Today is a national day of mourning for the late former President George H.W. Bush. That means a lot of government agencies will be closed and regular mail service suspended. Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)
1. Mueller investigation
As expected, FBI special counsel Robert Mueller filed a sentencing memo for President Trump’s ex-national security adviser, Michael Flynn. The big takeaway: Mueller suggested Flynn should NOT get prison time because he gave “substantial assistance” to the investigation. How substantial? The filings reveal Flynn sat for 19 interviews with the special counsel and other Justice Department officials, and not only did his information lay out a road map for the investigation, his early cooperation may have encouraged others to do the same. Despite this revelation, the filings were heavily redacted and didn’t contain any concrete answers to big questions. But whatever is written under those black bars, it puts pressure on the Trump administration. A legal expert told CNN that such cooperation probably means Flynn’s information helped Mueller build a criminal case. Against whom? REDACTED.
Wow, yesterday was a horrible day for the markets. Remember Monday’s enthusiasm over the trade truce between the US and China? Gone. The Dow plunged 799 points, with bank stocks hit especially hard. Sure, the economy has ups and downs, but when bank stocks dip and concerns about bond yields come into play, it can signal a slowdown. Tech stocks, like Apple, Google, Amazon and Netflix, also fell sharply. Oh, and UPS and FedEx stocks fell, too, because Amazon is reportedly building up its air freight delivery service. There won’t be mayhem today, though: Markets are closed as the nation mourns our former President.
3. Jamal Khashoggi
Republican senators had strong words after leaving a classified briefing about the murder of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Sen. Bob Corker said outright that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman “ordered, monitored, the killing” of Khashoggi in October at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul. “If he were in front of a jury, he would be convicted of murder in about 30 minutes,” he said. Sen. Lindsey Graham said, “There’s not a smoking gun, there’s a smoking saw.” Both are leading a charge to rebuke the Crown Prince and possibly distance the US from Saudi Arabia’s military interests. But GOP US Rep. Chris Stewart said on CNN that “journalists disappear all over the country” and this incident can’t get in the way of US interests.
More than two decades after closing its embassy in Somalia, the US announced it has re-established a permanent diplomatic presence in the East African nation. The US closed its embassy in the capital city of Mogadishu in January 1991, after the overthrow of the country’s President, but has been warming up diplomatic sentiments. Somalia in recent years also has been subject to widespread famine and has been a regular focus of US counterterror efforts. US military strikes in Somalia have targeted suspected fighters for ISIS and a militant group linked to al Qaeda.
5. NYPD drones
Drones are coming to the nation’s largest police force, and while they may have some seriously helpful applications, civil rights groups worry they could open the door to some Orwellian levels of privacy invasion. The NYPD announced it will start using a fleet of 14 drones: 11 small ones, two large weather-resistant ones with thermal imaging and zoom capabilities, and one testing drone. They’ll be used to document crime scenes and collisions, monitor crowds and traffic at events, gather information at hazardous scenes, and even be used during hostage situations. They won’t be used for routine patrol or traffic enforcement or to monitor citizens. Despite the promise, the New York Civil Liberties Union says it’s concerned the department’s policies don’t place many official limits on drone use. NYPD says more than 900 police, fire and emergency units around the country already use drones in some form.
Too much sleep linked to greater risk of disease and death, study says
Still gonna smash that snooze button five times.
A 9-year-old boy has convinced his Colorado town to lift its ban on snowball fights
What town is this? HallmarkMovieVille?
A legislator wants to ban telemarketers from doing that annoying thing where their caller IDs mimic your home area code and number
One word: GOOD.
Cardi B and her husband Offset break up
Inside Brazil’s abandoned Santa-themed amusement park
Good grief, this place is a nightmare. Gaze into the empty maw of Father Christmas, children! He sees you when you’re sleeping!
That’s how many pounds of beef are being recalled because they could be tainted with salmonella. This recall is an expansion of a recall that started in October. All in all, 12 million pounds of beef have been affected.
“I would like to end this speech with some words to young girls all over the world: Please, believe in yourselves.”
Norwegian soccer star Ada Hegerberg, the first winner of the Women’s Ballon d’Or
Beer me! Candy me! Everything me!
Every single thing automated through some hacked Google Home system? This man is living in 3018. (Click to view.)