Following remarks by President Donald Trump, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. issued a statement Wednesday iterating the judiciary’s independence. Judge Roberts was responding to a request for comment after a ruling prompted President Trump to call Judge Jon S. Tigar of the U.S. District Court in San Francisco an “Obama judge.” Judge Tigar’s ruling Tuesday ordered the administration to resume accepting asylum claims despite migrants’ method of entry. “We do not have Obama judges or Trump judges, Bush judges or Clinton judges,” said Roberts.
The Presidential Daily Brief
In a statement pledging that Washington would remain “a steadfast partner of Saudi Arabia,” President Donald Trump defended Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman against allegations — including from the CIA — that the Saudi leader approved last month’s murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Saying “we may never know” how Khashoggi was killed, Trump emphasized Riyadh’s key role in regional stability – and the importance of a $450 billion Saudi investment in the United States. He later told reporters, “I’m not going to destroy our economy by being foolish with Saudi Arabia.”
There’s a new sheriff in town. In a move that’s sure to anger Moscow, the international law enforcement agency has elected Kim Jong Yang over presumed front-runner Alexander Prokopchuk as its new chief. Although Prokopchuk is a veteran of Russia’s security services, his candidacy had been opposed by Washington and its European allies over fears he’d use international arrest warrants to target the Kremlin’s critics abroad. Bill Browder, a high-profile advocate of Western sanctions against Moscow, said “reason had prevailed” in Kim’s election. He’ll serve until 2020.
Does he have the answers? Marking a legal milestone in Robert Mueller’s 18-month investigation, President Trump has provided written responses to the special counsel’s questions about his knowledge of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election. The move — Trump’s first direct cooperation with the investigation — allows him to temporarily avoid a potentially damning face-to-face with prosecutors. It follows months of negotiations between Mueller and the president’s legal team. “It is time to bring this inquiry to a conclusion,” said Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani.
“That’s not the plan.” So the embattled CEO responded when asked if he’d step down as chairman of Facebook. His remarks came in a CNN interview a week after the New York Times detailed the company’s chaotic crisis management amid Russian meddling and data breaches. Zuckerberg also insisted COO Sheryl Sandberg — a main target of criticism — is “a really important part of this company.” Saying he hopes the two will work together “for decades more to come,” Zuckerberg suggested that media coverage of the recent scandals is missing “the bigger picture.”
Know This: Crews fighting California’s deadly wildfires hope fresh rains will aid their efforts, but flash floods remain a risk. Rep. Nancy Pelosi has begun moving to repel a Democratic challenge to her House leadership. And North Korea has blown up 10 guard posts in the Demilitarized Zone in accordance with recent agreements with South Korea.
Remember This Number: 85,000. That’s how many children under 5 years old are believed to have died of malnutrition and disease since the outbreak of Yemen’s civil war in 2015, according to aid group Save the Children.
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Watch what you eat. Citing a nationwide E. coli outbreak, the Centers for Disease Control announced yesterday that Americans should avoid eating any form of romaine lettuce, suggesting that homes, restaurants and retailers immediately trash all of the greens. While no deaths have been reported, 32 people have been sickened and 13 hospitalized across 11 states amid the current outbreak, which has hit California and Michigan particularly hard. Authorities haven’t identified the source of the contamination, though the same E. coli strain was recently found in Arizona canal water.
Get a whiff of this. Since more than 10 percent of auto buyers in China reportedly complain about the scent, the American carmaker has filed a patent application for an odor-removing process it hopes will please Chinese senses. That system — to be featured in self-driving and semi-autonomous vehicles — involves “baking” the car by parking it under the sun, turning on the heat and cracking the windows. A Ford senior manager said it’s “just one idea,” though plummeting sales in China may inspire them to generate more.
While Canada and Uruguay have dominated headlines by legalizing recreational cannabis, Southeast Asia is quietly turning a corner on decades of draconian anti-marijuana laws. Such legislation led to overcrowded jails, ineffective enforcement and even death sentences across the region. But now, countries like Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore are warming up to the prospect of medical weed and easing their strict zero-tolerance policies. That doesn’t mean they’re fully embracing pot — but the $55.8 billion global medical marijuana market may be too enticing for them to abstain.
Police responded to reports of an assault in progress after a group of spectators threw beer at the rapper and rushed the stage during his performance at Toronto’s Danforth Music Hall last night. Three people were reportedly injured in the ensuing scuffle. Pusha T, who’s currently embroiled in a feud with fellow rapper Drake, later blamed the Toronto native for orchestrating the attack by paying the instigators. In response, he performed his anti-Drake diss track, The Story of Adidon. While Pusha T was unharmed, police shut down the show early.
Lou Anna Simon has been charged with two felonies and two misdemeanors for allegedly lying to police about what she knew during the investigation into disgraced USA Gymnastics doctor Larry Nassar, who was later convicted of multiple counts of sexual assault. She stepped down hours after Nassar’s conviction in January, and activist group Reclaim MSU called the charges against her a “good thing.” Simon — the third person prosecuted in the Michigan Attorney General’s Office investigation into the university — faces up to four years in prison if convicted.