Tuesday, 23 Apr 2024

Donald Trump, Romaine Lettuce, ‘Creed II’: Your Wednesday Briefing

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Good morning.

Here’s what you need to know:

Trump stands with Saudis over Khashoggi killing

In a remarkable statement on Tuesday, President Trump brushed aside the conclusions of American intelligence officials and a growing body of evidence linking Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of Saudi Arabia to the killing of the dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

Mr. Trump said it might never be known whether Prince Mohammed had prior knowledge of the act. “In any case, our relationship is with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia,” the president said.

• Analysis: In Mr. Trump’s remarks, our correspondents saw the staking out of a foreign policy in which alliances are transactional and friends are excused for abhorrent acts — a potential blueprint for autocrats.

• Closer look: We broke down the president’s exclamation-point-filled statement.

A frustrated desire to prosecute Clinton and Comey

President Trump told the White House counsel in the spring that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute Hillary Clinton and James Comey, the former F.B.I. director.

Donald McGahn, the lawyer, told Mr. Trump that presidents did not have the authority to order prosecutions, and warned him that any such move could lead to impeachment. The encounter is one of the most blatant examples of how Mr. Trump has seen the Justice Department as a tool to use against political rivals.

• Another angle: The president’s lawyers have submitted his answers to the special counsel about any possible conspiracy with Russia’s 2016 election interference. “It is time to bring this inquiry to a conclusion,” his lawyers said.

• Go deeper: The man overseeing the Russia inquiry, Matthew Whitaker, the acting attorney general, received $1.2 million from a conservative group that does not reveal its donors, raising questions about potentially undisclosed conflicts of interest.

Warning sign flashes about the economy

A market sell-off led by technology stocks has wiped out gains for 2018 and stoked fears that the U.S. could face significant challenges.

Though the economy appears strong — unemployment is low, corporations are producing large profits and wages are beginning to rise — slides in stocks are often the first sign of trouble. In this case, the slump reflects concerns about privacy lapses and mismanagement at tech companies, as well as fears about slowing growth and the impact of the trade war between the U.S. and China.

Asian and European markets signaled a potential respite today, and futures contracts that predict how American markets will perform suggested that Wall Street could open higher.

• The numbers: Five tech companies, Amazon; Apple; Facebook; Netflix; and the Google-parent, Alphabet, have lost a combined $822 billion in value since the end of August.

• Go deeper: What’s happening to oil prices? We explain.

Candidate apologizes for “public hanging” remark

In a debate last night, Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith, Republican of Mississippi, expressed regret over a comment she made about a “public hanging,” though she insisted her words had been twisted. It was an attempt to steady a campaign that has appeared imperiled since video of the remark caused an outcry in a state scarred by racial violence.

• Why it’s important: A victory by Mike Espy, the Democratic candidate, would limit Senate Republican gains to a single seat.

• In the House: Democrats picked up another seat after Mia Love, the first and only black Republican woman in Congress, lost her re-election bid in Utah.

• Rebel no more: Representative Marcia Fudge, the only House Democrat to openly consider challenging for the speakership, cut a deal and endorsed Nancy Pelosi.

A last-minute guide to Thanksgiving

The holiday is tomorrow. Still need ideas? Our food columnist Melissa Clark shared her favorite recipes, including brioche chestnut stuffing and sweet potatoes with bourbon and brown sugar

Getting ready: We have a checklist for Thanksgiving wines, and recipes for 72 desserts that are not pie. And here’s more from this week’s Food section, including what to do with extra ingredients.

Food fight: Here’s our fact-checker’s guide to arguing about politics.

Listen to ‘The Daily’: Deployed in the U.S., Just Waiting for the Caravan


• China’s booming box office sales and ability to finance movies have increased its influence over Hollywood. The Chinese government has used this to control how it’s depicted in films.

Read more in our series about how China became a global superpower.

• Glamour magazine will end its regular print publication, Condé Nast said, part of a general belt-tightening by the publisher.

• Want faster customer service from an airline? Try using Twitter and Facebook.

Smarter Living

Tips for a more fulfilling life.

The best shopping holiday for travelers might not be Black Friday.

There’s a stress gap between men and women. But it doesn’t have to be that way.


Do not eat romaine lettuce, U.S. health officials say

More than 30 people in 11 states have been sickened with a virulent form of E. coli, the C.D.C. said in a nationwide alert. It has not been able to pinpoint the source of the outbreak.

Shooting victim was committed to “serving the underserved”

The colleagues of Dr. Tamara O’Neal, who was killed in a hospital in Chicago on Monday, say she was endlessly persistent in helping her patients. Read our profile.

The events began as an argument between Dr. O’Neal and her former fiancé, the authorities said. It raises hard questions about the links between domestic violence and shootings.

A new Interpol chief

The organization elected a South Korean police veteran as its next president, rejecting a Russian candidate who had been opposed by Western diplomats.

• How chess became cool in Norway

The world champion Magnus Carlsen has become one of the country’s most famous people, and millions of Norwegians have integrated the game into their lives.

• Knockout movies come to the theaters

The holiday movie season is here, and there are strong options. Our critics raved about “Creed II” (“the only heroic Hollywood multisequel narrative worth caring about”) and “Ralph Breaks the Internet” (“a terrifying, incisive satire”).

Best of late-night TV

Jimmy Kimmel struggled to arrive at a punch line for the news that Ivanka Trump had used her personal email account for her work in the White House: “Sometimes the jokes write themselves. And this is one of those times.”

Quotation of the day

“I think we are going to have a lot of elderly people who were wiped off the face of the earth because they were sleeping.”

Thomas D. Allman, the sheriff of Mendocino County, Calif., who said he expected a rising death toll for the Camp Fire, in which nearly 700 people are still missing.

The Times, in other words

Here’s an image of today’s front page, and links to our Opinion content and crossword puzzles.

Back Story

It was another year of the woman, with a catch.

On this day a century ago, Rebecca Felton became the first woman in the U.S. Senate.

For one day.

In 1922, Georgia’s governor decided to run for the seat of a senator who had died. Seeking votes from the newly enfranchised women of his state, he appointed the 87-year-old Mrs. Felton to “serve” during a congressional recess.

He lost, but Mrs. Felton was able to take office anyway.

And she was no novice.

Besides being a suffragist and a fighter for temperance, she had worked tirelessly on the campaigns of her husband, a congressman. Complicating her legacy, she was also an outspoken white supremacist.

Her one and only speech on the Senate floor concluded with a prescient promise to future female lawmakers:

“You will get integrity of purpose, you will get exalted patriotism, and you will get unstinted usefulness.”

Jennifer Steinhauer, a reporter in our Washington bureau, wrote today’s Back Story.


There will be no Morning Briefing on Thursday for Thanksgiving. We will return on Friday.

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Follow Jillian Rayfield on Twitter: @jillrayfield.

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