National News

5 things for May 24: Justice Dept., Ireland abortion vote, ebola, NFL anthem protests

Posted May 22, 2018 6:24 a.m. EDT

— Uber posted a rare profit in the first quarter of the year, but it might be the last one for a while. 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. Justice Department

Lawmakers from both parties will be briefed today on that confidential intelligence source in the Russia investigation that President Trump has labeled a "spy." Justice Department officials will meet with two key GOP House committee leaders, then with the so-called Gang of Eight (top Republican and Democratic members of the House and Senate intelligence committees, plus congressional leaders from both parties). Originally, the Justice Department was only going to meet with Republicans, but Dems cried fouled and got in, too.

The President has been peddling a conspiracy theory that the FBI spied on his 2016 campaign. US officials have told CNN the source was not a spy but was talking with Trump campaign advisers about Russians. CNN's Anderson Cooper last night said Trump is "amping up what, for all intents and purposes, is a deception campaign." Famed Watergate reporter Carl Bernstein went even further, saying, "The lies from President Trump are unlike anything we have ever seen from a modern President of the United States."

2. Ireland abortion vote

Ireland holds a monumental referendum tomorrow. The Catholic-majority country will vote on whether to repeal its abortion laws, which are some of the most restrictive in Europe. Ireland's abortion laws are drawn from the Eighth Amendment to the country's constitution, which places the right to life of an unborn child on equal footing with the right to life of the mother. If a majority of people vote yes on the referendum, Ireland is expected to enact legislation that would allow abortions up to 12 weeks of pregnancy. Campaigning, as you might expect, has been intense, and controversial, as some Americans have traveled to the Emerald Isle to influence the vote.

3. Ebola

Already high ebola fears in the Democratic Republic of Congo ramped up even more after word got out that at least two patients slipped away at night from a treatment center this week in the city of Mbandaka, then died, a Doctors Without Borders spokeswoman told CNN. Health officials are racing to trace anyone they may have encountered. A spread of the disease in Mbandaka, home to 1 million people, could be catastrophic because it's a major trading hub on the Congo River with direct access to neighboring nations and Congo's capital city, Kinshasa. The World Health Organization has told Congo's neighbors to be on high alert for ebola. Officials started distributing an experimental vaccine in Mbandaka this week.

4. NFL anthem protests

You thought you'd heard the last about #TakeAKnee protests in the NFL? Bless your heart. We're definitely going to hear a lot more about them now that NFL owners have decided that players must stand during the National Anthem. Players will have the option of staying in the locker room during the anthem, otherwise they'll have to stand "and show respect" on the field. Fines and penalties await teams whose personnel take a knee (as a way to protest racial injustice -- not to disrespect the military, as some have claimed).

The NFL players' union promises a fight, players ripped it as forced patriotism and the owner of the New York Jets says he'll gladly pay the fines if any of his players take a knee. Others argue the decision will do nothing to halt the league's sliding TV ratings. But Vice President Mike Pence called this a win in President Trump's ongoing culture war. And we're sure Trump will be tweeting about it any second now.

5. Weather

If you're going to be in the South over the next couple of days, get ready for the Great Memorial Day Washout. Hurricane season doesn't officially start until next Friday, but a tropical system is already forming in the Gulf of Mexico. It's expected to bring rain from Louisiana to North Carolina all through the holiday weekend. So, if you're headed to, say, Florida (like a certain newsletter writer), you might plan some indoor activities instead of prepping to lounge by the pool. By the way, the National Hurricane Center forecast for the upcoming season comes out today. Some are predicting a busy one.


"Whether the US will meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown is entirely dependent upon the decision and behavior of the United States."

Choe Son Hui, a vice-minister in the North Korean Foreign Ministry, saying that if the US continues on its current path, she'd suggest to North Korea's leadership that it reconsider the planned summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un


A thousand words

Barack Obama has pretty much kept quiet about his feelings on President Trump. Not Obama's photographer. He's straight up throwing shade.

Hot, hot, hot

The hottest thing on the internet right now is CNN's "Lava Cam." The guy who operates it says the sounds the lava makes are a little scary.

All tied up

"Survivor" (hey, when's the last time we talked about that show?) held its season-ending vote last night, and it made history.

'Charmed, I'm (not) sure'

So, they're going to reboot "Charmed" -- wait, what? Why? -- and the show's former stars are not happy about it.

'Follow your nose!'

Kellogg is launching a new Froot Loops flavor -- wild berry -- because absolutely nothing is sacred anymore.


Souped up

What happens when you put a real engine in a Power Wheels Barbie Mustang? Nothing good. (Click to view.)