Daily briefing

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

Trump tax data reportedly shows huge losses in the '80s and '90s, Iran announces a partial withdrawal from its 2015 nuclear deal, and more


Iran announces partial withdrawal from 2015 nuclear deal terms

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced Wednesday that his country would stop complying with parts of the landmark 2015 nuclear accord that exchanged sanctions relief for the curbing of Tehran's nuclear program. Rouhani said in a televised speech that Iran would keep stockpiles of excess uranium and heavy water from nuclear reactors, and resume higher uranium enrichment unless the international community agrees to new terms within 60 days. "We are ready to negotiate," he said. The move came a year after President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the deal. It was expected to further intensify tensions with the U.S., which has imposed sanctions on buyers of Iranian oil and moved an aircraft carrier to the Middle East following signs Iran is planning an attack on U.S. interests.


Trump tax info reportedly shows years of massive losses

President Trump reported losses totaling $1.17 billion to the Internal Revenue Service from 1985 to 1994, The New York Times reported Tuesday, citing tax data obtained by reporters. "In fact, year after year," the newspaper said, "Mr. Trump appears to have lost more money than nearly any other individual American taxpayer." Trump's losses from his core businesses — including casinos, hotels, and retail-space rentals in apartment buildings — exceeded $250 million in both 1990 and 1991, double those of the biggest losers in IRS annual samples of high-earners for those years. Trump's book, Trump: The Art of the Deal, a pillar of his image as a successful businessman, was released in the decade covered in the data. Trump lawyer Charles Harder called the Times' tax information "demonstrably false."


1 killed, 8 injured in Colorado school shooting

Two students armed with at least one pistol opened fire on fellow students at a Colorado science and technology charter school on Tuesday, killing one 18-year-old male and injuring at least eight people. Two suspects were taken into custody. "Two individuals walked in to the STEM school, got deep inside the school, and engaged students in two separate locations," Douglas County Sheriff Tony Spurlock said. Spurlock said one of the suspects was a juvenile. The other was identified as Devon Erickson, 18. At least four of the injured were treated and released late Tuesday from hospitals near the STEM School Highlands Ranch. Some of the others remained in critical condition. The shooting occurred nearly three weeks after the 20th anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High School in neighboring Littleton.


Wray splits with Barr on whether there was 'spying' on Trump campaign

FBI Director Chris Wray rejected Attorney General William Barr's characterization of the early inquiry into the Trump campaign's Russia ties as "spying," telling members of the Senate Appropriations Committee "that's not the term I would use." "I believe that the FBI is engaged in investigative activity," Wray said, "and part of investigative activity includes surveillance." But, he said, he had no evidence that there had been any illegal surveillance of the Trump campaign. President Trump has accused the FBI of spying on his campaign as part of an "attempted coup." Barr testified to the House Judiciary Committee that Trump's campaign was affected by unspecified "spying," a claim Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), said "directly contradict[ed] what the Department of Justice previously told us."


Georgia governor signs 'heartbeat' anti-abortion bill

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) on Tuesday signed the state's anti-abortion "heartbeat bill" into law, more than a month after state lawmakers approved it. The legislation would outlaw most abortions after a doctor is able to detect a fetal heartbeat, effectively banning abortions beyond about six weeks of pregnancy, before many women even know they're pregnant. Kemp boasted the state would have the "toughest abortion bill in the country." The bill includes exceptions for rape, incest, and situations when the mother's health is at risk. Opponents called the bill draconian and said they hoped to launch a court challenge that could go all the way to the Supreme Court.


McGahn defies congressional subpoena under White House direction

Former White House Counsel Don McGahn on Tuesday defied a congressional subpoena to turn over documents to the House Judiciary Committee. McGahn was instructed by Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney not to turn over the material, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said. McGahn spoke with Special Counsel Robert Mueller as part of his inquiry into whether the president obstructed justice during the Russia investigation, and Democrats want to see documents related to his testimony. They gave McGahn a May 7 deadline to give Congress documents related to the Mueller investigation, but in his letter to House Judiciary Committee Chair Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.), Cipollone argues that McGahn "does not have the legal right to disclose these documents" because they could be subject to executive privilege.


Sandra Bland's video of her 2015 arrest surfaces

Newly released cellphone video shot by Sandra Bland, the black woman who died in a Texas jail after a 2015 traffic stop, showed her confrontation with a state trooper, Brian Encinia, from her perspective. In the 39-second clip, aired Monday night by Dallas TV station WFAA, Bland begins filming as Encinia orders her out of her car following her refusal to put out her cigarette. Encinia has opened Bland's car door and orders her out, pointing a stun gun at her. "Get out of the car! I will light you up," he shouts. Bland gets out and the video ends after she obeys Encinia's command to put down her phone. Bland, who was on her way to a new job, was found hanging in her cell days later. A lawyer for Bland's family said the video undercut Encinia's assertion that he felt threatened.


Stocks shaken by Trump's renewed China tariff threat

U.S. stocks plunged on Tuesday on fears of a renewed trade war between the U.S. and China as President Trump vowed to hike tariffs on $200 billion worth of Chinese goods on Friday. The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped by as much as 648 points before closing down by 473 points, or 1.8 percent. The broader S&P 500 fell by 1.7 percent, while the tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite lost 2 percent. Trump made the threat in a Sunday tweet. China said it would still send negotiators for trade talks in Washington this week. U.S. officials said Trump's threat came after Beijing sent a diplomatic cable with edits to a draft trade agreement that effectively reneged on key concessions. U.S. stock futures dropped further early Wednesday.


Denver votes 'no' to decriminalizing 'magic mushrooms'

Denver voters appeared to have rejected a citizen initiative seeking to make the city the first in the U.S. to decriminalize "magic mushrooms" containing the hallucinogen psilocybin. Unofficial returns with all precincts reporting late Tuesday showed "no" votes with a substantial lead over "yes" votes. Advocates of the initiative, which took an approach used by Denver marijuana advocates to decriminalize pot possession in 2005, argued that the mushrooms have been proven safe and useful as an alternative treatment for opiate addiction and mental health problems. Denver District Attorney Beth McCann opposed the proposal, saying only 11 of more than 9,000 drug cases considered for prosecution between 2016 and 2018 involved the drug.


Dave Chappelle awarded Mark Twain Prize for American Humor

The Kennedy Center announced on Tuesday that Dave Chappelle is the next recipient of the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. "Dave is the embodiment of Mark Twain's observation that 'against the assault of humor, nothing can stand,'" Kennedy Center President Deborah F. Rutter said in a statement. "For three decades, Dave has challenged us to see hot-button issues from his entirely original yet relatable perspective." The prize is given to those who have helped shape society through their comedy. Chappelle, 45, is best known for creating and starring in the critically acclaimed Chappelle's Show. He will be honored at the Kennedy Center on Oct. 27, and the event will air on PBS on Jan. 6, 2020.


Bowing to Beijing
Tom Cruise.

Bowing to Beijing

America's revealing indifference to Cuba
Fidel Castro.
Samuel Goldman

America's revealing indifference to Cuba

Is China going to fry the global climate?
Xi Jinping.
Picture of Ryan CooperRyan Cooper

Is China going to fry the global climate?

Volunteers are writing and illustrating free books to help South African kids with reading
South African children read their books from Book Dash.
reading is fundamental

Volunteers are writing and illustrating free books to help South African kids with reading

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Former Sen. Carl Levin.
rest in peace

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Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee is arrested on Thursday at a voter rights protest.
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