November 8, 2018 / 12:17 PM / 3 months ago

Thursday Morning Briefing

Trump ousts Jeff Sessions as attorney general, activists call for nationwide protests to protect Mueller investigation and Tesla director Denholm to replace Musk as board chair. Catch up on the latest headlines.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. President Donald Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions stand for the national anthem at a graduation ceremony at the FBI Academy on the grounds of Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia, U.S. December 15, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

Politics

President Donald Trump forced out his attorney general and threatened to fight back if Democrats use their new majority in the House of Representatives to launch investigations into his administration and finances. The ouster of Jeff Sessions by Trump drew sharp criticism from Democrats, who warned Trump against moving to squash a probe of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.

U.S. progressive groups will stage hundreds of protests nationwide to demand that Trump do nothing to hinder an ongoing investigation into Russian meddling to help him win the 2016 U.S. election. Trump appointed Matthew Whitaker, formerly Sessions’ chief of staff, as acting attorney general under the U.S. Vacancies Reform Act, which lays out general rules for temporarily filling vacant executive branch positions.

The new Democrat majority in the House of Representatives is likely to back Trump’s trade war with China and could even egg him on, but will offer tougher scrutiny of his negotiations with allies, trade experts and lawmakers say.

United States

First responders are seen outside Borderline Bar and Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, U.S. November 7, 2018 in this image obtained from social media on November 8, 2018. Thomas Gorden/via REUTERS

A gunman killed 12 people, including a deputy sheriff, when he opened fire in a bar in Southern California on Wednesday night, Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean said.

It was the lunch-hour rush at the Court Square Diner in New York’s Long Island City, and co-owner Nick Kanellos pointed to the elevated subway tracks that rattle overhead as he fretted over the news that Amazon may build a major outpost in the neighborhood.

Commentary: Trump heads to Paris on Friday to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the truce that ended World War One, surrounded by more than 100 heads of state, all of whom have followed with intense interest the outcome of Tuesday’s congressional midterm elections in the United States. And not everyone might have liked what they saw, writes David A. Andelman, a former foreign correspondent for the New York Times and CBS News. Spin it as they might, each world leader arriving in Paris will be waiting to see just how the split outcome of the crucial midterms will affect Trump’s attitude toward them individually and the world collectively.

World

Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi shake hands at a news conference at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing, China November 8, 2018. REUTERS/Thomas Peter/Pool

Beijing and Canberra should be cooperating in the South Pacific and not be cast as strategic rivals, China’s top diplomat said, after Australia launched a multi-billion dollar fund to counter China’s rising influence in the region.

The customary cordiality of Southeast Asian summits may be missing when the region’s leaders meet next week due to sharp differences over Myanmar, whose military has been accused of genocide against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority. Two Reuters journalists have been imprisoned in Myanmar for 332 days. Follow updates on the case.

A seasonal shift in the weather and intensified international diplomacy are prompting Palestinians mounting protests along Gaza’s border with Israel to rethink their tactics. Since the demonstrations started more than seven months ago, protesters routinely made attempts to breach Israel’s frontier fence and launched incendiary balloons and kites that have burned forests and crops inside Israel.

Business

Tesla said Robyn Denholm will replace Elon Musk as chair of the electric-car maker’s board, more than a month after the billionaire had to step down from the role as part of a settlement with U.S. regulators.

Walmart said it would start offering holiday deals for customers as early as Thursday, as it prepares to compete with Amazon, Target and other rivals for shoppers on one of the busiest shopping days of the year.

UBS Group, Switzerland’s largest bank, faces another potentially costly legal battle as the U.S. Department of Justice draws up civil charges over the sale of mortgage-backed securities in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis.

Reuters TV

The White House has revoked the press pass for CNN’s White House correspondent, Jim Acosta, after a fiery exchange with U.S. President Donald Trump where the White House alleges Acosta “placed his hands” on an intern who tried to take the microphone from him.

White House suspends CNN reporter's press pass
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