Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 19, 2018

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Bonnie Kristian
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wed
Danny Lawson/Getty Images

1.

At least 10 dead in Texas high school shooting

A gunman opened fire Friday morning at Santa Fe High School, 30 miles outside Houston, Texas, killing 10 people and injuring 10 more. The suspected shooter, a 17-year-old male student identified as Dimitrios Pagourtzis, has been arrested, and a second 18-year-old suspect has been detained for questioning. The Santa Fe Independent School District said "possible explosive devices" were found at and near the school. Authorities swept the area to disarm them, and there is no evidence any detonated. A specific motive has not been identified. "This has been going on too long in our country," President Trump said of the attack, adding that "everyone must work together at every level of government to keep our children safe." [Houston Chronicle, NPR]

2.

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle wed at Windsor

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married in St. George's Chapel at Windsor on Saturday. Markle wore a minimalist, structural silk gown with a bateau neckline, long sleeves, and a dramatic embroidered veil. The dress was created by British designer Clare Waight Keller, artistic director of Givenchy. Harry wore a bespoke cavalry uniform. Though the vows were led by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the homily was delivered by Bishop Michael Curry, the first African American to lead the Episcopal Church. "There's power in love," Curry preached. "We were made by a power of love and our lives were meant to be lived with that love." The ceremony will be followed by an evening reception at Frogmore House. [The New York Times, The Week]

3.

Cuban passenger jet crashes, killing 107

A Cuban commercial plane carrying 110 people crashed shortly after taking off Friday, killing all but three people on board. The survivors were seriously injured. The jet, a Boeing 737 operated by Cuba's Cubana de Aviación airline, crashed a few minutes after noon local time. Video from the scene shows thick black smoke rising in the air from the rural area where the plane went down, with the ruined fuselage of the plane visible nearby. The cause of the crash was not immediately clear. [The New York Times, Reuters]

4.

American academic reportedly investigated Trump campaign for FBI

President Trump alleged on Twitter Thursday the FBI "spied" on his campaign with an "embedded informant," citing a National Review story. In reports published Friday night, The Washington Post and The New York Times partially confirmed his account. Both papers reported an unnamed American academic met with three Trump campaign advisers in 2016. Described by the Post as a "longtime U.S. intelligence source," the academic was working as a source for the FBI's then-nascent investigation into Russian election meddling. The informant's name has been withheld over security concerns for himself and other investigations. [The Washington Post, The New York Times]

5.

Senate Democrats push for probe of Russia sanctions delay

Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) sent a letter to the inspectors general of the State Department, Treasury Department, and the intelligence community on Friday asking for an independent investigation into the Trump administration's failure to implement Russia sanctions passed by Congress last year. The White House has said the penalties imposed by the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) are unnecessary because the measure is already "serving as a deterrent" to Russian misconduct. The president has some executive discretion in enforcing the law, but its scope is the subject of legal debate. [The Hill, The Washington Post]

6.

EU reiterates support for Iran deal

European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Miguel Arias Canete announced in Tehran Friday the European Union will protect from U.S. sanctions European companies that continue to do business with Iran despite President Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal. This move comes at the behest of Iran deal signatories France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, which have sought to preserve the deal after American exit. "We hope [the EU's] efforts materialize," said Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi, because "America's actions ... show that it is not a trustworthy country in international dealings." [CNN, Reuters]

7.

Trump nominates acting VA Secretary Robert Wilkie to lead department

President Trump announced Friday he is naming acting Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie as his nominee to officially lead the department. The surprise nomination caught Wilkie off guard, as it came in the middle of Trump's speech on prison reform. "He doesn't know this yet," said Trump as he made the announcement. Wilkie has been heading the Veterans Affairs Department since April, when Trump dismissed former VA Secretary David Shulkin. Dr. Ronny Jackson, Trump's previous pick to replace Shulkin, withdrew his nomination amid workplace misconduct allegations, which he denied. [NPR, CNN]

8.

Farm bill fails with conservative, Democratic opposition

A closely-watched farm bill was rejected by the House 213-198 on Friday, as conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus joined Democrats in opposition to protest GOP leadership refusal to bring an immigration bill to a vote. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) has promised to bring the immigration legislation to the floor in June. Democrats opposed the five-year, $867 billion bill because of a Republican provision that would impose work requirements for the 40 million users of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), commonly called food stamps. [The Hill, The Week]

9.

Trump reportedly pressured USPS to double Amazon's rates

President Trump has demanded the U.S. Postal Service charge Amazon twice as much to ship packages, even personally pressuring the postmaster general on multiple occasions, The Washington Post reported Friday. Postmaster General Megan Brennan has had several meetings with Trump, sources said, and pushed back on his demand by explaining that the Amazon-Post Office relationship is complex and the USPS can't back out of a contract. Trump has claimed Amazon is costing the USPS billions of dollars, an assertion that has been repeatedly debunked. [The Washington Post, The Week]

10.

Georgia graduation shooting kills at least 1

At least one person was killed and two others injured in a shooting at a graduation ceremony in Clayton County, Georgia, Friday night. The shooting was reportedly the result of an argument in the parking lot outside the ceremony location; it was not a premeditated mass shooting like the attack at a Texas high school earlier that day. "All of the sudden, we all heard a series of gunshots," said witness Shannon Delgado. "We didn't know where they were coming from. Everybody just kind of froze." [USA Today, CBS News]