Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: January 21, 2023

Justice Department tells GOP-led House it will not share info, Chris Hipkins to replace Jacinda Ardern as New Zealand prime minister, and more


Justice Department tells GOP-led House it will not share info about ongoing investigations

The U.S. Justice Department said Friday that it is unlikely to share information with House committees about any ongoing investigations, according to a letter obtained by multiple outlets. "Longstanding Department policy prevents us from confirming or denying the existence of pending investigations in response to congressional requests or providing non-public information about our investigations," a DOJ official wrote. The letter came in response to requests from the GOP-led House and House Judiciary Chair Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) to receive information on a variety of investigations, ranging from the DOJ's probe into Hunter Biden as well as the ongoing investigations into the handling of classified documents by both President Biden and former President Donald Trump. 


Chris Hipkins to replace Jacinda Ardern as New Zealand prime minister

Education Minister Chris Hipkins is set to replace Jacinda Ardern as the next prime minister of New Zealand after emerging on Saturday as the sole candidate for the job. While Hipkins, 44, is still required to officially receive an endorsement from his Labour Party, that remains all but a formality. Hipkins is expected to become the official leader of the party on Sunday, and the transfer of power to his premiership will begin soon after. Hipkins — one of the main architects of New Zealand's globally praised response to the COVID-19 pandemic — was nominated uncontested by the Labour Party after the unexpected announcement from Ardern last week that she would be resigning. 


U.S. officials telling Ukraine to delay offensive push, source says

U.S. officials are advising Ukraine to delay their latest offensive push until the latest cache of American weaponry has arrived and training has been provided, a senior Biden administration official told Reuters on Friday. Speaking to reporters on the condition of anonymity, the official said the U.S. was holding to its decision not to provide Abrams tanks to Ukraine amidst the country's ongoing fight with Germany over similar matters. However, the Biden administration also believes that any Ukrainian offensive would be more successful should they wait for the proper training and advanced weapons from the United States, the official said. The U.S. said last week that it would provide hundreds of armored vehicles for the fight. 


Trump drops lawsuit against N.Y. Attorney General Letitia James

Former President Donald Trump on Friday dropped his lawsuit against New York Attorney General Letitia James that had attempted to stop her from accessing key portions of his financials. James is currently pursuing a $250 million civil suit against the former president, alleging that Trump had mismanaged and misled people in New York state through a decade's worth of fraudulent business practices. Trump's withdrawal of his lawsuit comes just one day after a U.S. District Judge fined him and his attorney, Alina Habba, nearly $1 million for filing what was ruled a "frivolous" lawsuit against Hillary Clinton and other top Democrats. 


Illegal border crossings rise to highest level of Biden's term

An influx of migrants from Cuba and Nicaragua in December resulted in the highest number of illegal border crossings during any month of President Biden's time in office, immigration officials said Friday. The massive wave of migrants reportedly occurred just prior to Biden signing legislation on Jan. 5 to try and deter these illegal crossings. Officials said they stopped illegal crossings along the U.S.-Mexico border 251,487 times in December, a seven percent increase from the 234,896 people stopped in November and a 40 percent jump from December 2021. Cubans were stopped 43,000 times and Nicaraguans were stopped more than 35,000 times, according to the data. 


Over 50 injured as violence, protests surge in Peru

More than 50 people were injured on Friday night as law enforcement clashed with protesters in a renewed wave of violence across Peru. The protests are part of an anti-government sentiment that is sweeping the nation following the ousting and arrest of former President Pedro Castillo. In the capital city of Lima, police officers were seen using tear gas to try and stop protesters who were throwing glass bottles and stones. Local television footage showed fires burning in the streets throughout the capital. By the end of the day, Peruvian officials reported that 58 people had been injured. 


Lawyers file $50M lawsuit against Los Angeles after man's stun gun death

Attorneys have filed a $50 million lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles on behalf of Keenan Anderson, a 31-year-old teacher and Black Lives Matter activist who died after being repeatedly tased by LAPD officers following a traffic collision. Attorneys for the Andersons, including noted civil rights attorney Ben Crump, filed the suit on behalf of Anderson's 5-year-old son. Police have said that Anderson died in the hospital on Jan. 3 of cardiac arrest a few hours after struggling with officers who were trying to detain him after a car accident. Body cam footage released by the LAPD shows police attempting to stop Anderson from resisting arrest, and officials said he was tased six times in less than a minute. 


Explosions prior to arrival of Indian opposition leader injure 6

At least six people were injured on Saturday following a pair of explosions in the Indian city of Jammu, police said. The city, located in a region disputed by neighboring Pakistan, was rocked by the blasts prior to the arrival of Indian opposition leader Rahul Gandhi, who is traversing the country on a march against "hate and division." Gandhi's march is part of an attempt to turn his party's favor around after it was walloped by Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party in the 2019 elections. The explosions occurred despite security in Jammu being heightened ahead of Gandhi's planned arrival on Monday. 


Elon Musk takes the stand in Tesla case

Tesla founder and CEO Elon Musk took the stand on Friday in a California courtroom to testify in regard to a lawsuit against the electric car conglomerate. The lawsuit was brought on behalf of Tesla shareholders over a series of tweets made by Musk in 2018. In the tweet, Musk said that he was thinking of taking Tesla private at a price of $420 per share. While this in itself was not an issue, Musk ended the tweet by claiming, "Funding secured." However, it was soon revealed that while Musk had spoken to the Saudis about procuring funds from their sovereign wealth fund, this money was not guaranteed at the time of his tweet. Musk argued that his tweets do not directly affect Tesla's stock price.


Prosecutors allege Elizabeth Holmes attempted to flee after conviction

Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of disgraced blood-testing company Theranos, attempted to flee the United States shortly after her conviction last year on fraud charges, prosecutors alleged in a new court filing last week. According to the filing, Holmes had purchased a one-way ticket to Mexico last January after she was convicted of defrauding investors over the merits of Theranos' blood-testing machines. Following her conviction, Holmes was sentenced last November to more than 11 years in prison, and was ordered to surrender herself to corrections authorities this coming April. However, she has appealed her conviction, and experts said she could remain free while her appeal is pending. 


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