Read between the lines. An annual financial disclosure released yesterday by President Donald Trump includes a previously unreported 2017 payment of at least $100,000 to Michael Cohen, his personal attorney. Cohen paid adult film star Stormy Daniels $130,000 the year before to keep quiet about her alleged affair with the president. The Office of Government Ethics, which believes the payment should have been included as a liability in last year’s statement, flagged the omission to the Justice Department, though it did not recommended any specific legal action against Trump.
The Presidential Daily Brief
“We’ll have to see.” That’s how President Trump responded to North Korea’s suggestion that it could cancel a planned summit between the two countries. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Pyongyang’s statement on Tuesday — which criticized U.S. air combat drills with South Korea and threatened to cancel upcoming talks — was “fully expected,” and that Trump is prepared for either scenario. She also sought to distance the White House from recent comments by national security adviser John Bolton, who said the Trump administration would seek to fully disarm North Korea.
Health officials in the central African country are worried that the current outbreak, which has killed 23 people, could become harder to control after the virus was detected in the city of Mbandaka, home to around 1 million people. The World Health Organization warned that this could lead to an “explosive increase” in cases. Mbandaka’s close proximity to the Congo River fuels concerns that the virus could spread to the capital, Kinshasa, but health workers are taking steps to contain it, including deploying an experimental new vaccine.
They’re trading places. After American officials recently visited Beijing, their Chinese counterparts are due in Washington today for another round of negotiations aimed at averting a possible trade war. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross are among the senior officials expected to meet with Chinese Vice Premier Liu He. And while the U.S. ambassador to China has said the two sides are “very far apart,” analysts believe Beijing could agree to purchase more U.S. goods — rather than selling less of its own, as Washington has demanded.
Know This: The U.S. Senate has voted to strike down the FCC’s recent decision to repeal Obama-era “net neutrality” regulations. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has called for an investigation into the shooting of a Canadian doctor by Israeli soldiers in Gaza earlier this week. And forensic officials have confirmed that an American man died after his vape pen exploded, sending fragments of the device into his skull.
Read This: Venezuelan leader Nicolás Maduro is expected to sweep this weekend’s presidential election — but dealing with his country’s socioeconomic crisis will be a much harder battle.
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He’s finding friends. The Facebook CEO will fly to Europe next week, where he’ll meet with the European Parliament in Brussels, as well as sit down with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris. But unlike his two-day appearance on Capitol Hill last month, Zuckerberg’s overseas tête-à-tête will take place behind closed doors and away from the prying eyes of the public. Although some representatives are hoping for a public hearing, Zuckerberg hasn’t always been accommodating: He’s repeatedly declined invitations to meet with U.K. lawmakers.
The U.N. children’s agency announced yesterday that 16,000 babies have been born to Rohingya refugees in Bangladeshi camps since last August. The organization says around 60 children “are taking their first breath in appalling conditions” each day, born to mothers who’ve fled violence and trauma at the hands of Myanmar’s military. The government’s crackdown on the ethnic minority has pushed nearly 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee across the border to Bangladesh. “This is far from the best start in life,” a UNICEF representative said of the children.
The British are coming … to clean up. After broadcaster David Attenborough’s rousing narration of the harmful effects of ocean plastics on sea life, Britons have sprung into action to help rid their island of plastic waste. The short segment of Blue Planet II was voted the must-see TV moment of the year and sparked what’s being called the “Blue Planet effect.” Dozens of large companies have signed up for the U.K. Plastics Pact to reduce waste, and the government is even weighing a ban on single-use plastics.
Kevin Macdonald’s documentary Whitney premiered at the Cannes Film Festival yesterday, revealing bombshell allegations that the star was sexually abused as a child. Houston and her half-brother were allegedly molested as children by their cousin Dee Dee Warwick, sister of soul singer Dionne Warwick — a revelation that compelled the director to re-edit the entire film just two weeks before wrapping up. Macdonald, who had suspected Houston was sexually abused, believes the trauma had a major impact on the troubled singer’s life. Houston died in 2012 at age 48.
The deal comes after months of accusations that Michigan State University, USA Gymnastics and others failed to protect young gymnasts from sexual abuse by former sports doctor Larry Nassar. Part of the $500 million agreement reportedly requires the 332 victims to drop their support for a proposed law ending governmental immunity for institutions such as MSU in sexual abuse cases. Meanwhile, sources say the university plans to use insurance money and uncommitted funds — including tightened budgets and possibly even higher tuition fees — to pay the settlement.