Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: December 3, 2018

Harold Maass
A memorial tribute to George H.W. Bush
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Bush memorial services to start in Washington

Former President George H.W. Bush's remains will be flown Monday from Houston to the Joint Base Andrews military facility in Maryland. The 41st president will lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda from 7:30 p.m. Monday to 7 a.m. Wednesday so members of the public will be able to pay their respects before a state funeral on Wednesday morning at the nearby National Cathedral. Bush will then be transported back to Houston for burial. President Trump declared Wednesday a national day of mourning, and directed federal agencies and departments to close for the day "as a mark of respect" for Bush. Trump, who has clashed with members of the Bush family, plans to attend the funeral at the invitation of the family. [USA Today, People]


Comey agrees to testify before House panel

Former FBI Director James Comey's attorney said Sunday that Comey would testify Friday to the House Judiciary Committee. Comey had challenged the panel's subpoena calling on him to appear in a closed-door hearing. He had said he would testify publicly, but not in a private hearing that could be leaked piecemeal. Comey reached an agreement with Republican lawmakers to testify behind closed doors about investigations into Hillary Clinton's use of a private email server as secretary of state, and about whether President Trump's campaign advisers colluded with the Russian election meddling. Republican lawmakers agreed to release a transcript and let Comey speak publicly about his testimony. "This is the closest I can get to public testimony," Comey said. [The Washington Post, The New York Times]


Trump to end NAFTA, urging Congress to ratify new trade deal

President Trump said he formally will end the old North American Free Trade Agreement soon. That would force Congress to either ratify the new trade deal he signed Friday with leaders from Mexico and Canada, or leave the three nations with no deal in place. "It's been a disaster," Trump said on Air Force One on his way back from the Group of 20 summit in Argentina. Trump can formally withdraw from NAFTA six months after notifying Mexico and Canada, but he will need support from Democrats to ratify the new treaty. Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the Democrats' nominee to be House speaker, said the new treaty was a "work in progress," and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) said it needed stronger labor standards. [CNN]


Mexican minister arrives in Washington to discuss migration crisis

Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said Sunday via Twitter that he had arrived in Washington for talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the growing migration crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. Mexican authorities over the weekend shut down a crowded shelter at a sports complex in Tijuana because it was unsanitary. It was housing many of the thousands of Central American migrants, mostly Hondurans, who have headed north in recent weeks, hoping to reach the U.S. and apply for asylum to escape gang and domestic violence, and other problems. Addressing the arrival of caravans of migrants in Tijuana and other border towns, such as Mexicali, is a high priority for the administration of new Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who took office Saturday. [The Associated Press, Fox News]


Biggest climate conference since Paris accord gets underway

Representatives of nearly 200 nations met Sunday for the start of the biggest climate change conference since the landmark 2015 Paris accord. The United Nations' annual climate meeting is being held in a Polish coal-mining city, Katowice. The delegates will have some momentum behind them, following a G-20 meeting in Argentina where all of the leaders of the world's leading economies except President Trump expressed support for the Paris deal. Recent studies have indicated that the need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is greater than previously believed. U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres opened the summit with a dramatic appeal for bold moves to reach the Paris goal of keeping global warming below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, calling climate change "the most important issue we face." [The Associated Press, The New York Times]


Macron considers emergency security measures after anti-tax protests

French President Emmanuel Macron returned to a country in turmoil on Sunday after the Group of 20 summit in Argentina. France has been rocked by protests by mostly working-class people angry about a planned fuel-tax increase and declining purchasing power. Macron considered declaring a state of emergency a day after the protesters burned cars and smashed store windows in wealthy Paris neighborhoods. The so-called Yellow Vest protests that have raged on for three weekends were named for the high-visibility safety vests worn by demonstrators. Police responded to the unrest by firing tear gas. One person died and more than 260 were wounded nationwide in the weekend unrest, including at least 133 in Paris. More than 400 people were arrested. [The New York Times, The Associated Press]


U.S.-China trade truce boosts stocks

U.S. stock market futures surged ahead of Monday's open on optimism after President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to a temporary truce in their trade war. Futures for the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq-100 rose by nearly 2 percent, while those of the S&P 500 gained 1.7 percent. In their meeting over the weekend at the Group of 20 summit in Argentina, Trump agreed to leave tariffs on more than $200 billion worth of Chinese products at 10 percent and only raise them to 25 percent, as previously planned, if the two countries fail to reach a long-term deal. China agreed to "substantial" purchases of U.S. agricultural, energy, and other products. [CNBC]


Drone strike reportedly kills ISIS leader involved in killing American

A U.S. drone strike on Sunday reportedly killed an Islamic State leader, Abu al-Umarayn, who was responsible for killing several foreign hostages, including Peter Kassig, an American aid worker and former U.S. Army Ranger. Kassig, 26, was captured in Syria in October 2013 while providing aid to Syrians fleeing the country's civil war. Abu al-Umarayn was among several ISIS leaders targeted in "precision strikes" by coalition air forces, Brett McGurk, Washington's envoy to the coalition fighting the Islamist extremist group, tweeted on Sunday. ISIS has lost nearly all of the territory it once controlled in Iraq and Syria. [Fox News, Reuters]


Trump promises to 'fulfill' Kim Jong Un's 'wishes'

South Korean President Moon Jae-in on Sunday said President Trump wants him to relay to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that he has "very favorable views toward Chairman Kim and he likes him," Moon told reporters. "As such, he asked me to tell Chairman Kim that he wants to implement the rest of their agreement together and he will fulfill Chairman Kim's wishes" if North Korea denuclearizes. Trump reportedly asked Moon to convey the message when the two allies met on Saturday during the G-20 summit in Argentina. Trump and Kim met in Singapore in June to discuss denuclearization, and on Saturday, Trump said he's expecting to hold another summit with him in either January or February. He also said he'll be inviting Kim to the United States sometime soon. [The Guardian, The Associated Press]


Ralph Breaks the Internet holds onto box-office lead

Ralph Breaks the Internet held onto its place at the top of the box office over the weekend, repeating as No. 1 with $25.8 million in ticket sales, according to Sunday studio estimates. The sharp 54 percent drop came in a historically weak weekend following the long Thanksgiving holiday. No other film came close. Universal's The Grinch came in second at $17.7 million. Fox Searchlight's The Favourite, however, shined in limited release, bringing in $1.1 million from just 34 theaters for an average of $32,500 per screen. That performance compared favorably with early results for Lady Bird, which went on to make $79 million, and The Shape of Water, which made nearly $200 million worldwide and won Best Picture at the 2018 Oscars. [The Associated Press, The New York Times]