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Senate Democrats filed a lawsuit to block Matt Whitaker from continuing on as acting attorney general; Houthi rebels will halt firing rockets in hopes of entering peace talks with Saudi Arabia.
Democrats sue to overturn Whitaker’s appointment
- Three Senate Democrats have officially filed a lawsuit to oust acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker from his seat, less than two weeks after he was appointed by President Donald Trump to replace Jeff Sessions. [Politico / Caitlin Oprysko]
- Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Mazie Hirono (D-HI) challenged Trump’s decision as being unconstitutional. All three issued fiery statements along with the suit; Whitehouse called Whitaker an “unconfirmed lackey” who undermines a “major investigation into the president.” [Fox News / Alex Pappas]
- At the helm of the Justice Department, even if temporarily, Whitaker is in control of the Mueller probe, which aims to definitively answer whether or not Russia meddled in the 2016 presidential election. Whitaker has long been a public critic of Mueller, and expressed how Sessions’s successor should rein in the special counsel. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]
- The Justice Department has stood firmly by Trump’s side throughout the controversy, maintaining that Whitaker’s appointment is “lawful.” In a Wednesday memo, the Office of Legal Counsel wrote that the president has the power to make Cabinet picks with little congressional oversight. [The Daily Beast / Betsy Woodruff]
- In a Reuters explainer, Jan Wolfe argues that Whitaker’s elevation to the position may be considered unconstitutional if he decides not to recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation. [Reuters / Jan Wolfe]
- Sessions resigned 12 days ago, just one day after the midterm elections, under pressure from Trump to leave the Justice Department. The resignation took few by surprise, as Trump has been expressing his anger at Sessions for months. [Vox / Alex Ward and German Lopez]
Could Yemen finally see peace?
- Houthi rebels in Yemen said they’re ready for a ceasefire Monday and that they will stop firing rockets into Saudi Arabia in an effort to finally enter peace talks with the Arab nation. [AP / Ahmed Al-Haj and Brian Rohan]
- The move comes only a few weeks after the US and Britain, two of Saudi Arabia’s biggest trade partners and arms suppliers, urged both sides to cease missile and drone strikes in all populated areas of Yemen, which is the Arab world’s poorest nation. [Reuters / Phil Stewart, Eric Beech, and Mohammad Zargham]
- Saudi Arabia, which backs the Yemeni government against Islamic Houthi rebels, has imposed a blockade on Yemen’s main port, restricting food and other aid allowed inside. The Yemeni civil war is one of the world’s worst humanitarian crises. [Telegraph]
- In the meantime, some 13 million people — nearly half the country’s population — are at risk of starvation within the next three months due to the ongoing civil war and Saudi airstrikes that are killing civilians. [Guardian / Hannah Summers]
- Ever practiced an Oscars speech in your bathroom with a hair dryer? A few lucky buyers will have a chance to realize their fantasies — but with the actual statuettes — as two Academy Awards for Best Picture are going up for sale in a rare auction. [CNBC via AP]
- The Obamas are on their way to become a billion-dollar brand, with Michelle Obama’s earnings from her recent memoir — both the advance and tour — raking in a ton of income for the couple. [New York Post / Isabel Vincent]
- First came the tweets. Then, the videos. And that’s how Einstein the Camel, which was stranded along a snowy roadway 40 miles north of Philadelphia, was found and made it home. [AP]
- Taylor Swift will never stop growing, or transforming, as an artist. She signed a new record deal with Republic Records and Universal Music Group, further advancing her career in the pop music industry. [Rolling Stone / Brittany Spanos]
“There is no official record but we are not aware of any waiting time reaching 11 hours before.” [Die-hard fans of Mickey and Minnie Mouse were told they’d have to wait 660 minutes, or 11 hours, to see an anniversary attraction at Tokyo Disneyland / Japan Times]
Watch this: How one designer created the “look” of jazz
Blue Note captured the refined sophistication of jazz during the early ’60s, giving it its signature look in the process. [YouTube / Estelle Caswell]