Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: August 18, 2018

Bonnie Kristian
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Mueller seeks 6 months in jail for former Trump adviser George Papadopoulos

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is seeking a short prison sentence of up to six months for former Trump campaign adviser George Papadopoulos, who allegedly delayed federal investigators by lying to them. His "lies undermined investigators' ability to challenge the Professor or potentially detain or arrest him while he was still in the United States," Mueller's team said in court filings Friday. The "Professor" in question is Joseph Mifsud, who reportedly has ties to the Russian government and contacted Papadopoulos offering "dirt" on Hillary Clinton during the campaign. Papadopoulos pleaded guilty to lying about Mifsud to the FBI in October. [The Wall Street Journal, CNN]


Trump claims social media censorship of the right

"Social Media is totally discriminating against Republican/Conservative voices," President Trump claimed on Twitter early Saturday. "Speaking loudly and clearly for the Trump Administration, we won't let that happen. They are closing down the opinions of many people on the RIGHT, while at the same time doing nothing to others." The president went on to argue censorship "is a very dangerous thing & absolutely impossible to police" before suggesting he personally would like to censor CNN and MSNBC. Trump hedged in a final post, allowing that some of the voices suppressed are "bad," but maintaining "too many mistakes are being made." [Donald J. Trump, The Week]


Kofi Annan dies at 80

Former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan died Saturday after a brief illness, his family reported via his personal foundation. He was 80 years old. Born in Ghana in 1938, Annan began work at the U.N. in 1962, rising through the ranks to serve as secretary general from 1997 to 2006. He shared the Nobel Peace Prize with the U.N. in 2001. Current U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres said Annan "provided people everywhere with a space for dialogue, a place for problem-solving, and a path to a better world." Annan is survived by his wife and three children. [The Washington Post, CNN]


Manafort jury adjourns for the weekend

After two days of deliberations, the jury in Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort's trial for financial crimes adjourned for the weekend without a verdict. Manafort faces 18 charges of tax evasion, money laundering, and bank fraud. The jury is being kept anonymous for the duration of the trial, as the presiding judge, T.S. Ellis, has received death threats and hopes to spare them the same experience. Ellis said Friday morning he expected a verdict by the end of the day, but instead deliberations will resume Monday morning. [The Hill, The Week]


Trump is reportedly eager to revoke more security clearances

President Trump has told advisers he wants to revoke more security clearances from people linked to the probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, two White House officials told The Washington Post Thursday. He has come up with a list, which reportedly includes some people who lost their security clearances when they were fired, like former FBI Director James Comey. Trump already revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan, and Brennan as well as 13 former top intelligence officials sharply criticized Trump in response. [The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times]


Saudi school bus bombing in Yemen reportedly used U.S.-made weapon

The weapon used in the Saudi-led coalition airstrike on a school bus in Yemen earlier this month that killed 51 people, 40 of them children, and wounded over 100 more was manufactured in the United States, CNN reported Friday night. The bomb in question was reportedly a 500-pound laser-guided MK 82 bomb produced by Lockheed Martin, an American defense contractor. It was identified from numbers on the shrapnel. The Saudi coalition, which has been credibly accused of war crimes in Yemen, is supported by the United States. The coalition promised to investigate itself for this attack. [CNN, Voice of America News]


China 'training for strikes,' Pentagon report says

China's military is "likely training for strikes" against the U.S. and is rapidly expanding its long-range bomber operations, a Pentagon report released Thursday said. The Pentagon's "Annual Report on Military and Security Developments Involving the People's Republic of China" found new development of "nuclear capable bombers" that could be used "across land, sea, and air." The Pentagon said China has been training in key maritime zones that would prepare it for an attack on the U.S. and its allies. President Trump tweeted Saturday that only "fools" are more focused on Russia than China as a U.S. adversary. [CNN, The Week]


Trump blames cancelation of his military parade on D.C. politicians

"The local politicians who run Washington, D.C. (poorly) know a windfall when they see it," President Trump tweeted Friday. "When asked to give us a price for holding a great celebratory military parade, they wanted a number so ridiculously high that I cancelled it." The Defense Department announced Thursday night that Trump's plan for a showy military parade on Veterans Day has been pushed back to sometime in 2019. The Pentagon did not explain the postponement, though its timing suggested a link to reports that the extravaganza would cost up to $92 million, $80 million more than the original estimate. [Politico, CNBC]


Tesla CEO Elon Musk gives dire interview, feeding burnout concerns

Tesla CEO Elon Musk's nonstop work schedule is fracturing his relationships and taking a toll on his health, he told The New York Times in an emotional interview Thursday. At times laughing or crying, Musk said "this past year has been the most difficult and painful year of my career," and "the worst is yet to come." Musk said he works up to 120 hours a week, and between the long hours, SEC scrutiny of Tesla, Ambien use, and his promise to take the company private, Tesla's board is concerned and wants to install a No. 2 at the company. [The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal]


Colorado authorities find bodies of missing woman and her daughters

Police in Weld County, Colorado, northeast of Denver, on Thursday found the bodies of Shannan Watts and her two daughters, Bella, 4, and Celeste, 3. Watts was pregnant with her third child. The family members are believed to have been killed by their husband and father, Chris Watts, who has been arrested but not yet formally charged. The bodies were found on the property of a petroleum and natural gas exploration company where Chris used to work. Court documents filed Friday suggest strangulation may be the cause of death. Chris Watts reportedly confessed to the crime after his arrest. [ABC 13 Eyewitness News, CNN]