Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: February 10, 2019

Bonnie Kristian
Virginia Lt. Gov.  Justin Fairfax addresses the media about a sexual assualt allegation from 2004 outside of the capital building in dowtown Richmond, February 4, 2019.
Logan Cyrus/Getty Images
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Democrats call for Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax to resign over sexual assault allegations

The Democratic Party of Virginia on Saturday called for the resignation of Virginia Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax (D) a day after a second woman accused him of sexual assault. "Given the credible nature of the sexual assault claims," the party said, "it has become clear [Fairfax] can no longer fulfill the duties and responsibilities of his post." Prominent Democrats including former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Sens. Cory Booker (N.J.), Kirsten Gillibrand (N.Y.), Kamala Harris (Calif.), and Tim Kaine (Va.) have also called for Fairfax's resignation. Fairfax has denied both allegations and said he will not leave office. [The New York Times, USA Today]


Negotiators say a deal to avert shutdown is close

Bipartisan congressional negotiators working on a federal spending deal to avert a second partial government shutdown have reported they are close to reaching an agreement. Talks continued over the weekend, and negotiators from both houses of Congress hope to have a finalized proposal Monday so a vote can take place before the Feb. 15 deadline. The question remains whether President Trump will sign any package without the $5.7 billion he has demanded for border wall construction. Rep. Lucille Roybal-Allard (D-Calif.), one of the negotiators, suggested Friday something in the range of $1.6 to $2 billion "possibly could be workable." [Politico, Los Angeles Times]


Poll: Virginians split on Northam's fate

Virginians are evenly divided over whether Gov. Ralph Northam (D) should resign from his position, a new Washington Post-Schar School poll showed Saturday, following the revelation that his 1984 medical school yearbook page contains a photo of a man in blackface and one in Ku Klux Klan robes. Statewide, 47 percent say he should stay in office, and 47 percent disagree. Democrats are more likely than Republicans to want to keep Northam, as are African Americans, 58 percent of whom oppose his resignation. Northam said again Saturday he will not resign, and that he plans a new focus on "racial equity" issues. [The Washington Post, The Hill]


Warren launches 2020 campaign

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) formally launched her 2020 presidential campaign Saturday at an event in Lawrence, Massachusetts, north of Boston. "It won't be enough to just undo the terrible acts of this administration," she told supporters. "We can't afford to just tinker around the edges — a tax credit here, a regulation there. Our fight is for big, structural change. This is the fight of our lives," Warren continued. "And that is why I stand here today: to declare that I am a candidate for president of the United States of America." [CNN, The Associated Press]


Trump apparently mocks the Trail of Tears in swipe at Warren

President Trump responded to Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) launching her 2020 presidential campaign Saturday with a tweet which appeared to mock the Trail of Tears as part of a swipe at Warren's past claims about Native American heritage. "Will she run as our first Native American presidential candidate, or has she decided that after 32 years, this is not playing so well anymore?" Trump wrote. "See you on the campaign TRAIL, Liz!" The Trail of Tears was the forcible and often deadly relocation of tens of thousands of Native Americans from the Southeast to areas west of the Mississippi between 1830 and 1850. [USA Today, Donald J. Trump]


Klobuchar expected to announce presidential bid

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) is expected to launch her 2020 presidential campaign from Minneapolis on Sunday with a rally at a park by the Mississippi River. "I don't have a political machine. I don't come from money," Klobuchar will say, per an advance copy of her planned remarks. "But what I do have is this: I have grit. I have family. I have friends. I have neighbors. I have all of you who are willing to come out in the middle of the winter ... to stand up and say people matter." Klobuchar is a third-term senator and a former prosecutor. [CNN, Reuters]


South Korea agrees to pay more for U.S. troops

American and South Korean officials on Sunday signed a new deal on how much Seoul will pay Washington for the upkeep of U.S. troops stationed in South Korea. The agreement was renegotiated after President Trump demanded Seoul pay more. The payment for 2019 will be about $924 million, up from $830 million in 2018. Sunday's deal will only last for one year, far shorter than the five-year arrangements between the two nations in the past. There are about 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea, where the United States has maintained a military presence since the Korean War in the 1950s. [NBC News, Reuters]


Denver teachers plan to strike Monday

After negotiations between Denver Public Schools and the local teachers' union, the Denver Classroom Teachers Association, failed to reach a new salary agreement Saturday, the union announced plans for a strike beginning Monday. At issue is the school district's method of awarding bonuses as performance incentives; the union is pushing for lower bonuses and higher, more consistent base pay. While Monday classes have been canceled for many preschoolers in the district, most Denver schools will remain open Monday, operated by administrators and substitute teachers. [NBC News, CNN]


Seattle slammed with unusual snowfall

Seattle was blanketed in 6.4 inches of snow on Friday, just shy of the 6.8 inches the city usually receives in an entire year. Continued snowfall Saturday brought accumulation to 7.2 inches and counting, while inland areas of Washington State have up to 18 inches of snow on the ground. The unusual amount of snow comes via Winter Storm Maya, which has also closed part of Interstate 90 and left more than 50,000 homes and businesses without power. More snow, strong winds, and temperatures consistently below freezing are expected to continue Sunday, and authorities have encouraged those able to stay at home to do so. [Reuters, The Week]


Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Cardi B dominate Grammy nominations

The 2019 Grammy Awards will be hosted by 15-time Grammy winner Alicia Keys in Los Angeles Sunday. The artist with the most nominations this year is Kendrick Lamar, thanks to his work on the Black Panther soundtrack, followed by Drake, Cardi B, and Childish Gambino. The show will air on CBS starting at 8 p.m. Eastern, with pre-show festivities on the red carpet beginning several hours earlier. "I know what it feels like to be on that stage," Keys said of the ceremony, "and I'm going to bring that vibe and energy." [CBS News, NBC News]