5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Trump sues to block access to New York tax returns

  • Boris Johnson wins Conservative race to be Britain's prime minister

  • Senate resoundingly votes to exend 9/11 compensation fund

  • Senate votes to confirm Mark Esper as Secretary of Defense

  • Lifetime to air Surviving Jeffrey Epstein documentary

President Trump on Tuesday filed a lawsuit in a federal court to block the House Ways and Means Committee from accessing his New York state tax returns. Trump's lawyers have argued that a law passed in New York that would grant the committee access to the returns is unconstitutional. The lawsuit claims that the state enacted the law because of Trump's policy positions and political beliefs. New York Attorney General Letitia James said she is sure the law is sound and promised to "vigorously defend it against any court challenge." The committee's chair, Rep. Richard Neal (D-Mass.), is reportedly reviewing the law, though he has cautioned against using it because it could ultimately harm efforts to access Trump's federal returns.

Source: Reuters, CNN

Britain's governing Conservative Party announced Tuesday that former Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson won the internal race to replace Theresa May as party leader and Britain's next prime minister. Johnson and his last remaining rival, current Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, campaigned heavily for the job, lobbying the fewer than 200,000 Conservative Party members who voted in the race for Britain's next leader. He will be sworn in as prime minister on Wednesday, and his first major challenge will be to follow through on his pledge to complete Britain's exit from the European Union in just over three months. Johnson was a leading proponent of Brexit, the issue that drove May from office.

Source: BBC News, Reuters

The Senate on Tuesday voted to extend the Victim Compensation Fund for 9/11 first responders, ensuring it will not run out of money. The bill passed by a count of 97-2 with Sens. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.) serving as the only holdouts. If approved by President Trump, the bill would extend the fund until 2092. As the fund began to dwindle, a group of first responders and former Daily Show host Jon Stewart led the charge for the extension, testifying on the bill's necessity before Congress. "Congress can never repay these men, women, and families for their sacrifices," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said. "But we can do our small part to try and make our heroes whole."

Source: The Associated Press, The Washington Post

The Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Mark Esper as defense secretary. He received bipartisan support as lawmakers largely hope to restore leadership at the Pentagon amid rising tensions with Iran. Esper was previously serving as acting secretary of defense; he stepped into the role last month after Patrick Shanahan departed amid reports of domestic violence within his family. Prior to Esper's confirmation, the defense secretary role has not been permanently filled since former Defense Secretary James Mattis resigned in December. Esper, a West Point graduate and Gulf War veteran, has served as a top civilian Pentagon official, a lobbyist for defense contractor Raytheon, and an adviser to Republican lawmakers.

Source: The Washington Post

Six months after the hit documentary series Surviving R. Kelly, Lifetime is tackling the Jeffrey Epstein case. The network on Tuesday announced its new documentary Surviving Jeffrey Epstein, which comes after the financier was arrested and hit with sex trafficking charges as prosecutors say he sexually abused dozens of underage girls. The series will examine how Epstein "used his money and connections to wealthy and powerful people to allegedly shield predatory behavior with girls." Prior to his recent arrest, Epstein pleaded guilty to prostitution charges in Florida but ultimately only served 13 months. A+E Networks President Rob Sharenow touted the network as providing a "platform for women to have their voices heard." Epstein has denied wrongdoing.

Source: The Hollywood Reporter, Deadline
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