Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 8, 2019

Trump announces national address to push for wall funding, Kim Jong Un travels to China to discuss possible second summit with Trump, and more

1

Trump announces primetime address to make case for border wall

President Trump announced Monday that he would make a televised, primetime address to make his case for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, saying border security was a "national emergency." The White House said Trump would also visit the border later in the week. Trump's demand for $5.6 billion for wall construction, which Democrats oppose, has resulted in a stalemate over a spending bill that has partially shut down the federal government. ABC, NBC, CBS, and MSNBC said they would air the speech at 9 p.m. ET. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) released a joint statement demanding equal airtime, saying if Trump's "past statements are any indication," his address will be "full of malice and misinformation."

2

Kim Jong Un meets Chinese officials to discuss a second Trump summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is expected to meet Tuesday with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a four-day trip to Beijing interpreted as part of preparations by the two allies ahead of a possible second summit between Kim and President Trump. U.S. and North Korean officials are believed to have met already in Vietnam to discuss where to hold a second summit. Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Beijing supports efforts to end tensions over U.S. demands for North Korea to dismantle its nuclear and missile programs, although he provided no details on China's role in the process. "It's important for the two sides to maintain contact and we always support their dialogue to achieve positive outcomes," Lu said.

3

Former presidents deny Trump claim they support wall

President Trump claimed last week that former presidents had told him that they supported the idea of building a wall on the southern border. "This should have been done by all of the presidents that preceded me," Trump said. "And they all know it. Some of them have told me that we should have done it." All four living ex-presidents told The Washington Post on Monday that this is untrue. Former President Barack Obama's spokesman referred to previous comments in which Obama said a wall would "run counter to our history as the world's melting pot," while former President Jimmy Carter said he does "not support [Trump] on the issue." Representatives for former Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton said they had never discussed the matter with Trump.

4

Ginsburg misses Supreme Court arguments for 1st time after cancer surgery

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on Monday missed oral arguments for the first time since she joined the court. Ginsburg, 85, is recovering from December lung cancer surgery. She also recently fell and broke several ribs. The high-profile liberal justice was confirmed to the court in 1993 and had never missed a day of oral arguments, despite previous bouts with colorectal cancer in 1999 and pancreatic cancer a decade later. Ginsburg is expected to make a full recovery and return to work.

5

China, U.S. resume talks on trade

Chinese and American trade negotiators met in Beijing on Monday to start fresh talks on ending a months-long trade war between the U.S. and China. Both sides have expressed optimism heading into the negotiations, the first face-to-face discussions since President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in December agreed to a 90-day truce in the trade war. "These talks will have a positive outcome because both sides are trying to deal with the issue in an active and practical manner," said Wei Jianguo, a former vice commerce minister. "I'm not saying there could be positive results; I think there definitely will be." In Washington, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said there was "a very good chance" the two sides would reach a deal.

6

Cyntoia Brown granted clemency 15 years after complex murder sentence

Tennessee Gov. Bill Haslam (R) on Monday commuted the life sentence of Cyntoia Brown, a Tennessee woman and sex trafficking victim convicted 15 years ago for killing and robbing a man who "bought" her to rape her when she was 16. Brown now will be eligible for release Aug. 7 on time served, and will remain on parole for 10 years. "Cyntoia Brown committed, by her own admission, a horrific crime at the age of 16," Haslam said in a statement. "Yet imposing a life sentence on a juvenile that would require her to serve at least 51 years before even being eligible for parole consideration is too harsh." Haslam praised Brown for taking "extraordinary steps" to "rebuild her life." Brown thanked Haslam for his "mercy in giving me a second chance."

7

White House says IRS will process refunds despite shutdown

The Internal Revenue Service will pay tax refunds despite the partial federal government shutdown, the White House Office of Management and Budget announced Monday. "Tax refunds will go out," the acting director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, Russell Vought, told reporters. The decision came after reports that if the shutdown, now in its third week, dragged into filing season then taxpayers would have to wait for their refunds. The decision to send refund checks even though the IRS is affected by the shutdown would remove a key incentive for both sides to reach a spending deal to reopen the quarter of the government now closed.

8

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim resigns 3 years early

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim abruptly resigned on Monday, three years earlier than expected. Kim, 59, started his second five-year term in July 2017. He said he decided to step down after receiving an "unexpected" opportunity to enter the private sector, joining a firm that builds infrastructure in the developing world. The World Bank committed nearly $64 billion in loans to developing countries last fiscal year, and Kim helped the lender get member countries to support a $13-billion lending-capital increase last April. Kim was nominated by then-President Barack Obama. President Trump is now expected to push his own replacement in what could trigger a battle over the development lender's purpose. Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, has argued in favor of privatizing the World Bank.

9

Kevin Spacey pleads not guilty to sexual assault charge

Actor Kevin Spacey pleaded not guilty in a Massachusetts court on Monday to a felony charge of indecent assault and battery. Judge Thomas S. Barrett ordered Spacey, 59, not to have any contact with the alleged victim, whom Spacey allegedly groped in a Nantucket bar in 2016 when the man was 18. The case marks the first criminal charge against Spacey, although he has faced numerous allegations of sexual misconduct since actor Anthony Rapp told BuzzFeed News that Spacey made sexual advances toward him when Spacey was 26 and he was 14. After the interview, Spacey said he had no memory of that alleged encounter, but that, if it happened, he owed Rapp "the sincerest apology for what would have been deeply inappropriate drunken behavior."

10

Clemson crushes Alabama for 2nd college football national title in 3 years

Clemson and Alabama faced off in the College Football Playoff title game in Santa Clara, California, Monday night, in their fourth straight national college football postseason matchup. Unlike the last three meetings, this one wasn't close. No. 2 Clemson dominated No. 1 Alabama, winning 44-16 to take its second title in three years. Clemson quarterback Trevor Lawrence threw for 347 yards and three touchdowns, and the Tigers' defense held Alabama to just three points in the final three quarters. Alabama won the two teams' first title meeting at the end of the 2015 season, Clemson won the championship in 2016, and Alabama beat Clemson in last year's Sugar Bowl semifinal game.

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