Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: May 26, 2019

Tim O'Donnell
Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.
Vietnam News Agency/Handout/Getty Images
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Trump downplays worries about North Korea, says he has confidence in Kim

President Trump on Sunday dismissed the idea he was concerned about North Korea's recent ballistic weapons tests. In an early morning tweet from Tokyo, Trump wrote that he was not disturbed by the weapons testing, although others in his administration were. Trump said he has confidence North Korean leader Kim Jong Un "will keep his promise" to Trump, referring to an agreement between the two heads of state in which Kim said North Korea would not test intercontinental-range ballistic missiles. Trump also cited Kim's recent criticism of former Vice President Joe Biden, who could face off with Trump in the 2020 presidential election, as further reason to trust him. "Perhaps that's sending me a signal?," Trump wrote. [The Washington Post, Donald Trump]


Tornado hits Oklahoma town, killing at least 2

A likely tornado struck in El Reno, Oklahoma, a city of 16,700 residents west of Oklahoma City, on Saturday night, causing significant damage to the area. While no details were immediately made available, the police department in nearby Union City announced in a Facebook post that "serious injuries and fatalities" occurred and El Reno's mayor and the county's emergency manager confirmed that there were two deaths. The tornado hit a motel, a mobile home park, and other buildings. "You could hear the roar and everything when it came through," Richard Griffin, a resident of the mobile home park, said. The tornado followed a series of severe weather in the Southern Plains in the last week; 104 tornadoes were reported across eight states between Monday and Thursday. [ABC News, Fox News]


Venezuela's opposition to meet with Maduro's government in Norway

Norway's foreign ministry confirmed on Saturday that delegates from both Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro's government and the country's opposition led by Juan Guaidó will meet in Oslo next week to negotiate an end to Venezuela's political crisis. Both sides met separately with Norwegian mediators last week for preliminary talks. Guaidó has been hesitant about sending representatives to meet with the government, but confirmed he would do so during a rally on Saturday, though he insisted his side would maintain that a transfer of power is necessary. Maduro has also publicly endorsed the Norway talks, but has shown no indication he would step down. Norway has a history of successfully mediating foreign internal conflicts, including situations in Colombia, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. [The Wall Street Journal, BBC]


Subpoenas for Trump's financial records delayed

President Trump's appeal against an order from a federal judge which allowed for Deutsche Bank and Capital One to hand over financial records to Democratic lawmakers was successful in delaying the process, a court filing on Saturday revealed. Until a final decision is reached on the appeal, the two banks will not have to immediately comply with the subpoenas, which call for financial records of Trump, three of his children, and the Trump Organization. Trump's legal team has argued the subpoenas exceed the authority of Congress, but U.S. District Judge Edgardo Ramos found they were within reason. [Reuters, CBS News]


Final round of EU voting under way

The European Union parliamentary elections will wrap up on Saturday after four days of continent-wide voting, as citizens in 21 countries go to the polls. The EU elections usually fly under the radar, but with polls suggesting a more fragmented parliament, thanks to the rise of several nationalist and populist parties, the vote has garnered more attention than in years past. Several right wing parties from Italy, Germany, Finland, Denmark, and other countries have joined forces in the hopes of altering the balance of power at the supranational level. Despite the renewed enthusiasm, turnout may still fall short of 45 percent. Early exit polls and partial results from the seven countries that have already voted are expected around 12 p.m. E.T. [The Guardian, BBC]


German Jews warned about wearing kippa caps in public amid rising anti-Semitism

Felix Klein, Germany's anti-Semitism commissioner, on Saturday warned the country's Jewish population about the potential dangers of donning the kippa, a traditional Jewish skullcap. Klein said his position on the matter has changed, citing a rise in anti-Semitic activity in Germany, mostly on the far right of the political spectrum. "The internet and social media have largely contributed to this," he said. "But so have constant attacks against our culture of remembrance." Official figures show there were 1,646 hate crimes committed against Jews in Germany in 2018, a sharp increase from the year prior. Klein also suggested police, teachers, and lawyers should receive better training to recognize anti-Semitic behavior. [France 24, BBC]


Klobuchar reveals new plan to aid farmers

2020 Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) on Saturday during a campaign visit to Iowa unveiled a new plan to help U.S. farmers, many of whom have fallen upon difficult financial times as a result of low commodity pricing, flooding, and President Trump's trade dispute with China. Klobuchar's plan includes raising the debt limit on farm bankruptcies — which have doubled in the upper Midwest since 2014 — from $4.2 million to $10 million and increasing access to government loan programs. Klobuchar would increase the Agriculture Department's direct operating loan limit from $400,000 to $600,000 and the farm ownership loan limit from $600,000 to $650,000. [The Associated Press]


Hiker lost in Hawaiian forest for two weeks speaks about survival method

Amanda Eller, a 35-year-old doctor of physical therapy who went missing for two weeks while hiking in a Hawaiian forest and was discovered alive on Friday, spoke on Saturday for the first time about her ordeal. After becoming disoriented on what was meant to be a short hike, Eller was reportedly injured from falling off a 20-foot cliff, fracturing her leg which forced her to crawl through the forest. But she survived by eating berries and drinking water. Eller was released from a Maui hospital on Saturday and is recuperating at a family member's residence on the island. "It came down to life and death — and I had to choose," Eller said. "I chose life." [CNN, NBC News]


Trump awards 'President's Cup' trophy to sumo wrestling champion

During his visit to Japan on Sunday, President Trump presented a special "President's Cup" trophy to the winner of a sumo wrestling tournament, one of Japan's most significant cultural institutions. The winner, Asanoyama, became the first recipient of a winner's trophy awarded by a United States president. Trump and first lady Melania Trump sat in ringside armchairs during the bouts, as opposed to the traditional form of viewership — sitting cross-legged on thin cushions. The gesture, orchestrated by Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, is widely viewed as a diplomatic attempt to flatter Trump as the two countries gear up for negotiations in trade talks, which Trump tweeted would likely come after Japan's elections in July. [The Guardian , Donald Trump]


Raptors advance to NBA finals

The Toronto Raptors stormed back from a two-game deficit to win four straight against the Milwaukee Bucks in the best-of-seven Eastern Conference finals. Led by a dominant Kawhi Leonard, who finished Game 6 with 27 points, 17 rebounds, and 7 assists, Toronto came from behind to claim a 100-94 victory. Toronto is celebrating the franchise's first ever trip to the NBA finals, where they will meet the heavily favored Golden State Warriors, who are seeking their third straight NBA title and fourth in five years. The series will tip off on Thursday at 9:00 p.m. in Toronto on ABC. [ESPN, Reuters]