President Trump Fires Sec. of State Rex Tillerson; GOP House Intel Panel Says There Was No Trump-Russia Collusion; Trump Blocks Qualcomm Deal; National Geographic Acknowledges Racist Past; Charter Bus Carrying High School Students Plunges Into Ravine, Driver Killed; Florida Prosecutors Wants Death Penalty for Nikolas Cruz; Trump Inspects Border Wall Prototypes in California; Updates on Austin Package Explosions
This morning President Trump fired the Sec. of State Rex Tillerson and replaced him with current CIA Director Mike Pompeo.
Trump announced this on Twitter. Tillerson didn’t even know about it until he saw the tweet.
Tweet: Mike Pompeo, Director of the CIA, will become our new Secretary of State. He will do a fantastic job! Thank you to Rex Tillerson for his service! Gina Haspel will become the new Director of the CIA, and the first woman so chosen. Congratulations to all!
A representative said Tillerson didn’t know the reason why he was let go.
This morning Trump, before leaving for California, said Tillerson was a very good man but that they disagreed on the 2015 Iran deal.
We have seen Trump publicly criticize Tillerson in the past, and in recent months, there were media reports of Trump wanting to fire him. All that has taken place.
Tillerson gave public remarks this afternoon, saying Trump called him from Air Force One. His last day will be on March 31, but is now turning over all of his responsibilities to the top deputy.
Trump announced he is naming Gina Haspel to lead the CIA, and if she is confirmed, would be the first female director.
Haspel is the CIA deputy director under Pompeo. She has been with the CIA since 1985, mostly working undercover, with experience at top positions and receiving awards.
The New York Times reported that Haspel has a history of torturing people during interrogations, some of them captured and detained at secret sites.
Those topics will come up during her Senate confirmation hearings.
This is the second top ranking Trump administration official to be let go in two weeks -- last week Gary Cohn, the chief economic adviser, resigned over disagreements on steel and aluminum tariffs.
Yesterday the House intelligence committee Republican members, who control the panel, said there was no collusion between Trump’s campaign and Russia.
Republicans say there was Russian interference, but they don’t agree that they favored Trump.
Texas Representative Conaway (R ) said in their investigation, they saw that the Trump campaign had inappropriate meetings, bad judgment, but no “collusion.”
Democrats on the committee are opposed to this, saying it was too early to end the investigation.
California Rep. Schiff (D) said Republicans are more interested in protecting the president than the country.
The House investigation has ended, but two more still remain -- the Senate Intelligence panel and Special Counsel Mueller’s criminal investigation.
Yesterday President Trump released a presidential order that blocked a major tech company from Singapore, Broadcom, from buying a technology company from the U.S. called Qualcomm. This deal is called a ‘hostile takeover’ because Qualcomm does not want the deal to happen. However, if enough shareholders vote to approve the deal, it could happen.
Last month the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS) stalled this vote by opening an investigation. Typically the president doesn’t block a deal until the investigation is concluded, but President Trump’s order came before the CFIUS’s investigation was over. This is unusual, but still aligned with this administration's tendencies to protect U.S. companies from foreign influence.
Broadcom wants to buy Qualcomm because they own many patents for chips and wireless technology needed for 5G, the next generation of wireless internet. President Trump’s order stated that if Broadcomm acquired this technology, it would pose a serious national security risk to the U.S.
However, Broadcomm has been planning to move their headquarters to the U.S. They stated that the deal would never happen until Broadcomm officially becomes a U.S. company. They acknowledged the order, but remain determined to pursue the deal.
Yesterday, the National Geographic magazine released a special edition of their April issue, titled “The Race Issue”. The magazine is dedicating this issue to the topic of race, but is also recognizing their own racist history.
The editor-in-chief, Susan Goldberg, wrote the editorial, titled, “For decades, our coverage was racist. To rise above our past we must acknowledge it.”
Goldberg, the first female and Jewish editor-in-chief for the magazine, was supported by a professor from the University of Virginia. The professor, John Edwin Mason, specializes in the history of African photography and African history.
Mason’s research in the National Geographic archives showed that until the 1970s the magazine essentially ignored people of color who lived in the U.S. – but portrayed people of color in other countries as “exotics” and savages, often unclothed.
Mason found many instances of major stories that were excluded from coverage by the magazine. He said, “that absence is as important as what is in there.”
Goldberg said that some images will shock readers – like one photo of two Aboriginal people with a caption that read: “South Australian Blackfellows: These savages rank lowest in intelligence of all human beings.”
She compared this to more recent articles to show how much National Geographic has changed. She says sometimes these stories are not easy to read, but it is something that must be discussed. You can see more examples and read the editorial from the links in the description.
Susan Goldberg’s Editorial: https://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2018/04/from-the-editor-race-racism-history/
The Race Issue, April 2018 http://press.nationalgeographic.com/2018/03/12/the-race-issue-national-geographic-magazine-april-2018/
In Alabama, a charter bus full of high school students, band members, who were returning home to Texas from a trip to Disney World, plunged off I-10 into a steep ravine. This was this early morning when it was still dark.
The driver died and several others were injured, one critically. Passengers were airlifted and transported to different hospitals.
Terrible incident, and hopefully everybody can make a full recovery.
There were 40 students and 6 adults — they are from the Channelview High School near Houston, Texas.
In Florida, prosecutors on the school shooter Nikolas Cruz’s case said they will seek the death penalty. The reasons why?
They said Cruz knowingly created a risk of death for many people, wanted to hinder government functions or enforcement, and the shooting was especially atrocious/cruel.
Cruz can avoid the death penalty if he pleads guilty, and be imprisoned for life.
The prosecution is also prepared to argue against Cruz’s defense team if they cite mental health issues.
Cruz has not yet pled guilty — he is standing “mute” — which means he is refusing to plead either way. In Florida, this means a “not guilty” plea. But he could change to a guilty plea because of the prosecution’s announcement.
Florida has 347 people on death row.
President Trump flew to California today — his first time as President. He is there to inspect border wall prototypes and to visit a Marine Corps base in San Diego, then go to Los Angeles for a fundraiser dinner, staying there overnight before departing tomorrow morning.
There were protesters who were ready to show their opposition to the 45th president.
The state governor Brown wrote him a letter saying he needed to focus on bridges, not walls.
Trump responded to this saying Brown did a poor job running California, citing immigration and tax issues.
There was a rally that was pro-Trump — they chanted, “build the wall!”
When Trump inspected the 8 different wall prototypes, Trump said the walls needed to be difficult to climb over, because people who crossed the border were like professional mountain climbers.
He also said it was important that it was see-through, in case carters were just a few feet away on the other side.
Trump said we would not have a country unless we had a border wall.
More protests are expected tonight in LA when Trump goes there.
The Austin Police Department has given updates on the package explosions that killed two people this month.
-- The teenager killed yesterday in the first explosion is Draylen Mason, 17. His mother was injured, but is in stable condition. Draylon was supposed to be a student at the University of Texas. Very sad.
-- The second explosion yesterday morning injured a 75-year old Hispanic woman, who is in the hospital with life-threatening injuries. A 80-year old woman was looked at, but not taken to the hospital.
-- Police said they don’t think the packages were left by USPS or any mail delivery, that they were dropped off by a suspect.
-- They did not describe what the packages looked like. They don’t have any descriptions of a suspect or a vehicle.
-- The investigation is ongoing, with the USPS, FBI, and ATF involved. They say they will check everything.
-- The mayor and the police chief are warning people to not open packages if they didn’t expect them, and if they look suspicious, to call 911.
-- Texas Governor Abbott said the state would give a reward of up to $15,000 for information leading to the arrest of the suspect.
That is all for today. See you tomorrow and stay with the light!