5 things for January 17: Russia probe, CIA arrest, Navy collisions, Palestinian aid
Posted January 12, 2018 6:06 a.m. EST
(CNN) — If you were in Michigan last night and saw the sky light up, don't worry. It wasn't aliens, just a "likely" meteor. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
1. Russia investigation
President Donald Trump's former chief strategist Steve Bannon faced angry lawmakers from both parties during a contentious interview that stretched more than 10 hours yesterday, as he was hit with subpoenas on multiple fronts and was accused by a top Democrat of agreeing to a White House "gag order."
Bannon confirmed to the House Intelligence Committee that he was issued a subpoena from special counsel Robert Mueller to testify before a grand jury, according to multiple sources familiar with the matter. He was also slapped with a new subpoena on Tuesday from the committee itself. Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee's top Democrat, said after the hearing that Bannon was instructed by the White House in advance of the hearing not to respond to certain topics.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Tuesday that the White House was not concerned with what Bannon might say to Congress or Mueller's team. But she did not say whether the White House directed Bannon not to answer certain questions.
2. National security
It sounds like something straight out of a spy movie. An ex-CIA officer -- who allegedly had the real names of undercover CIA employees in small notebooks -- gets arrested at JFK airport. Also said to be contained in the notebooks: top-secret phone numbers, addresses of covert facilities and operational notes. The suspect, Jerry Chun Shing Lee, was charged with unlawful retention of national defense information and faces up to a decade in prison, if convicted. He did not enter a plea Tuesday. Lee, who left the CIA in 2007, had been living in Hong Kong.
3. Navy ship collisions
The former commanders of two Navy destroyers involved in separate, fatal collisions last year will face negligent homicide charges. The ex-commanding officers of the USS McCain and the USS Fitzgerald also will face charges of dereliction of duty and hazarding a vessel, the Navy said. Ten sailors died on the McCain after it collided with a merchant ship off Singapore in August. Seven sailors lost their lives when the Fitzgerald hit a ship in June off the coast of Japan. The crews of both ships failed to fulfill key training qualifications ahead of the incidents, records show.
4. Palestinian aid
The US will hold back more than half the funding it gives to Palestinian refugees, making good on a threat President Trump tweeted out weeks ago. The US will release $60 million to the United Nations Relief Works Agency, which helps Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jordan, Syria and Lebanon. The remaining $65 million will be held indefinitely. The State Department said this wasn't punishment for the Palestinians pushing for a UN vote to condemn Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital.
There's a plan to send thousands of Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh back to Myanmar, and it's already drawing criticism. The repatriation plan, agreed to by both countries, would return more than 650,000 people within two years. Bangladesh would establish five transit camps near the countries' border, with two reception centers on the Myanmar side. Amnesty International and other human rights groups say returning to Myanmar is "a terrifying prospect" for the mainly Muslim Rohingya, who fled violence in mostly Buddhist Myanmar.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"Little girls don't stay little forever. They grow into strong women that return to destroy your world."
Kyle Stephens to Dr. Larry Nassar during his sentencing. Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team doctor, pleaded guilty to seven counts of criminal sexual conduct. Stephens and 97 others are set to give victim statements during the sentencing hearing.
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Nestle is selling its candy brands, like Butterfinger and BabyRuth, to Ferrero, the maker of Nutella, so it can concentrate on other stuff, like bottled water.
Out of the sky
If you're drinking, you won't be droning in New Jersey, now that a bill banning the operation of drones while under the influence has been signed into law.
Say congrats to Kim K and Kayne. They're the proud parents of baby No. 3. No word yet on what supercool name they'll give her.
Does he have an invisibility cloak, too?
Sen. Orrin Hatch took off his invisible glasses during that contentious Senate hearing with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and pretty much won the internet.
WHAT'S FOR LUNCH
Compare and contrast
Arizona Sen. (and Trump critic) Jeff Flake today will deliver a floor speech comparing the President's media attacks to similar ones made by late Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
"He has incredibly good genes, and it's just the way God made him."
Presidential physician Dr. Ronny Jackson, giving a glowing bill of health for President Trump
AND FINALLY ...
A cow pushing two kids in a tire swing is the cutest thing ever. You're welcome. (Click to view.)