Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 14, 2018

Summer Meza
Rod Rosenstein announces indictments
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images


DOJ indicts 12 Russian intelligence officials for 2016 DNC hacking

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's office on Friday indicted 12 Russian intelligence officers in relation to the hacking of the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign emails in 2016. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said that the Russians intended to "interfere" in the election. Some 20,000 emails were stolen using "spearphishing" techniques and released via hackers Guccifer 2.0 and DCLeaks. "The conspirators communicated with several Americans," Rosenstein said, adding that there was "no indication" the Americans knew they were communicating with Russian agents. The indictment also does not say if the activities affected the final vote count. The announcement comes just days before President Trump's scheduled meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin; both leaders have repeatedly denied that the Kremlin meddled in the election. [C-SPAN, The New York Times]


Trump takes back criticism of Theresa May after incendiary Brexit comments

President Trump on Friday insisted that he had never criticized British Prime Minister Theresa May. Trump and May had a tense meeting after British tabloid The Sun published scathing comments from Trump, in which he slammed her Brexit plan and declared that he would've shaped it "much differently." If May's plan went forward, Trump was recorded saying, it would "probably kill" a trade deal between the U.S. and U.K. Trump falsely called the interview "fake news," and changed his tune at a joint press conference, claiming The Sun hadn't published his positive comments about May. Trump affirmed that the U.K. could exit the European Union however it wants, so long as "we can still trade together. That's all that matters." [ABC News, The Sun]


Lawmakers demand Trump cancel Putin summit after Mueller indictment

Democrats are calling for President Trump to cancel his Monday summit in Helsinki with Russian President Vladimir Putin. The outcry comes after Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein announced indictments against 12 Kremlin agents on Friday for the 2016 hacking of the Democratic National Committee. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Trump's meeting should be canceled until Russia makes "demonstrable and transparent steps to prove that they won't interfere in future elections," while Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.) said Russia must prove its willingness to "come back into the community of nations that respect the rule of law." Even Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) said Trump "must be willing to confront Putin," or else "the summit … should not move forward." [CNN, NBC News]


Judge orders Trump administration to pay to reunite migrant families

The Department of Health and Human Services will pay the costs associated with reuniting migrant families separated at the border, after a federal judge ordered the Trump administration to "make it happen" on Friday. "It doesn't make any sense for any of the parents who have been separated to pay for anything," he said. A Justice Department attorney said the order was a "huge ask," but the judge sided with the ACLU, which argued that immigration officials were unjustly asking immigrant families to pay for DNA testing and logistical costs to be reunited. The administration's "zero tolerance" immigration policy separated thousands of migrant children from their parents, and the government is still working to determine who is "eligible" for reunification. [Reuters, ACLU]


England, Belgium to fight for third place in penultimate World Cup match

The final weekend of the 2018 World Cup will kick off with the third-place match between Belgium and England on Saturday. Belgium fell to France in the semifinals, while England bowed to Croatia, landing each team in the third-place game in Saint Petersburg. Belgium's best World Cup finish, in 1986, saw them take fourth place, while England last won the World Cup in 1966. Croatia and France will square off for the championship title in Moscow on Sunday, with Les Bleus the heavy favorite to win. The next World Cup will be hosted in Qatar in 2022. [CBS Sports]


Trump faces another wave of protests while golfing in Scotland

President Trump arrived in Scotland on Saturday, on the last leg of his trip to the U.K. before he heads to Helsinki for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump was met with thousands of demonstrators who protested the president as he played golf at the Trump Turnberry resort. An estimated 10,000 people are expected to show up for the third straight day of protests against Trump's U.K. visit. The president additionally came under fire for describing his golf course as "magical" and "incredible," which some watchdogs called an unethical "infomercial" for his own business. First lady Melania Trump and Eric Trump are also with the president at Turnberry. [BBC, The New York Times]


Jeff Bezos' space tourism company announces $200,000 price tag

Are you ready for liftoff? Blue Origin, the space tourism rocket company founded by Amazon's Jeff Bezos, has at last announced the cost of a ticket to leave Earth's atmosphere. The first trips to space will start at $200,000 next year, with the high end price being $300,000. Blue Origin's New Shepard spacecraft takes adventurers 62 miles from the planet's surface, to suborbital space — where passengers will feel weightlessness and be able to see the curvature of the Earth. The detachable passenger capsule, with six big windows, then floats back to Earth using parachutes. So far Blue Origin has completed eight test flights, including two with a test dummy fondly nicknamed "Mannequin Skywalker," but none yet with actual humans. [Reuters]


Top intelligence official warns of increasing security concerns for midterm elections

Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats issued a warning on Friday that U.S. infrastructure is at risk of cyberattacks that could affect the upcoming midterm elections. "The most aggressive," foreign actor, he said, is Russia. "These actions are persistent, they’re pervasive and they are meant to undermine America’s democracy," he said while speaking at an event. "The warning signs are there" that the U.S. is at a "critical point," he continued. State election officials are meeting this weekend to discuss the upcoming elections, and Friday’s indictments of 12 Russian intelligence officers have placed new urgency on ensuring the integrity of election systems. Intelligence officials have said that Russian hackers targeted at least 21 states ahead of the 2016 election. [The Associated Press, Vox]


Conservative lawmakers eye impeachment effort for Rosenstein

House Republicans are reportedly working to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, and are in the final stages of an impeachment filing. House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows reportedly had the filing in hand when Rosenstein on Friday announced the indictment of 12 Russian intelligence officers over their interference in the 2016 presidential election. Conservative lawmakers are looking to push Rosenstein out the door over his "slow-walking" of the probe into FBI agents accused of bias against the Trump administration. The effort has reportedly been underway for weeks, and the impeachment documents could be filed as soon as Monday. [Politico]


Harvey Weinstein admits he offered jobs 'in exchange for sex,' defends it as industry-wide

Just days after disgraced movie mogul Harvey Weinstein pleaded not guilty to new charges of sexual assault, he defended his actions as a mere symptom of an industry-wide problem. "Yes, I did offer them acting jobs in exchange for sex, but so did and still does everyone," he said. "But I never, ever forced myself on a single woman." Weinstein's attorney later said that Weinstein "never said" such a thing. Weinstein has been accused of wrongdoing by dozens of women, and in May, he surrendered to police after being charged with two rape counts and one criminal sexual act against two women. He faces life in prison, but is currently free on $1 million bail. [The Spectator]