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5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Comey memos reportedly spark inspector general probe

  • North and South Korea set up presidential hotline ahead of summit

  • DNC sues Trump campaign, Russian government over 2016 election

  • U.S. fines Wells Fargo $1 billion

  • Swedish DJ Avicii dead at 28

On Thursday, the Justice Department sent Congress redacted memos written by former FBI Director James Comey detailing private conversations he had with President Trump. The documents were almost immediately shared with The Associated Press. In one memo, Comey said that Trump had confided he had major concerns about former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's judgment; in another, he wrote that Trump said he was told by Russian President Vladimir Putin that Russia has "some of the most beautiful hookers in the world." Their release has prompted an investigation by the DOJ inspector general, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday, because some of the information in the memos was upgraded to classified status, albeit after Comey shared them with a personal friend.

Source: The Associated Press, The Wall Street Journal

On Friday, South Korea announced that it has set up and successfully tested a hotline that connects President Moon Jae-in with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Moon and Kim did not participate in the test call, but they are expected to use it to converse for the first time sometime before their historic summit next week. The leaders of North and South Korea have met only twice before since the 1950-53 Korean War. Kim is also in talks to hold a summit with President Trump in early summer. On Thursday, Moon said that North Korea had dropped its request that U.S. troops vacate South Korea as a prerequisite for denuclearization, potentially strengthening the odds of successful negotiations.

Source: The Associated Press

The Democratic National Committee is suing the Trump campaign, Russian government, and WikiLeaks for millions of dollars in relation to the 2016 hack of DNC emails and the subsequent election of President Trump. "This constituted an act of unprecedented treachery," said DNC Chairman Tom Perez in a statement. The DNC claims that high-level Trump campaign officials worked with Russia to hurt Hillary Clinton's chances by stealing Democratic emails and disseminating them via WikiLeaks. The lawsuit is similar to one filed by the party in 1972 over the Nixon re-election campaign's break-in at the Democratic headquarters, The Washington Post reports, which ultimately ended in President Richard Nixon's resignation.

Source: The Washington Post, Bloomberg

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and Office of the Comptroller of the Currency announced Friday that Wells Fargo is being fined $1 billion for, among other things, charging customers for car insurance they didn't need. The bank will pay $500 million to each agency. Last year, the company apologized for forcing as many as 570,000 customers into purchasing unnecessary car insurance, and said after conducting an internal review, it was discovered that roughly 20,000 of those clients may have defaulted on their car loans and had their vehicles repossessed because of the insurance cost. Wells Fargo also announced in October that some mortgage borrowers were charged after missing a deadline to lock in interest rates, even though the delay was caused by the company.

Source: CNN Money, Bloomberg

Swedish DJ Avicii was found dead in Oman on Friday, his publicist confirmed. He was 28. "It is with profound sorrow that we announce the loss of Tim Bergling, also known as Avicii," the publicist, Diana Baron, said in a statement. Avicii had retired from performing in 2016 after suffering from health problems. Avicii's hits include "Levels," which went platinum in the U.S., and "Wake Me Up," which hit No. 4 on the Hot 100. "Devastating news about Avicii, a beautiful soul, passionate and extremely talented, with so much more to do," tweeted fellow DJ Calvin Harris. "My heart goes out to his family."

Source: Variety, Rolling Stone
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