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Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 13, 2018

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Harold Maass
Hurricane Florence's projected path
ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images
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1.

Hurricane Florence weakens but remains dangerous as it approaches Carolinas

Hurricane Florence's outer rain bands approached the coast of the Carolinas early Thursday, with its top sustained winds decreasing to 110 miles per hour from a high of 140 miles per hour. Authorities warned that high winds, storm surge, and heavy rains could still cause catastrophic flooding as the storm's forward speed slows and it drenches inland areas for days. The storm is expected to make landfall in the Carolinas early Friday. Authorities there have urged more than 1 million people to evacuate coastal areas. President Trump said the government was prepared to respond to the storm but urged people in its path to seek safe shelter. "Don't play games with it," he said. "It's a big one." [The Associated Press, CNN]

2.

Trump orders more sanctions against anyone meddling in U.S. elections

President Trump on Wednesday authorized new sanctions against any country or individual that tries to meddle in upcoming U.S. elections. "This is intended to be a very broad effort to prevent foreign manipulation of the political process," National Security Adviser John Bolton said. It would let Trump impose sanctions on anyone who tries to interfere in the November midterms either overtly, by meddling with such things as vote counts, or indirectly, by spreading misinformation, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) and Sen Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) issued a joint statement calling for tougher legislation against election interference. "Today's announcement by the administration recognizes the threat," they wrote, "but does not go far enough to address it." [The Washington Post]

3.

Pope Francis summons bishops for unprecedented meeting on protecting children

Pope Francis called the world's Catholic bishops for an unprecedented meeting in Rome to discuss protecting children from predatory priests, the Vatican said Wednesday. The gathering comes after fresh allegations of widespread abuse and cover-ups in Pennsylvania that have prompted several other states to investigate sexual abuse by clerics. Other high-profile cases in Chile and the Philippines have added to pressure on Francis to step up the church's efforts to address the scandal, and some observers see the meeting at the Vatican as a sign that the pope is trying to adopt a global approach to protecting children and holding abusive clerics accountable. [The New York Times]

4.

Report: U.S. detaining record number of migrant children

The number of detained migrant children has risen sharply over the last year, reaching a record 12,800 this month, The New York Times reports. There were just 2,400 undocumented immigrant children in custody in May 2017. The numbers have increased as the Trump administration has cracked down on illegal immigration despite the court-ordered release of hundreds of children separated from their parents at the border in the Trump administration's effort to prevent undocumented families from entering the country. The increase has left federal shelters nearly full. The Times said the data indicated that the increase was due to a reduction in the number of children being released to relatives or sponsors, not an increase in the number of children entering the country. [The New York Times]

5.

Booker releases more confidential documents about Kavanaugh

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) on Wednesday night released 28 more documents on Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh that were deemed "committee confidential" by the Senate Judiciary Committee. The documents are from Kavanaugh's time serving in the White House counsel's office in the George W. Bush administration. They demonstrate his involvement in judicial nominations, including those of such controversial picks as Charles Pickering, who was appointed despite concerns about his views on race relations. Kavanaugh had said he wasn't substantially involved in the nomination, and Booker said the documents "raise more serious and concerning questions" about his honesty during his confirmation hearing. A conservative judicial group referred Booker to the Senate Ethics Committee over his earlier disclosure of confidential documents. [The Associated Press]

6.

Super Typhoon Mangkhut threatens Philippines with 150-mph winds

Super Typhoon Mangkhut on Thursday continued barreling toward the largest and most heavily populated island in the Philippines with top sustained winds of 150 miles per hour. The storm is expected to bring "ruinous rain to central Luzon," an agricultural area considered the country's breadbasket, said Richard Gordon, a senator and chairman of the Philippine Red Cross. The military and police in the threatened area have been placed on red alert. The storm is expected to start hitting the Philippines with wind and rain on Friday, with its eye crossing northern Luzon on Saturday. In the Caribbean, Tropical Storm Isaac is expected to cross the Lesser Antilles on Thursday. It will pass south of Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria last year, and dump three inches of rain on parts of the island. [The New York Times, The Weather Channel]

7.

Trump administration prepares proposal for more trade talks with China

The Trump administration has proposed a new round of trade talks with China aiming to prevent further escalation of President Trump's trade war against the world's second largest economy, Larry Kudlow, director of Trump's National Economic Council, confirmed on Wednesday. Kudlow called the move "positive." "We are in communication right now and you could say that communication has picked up a notch," he added. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other top officials recently extended the invitation to their counterparts in China, Bloomberg reported, citing three people familiar with the matter. One of the people, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the talks probably would be held in Washington, D.C. [Bloomberg]

8.

Seattle Storm sweeps Washington Mystics to win WNBA title

The Seattle Storm swept the Washington Mystics in the WNBA Finals, winning their third league title with a 98-82 win in Game 3. The Storm also beat the Mystics by double-digits in the first two games of the series. "It doesn't feel real yet, honestly," WNBA Finals MVP Breanna Stewart said. "I think that what we did as a team for these past four months, we had a goal and that was to win a championship." The Storm charged into a 16-point lead early on, boosted by the dominance of Stewart and center Natasha Howard, who had 17 points each in the first half. [Yahoo Sports]

9.

CBS fires longtime 60 minutes producer over harsh text

CBS News fired longtime 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager on Wednesday for sending a text message threatening the career of a CBS reporter, Jericka Duncan, who had contacted him for comment on sexual harassment allegations against him that were reported by The New Yorker and The Washington Post. "Be careful," he wrote. "There are people who lost their jobs trying to harm me and if you pass on these damaging claims without your own reporting to back them up that will become a serious problem." Fager called the sexual harassment allegations "false" but acknowledged sending the text to Duncan. The president of CBS News, David Rhodes, said Fager's firing was "not directly related" to the allegations, but that he had violated company policy. [The New York Times, Variety]

10.

Stormy Daniels announces October book release

Porn star Stormy Daniels, who claims she had an affair with President Trump more than a decade ago, said on ABC's The View Wednesday that her book, Stormy Daniels: Full Disclosure, will reveal new details on the alleged affair. The book is due out on Oct. 2, a month before the midterm elections. Daniels said the book has been in the works for 10 years, and is not being rushed out due to interest in her relationship with Trump. The book also will cover other parts of her life. "I just sort of melded everything together," she said. "I've kept notebooks of the adventures I've had on the road and in strip clubs and stuff. It will blow your mind." [The Washington Post]