Home Politics 5 things to know for September 18: Saudi Arabia, politics, weather, Cokie Roberts – CNN

5 things to know for September 18: Saudi Arabia, politics, weather, Cokie Roberts – CNN

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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. Saudi Arabia oil field attack

The Pentagon has been ordered by President Trump to work up potential responses to the attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities. But defense officials won’t be moving too quickly. The President wants to wait for Saudi Arabia’s leaders to decide on a response before any action is taken. The hope, one source told CNN, is to avoid “stupid moves” and “knee-jerk reactions” that would only worsen an already dicey situation.
The administration is building a case that Iran is responsible for the attack, which knocked out almost half of Saudi Arabia’s oil capacity. A defense official told CNN that the US has imagery that suggests the attack originated inside Iran, including evidence of weapons being readied for launch inside the country; CNN has not been shown the imagery. Iran denies responsibility for the attack. Meanwhile oil prices, which shot up after the strikes, dropped sharply yesterday, after the Saudis said they were ramping up oil and gas production.

2. Politics

If the Democrats thought the House Judiciary Committee’s first official impeachment-related hearing would refocus the public’s attention on ex-special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, they were sadly mistaken. Two former White House aides who had been subpoenaed didn’t show up. And the one witness who did appear — former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski — stonewalled and frustrated the Democrats on the panel so much that chairman Jerry Nadler threatened to hold him in contempt.
During his appearance, Lewandowski did confirm one of the buzzier parts of the Mueller report: that President Trump told him to order then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to curtail the Mueller investigation so it would only look for future election-meddling — and stop probing his 2016 campaign. But Lewandowski didn’t carry out Trump’s order. What happened yesterday shows just how much the Democrats are struggling to hold Trump accountable, CNN political analyst Stephen Collinson says. Their probes have been stymied by White House claims of executive privilege, uncooperative witnesses who still support Trump and lawsuits that are bogged down in court. 

3. Indonesia forest fires

People have been paying lots of attention to the fires in the Amazon, but there’s a group of fires on the other side of the world we all need to keep an eye on, too. About 800,000 acres of ecologically rich land have been burned in Indonesia, engulfing the region in a thick toxic haze. The unhealthy air has reached Singapore and Malaysia, too. The blazes are the result of slash-and-burn techniques to clear land, the same practices that led to the fires in the Brazilian Amazon. Indonesia’s National Police arrested 185 people in connection with the fires. Governments in the region are scrambling to find solutions, with Indonesia and Malaysia using cloud-seeding methods to try to artificially start rain.

4. Weather

Houston braces for heavy flooding this morning, after the fast-moving Tropical Storm Imelda made landfall yesterday in southeast Texas. Imelda is now a tropical depression and could dump 6 to 10 inches of rain across the region. That would be the heaviest rainfall Houston has seen since Hurricane Harvey. Meanwhile, Bermuda is dealing with Hurricane Humberto. The Category 3 storm is expected to pass dangerously close to the island territory tonight.

5. Cokie Roberts

Cokie Roberts was a broadcast journalism legend, but she was so much more than that. Roberts — who died yesterday at age 75 — was also a prolific writer, authoring a number of books and a syndicated newspaper column. More importantly, she was a trailblazer who tore down barriers for female journalists during her career of more than 40 years. The three-time Emmy winner was best known for her work with ABC News, but her top-notch reporting and keen political analysis were also on display on NPR and PBS. In a statement announcing her death, ABC News President James Goldston said, “Cokie’s kindness, generosity, sharp intellect and thoughtful take on the big issues of the day made ABC a better place and all of us better journalists.”

BREAKFAST BROWSE

Don’t show me the money
Virginia’s basketball coach was in line for a big raise after winning the national championship. He turned it all down so the money could benefit others.
Sweet ‘n’ salty
OK, we’ve all gotten used to the treat that is chicken and waffles. So, we guess the chicken and doughnuts thing KFC is testing out isn’t too much of a stretch.
Quite the beer run
What do you do after you hold up a sign on “College GameDay” asking for beer money? Donate it all to charity after nearly $60,000 rolls in.
Did it for the ‘gram
He survived a terrifying, 30-foot fall into a Mount Rainier crevasse. After realizing he wasn’t going to die, he snapped a picture.

TODAY’S QUOTE

“I talk to the audience sometimes and I get teary-eyed for no reason. I don’t even bother to explain it anymore. I just experience it. I know it’s a part of who I am and I just keep going.”
“Jeopardy!” host Alex Trebek, explaining to “Good Morning America” the toll cancer has taken on him, both physically and mentally. He also said he has restarted chemotherapy.

TODAY’S NUMBER

$53 billion
That’s how much the New York Federal Reserve spent to rescue the overnight lending market. This bailout of a rarely noticed corner of Wall Street is considered a crack in the financial markets.

HAPPENING LATER

High interest
All eyes will be on the Fed, which might order up a quarter-percentage-point rate cut today.

AND FINALLY

Funny faces
These five kids were challenged not to laugh. You can guess what happened. (Click to view.)

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