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Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: October 13, 2018

Bonnie Kristian
The aftermath of Hurricane Michael
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Getty Images
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1.

Rescue workers scramble to search areas devastated by Hurricane Michael

Emergency responders searched for survivors Friday and Saturday in areas devastated by Hurricane Michael, especially the Florida Panhandle. "It's like a bomb went off," said Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R) while visiting Mexico Beach, Florida, on Friday. "It's like a war zone." At least 17 people were killed in the storm — eight in Florida, one in Georgia, three in North Carolina, and five in Virginia — and an estimated 1.5 million customers lost power in five states. Now downgraded to a tropical storm, Michael was the most powerful hurricane to hit the continental U.S. in nearly five decades. [The New York Times, USA Today]

2.

Trump praises Confederate general while seeking black Americans' support at Ohio rally

President Trump asked black Americans to "honor" him and his Republican Party with their votes at an Ohio rally Friday night, an event at which he honored Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee. "So Robert E. Lee was a great general," Trump said, recounting President Abraham Lincoln's selection of Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, an Ohio native, to face Lee in battle. The moral of the story, in Trump's telling, is to pick leaders with personal flaws if they know how to "win." Trump also requested support from black voters and predicted the GOP will get it in the midterm elections. [The Washington Post, Politico]

3.

Trump administration reportedly considers new family separation policy

The Trump administration is working to find a way to legally resume separating migrant parents and children at the border, The Washington Post reported Friday. One option would see families seeking asylum detained together for up to 20 days, after which they would have to decide whether to stay in family detention — perhaps for months or years — or to send the children to a government shelter, where they might be taken into custody by other family members or guardians in the United States. The separation policy, championed by adviser Stephen Miller, is reportedly intended to deter illegal immigration. [The Washington Post, The Week]

4.

Turkey frees U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson

American pastor Andrew Brunson was released by a Turkish court Friday and permitted to fly home to the United States, where he will meet with President Trump Saturday. The president celebrated Brunson's freedom before his Ohio rally Friday night, saying the pastor had "suffered greatly" but is in "good shape." Brunson, who was convicted on terror charges for supposedly supporting forces seeking to overthrow the Turkish government, was held in a Turkish prison for nearly two years before being transferred to house arrest in July. He has consistently denied all charges. [Fox News, The New York Times]

5.

Saudi journalist may have recorded his own death

Turkish security officials have reportedly obtained audio and video recordings proving missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered last week inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul, and the audio files may have been recorded by Khashoggi himself. The journalist activated the recording function on his Apple watch before entering the consulate, a Turkish newspaper reported Saturday, and his "interrogation, torture, and killing were audio recorded and sent to both his phone and to iCloud." Some files were deleted from the watch, but only after the sync completed. Saudi Arabia has denied involvement in Khashoggi's disappearance. [CNN, Reuters]

6.

Melania Trump talks alleged affairs, controversial jacket, immigration policy

Speaking in an ABC News interview that aired Friday night, first lady Melania Trump said President Trump's alleged history of marital infidelity is "not a concern" because she has "much more important things to think about and to do." She also addressed her controversial decision to wear a jacket emblazoned with "I really don't care, do u?" while traveling to a detention center for migrant children earlier this year, claiming it was a message of indifference to media criticism. And Trump addressed her husband's suspended policy that produced the children's detention, calling it a 'heartbreaking' and 'unacceptable' surprise. [CBS News, The Week]

7.

Harvard affirmative action case goes to trial

A lawsuit challenging Harvard University's use of race as a factor in admission decisions heads to trial Monday in Boston. At issue is whether the school unfairly discriminates against Asian-American applicants, whom the lawsuit says would have a better chance of acceptance — all other things being equal — were they white, black, or Hispanic. Harvard says it considers applicants using a "whole person review" and cultivates a "diverse campus environment." The lawsuit is supported by the Trump administration's Justice Department, which has opened a similar inquiry into Yale University. [Los Angeles Times, NBC News]

8.

Data breach affects 30 million Facebook users

Some 30 million users were affected by a data breach disclosed two weeks ago, Facebook reported Friday. Of those, 14 million had detailed personal information stolen, including their contact information, current city, education, work, website, people and pages followed, as well as their last 15 Facebook searches and last 10 check-in locations. An additional 15 million users had their name and contact information accessed. And 1 million users were affected but did not have any information stolen. Facebook says the FBI is investigating the breach and has asked for public silence on possible perpetrators. [Facebook, The Week]

9.

Omarosa targets Ivanka Trump, Jared Kushner in Bill Maher interview

Former Apprentice star and White House aide Omarosa Manigault Newman appeared on HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher Friday evening, aiming her ire at President Trump's daughter and son-in-law, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, both current White House advisers. Dubbing the couple "White House Ken and Barbie," she claimed Ivanka "loved being daddy's little girl" and labeled Kushner "that guy in the room who thinks he's the smartest guy in the room [but] who has absolutely no idea what's going on." Once an ardent supporter of the president, Manigault Newman is now among his most strident critics. [Business Insider, The Daily Beast]

10.

Bodies of 11 infants found in funeral home ceiling

The decomposed bodies of 11 infants were discovered by state investigators in the ceiling of a former funeral home in Detroit, local police said Friday night. The discovery was made after an anonymous tip informed authorities where they could be found. "They were actually in a cardboard box, nine of the 11 — they're very small remains," said Lt. Brian Bowser of the Detroit Police Department. "They were in a cardboard box stuffed away from a stairwell." So far, only some of the remains have been identified. The funeral home shut down earlier this year over violations including fraud and gross negligence. [ABC News, Detroit Free Press]