U.S. Politics

10 things you need to know today: January 9, 2017

Kevin Winter/Getty Images

THE WEEK

1. Republicans to push confirmation hearings despite ethics concerns
Republicans vowed Sunday to proceed with the start of confirmation hearings for President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet picks this week. The commitment came despite a warning from the Office of Government Ethics that the confirmation plans were putting “undue pressure” on the office to “rush through” reviews of nominees with complex backgrounds. Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) accused Republicans of “trying to ram them through as quickly as possible” rather than ensuring that all of the nominees are “thoroughly vetted.” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Democrats are just complaining because they are “really frustrated that they lost the election” and need to “grow up.”

Source: The Washington Post, NPR

2. La La Land wins record seven Golden Globes
La La Land dominated the Golden Globes on Sunday, winning every category in which it was nominated and snagging a record seven awards. The romantic musical about an aspiring actress and jazz pianist in Los Angeles swept many of the top awards, including Best Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy; Best Actor, Musical or Comedy (Ryan Gosling); and Best Actress, Musical or Comedy (Emma Stone). Two other favorites, Moonlight and Manchester by the Sea, entered the night with nearly as many nominations as La La Land, but wound up with just one award each. Meryl Streep used her acceptance speech after winning the Cecil B. DeMille Award for Lifetime Achievement to slam President-elect Donald Trump for his campaign “performance” mocking a disabled reporter, and deliver a defense of the arts, foreigners, and the press. Trump, in a tweet, dismissed Streep as an “over-rated” actress and a “Hillary flunky.”

Source: E! Online, The Telegraph

3. Aide says Trump now accepts conclusions on Russian hacking
President-elect Donald Trump now accepts the conclusion of the FBI, NSA, and CIA that the Russian government hacked Democratic targets in an attempt to influence the American presidential election, incoming White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus said Sunday. Trump “is not denying that entities in Russia were behind this particular hacking campaign,” Priebus said in an interview on Fox. Priebus also reported that Trump has asked U.S. intelligence agencies for recommendations on how to respond to the hacks, and depending on their input, “actions may be taken.” Earlier this week, Trump maintained that allegations of Russian election meddling were a “political witch hunt” designed to detract from his victory.

Source: Reuters, Politico

4. Truck crashes into Israeli soldiers, killing four
A Palestinian driver rammed a truck into a group of Israeli soldiers who had just stepped off a bus during an educational tour on Sunday, killing four of the soldiers and wounding at least 10 other people. The driver hit the soldiers, backed up, and drove into them again. The suspected attacker was fatally shot by other soldiers at the scene. Police chief Roni Alsheich said the crash was a terror attack. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that “according to all signs” the attacker was an Islamic State supporter. Authorities did not immediately identify the attacker. Israel’s Channel 2 TV News said the driver was a 28-year-old who had served time in an Israeli prison.

Source: USA Today, CNN

5. Former moderate Iranian president dies
Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani died Sunday after suffering a heart attack. He was 82. Rafsanjani had a long career in the ruling elite. He served as a close aide to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini during the 1979 Islamic Revolution, but his moderate views sometimes put him at odds with hardliners. He helped to start Tehran’s controversial nuclear program, although he later supported the deal to curb it in exchange for sanctions relief.

Source: The Associated Press

6. Suspect arrested over shooting of U.S. consular official in Mexico
Mexican authorities on Sunday arrested a suspect in the shooting of U.S. consular official Christopher Ashcraft, who was shot Friday as he was leaving a parking lot in Guadalajara. A video posted online by the consulate showed the gunman appearing to wait for Ashcraft, then opening fire before fleeing. Ashcraft was being treated in stable condition at a local hospital. Reuters reported that a source had sad he had been shot in the chest.

Source: Reuters

7. Trump son-in-law Kushner distances himself from business ties
Jared Kushner, President-elect Donald Trump’s son-in-law, is distancing himself from his New York real estate business in the clearest sign yet that he plans to take a job in the incoming Trump administration. Kushner is married to Trump’s daughter Ivanka, and already serves informally as a close adviser. In order to take a formal position in the White House, he will have to argue successfully that a federal anti-nepotism law preventing officials from appointing relatives does not apply in his case, in addition to eliminating any appearance of conflicts of interest. Kushner has been “consulting with the Office of Government Ethics regarding the steps he would take,” his lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, said, and would “resign from his position at Kushner Companies and divest substantial assets in accordance with federal guidelines.”

Source: The Associated Press

8. Fiat Chrysler announces plan to create 2,000 jobs in U.S.
Fiat Chrysler said Sunday that it would spend $1 billion to modernize two plants in Warren, Michigan, and Toledo, Ohio, in an expansion that will create 2,000 jobs. The automaker said the investment would allow it to bring back the Wagoneer SUV and produce pickup trucks currently manufactured in Mexico. The announcement followed President-elect Donald Trump’s criticism of Ford, General Motors, and Toyota for expanding production in Mexico. Trump has threatened to impose big border taxes on cars produced in Mexico for sale in the U.S.

Source: Detroit Free Press, Fox News

9. Fort Lauderdale airport shooting suspect heads into first court hearing
Esteban Santiago, the 26-year-old Iraq war veteran accused of killing five people in the Fort Lauderdale airport shooting, is scheduled to make his first appearance in court on Monday. He faces federal charges for murder, firearms, and airport violence. If convicted, he could be sentenced to death. It could take days or weeks for formal charges to be filed. In the initial hearing, U.S. Magistrate Judge Alicia Valle is likely to appoint a lawyer to represent Santiago. One of the defense’s first moves could be to ask for a mental competency evaluation, given Santiago’s history of mental health problems.

Source: Sun Sentinel

10. Queen Elizabeth makes first public appearance since holiday illness
Queen Elizabeth II attended a church service on Sunday in her first public appearance since she suffered what Buckingham Palace described as a “heavy cold” over the holidays. The queen went to St. Mary Magdalene Church near her Sandringham Palace country estate accompanied by her husband, Prince Philip, as well as Prince William and Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton. After the service, surrounding churchgoers applauded as Queen Elizabeth, 90, and Prince Philip left to return home.

Source: E! Online

 

 

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