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10 things you need to know today: September 9, 2018

Bonnie Kristian
President Trump
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Trump will not seek to enforce Stormy Daniels hush money deal

The deal that paid $130,000 to adult film star Stormy Daniels shortly before the 2016 election to buy her silence about an alleged affair with President Trump was never valid or, if it was, should be immediately rescinded, Trump's lawyers argued in court filings Saturday. If a judge agrees, Daniels will no longer be bound to silence, but her lawyer, Michael Avenatti, would likely be unable to compel Trump to give sworn testimony as to what he knew about the deal and when. Saturday's filing also drops the $20 million in damages Trump lawyers once claimed Daniels could owe for breaking the deal. [CNN, The Associated Press]


North Korea holds anniversary parade without ICBMs

The Kim Jong Un regime celebrated the 70th anniversary of North Korea's founding with a military parade Sunday, and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) were noticeably absent from the display. The decision to refrain from brandishing missiles the regime developed to be able to carry nuclear warheads to the United States is a hopeful sign amid halting diplomatic engagement with Washington to move North Korea toward denuclearization. The parade featured military vehicles and troops by the thousand in Pyongyang's Kim Il Sung Square. A special envoy from Beijing attended the event to bestow China's seal of approval. [USA Today, CNN]


Tropical Storm Florence expected to strengthen, hit East Coast

Tropical Storm Florence is expected to increase in intensity and slam the East Coast as a hurricane this week. The storm's anticipated path will take it south of Bermuda but north of Florida and the Caribbean, likely making landfall in Georgia or the Carolinas. North Carolina, South Carolina, and Virginia have already declared states of emergency to receive federal funding to deal with the storm's probable damage. "While it's still too early to know the storm's path, we know we have to be prepared," said North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D). The peak of Atlantic hurricane season is Sept. 10. [ABC News, Fox News]


Report: Trump officials had secret meetings to plot a coup in Venezuela

Members of the Trump administration secretly organized meetings with dissenters in the Venezuelan military to negotiate plans to overthrow Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, The New York Times reported Saturday. The White House declined to give the Times a detailed statement, saying the administration supports "dialogue with all Venezuelans who demonstrate a desire for democracy." While the Maduro regime is increasingly unpopular due to massive shortages of food and other necessities its policies have produced in Venezuela, U.S. interference is unlikely to be favorably received thanks to Washington's messy history of regime change and support of dictatorships in Latin America. [The New York Times, The Hill]


Obama urges voter turnout in California

The 2018 midterm elections offer "a chance to restore some sanity in our politics," former President Barack Obama said in California Saturday, but if "we don't step up, things can get worse." Obama spoke at the Anaheim Convention Center to encourage voters to return control of the House of Representatives to Democrats to "make sure that there are real checks and balances in Washington." Though Obama decried "those who exploit the politics of fear," he did not call out President Trump by name, as he did in a speech the day before in Illinois. [NBC News, The Associated Press]


Trump adviser says Cruz could lose

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) could lose his Senate seat to challenger Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) in November, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney can be heard saying in audio of a closed-door meeting with Republican donors reported by The New York Times Saturday. "I don't think it’s likely, but it's a possibility," a speaker identified as Mulvaney says. "How likable is a candidate? That still counts." Mulvaney also mentions President Trump asks him "all the time" why Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore lost his race last year. Moore was repeatedly accused of sexual misconduct toward girls as young as 14. [The New York Times, The Hill]


China's trade surplus with U.S. grows despite tariffs

China's trade surplus with the United States hit a record monthly high in August despite the Trump administration's imposition of two rounds of new tariffs on Chinese goods and plans to levy additional taxes soon. The surplus increased from $28.09 billion in July to $31.05 billion last month. "In the short term, it is difficult for the trade gap to narrow because American buyers cannot easily find alternatives to Chinese products," said economist Liu Xuezhi of China's Bank of Communications. President Trump on Twitter Saturday indicated he will not call a trade truce regardless of costs to U.S. consumers. [CNBC, The Wall Street Journal]


Officer in Dallas shooting previously shot a suspect

The Dallas police officer who fatally shot a man Thursday after she mistakenly entered his apartment, thinking it her own, has been identified as Amber Guyger. She has worked with the Dallas Police Department for four years and was involved in another shooting in May of 2017. In that incident, Guyger shot a suspect she said was reaching for another officer's Taser during a struggle. He survived, and she wasn't charged. Guyger hasn't been charged for this shooting either, and the family of her victim, Botham Jean, has argued she is receiving "deferential treatment" as a cop. [ABC News, CNN]


NYC subway station opens for the first time since 9/11

A New York City subway station opened for use for the first time since it collapsed during the terrorist attacks on the nearby World Trade Center complex on Sept. 11, 2001. Now called WTC Cortlandt, the restored stop "is more than a new subway station. It is symbolic of New Yorkers' resolve in restoring and substantially improving the entire World Trade Center site," said a statement from Metropolitan Transportation Authority chair Joe Lhota. The rebuilt station is fully accessible and includes new information kiosks. [CNN, CBS News]


Japan's Naomi Osaka bests Serena Williams in controversial U.S. Open final

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka bested American champion Serena Williams in the U.S. Open final Saturday, but her landmark victory — Japan's first Grand Slam singles championship — was marred by controversy. Williams accused chair umpire Carlos Ramos of unfairly penalizing her for sideline coaching she claims did not happen, alleging sexism and calling him a "thief" who "stole a point" from her. Osaka's triumph was met by boos for Ramos. The jeers continued, with Osaka in tears, until Williams asked the crowd to celebrate her deserved win. "Let's make this the best moment we can," Williams said. [Reuters, ESPN]