National News

5 things for March 8: Tariffs, Russia probe, Florida gun bill, Aung San Suu Kyi

Posted March 2, 2018 6:35 a.m. EST

— It's International Women's Day! Singer Angelique Kidjo helps us celebrate by telling us how female solidarity will change the face of Africa. 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. White House

President Trump will sign an order today to finalize his promised steel and aluminum tariffs -- or maybe not. There's confusion at the White House (shocker, we know). There was supposed to be a signing ceremony this afternoon, but a White House aide said it was canceled because the policy hadn't been finalized yet. There's also word that whenever this thing gets done, it'll have an exemption for Mexico and Canada, probably to be used as a carrot in NAFTA talks.

Meanwhile, the storm known as Stormy Daniels continues to batter the White House. The adult film star's attorney says Trump's personal lawyer had a restraining order issued against her and is still pressuring her to keep quiet about her alleged affair with the President, which he denies.

2. Russia investigation

Special counsel Robert Mueller's investigators are aware of two occasions on which President Trump asked witnesses about conversations they had with investigators, The New York Times reported, citing three people familiar with the encounters. Trump reportedly asked his former chief of staff, Reince Priebus, if special counsel investigators had been "nice" during his interview. Trump also reportedly told an aide that White House counsel Donald McGahn should put out a statement denying a previous Times report in which the paper said McGahn told investigators that Trump asked him to fire Mueller.

3. Florida school shooting

Florida lawmakers passed a bill authorizing new restrictions on gun sales and letting some teachers and staff carry guns in schools. It now goes to GOP Gov. Rick Scott. For some shooting survivors who wanted an assault weapons ban, the measure didn't go far enough; for some Republican lawmakers who opposed stricter measures on gun ownership, it went too far. Others fear the measure could have deadly unintended consequences for students of color.

The bill passed on the same day that Florida school shooter Nikolas Cruz was indicted on 34 counts of premeditated murder and attempted murder in the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School that killed 17 people. And for the first time since the shooting, students at the school had their first full day of classes. Among those there to support them was NBA star Dwyane Wade.

4. UK and Russia

Ex-Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his adult daughter were poisoned by a nerve agent, police in the UK say, and they're pointing the finger at Russia. UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson has threatened to retaliate over the incident, which also calls into question the UK's ability to protect its residents. This all could sink relations between the West and Russia even lower. Skripal and his daughter remain critically ill in a hospital.

5. Aung San Suu Kyi

Once upon a time, Aung San Suu Kyi was one of the most respected people on the planet. Those days are over. Suu Kyi, the de facto leader of Myanmar, has been lambasted for her perceived lack of action in the crisis involving the Rohingya. The US Holocaust Memorial Museum just stripped her of a 2012 human rights award -- named for the late Holocaust survivor and activist Elie Wiesel. More than 688,000 Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar since August after repeated attacks by the country's military, which claims it's fighting terrorists.


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