Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: October 12, 2022

Biden says he believes Putin is "rational" and unlikely to use nukes, protesters call for L.A. City Council members to resign over leaked racist remarks, and more

1

Biden says he doesn't think Putin will use nuclear weapons in Ukraine

President Biden told CNN on Tuesday that he doesn't believe Russian President Vladimir Putin will resort to using tactical nuclear weapons in Ukraine. "I think he is a rational actor who has miscalculated significantly," Biden told CNN's Jake Tapper. Biden, who warned last week that the risk of "nuclear Armageddon" was the highest in 60 years, added that it was "irresponsible" for Putin to talk about using nuclear weapons, because such threats could lead to "mistakes." Biden also said Saudi Arabia would face "consequences" for joining Russia in an oil production cut that could push gas prices higher. When asked about the possibility his son Hunter Biden could face tax-crime charges, Biden said he was proud of his son for overcoming drug addiction.

2

Protesters demand L.A. City Council members resign after leaked racist remarks

A crowd of protesters attended Tuesday's Los Angeles City Council meeting, calling for council members Nury Martinez, Gil Cedillo, and Kevin de Leon to resign after a leaked audio recording revealed Martinez making racist remarks. In the recording, Martinez likened white council member Mike Bonin's Black son to a changuito, or little monkey, and disparaged Oaxacan immigrants. Los Angeles County Federation of Labor president Ron Herrera, who hosted the secretly recorded meeting, resigned Monday night, and the organization's remaining leaders called for Martinez, Cedillo, and de Leon to step down, too. White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said President Biden also thinks the three council members should resign, calling Martinez's remarks "unacceptable" and "appalling."

3

Russia says it has detained 8 people over Crimea bridge blast

Russia's Federal Security Service announced Wednesday that it had arrested eight people in connection with a Saturday explosion that damaged a bridge connecting Russia to Crimea, a critical supply route for Russian troops in occupied Ukrainian territory. The FSB, Russia's domestic security service, said the suspects included five Russians and three citizens of Ukraine and Armenia. It said the sabotage was planned by Ukrainian military intelligence and involved an explosive device transported from Ukraine to Russia by way of Bulgaria, Georgia, and Armenia. Ukraine has not claimed responsibility for the blast, but its leaders have celebrated it. Russia has responded with its biggest flurry of missile strikes in months against civilians and other nonmilitary targets in cities across Ukraine.

4

WSJ: Federal officials traded stocks affected by their agencies' decisions

More than 2,600 officials at federal agencies have owned or traded stocks affected by their agencies' decisions in the past six years, The Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. The trading took place in the executive branches of both Republican and Democratic administrations. The Journal said it reviewed financial disclosure forms for about 12,000 senior career employees and political appointees from 2016 through 2021. The documents included data on more than 315,000 stock, bond, and fund trades by the officials or close family members. The review found that more than five dozen officials at five agencies traded stock in companies shortly before their departments hit the firms with enforcement actions, and that one in three senior Environmental Protection Agency officials had investments in companies lobbying the EPA.

5

Charges dropped against 'Serial' subject Adnan Syed

Baltimore prosecutors on Tuesday dropped Maryland's criminal case against Adnan Syed, whose story and murder conviction were the focus of the hit podcast Serial. Syed was released from prison after his conviction for the 1999 killing of his high school girlfriend, Hae Min Lee, was overturned last month, but he was still officially charged with murder, kidnapping, and robbery in connection with Lee's death. Baltimore State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby's office decided not to try him again, based on previously untested DNA evidence from Lee's shoes that showed DNA from four people, none of them Syed. The DNA results confirmed "that Adnan is innocent and lost 23 years of his life serving time for a crime he did not commit," said Syed's attorney, Erica Suter.

6

DOJ asks Supreme Court to reject Trump request on special master review

The Justice Department on Tuesday asked the Supreme Court to reject a petition from former President Donald Trump's attorneys to let an outside special master review classified documents seized at Trump's Mar-a-Lago home in Florida. The Justice Department said Trump had no "plausible" claim to ownership of the materials, and allowing the special master Trump requested to examine the documents would "irreparably injure" the government. Trump, who claims the Justice Department is treating him unfairly, has asked the high court to reverse part of an appeals court order granting a DOJ request to separate the classified material from other documents being reviewed by the special master.

7

Tulsi Gabbard exits Democratic Party, calling it a 'cabal of warmongers'

Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) announced Tuesday that she is leaving the Democratic Party, arguing in a video posted on social media that her former party "is now under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wokeness, who divide us by racializing every issue and stoke anti-white racism," "weaponize" national security for politics' sake, and push the country "ever closer to nuclear war." Gabbard endorsed Joe Biden when she ended her longshot 2020 campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination, but she has been an outspoken critic of the president, and a popular guest on Fox News, since he took office.

8

NASA says mission to change asteroid's orbit was a success

NASA said Tuesday that its DART spacecraft that crashed into a small asteroid millions of miles from Earth successfully shifted the space rock's orbit. The mission was a test of the U.S. space agency's ability to deflect an asteroid threatening to collide disastrously with the planet, although the one targeted in the test posed no threat. "This mission shows that NASA is trying to be ready for whatever the universe throws at us," NASA Administrator Bill Nelson said. The DART spacecraft smashed into the asteroid Dimorphos on Sept. 26, leaving a crater and sending debris flying into space in a comet-like trail stretching several thousand miles. Before the impact, the 525-foot asteroid took 11 hours and 55 minutes to orbit its larger companion rock. The crash shortened the orbit by 32 minutes, Nelson said.

9

Buckingham Palace sets King Charles' coronation date in May

King Charles III's coronation has been scheduled for May 6, 2023, Buckingham Palace announced Tuesday. The queen consort, Camilla, will be crowned in the same ceremony, which will take place eight months after the death of Charles' mother, Queen Elizabeth II, whose seven-decade reign made her Britain's longest-ruling monarch. Buckingham Palace said the ceremony at Westminster Abbey "will reflect the monarch's role today and look toward the future, while being rooted in longstanding traditions and pageantry," the Evening Standard reported. Charles became king instantly when Queen Elizabeth died last month, but the coronation traditionally occurs after some time has passed. Charles will be formally crowned and "anointed, blessed, and consecrated" in a ceremony led by the archbishop of Canterbury.

10

5-time Tony winner and 'Murder She Wrote' star Angela Lansbury dies at 96

British actor Angela Lansbury, who won five Tony Awards and later starred in the long-running TV series Murder, She Wrote, died Tuesday at her home in Los Angeles. She was 96. Lansbury was nominated for Academy Awards as best supporting actress for two of her first three films, Gaslight (1945) and The Picture of Dorian Gray (1946). She earned a third nomination for The Manchurian Candidate (1962). Lansbury won a string of Tony Awards for her Broadway roles in Mame (1966), Dear World (1969), Gypsy (1975), and Sweeney Todd (1979). She received another nomination for Deuce in 2007, and her final Tony in 2009 for best featured actress in a revival of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit.

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