5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Trump meets EU, NATO leaders in Brussels

  • Montana special election an uncertain testing ground for 2018

  • Appeals court upholds block on Trump's travel ban

  • Britain furious over Manchester attack leaks from America

  • Trump aides admit staff vetting was 'not exactly' a high priority

On Thursday in Brussels, President Trump met for the first time with leaders of the European Union and NATO, the 27-member alliance he once dismissed as "obsolete." Following a meeting at the EU headquarters with European Council President Donald Tusk and European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker on Thursday morning, Trump met with fellow NATO leaders. He then gave a speech urging member nations to "contribute their fair share" of defense spending, but he neglected to affirm or even mention Article 5, the piece of the NATO treaty that solidifies collective defense. Press Secretary Sean Spicer later confirmed America's commitment to Article 5 and said Trump wasn't "trying to be cute." Later Thursday, Trump arrived in Sicily for a G-7 summit.

Source: AFP, The Associated Press

Montana goes to the polls Thursday to vote in a special election for the House seat vacated by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. On the ballot is Democrat Rob Quist, a folk singer, and Republican multimillionaire Greg Gianforte, who has consistently led the polls despite Quist's recent gains. Elections like Montana's could indicate how a deeply unpopular president may influence Republican victories nationwide come 2018. Complicating matters, Gianforte was charged with assault Wednesday night after an altercation with Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs; Jacobs said Gianforte "body slammed" him, while Gianforte's campaign said Jacobs "grabbed Greg's wrist, and spun away from Greg, pushing them both to the ground." Thirty-seven percent of registered voters had already voted absentee before Wednesday's news.

Source: Billings Gazette, The Week

The 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia on Thursday upheld a nationwide block on President Trump's ban on travel from six majority Muslim countries. "Surely the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment yet stands as an untiring sentinel for the protection of one of our most cherished founding principles — that government shall not establish any religious orthodoxy or favor or disfavor one religion over another," Chief Judge Roger Gregory wrote, adding that the president's power to deny entry to aliens is "not absolute" and "cannot go unchecked." Trump can now appeal to the Supreme Court, a move he has promised he would pursue if necessary.

Source: U.S. News, The Huffington Post

Britain has eight people detained in connection with Monday night's suicide bomb attack at an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester, and Libya has nabbed the father and younger brother of the presumptive attacker, Salman Abedi. But police overseeing the investigation are so "furious" about America's leaking of information about the case that they have stopped sharing intelligence about the attack with U.S. officials, BBC News reports. Prime Minister Theresa May vowed to "make clear to President Trump that intelligence shared between our security agencies must remain secure." Manchester Chief Constable Ian Hopkins said Wednesday that "it's very clear that this is a network that we are investigating," and Britain's terrorism alert level is at its highest, "critical." The attack killed 22 people, including children.

Source: BBC News, Time

A handful of President Trump's former campaign aides admitted that vetting advisers was "not exactly" a high priority, The Washington Post reported Thursday. In the search for national security experts, "anyone who came to us with a pulse, a résumé, and seemed legit would be welcomed," one former official said. The absence of a robust vetting process allowed for the hiring of Carter Page, who sparked FBI concerns over his involvement with Russia. When Page came to Trump Tower to be interviewed, a Trump adviser "employed what campaign aides now acknowledge was their go-to vetting process — a quick Google search — to check out the newcomer," the Post writes. The Senate's Russia probe has focused on Page, as has the FBI's.

Source: The Washington Post
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