Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 27, 2020

Harold Maass
Kobe Bryant at a Lakers game
Rob Carr/Getty Images


Kobe Bryant and daughter die in helicopter crash

Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were killed when their private helicopter crashed in Southern California on Sunday. Bryant was 41. Seven other people also died. Witnesses said the helicopter sputtered and flew low in heavy fog before slamming into the ground. Bryant won five championships, two Olympic gold medals, and was an NBA All-Star 18 times over a 20-year career, which was nearly derailed by a 2003 sexual assault charge that was later dropped. He retired in 2016. The aircraft was taking the group to a basketball game for Gianna, known as Gigi. She shared Bryant's love of the sport, and they attended several Lakers games together last year. Bryant's three other daughters and wife, Vanessa, were not on the helicopter. [Los Angeles Times, People]


Bolton book reportedly claims Trump held up Ukraine aid over Biden probe

Former National Security Adviser John Bolton wrote in a draft of his upcoming book that President Trump told him last year that he was freezing congressionally approved security aid to Ukraine until it committed to investigating Democrats, The New York Times reported Sunday. Bolton's assertion that Trump linked the $391 million in aid to the inquiry he wanted Ukraine to launch against former Vice President Joe Biden, the leading Democratic candidate to challenge Trump in November's election, contradicts part of his legal team's defense in his impeachment trial. The charges center on Trump's alleged effort to pressure Ukraine's leaders, and to obstruct the House investigation. Democrats want Bolton to testify in the Senate impeachment trial, which resumes Monday. [The New York Times]


CDC confirms 5th coronavirus case in U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Sunday confirmed a fifth case of coronavirus in the United States. The latest two cases were in California. Both patients are being treated in hospitals, authorities said. All five of the U.S. patients had recently traveled to Wuhan, the city in central China at the heart of the outbreak of the flu-like virus. Chinese health officials on Sunday warned that the virus can spread before infected people have symptoms, potentially increasing the challenge of containing its spread. The death toll in China has risen to at least 80, with 2,700 confirmed infections. [CNN, The Associated Press]


Trump tweets that Schiff hasn't 'paid the price, yet'

President Trump said Sunday that Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who is leading the House impeachment team, has not "not paid the price, yet," for his role in the effort to oust Trump. "Shifty Adam Schiff is a CORRUPT POLITICIAN, and probably a very sick man. He has not paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our Country!" Trump tweeted. Schiff, chair of the House Intelligence Committee, said he viewed Trump's remark as a threat. Schiff said in his role as one of the House impeachment managers in Trump's trial that the president could not be trusted to do the right thing for the nation, and that Republicans were under pressure to acquit him. "It's going to require moral courage to stand up to this president," Schiff said on NBC's Meet the Press. [Reuters]


Report: Rockets hit U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad

Three rockets on Sunday hit the U.S. Embassy compound in Baghdad, injuring one person, CNN reported, citing a U.S. official. The wounded person suffered only minor injury and was able to return to duty. A State Department spokesperson said the Trump administration was "aware of reports of rockets landing in the International Zone," but did not confirm that the embassy was affected. "We call on the government of Iraq to fulfill its obligations to protect our diplomatic facilities," the spokesperson said. No group claimed responsibility, and the State Department did not directly blame Iran, despite its recent threats to target U.S. interests in the region. [CNN]


Trump to discuss Mideast peace with Netanyahu, Gantz

President Trump is scheduled to meet Monday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Benny Gantz at the White House. Trump is preparing to unveil his Mideast peace plan after a long delay. Trump first will meet with Netanyahu, leader of the conservative Likud party, and then with Gantz, whose centrist Blue and White party nearly tied with Likud in Israel's last election. Neither leader managed to pull together a ruling coalition, so Israelis will vote again in March to break the deadlock. Trump reportedly plans to share some of the details of his peace plan with Netanyahu and Gantz, who on Saturday said the plan would be a "meaningful landmark mapping the way for the different players in the Middle East to finally move forward towards an historical and regional agreement." [Reuters]


Dutch leader apologizes for country's failure to protect Jews during Holocaust

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte apologized on Sunday for Holland's failure to protect Jews from the Nazis during World War II. "With the last remaining survivors among us, I apologize on behalf of the government for the actions of the government at the time," Rutte said at an Amsterdam Holocaust remembrance event ahead of Monday's 75th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp. "I do so, realizing that no word can describe something as enormous and awful as the Holocaust." Rutte said that some government officials tried to resist Nazi occupiers, but many others did nothing. Just over 100,000 of the six million Jews killed by Germany during the Holocaust were from the Netherlands. [BBC News]


Fear of coronavirus fallout drags down global markets

World stocks dropped on Monday as concerns mounted about possible economic fallout from China's quickly spreading coronavirus outbreak. Some health experts questioned whether China could contain the epidemic as the death toll surged to at least 80, with more than 2,700 cases in China, as well as a handful in more than 10 countries, including five in the United States. The MSCI All-Country World Index, which follows shares in 47 countries, fell by 0.4 percent to its lowest in two weeks. The pan-European STOXX 600 index fell by 1.4 percent. U.S. stock index shares also were down sharply several hours before the opening bell as investors sought safe-haven assets, including Treasury notes. [Reuters]


Stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant

The death of Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, and seven other people in a helicopter crash Sunday sparked an outpouring of grief in Los Angeles and around the U.S. "We're all feeling crazy sadness" because we "lost a hero," Alicia Keys said at the start of Sunday night's Grammys, held in the Lakers' home arena. "And we're literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built." Former President Barack Obama said "Kobe was a legend on the court and just getting started in what would have been just as meaningful a second act." Fellow NBA icons also praised and mourned Bryant. Michael Jordan and Shaquille O'Neal both said words couldn't describe their pain, and Magic Johnson called Bryant the "greatest Laker of all time," adding that the game of basketball "will never be the same." [ABC News]


Billie Eilish becomes 2nd artist to sweep every major Grammy category

Billie Eilish made Grammy history on Sunday night when she became only the second artist ever to win all four major categories. Eilish, 18, was named Best New Artist and also won Record of the Year and Song of the Year for "Bad Guy" and Album of the Year for When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? Eilish was nominated in seven categories, and won six awards. When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? was produced and co-written by Eilish's brother, Finneas O'Connell. In 1981, Christopher Cross became the first person to win the Grammys for album, song, record, and best new artist in one year. [Los Angeles Times]