5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Bannon facing two subpoenas in Russia probe

  • DHS chief faces tough questions on Trump's immigration comments

  • Fox News chose not to publish story about Trump, porn star before election

  • Former CIA officer suspected of spying for China arrested

  • Presidential physician claims Trump is 'in excellent health'

President Trump's former chief strategist Stephen Bannon was reportedly subpoenaed last week by Special Counsel Robert Mueller to testify before a grand jury. This is the first known instance of a grand jury subpoena being used on someone in Trump's inner circle, and "could be a negotiating tactic," The New York Times writes, noting that Mueller "is likely to allow Mr. Bannon to forgo the grand jury appearance if he agrees to instead be questioned by investigators." Bannon also testified behind closed doors Tuesday in front of the House Intelligence Committee which, like Mueller, is looking for evidence of Russian interference in the election. He refused to answer questions about the time he spent working in the White House, and even after Bannon was subpoenaed on the spot, he continued to invoke executive privilege. He might not be quiet when he speaks to Mueller, though — a person familiar with Bannon's thinking told The Daily Beast he's willing to tell everything to the special counsel.

Source: The New York Times, The Guardian

Department of Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen on Tuesday faced tough questions before the Senate Judiciary Committee about President Trump's recent disparaging remarks about Haiti, El Salvador, and African nations. When Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) asked Nielsen what the president meant when he expressed a desire for the U.S. to take in more Norwegian immigrants, Nielsen said Trump wanted immigrants "with skills who can assimilate and contribute to the United States, moving away from country quotas and to an individual merit system." She admitted Norway was a predominantly white country, but then said she couldn't recall the president's exact words about African countries because of "cross conversations" in the room. She would only say, "I remember specific cuss words being used by a variety of members."

Source: ABC News

One month before the 2016 presidential election, Fox News had a story ready to go about an alleged affair between adult film actress Stormy Daniels and President Trump, but never published it, four people familiar with the matter told CNN. The Wall Street Journal reported last week that in October 2016, Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, arranged a $130,000 payment to Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, to keep quiet about the alleged sexual relationship. Fox News reporter Diana Falzone had a completed story about Daniels and Trump, which included a statement confirming the relationship from Daniels' manager, but "Fox killed it," one person familiar with the matter told CNN. Noah Kotch, who became editor-in-chief and vice president of Fox News digital in 2017, said "in doing our due diligence, we were unable to verify all of the facts and publish a story." Cohen and Daniels have both denied WSJ's report.

Source: CNN

The Justice Department announced Tuesday that a former CIA officer suspected of working with China to identify informants in the country has been arrested and charged with unlawful retention of national defense information. Jerry Chun Shing Lee, 53, left the CIA in 2007, and in 2012, the FBI began to investigate him as more and more informants in China started to die or go to prison. Lee lived in Hong Kong, but during a 2012 trip to the U.S., FBI investigators searched his luggage and found journals containing classified information; prosecutors say the handwritten notes included details about meetings with informants and the names and phone numbers of undercover agents.

Source: The New York Times

On Tuesday, presidential physician Ronny Jackson declared that President Trump, 71, has "incredible genes" and is "in excellent health." Trump underwent a routine physical examination on Friday in Bethesda, Maryland, and Jackson said Trump, who is 6'3" and weighs 239 pounds, did "exceedingly well" on cognitive and neurological tests, which he personally requested. Trump's heart exam was normal, Jackson said, and his total cholesterol was 223. Trump takes Crestor for cholesterol, aspirin for his heart, Propecia for male pattern hair loss, cream for rosacea, and a multivitamin. Jackson added that Trump should lose 10 to 15 pounds, and he was "more excited about the diet part than the exercise part."

Source: The Week
Start every morning with all you need to know
Delivered to your inbox