“We’ll see what happens.” That’s what President Donald Trump said Wednesday when asked whether he would meet with special counsel Robert Mueller and the team investigating potential collusion with Russia during the 2016 election. Trump called the probe a “Democrat hoax” and questioned the interview’s necessity, reiterating that there was “no collusion.” Previously he said he’d be “100 percent” willing to testify under oath in the investigation. Mueller’s team told Trump’s attorneys last month they would likely request an interview with the president. The inquiry is predicted to last for much of 2018.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Unlike 7-Eleven, the borders aren’t always open. Just a day after President Trump seemed open to a deal on new DACA legislation, House Republicans have proposed a sharp crackdown on both legal and illegal immigration, presenting harsh new measures on sanctuary cities and family migration. While it could swing immigration debate to the right, the proposal’s not expected to make it through the Senate. Meanwhile, ICE agents raided 98 7-Elevens, arresting 21 people and warning other businesses they could see penalties for hiring undocumented immigrants.
“We’re just happy for everyone that makes it.” So said one resident of Montecito, a Southern California town devastated by massive mudslides and floods in recent days. Even the wealthy weren’t spared: Montecito resident Oprah Winfrey posted an Instagram video standing in mud and debris. The death toll has climbed to 17, with 17 more missing and at least 100 homes destroyed. Now some are questioning local emergency alert systems that didn’t send evacuation advice until flooding had begun — though many residents say they wouldn’t have left anyway.
They’re tossing bitcoin. South Korea — currently the world’s third-biggest market for cryptocurrencies — has proposed new legislation that could, if it passes the National Assembly, end trading of all virtual money. Bitcoin’s value fell 14 percent at the news, as police raided the country’s two largest cryptocurrency exchanges. With bitcoin-hungry South Korean traders driven to paying as much as 40 percent above market rates, officials worry that cryptocurrency trading is so risky that it puts citizens in danger. The ban could potentially take months or years to pass.
Know This: Canadian officials say they’re increasingly sure that the U.S. plans to pull out of NAFTA. Robbers smashed a window and seized millions of dollars in jewelry from the Ritz Paris last night. And more than 300 people have been arrested amid violent protests in Tunisia.
Read This: In the midst of a controversy over naming the woman who started a secret list of alleged harassers and sexual predators in the media industry, Moira Donegan has taken charge by outing herself.
Talk to Us: What is your tried and trusted home remedy for a stuffy nose? What passed-down family recipe do you mix up when someone is suffering from a stomachache? What’s your favorite cupboard concoction to smooth on sore muscles? It’s cold and flu season, folks, and OZY is looking at traditional home remedies from countries around the world. Let us know your best home approaches to aches and pains at email@example.com for a chance to be featured in the series.
Still not aliens. Astronomers have long studied fast radio bursts, aka FRBs — radio waves of unknown origin blasting into the galaxy. But now researchers zeroing in on the only known repeating FRB think it might be coming from a dead neutron star near a supermassive black hole 3 billion light-years away. The unusual environment may explain why it’s the only FRB detected more than once — though astronomers hope to find “dozens, if not hundreds” more FRBs in the near future that could contribute more game-changing data.
Fuel and its money may soon be parted. Yesterday New York City announced that its $189 billion pension fund won’t invest in fossil fuels anymore, reallocating the $5 billion currently sunk into oil companies. In December, Gov. Andrew Cuomo promised similar moves for the state’s pension fund. New Yorkers, who saw $19 billion in damage from Superstorm Sandy, also want payback: The city’s suing five Big Oil companies — ExxonMobil, BP, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell — for contributing to climate change, saying they should pay to weather-proof the Big Apple.
The doctor will text you now. Although it consistently ranks at the bottom of America’s Health Rankings, the Magnolia State is attempting to make up for it by pioneering “telehealth” — using video chats and digital tracking tools to monitor patients from afar. The state’s need for remote care is undeniable — it has the lowest doctor-to-patient ratio in the U.S. — but proposed federal legislation may soon help hospitals nationwide adopt the practice. And Mississippi’s solution offers hope that telehealth could be just what the doctor ordered.
The Paul out continues. YouTube has punished popular 22-year-old vlogger Logan Paul more than a week after he uploaded a video showing a dead body found in Japan’s Aokigahara forest, which is notorious for suicides. The streaming platform canceled his next YouTube Red movie The Thinning: New World Order, put his other projects on hold and removed Paul from Google’s top tier preferred ad program. After a wave of backlash, Paul removed the video and apologized. He said he’ll be taking time away from vlogging for reflection.
They bear a grudge. A hacking group called Fancy Bears, linked to a Russian intelligence agency, released a trove of emails allegedly stolen from Olympic Committee officials. The group claims the documents, related to anti-doping investigations, show that “Europeans and the Anglo-Saxons are fighting for power and cash in the sports world.” The emails — which so far show nothing salacious — haven’t been confirmed as genuine. Meanwhile, the Winter Olympics begin next month with most Russian athletes banned after investigators found widespread doping in Russian teams.