Special counsel Robert Mueller filed heavily redacted court documents Tuesday suggesting President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser shouldn’t spend time behind bars because of his “substantial” cooperation with multiple investigations. Flynn, who pleaded guilty last year to lying to investigators about contact with a Russian ambassador, reportedly sat for 19 interviews and provided documents to assist Mueller’s Russian election interference probe, as well as a separate unidentified criminal investigation. This week Mueller is also expected to outline Michael Cohen’s cooperation and Paul Manafort’s plea agreement violations.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Having eased worries over an ongoing tariff war between the two countries, and announcing a 90-day pause, President Donald Trump revived uncertainty through a series of Tweets. He said if the deal goes south then he’s a “Tariff man.” By close Tuesday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 799 points and Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index fell 3.2 percent. A decrease in yield in the Bond market, a traditionally safe haven, has also triggered warning signs a recession may be on the way, according to investment experts.
After C.I.A. Director Gina Haspel’s briefing Tuesday, leading Republican senators are reportedly convinced of Mohammad bin Salman’s involvement in journalist Jamal Khashoggi’s murder in October. Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker said there was “zero question” and Sen. Lindsay O. Graham said the U.S. should come down on MBS like a “ton of bricks,” adding he could no longer support arms sales to Saudi Arabia. Last week cabinet members urged senators to vote down proposals to pull U.S. support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.
The French government has said it is halting the fuel tax increase that’s driven weeks-long protests across the country. Prime Minister Edouard Philippe, who was due to meet with protest leaders yesterday before they withdrew over security concerns, reportedly presented the measure to lawmakers in a bid to de-escalate the crisis. Earlier, Culture Minister Franck Riester hinted Philippe would offer “a strong conciliatory gesture in the coming days.” The move, a u-turn for President Emmanuel Macron, comes at an awkward time as global leaders meet for climate talks in Poland.
A four-day commemoration of the former president, who died Friday at age 94, began yesterday with a 21-gun salute as his casket arrived at the U.S. Capitol rotunda, where family, friends and public figures lined up to offer condolences. “No one better harmonized the joy of life and the duty of life,” said House Speaker Paul Ryan of the 41st president. Bush will lie in state until Wednesday, when a memorial service will be held at Washington National Cathedral. He’ll then be flown back to Houston for a Thursday burial.
“This is just an enormous, enormous event.” That’s how Larry Kudlow, President Donald Trump’s chief economic adviser, described Saturday’s trade cease-fire between Beijing and Washington. Yet several days after the agreement, observers are still struggling to understand what it entails. Despite Trump’s claim that China would “reduce and remove” all auto tariffs, a Chinese official declined to comment. And when pressed on the agreement, Kudlow equivocated: “I’ll call them ‘commitments’ at this point.” Meanwhile, stocks and oil prices rose while bonds dipped in a sign of investor anxiety.
In a closed-door meeting on Capitol Hill today, Gina Haspel will reportedly brief a small group of senators on the October murder of dissident Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which U.S. intelligence officials believe was ordered by Riyadh. The meeting comes days before the Senate is expected to debate the withdrawal of U.S. military support for the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen’s civil war. Haspel’s absence from an administration briefing last week angered lawmakers, especially amid growing bipartisan calls to punish Riyadh.
Know This: The advocate general of the European Court of Justice has said the U.K. should be allowed to unilaterally cancel its planned withdrawal from the European Union. The Israeli military has launched an operation targeting what it claims are Hezbollah-dug tunnels between Lebanon and Israel. And thousands of children in Northern California returned to school yesterday after last month’s deadly Camp Fire.
Read This: Following the succesful launch of Russia’s Soyuz spacecraft this week, astronauts around the world are back in luck. That’s because Soyuz remains the only operational transportation system for space explorers.
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Age is not just a number. A Dutch court ruled yesterday that allowing 69-year-old Emile Ratelband to officially change his age to 49 would render various age-dependent rules, like the right to vote, meaningless. It added that he was free to feel 20 years younger and “act accordingly.” The showman — who’d hoped to attract more women on Tinder — argued the move was equivalent to changing one’s gender or name. Ratelband says he’ll appeal the decision all the way to the EU court if necessary.
After being removed from Apple’s App Store last month over a child pornography incident, the microblogging platform announced yesterday it would ban all sexually explicit posts — including most nudity — starting Dec. 17. Existing posts flagged as inappropriate by Tumblr algorithms will be deleted, though users will be able to appeal to human moderators. The platform had long ignored adult content, allowing a large community of creators and fans to thrive. Critics say the move will disproportionately harm LGBT and other marginalized users who may not feel as welcome on mainstream porn sites.
The OSIRIS-REx spacecraft has completed its flight of more than two years, arriving Monday at its destination: a carbon-rich 1,650-foot-wide asteroid located between Mars and Jupiter. The craft will spend several weeks shadowing Bennu, researching its composition and mass, before entering its orbit Dec. 31. In mid-2020, OSIRIS-REx will swoop toward the 4.5 billion-year-old asteroid’s surface and use a 10-foot-long robotic arm to collect samples that could provide clues about the solar system’s origins. If all goes well, it’ll bring them home to Earth in 2023.
The animal rights group objected to the Hindu ceremony Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra and musician Nick Jonas held in Rajasthan, India, Sunday after photos emerged showing a saddled elephant and a decorated horse Jonas reportedly rode to make his entrance. Manilal Valliyate, CEO of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals India, said Chopra should have expected the “firestorm” that would result from what he described as abuse, adding, “It doesn’t make a person look big or glamorous to promote cruelty to animals.” The couple hasn’t responded to the backlash.
Once in decline in the Land of the Rising Sun, the sport is attracting a new generation of fans and players after 21-year-old sensation Naomi Osaka shot to fame by defeating Serena Williams in the U.S. Open. Japan’s tennis-playing population decreased from 4.23 million in 1993 to 3.73 million in 2013, but that figure is climbing: Today, some 4.39 million players are hitting the court, thanks partly to more investment in school programs. And while she’s the most widely recognized, Osaka is only one of several major talents in Japanese tennis.