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Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: November 24, 2018

Bonnie Kristian
Dry, cracked ground in Spain
Jorge Guerrero/Getty Images
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1.

Trump administration climate study warns of dire, costly future

Human-made climate change will be enormously detrimental to human health and the economy absent a significant course correction, finds the fourth National Climate Assessment, published Friday by the Trump administration. U.S. temperatures have risen 1.8 degrees in the past century and are expected to rise another 2.3 degrees by 2050, potentially costing the country $155 billion annually due to labor lost to extreme weather. The risks of these massive climate swings mostly hurt "lower-income [people] and other marginalized communities," says the report, which is congressionally mandated for release every four years. [The Washington Post, National Climate Assessment 2018]

2.

Judge denies request to dismiss Trump Foundation lawsuit

A New York judge on Friday denied a request from President Trump's attorneys to dismiss a lawsuit brought by New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood which accuses the president of misusing his family's charitable foundation for political purposes. The suit alleges Trump and his three eldest children, Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric Trump, engaged in "extensive unlawful political coordination with the Trump presidential campaign" through the Trump Foundation. The president's lawyers argued he is immune from lawsuits while in office and said the suit is politically motivated. The judge rejected both claims. [Reuters, NBC News]

3.

California's deadly Camp Fire nearly contained

California's Camp Fire is 95 percent contained as of Friday thanks to recent rainstorms, which also cleaned toxic air that spread as far south as San Francisco. The official death count now sits at 84, and nearly 14,000 homes and 5,000 other buildings have been destroyed. Mudslides and flash floods on hillsides burned bare of vegetation are now a pervasive risk to ongoing search and rescue efforts. Some roads not destroyed by fire are closed because of the threat of mudslides. Firefighters expect to douse the entire blaze by Nov. 30. [San Francisco Chronicle, California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection]

4.

Administration seeks quick ruling on transgender troops

The Trump administration on Friday asked the Supreme Court to rule on President Trump's policy restricting military service by transgender people. If granted, the request would bypass challenges in lower courts which, so far, have gone against the administration. Solicitor General Noel Francisco argued lower court decisions blocking the policy mean "the military has been forced to maintain" an earlier policy which "pose[s] too great a risk to military effectiveness and lethality." The Supreme Court typically does not hear cases until they have gone through the full appeals process. [CNN, The Associated Press]

5.

Trump denies dissatisfaction with Mnuchin

President Trump on Twitter Friday evening denied a Wall Street Journal report he is dissatisfied with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. "I am extremely happy and proud of the job being done by @USTreasury Secretary @StevenMnuchin1," Trump wrote. "The FAKE NEWS likes to write stories to the contrary, quoting phony sources or jealous people, but they aren't true. They never like to ask me for a quote b/c it would kill their story." The Journal story, published earlier that day, said Trump is displeased with Mnuchin for recommending Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who has raised interest rates against Trump's wishes. [The Hill, The Wall Street Journal]

6.

U.N. grants sanctions exemption for joint Korean rail project

The United Nations Security Council has granted a sanctions exemption for a joint Korean rail project, South Korea announced Saturday. North and South Korea plan to work together to survey sections of railroad tracks in North Korea with an eye toward modernizing and connecting them across the demilitarized zone (DMZ) to South Korean transit. The survey will not make significant progress, however, unless the United States also grants a sanctions exemption. While Seoul has pushed for this sort of small-scale rapprochement with Pyongyang, Washington has demanded steps toward denuclearization as a precondition of sanctions relief. [The New York Times, The Associated Press]

7.

Democratic opposition to Pelosi speakership grows

Another nine House Democrats on Friday threatened opposition to the bid by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to become speaker of the House when the new Congress is sworn in this January. Members of the bipartisan Problem Solvers Caucus demanded Pelosi support a set of rule changes intended to avoid congressional gridlock. Without the change, they argue, "small pockets of extreme ideologues will continue to block the will of the commonsense majority." This comes after another 16 Democratic House members and members-elect pledged to oppose Pelosi's speakership earlier this month. [USA Today, Politico]

8.

Man killed by police amid Black Friday shooting was not the gunman, authorities say

A man fatally shot by police at an Alabama mall Thursday night was not the gunman who wounded two people following an altercation, officials said Friday evening. Police in the Birmingham suburb originally claimed Emantic Fitzgerald Bradford Jr., 21, was the shooter responsible for injuring another man and a young girl in the Black Friday shopping shooting. Bradford, who was black and a member of the military, was fatally shot by an officer near the scene of the gunfire. He was reportedly carrying a handgun he did not fire. Police now say the actual gunman is still at large. [NBC News, Al.com]

9.

U.S. service member killed in Afghanistan

An American soldier was killed in Afghanistan Saturday, the second U.S. service member to die in the country this month. The death was announced in a statement from the NATO-led Resolute Support mission which did not identify the soldier who died or specify the circumstances involved. More than 2,400 U.S. troops have died in Afghanistan, which has become the United States' longest conflict. The Pentagon says about 14,000 soldiers — as well as around 26,000 American contractors — remain in Afghanistan this year. [Reuters, ABC News]

10.

Disney unveils new Lion King trailer

Disney released the first teaser trailer for its CGI remake of The Lion King Thursday during the NFL's primetime game. The film updates the 1994 animated classic-turned-Broadway musical and is scheduled for release June 19, 2019. The teaser is a scene-by-scene match for the original film's Circle of Life opening sequence and features a voiceover from James Earl Jones as he reprises his role as Mufasa. Iron Man director Jon Favreau is leading the project, with a slate of famous voices including Donald Glover as Simba, Beyoncé as Nala, and John Oliver as Zazu. [The Verge, Vulture]