Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 7, 2018

Giuliani says Trump can ignore a subpoena to testify about Russia, lava from Hawaii's Kilauea destroys 26 homes, and more 


Giuliani says Trump has right to ignore subpoena

President Trump's new lawyer, former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, said Sunday that Trump could ignore a subpoena to testify in Special Counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation by asserting executive privilege. "He's the president of the United States," said Giuliani. "We can assert the same privileges other presidents have." Giuliani also said that Trump's longtime personal attorney, Michael Cohen, might have made hush money payments to other women, not just porn star Stormy Daniels. Cohen has admitted to paying Daniels $130,000 days before the 2016 presidential election, and when asked on ABC News' This Week whether Cohen had paid off other women, Giuliani responded: "I have no knowledge of that. But I would think if it was necessary, yes."


Lava from Hawaii's Kilauea volcano destroys 26 homes

The flow of lava intensified around Hawaii's Kilauea volcano on Sunday, pushing the number of houses destroyed to at least 26. Some of the more than 1,700 people evacuated from two subdivisions have been told it's unclear when they can go back. Hundreds of small earthquakes rattled the area over the weekend, and two new fissures opened up, bringing the total to nine, and experts warned that more lava-spewing vents could appear. Authorities also warned that sulfuric gas pouring out of the vents posed another potential threat to residents hoping to return briefly to their homes to get medicine and important documents, and retrieve pets.


Trump nominee to head CIA offered to drop out over interrogation concerns

Gina Haspel offered to withdraw as President Trump's nominee to be the next CIA director over concerns that her role in harsh interrogations of suspected terrorists could derail her confirmation, news outlets reported Sunday, citing several senior U.S. officials. Haspel reportedly told the White House on Friday about her desire to bow out, saying she wanted to prevent the confirmation battle from damaging her reputation and that of the CIA. White House officials rushed to meet with her at CIA headquarters in Langley, Virginia, and received assurances on Saturday that she would stick it out. Haspel, a longtime undercover operative now serving as the agency's deputy director, was chief at a covert detention site in Thailand where two terrorism suspects were waterboarded after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.


Putin starts new term as Russia's president

Russian President Vladimir Putin was inaugurated for a fourth six-year term on Monday. Putin, already the longest serving leader of Russia since Stalin, was re-elected in March with 77 percent of the vote, vowing to improve Russian lives and continue his confrontation with the West. This term should be Putin's last under the country's constitution, but speculation has already begun that he will try to hold onto power when his term ends in 2024. Thousands of Russians protested the start of Putin's new term over the weekend. Police arrested hundreds and used batons against crowds chanting, "Putin is a thief!" and "Russia will be free!"


Nunes threatens to hold Sessions in contempt over Russia material

Congressman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), chair of the House Intelligence Committee, is threatening to hold Attorney General Jeff Sessions in contempt of Congress if he doesn't hand over classified materials connected to the investigation into Russian election meddling, CNN reported on Sunday. "We're just not going to take this nonsense of every time we peel something back, every time we need information, we get ignored, we get stalled or stonewalled," said Nunes, who urged lawmakers to take action against Sessions "this week." The Justice Department told Nunes three days ago that providing information on a "specific individual" could threaten national security leading to "potential loss of human lives ... and interference with intelligence activities."


Pakistan's interior minister injured in assassination attempt

A gunman shot Pakistan's interior minister, Ahsan Iqbal, on Sunday, wounding him in the right shoulder. Iqbal was rushed to a hospital where he was reported to be in stable condition. The would-be assassin mixed in with a small group of Iqbal's supporters and colleagues in Punjab Province, about 150 miles from the capital city, Islamabad. The attempted assassination increased tensions as Pakistan heads into general elections that could be held as early as July. Iqbal reportedly may have been meeting with a group of Christians in his constituency. Last week, Iqbal, an advocate of tolerance for Pakistan's religious minorities considered heretics by Sunni extremists, met with a group of Shiite Muslims to hear their complaints about discrimination.


Turnout light in Lebanon's first national elections in 9 years

Lebanon held its first national elections in nine years on Sunday, but turnout was light despite a last-minute appeal from President Michel Aoun urging people to vote. The tepid turnout of 32 percent to 42 percent in Beirut was interpreted as a sign of frustration with corruption and economic troubles. The country of 4.5 million had not held national elections since the outbreak of civil war in neighboring Syria, which has divided Lebanon with the Iran-sponsored Hezbollah intervening on behalf of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government against the opposition of parties aligned with Saudi Arabia.


French government warns it won't rescue Air France from wage dispute

French Finance Minister Bruno Le Maire on Sunday urged Air France to work out a stand-off with unions over wages, warning that the government, a minority stakeholder, would not rescue the carrier in the face of a planned Monday strike. Staff on Friday rejected a proposed deal, prompting the CEO of Air France-KLM's French arm to resign. The dispute has cast doubt on the airline's ability to cut costs and restore its financial health. "If Air France does not make efforts to become more competitive ... Air France will disappear," Le Maire said. The company said it expected to be able to operate 85 percent of its flights on Monday despite the strike.


Bandits kill at least 45 in attack on remote Nigerian village

Armed bandits killed at least 45 people in an attack on a remote village in northwest Nigeria, authorities said Sunday. The dead included women and children. The government deployed 200 police officers to the area in response to the attack. Bandits frequently target villagers to steal their cattle and other property. President Muhammadu Buhari has approved dispatching a permanent battalion of the Nigerian Army to the area to deal with the problem. The local government has been lobbying the national government for help dealing with the attacks.


Avengers: Infinity War becomes fastest film to reach $1 billion

Avengers: Infinity War dominated the box office for the second straight week, bringing in $112.5 million domestically in 4,474 theaters. That marked the second-biggest second weekend in box office history. The haul also pushed the Disney and Marvel Studios' superhero mashup above the $1 billion mark worldwide on its 11th day in release, the fastest any movie has reached the landmark. The film's total stood at $1.16 billion worldwide thanks to another $162.6 million over the weekend overseas. Star Wars: The Force Awakens, which crossed the $1 billion mark in 12 days, still holds the record for best second weekend ever, with $149.2 million in North America.


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