U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: November 19, 2016

Zach Gibson/Getty Images


1. Early Trump picks signal hard-line security policy and GOP loyalty
President-elect Donald Trump’s initial nominations signal a hard-line approach to security issues at home and abroad, as well as the new administration’s willingness to smooth a historically rocky relationship with the Republican Party establishment. The selections of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as attorney general, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-Kan.) as CIA director, and retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn as national security adviser suggest Trump is serious about the aggressive national security rhetoric of his campaign. The Sessions pick has been particularly controversial among critics including the NAACP, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), and civil libertarians like Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.). Upcoming additional nominations are rumored to includeformer Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown for secretary of veterans affairs and NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers for director of national intelligence.

Source: The Washington Post, Associated Press

2. Trump reaches $25 million settlement in Trump University lawsuit
President-elect Donald Trump’s lawyers reached a $25 million settlement in the lawsuit over his for-profit business school, Trump University, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Friday. Trump was sued for fraud after students alleged they were promised a top-tier education — with access to Trump and other experts — that they never received. Trump previously vowed he would not settle the suit, but his company said in a statement he chose to do so to “devote his full attention to the important issues facing our great nation.” The final terms of the settlement reportedly do not require Trump to admit wrongdoing.

Source: CNBC, New York Daily News

3. Department of Justice to investigate post-election reports of harassment
Attorney General Loretta Lynch announced Friday the Justice Department will investigate whether the myriad reported incidents of harassment since the presidential election classify as federal hate crimes. Civil rights groups have tallied hundreds of cases tied specifically to race, sexuality, or religion, and sometimes committed in President-elect Donald Trump’s name. Lynch urged people to continue reporting any incidents of harassment they witness, and Trump has called on his supporters to “stop it,” labeling the reports “terrible.”

Source: Department of Justice, Talking Points Memo

4. Zika no longer a public health emergency, WHO announces
The World Health Organization said Friday the Zika virus is no longer classified as a “public health emergency of international concern.” WHO clarified that while the mosquito-borne illness is still a “highly significant and a long-term problem,” it has determined Zika should be handled as “an ongoing problem, not an exceptional situation.” This means “Zika is here to stay and the WHO response is here to stay,” said Peter Salama, executive director of WHO’s emergencies program. Since last year, Zika has spread to more than 60 countries, and an estimated 2,300 babies have been born with microcephaly, a birth defect tied to the virus.

Source: The New York Times, Reuters

5. Obama blocks Trump’s path to oil-drilling in the Arctic
On Friday, the Interior Department released a revised blueprint for oil drilling in federally-owned waters over the next five years, excluding two areas in the Arctic Ocean from the approved list. While the plan allows drilling to continue in Alaska’s Cook Inlet, exploration will be halted in 2017 in the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas off the Alaskan coast. President-elect Donald Trump has vowed to increase the production of oil and gas and cut back on industry regulations during his presidency, and while he could technically undo the Obama administration’s plan, Politico reported it would “take at least a few years for him to do so.”

Source: The Washington Post, ABC News

6. Mike Pence booed, admonished at Hamilton
Vice President-elect Mike Pence attended a performance of Broadway’s Hamilton in New York City Friday evening, and word of his presence quickly spread through the audience and to the cast. Pence was booed by fellow theatergoers as he walked to his seat and at key lines in the play, including, “Immigrants, we get the job done.” At curtain call, actor Brandon Victor Dixon was joined by the rest of the cast as he addressed Pence from the stage. “We are the diverse America who are alarmed and anxious that your new administration will not protect us, our friends, our children, our parents, or defend us and uphold our inalienable rights,” he said, expressing hope that the show inspired Pence to pursue a fresh policy course.

Source: NBC News, The Guardian

7. Trump reflects on home, family in TMZ tour of Trump Tower
In an interview with TMZ’s Harvey Levin that aired Friday on Fox News, President-elect Donald Trump gave viewers a guided tour of his luxurious home in Trump Tower in New York City. Called OBJECTified: Donald Trump, the interview sought to introduce Trump through his material possessions, and conversation covered Trump’s childhood as well as current family life. “I talk to all my children, but not in the sense of that much involvement,” the incoming president said. “Nothing I’m proud of, but their mothers have done such a good job.” He described wife Melania Trump as “very traditional,” adding that she would “rather stay at home than anything else.”

Source: The Hill, The Hollywood Reporter

8. U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition calls brief truce in Yemen
A 48-hour cease-fire was declared in Yemen Saturday by the U.S.-backed Saudi-led coalition intervening in the Gulf nation’s civil war. The brief respite, brokered in part by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, is intended to allow humanitarian aid to reach Yemen’s famished civilian population, but reports from the front lines indicate fighting has not actually ceased. Yemen is suffering a humanitarian crisis significantly because the Saudi coalition has instituted a blockade producing devastating shortages of food and medicine.

Source: Associated Press, Reuters

9. 4 killed in medical transport plane crash in Nevada
Four people were killed in Elko, Nevada, Friday night when a medical transport plane crashed amid unknown circumstances. The air ambulance was carrying three crew members and one patient when it went down. American Medflight, the company that owns the plane, is “cooperating fully with the National Transportation Safety Board and the Federal Aviation Administration as they investigate the accident.” Witnesses felt nearby buildings shake and observed flames and explosions as the plane hit the ground.

Source: CNN, USA Today

10. Soul singer Sharon Jones dies at 60
Sharon Jones, lead singer of the Dap-Kings, died Friday night after a battle with pancreatic cancer. She was 60 years old. Known as “the female James Brown,” Jones became famous in middle age after a career as a correctional officer and security guard. She was noted for her powerful voice and funk-influenced soul style. The Grammy-nominated artist continued performing even as she underwent chemotherapy for her cancer. “Getting out on that stage, that’s my therapy,” she said.

Source: The New York Times, CNN

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