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Jan 24, 2017

The Guardian | U.S. Briefings: Day of Trump Cabinet Confirmations - January 24, 2017


 
Mazin Sidahmed

Key hearings and votes for Trump’s cabinet

Donald Trump’s controversial choice for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, overcame the first hurdle in his confirmation on Monday after gaining the support of the majority of the foreign affairs committee. Marco Rubio, the last holdout from the Republicans on the committee, pledged his support for Tillerson after doubts over his commitment to defending human rights abroad. Rubio’s vote gave the former ExxonMobil CEO an 11-10 vote on the committee, with members voting along party lines. Tillerson will now face a wider vote in the Senate, which he is expected to pass. Other picks for Trump’s cabinet will face votes in the Senate on Tuesday, including education secretary Betsy DeVos, commerce secretary Wilbur Ross and UN ambassador Nikki Haley, among others. In an abrupt move on Monday night, Democrats indefinitely delayed votes on confirmations for Rick Perry and Ryan Zinke, who are are nominated for the energy and interior departments, without explanation. Trump’s nominee for health secretary, Tom Price, will face another hearing in front of the Senate, and will likely face more questions on his opposition to the Affordable Care Act.
Rex Tillerson passes first phase for secretary of state with Senate panel vote

UK supreme court makes landmark Brexit decision

The UK supreme court has ruled that the government must seek approval from parliament to trigger article 50, which would begin Britain’s exit from the European Union. The Guardian is covering the landmark decision announced on Tuesday, live. The court ruled by a majority of eight justices to three against the government’s appeal of an earlier decision by a lower court that MPs must vote on the terms of a Brexit deal. The ruling is a blow to UK prime minister Theresa May and upends her timeline for Brexit. A spokesperson said the government remains confident that it will get the backing of parliament. “We respect the supreme court’s decision, and will set out our next steps to parliament shortly,” the spokesperson said. Here are the key points of the decision.
Supreme court rules parliament must have vote to trigger article 50
The supreme court Brexit judgment isn’t a victory for me, but for our constitution

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Never has America needed fearless independent media more. Help us hold the new president to account, sort fact from fiction, amplify underrepresented voices, and understand the forces behind this divisive election – and what happens next. Support the Guardian by becoming a member or making a contribution.

Trump’s conflicts resurface in Scotland

Questions around the president’s conflicts of interest have begun to swirl again after filings have revealed that Trump resigned as director from four Scottish golf firms, but has maintained his holdings. According to filings at Companies House, the UK government agency that holds and publishes documents on all British businesses, the US president quit as director the day before the inauguration, 19 January, but still owns four different golfing companies: Trump International Golf Club Scotland, DT Connect Europe, SLC Turnberry and its parent company, Golf Recreation Scotland. His son Eric will oversee the companies in Scotland, which have a combined value of £180m. Trump has refused to put his company in a blind trust, despite calls from ethics lawyers and the government’s ethics office. He has instead transferred control of his companies over to his family.
Donald Trump resigns as director of four Scottish golf firms

Lawsuit says Apple to blame for distracted drivers

A California man is suing Apple for failing to prevent people from texting while driving. Julio Ceja, from Orange County in California, was rear-ended by someone who was distracted by their phone, according to the complaint, and he is placing the blame squarely on the Silicon Valley company. While he’s not seeking monetary damages, he hopes the suit will block sales of the iPhone in California if the company does not implement a lockout feature.
Apple sued for not using iPhone safety fix it patented to stop distracted driving

Trump’s non-working class supporters

Much of the focus during the presidential campaign was on the working-class white Americans who granted Trump his victory in the presidential race. However, polls showed that a lot of people who voted for the Republican candidate were financially secure. The Guardianhas spoken to those voters: some express fears of the “tolerant” left, while others spoke of the need to crack down on illegal immigration.
Affluent Trump backers speak out: ‘I’m hoping for some amazing things’

Panama Papers team take on Trump

The journalists who broke the Panama Papers stories are calling on American media to unite and embrace the spirit of collaboration in the face of Trump. This involves showing solidarity when one organization is singled out by the administration and pooling resources when a story is too big for an individual newsroom to crack.
We broke the Panama Papers story. Our next mission: Donald Trump

Assange: ‘It was all about me’

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said Barack Obama’s decision to grant Chelsea Manning clemency was intended to “make life hard” for him. Speaking to an Australian current affairs program, Assange also slightly walked back his pledge to accept extradition to the US, despite there being no order for his extradition. WikiLeaks had tweeted that Assange would submit himself to the US Department of Justice if Manning were granted clemency. Manning, who was arrested in 2010 for leaking more than 700,000 diplomatic cables, videos and documents to WikiLeaks, had her sentence commuted by Obama during his last days of office. She will be released in May. Assange, who has been living in the Ecuadorian embassy since 2012, now says his team would like to strike a deal with the US justice department to see if “there is some way you guys can drop it”. The only existing extradition order against Assange is to Sweden where he is wanted on rape allegations.
Julian Assange: ‘Chelsea Manning clemency was bid to make life hard for me’

Federer and Williams do it for the oldies

Roger Federer and Venus Williams proved the veterans can still pack a punch at the Australian Open as the two reached their respective semi-finals. Federer, 35, defied skeptics by cruising past Mischa Zeverev in straight sets to setup a semi-final matchup with Stan Wawrinka. Williams, 36, also beat the odds to overcome Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova in straight sets. Williams will face Coco Vandeweghe in the semis.
Roger Federer into Australian Open semis after win over Mischa Zeverev
Venus Williams rolls back the years to reach Australian Open semi-finals at 36

In case you missed it ...

For the first time, researchers have made living organisms with an expanded genetic code in a discovery that could pave the way for entirely new life forms to be created. Scientists hope to use the research to help develop drugs to fight a range of diseases, but it could also create new types of material.
Organisms created with synthetic DNA pave way for entirely new life forms