friday morning, Trump told reporters Giuliani needed time to "get his facts straight." Later that day, Giuliani said "there is no campaign violation" and that his "references to timing" were about his own knowledge and "were not describing my understanding of the president's knowledge." Also Friday, The New York Times reported Trump knew of the payment "several months before he denied any knowledge of it" in April.


Trump addresses NRA convention in Dallas

President Trump addressed the National Rifle Association's annual conference in Dallas Friday, the fourth year in a row he's spoken at the gun group's national meeting. "Your Second Amendment rights are under siege," he said, adding, that conservatives "cannot get complacent; we have to win the midterms." Trump had briefly clashed with the NRA after the Feb. 14 mass shooting in Parkland, Florida, chastising Republican lawmakers for being "afraid of the NRA" and saying he would stand up to the group by backing tougher gun laws. He did not do that. Trump also used to occasion to talk immigration and Kanye West.


Trump to meet with trade delegation after China talks

President Trump will meet with U.S. officials Saturday following their return from trade negotiations in China. "We will be meeting tomorrow to determine the results," the president tweeted Friday evening, "but it is hard for China in that they have become very spoiled with U.S. trade wins!" Led by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, the delegation arrived in China Thursday and reportedly made demands including a $200 billion reduction in China's trade surplus to the U.S. by 2020. Both governments characterized the talks as blunt.


Hawaiian volcano destroys 3 buildings, emits dangerous gas

Thursday's eruption of the Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii was followed by a 6.9-magnitude earthquake in the area Friday, with at least six active fissures in affected areas on the Big Island's eastern tip. Three buildings, including one home, have been destroyed so far, and about 1,800 people have been evacuated from neighborhoods near the volcano. About 14,000 people lost power, and dangerous, sulfurous gas made it unsafe for utility employees to work in some areas. Friday's quake was the largest on the island since 1975, and tremors continued Saturday.


DHS revokes protected status for 57,000 Hondurans

The Department of Homeland Security on Friday ended a program that granted Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to 57,000 Hondurans. TPS protects citizens of other countries from deportation and allows them to live and work in the U.S. if their home country is in significant turmoil. For tens of thousands of Hondurans, that turmoil was Hurricane Mitch, which slammed the country in 1998. Now, Hondurans who came to the U.S. after the hurricane must leave or obtain different immigration status within 18 months.


NSA triples surveillance of U.S. phone records

The National Security Agency collected 534 million records of Americans' calls and texts in 2017, an annual agency report published Friday indicated, tripling its 2016 collection rate. The surveillance in question focuses on metadata, which means the NSA records the source and recipient of each communication rather than its content. The agency is also able to collect details like the time, duration, contact information, and even the number of characters in a text message. The millions of records the NSA collected in 2017 stemmed from the agency's targeting of the communications of just 40 people.


NASA's InSight craft launches to Mars

NASA launched its InSight spacecraft from Vandenberg Air Force Base in California at 4:05 a.m. local time Saturday, sending the unmanned vessel on a six-month journey to Mars. Unlike the Curiosity rover, InSight will not travel around the red planet once it arrives. Instead, the craft's mission is to use seismic waves to learn about the interior of Mars — the thickness of the planet's crust and the size of its liquid core. InSight is equipped with a probe that can burrow 16 feet into the surface of Mars to take temperature readings.


U.S. Navy revives 2nd Fleet to counter Russia

The Navy will re-establish its Second Fleet in the northern Atlantic Ocean to counter Russian power, the Pentagon announced Friday. "Our National Defense Strategy makes clear that we're back in an era of great power competition as the security environment continues to grow more challenging and complex," said Chief of Naval Operations Adm. John Richardson. "That's why, today, we're standing up Second Fleet to address these changes, particularly in the north Atlantic." The fleet was disbanded in 2011.


Authors accuse Junot Díaz of sexual misconduct, verbal abuse

Several women came forward Friday to accuse author Junot Díaz of sexual misconduct and verbal abuse. Author Zinzi Clemmons tweeted that when she was a grad student, Díaz "corner[ed] and forcibly kiss[ed]" her. Author Monica Byrnes said at a dinner with Díaz he "shouted the word 'rape' in my face to prove" his point after a minor disagreement. In April, Díaz wrote an essay for The New Yorker grappling with the trauma of being raped as a child. In a statement Friday, Díaz said, "I take responsibility for my past."


Jockeys gear up for 2018 Kentucky Derby

The 144th Kentucky Derby will be run Saturday at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, where scattered showers are forecast. Justify, trained by Triple Crown-winner Bob Baffert, made the morning-line favorite at 3-1, though he faces the 136-year-old "Curse of Apollo": Since 1882, no horse has won the Run of the Roses after not starting as a 2-year-old, as Justify has not. Other favorites include Bolt d'Oro (8-1), Audible (12-1), and Mendelssohn (5-1). The winner of the Kentucky Derby will take home a prize of $2 million. Coverage begins on NBC at 2:30 p.m. ET, with a post time of 6:46 p.m. ET.


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