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Jan 10, 2017

The Guardian | U.S. Briefing - January 10, 2017: Will Trump's Cabinet be Confirmed? Sessions First in Hot Seat | The Daily Briefing
Nicole Puglise

Cabinet confirmation hearings begin

Ready or not ... a packed week of confirmation hearings kicks off on Tuesday, with Donald Trump’s cabinet picks facing questioning by senators. On day one, Alabama senator Jeff Sessions, Trump’s nominee for attorney general, will be forced to defend a career dogged by claims of racism and bigotry, as Democrats begin their struggle to block cabinet appointments made by the president-elect. The Office of Government Ethics wrote to Senate leaders, as some of the cabinet nominees have yet to complete the ethics review process, while Democratic Senate leaders have accused Trump of trying to “jam through unvetted nominees”. Writing for the Guardian, Norman L Eisen and Richard W Painter, former White House ethics lawyers under presidents Barack Obama and George W Bush, argue the hearings should be postponed to preserve the integrity of the ethics review process.
Here’s a quick guide to the confirmation process

Trump’s new adviser: his son-in-law

Donald Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, was named senior adviser to the president on Monday, an appointment that would further entangle the incoming White House in a web of potential conflicts of interest and accusations of nepotism. Kushner has had Trump’s ear in an informal role alongside the businessman’s three grown children throughout the campaign and transition. In a statement, Trump’s team said that Kushner had “formed an effective leadership team” with the president-elect’s chosen chief of staff, Reince Priebus, and his chief strategist, Steve Bannon. Kushner will need to argue that a federal anti-nepotism law that prohibits any federal official from hiring family members to an agency or office which he or she leads does not apply to him. But ethics experts say that Kushner could retain a technically unofficial role, for instance as a “consultant”, in order to skirt the law. Trump’s transition team said Kushner “has chosen to forego his salary while serving in the administration”. He also faces conflicts of interest over his business dealings.
Trump names son-in-law Jared Kushner as senior adviser, testing nepotism law

‘We must stop killing’: a special report from St Louis

Guardian reporters have taken an in-depth look into the impact of gun violence in St Louis, Missouri. In a Guardian analysis of the more than 73,000 census tracts in the US, only 63, or 0.1%, had more than five fatal gun murder victims in 2015. Of those 63, eight are within St Louis city limits, and five rest along Natural Bridge. Though it is just four miles long inside of city limits, in 2015 at least 20 of the city’s gun homicides happened on Natural Bridge or within a few hundred yards of its north and south flanks.
St Louis: home of the deadliest stretch of road for gun violence in America

Clemson wins national championship in final second

Clemson University quarterback Deshaun Watson found Hunter Renfrow for a two-yard touchdown pass with a second remaining in the fourth quarter to give the Tigers their first college football national championship since 1981. They beat Alabama 35-31.
Last-second score lifts Clemson past Alabama in thrilling national title game

Support the Guardian’s fearless journalism

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.

A presidential tradition: erasing your predecessor’s policies

Obama faces a successor radically opposed to his policies and philosophy, who has vowed to undo much of what the president has built. But presidents who repudiate their predecessors are not new. Alan Yuhas examines past presidential rivalries, those who have sought to undo parts of their predecessor’s legacies and the difficulties of doing so.
Presidents undoing their predecessor’s legacy: an American tradition

Jill Stein: we can fix broken election system

Reflecting on her push for a vote recount, Jill Stein writes that the movement asked one question: “Do we have a voting system we can trust, that is accurate secure and just, and free from modern-day Jim Crow in our elections?” The answer, she writes for the Guardian, was a resounding no. The Green party presidential candidate lays out her vision for reform, including “Ranked Choice Voting” and the end of the electoral college.
Running for president showed me how our elections are broken. We can fix them

Brazil gang war enters prison system

In a country long used to violent crime, the savagery of recent prison violence has appalled Brazilians: local media reports have included footage of of dismembered corpses and messages scrawled in human blood. In a riot on 1 January, 56 prisoners were butchered near the Amazon city of Manaus, followed by killings in three other overcrowded prisons. Police and prosecutors have warned that a war between rival gangs to control Brazil’s lucrative drug trade has escalated to a new level of brutality.
Trail of slaughter in prisons shocks Brazilians as gang war explodes

Your medical data is for sale

Adam Tanner, a fellow at Harvard’s institute for quantitative social science and author of Our Bodies, Our Data, said that patients generally don’t know that their most personal information – what diseases they test positive for, what surgeries they have had – is the stuff of multibillion-dollar business. While the information is anonymized, data miners and brokers can build up detailed dossiers on individual patients.
Your private medical data is for sale – and it’s driving a business worth billions

And finally ... Trump documentary added to Sundance lineup

Trumped: Inside the Greatest Political Upset of All Time has been put together by the team behind Showtime’s election series, The Circus: Inside the Greatest Political Show on Earth, which ran from January to November 2016 and covered the presidential race in detail over 26 episodes. No screening date has been confirmed, but Trump’s inauguration occurs on the second day of the festival.
Donald Trump documentary added to Sundance lineup