Morning Update: Donald Trump To Address The Nation

Cyntoia Brown's sentence was commuted, a new direction for Planned Parenthood, our new series on debt. Your BuzzFeed News newsletter, Jan. 8.

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Democrats are warning Trump against declaring a national emergency at the border

Tonight, President Donald Trump will speak to the nation in a primetime telecast that has been billed as addressing a “national security” crisis at the southern border.

This comes after Vice President Mike Pence told reporters the White House is actively exploring the use of emergency powers to build a border wall.

Ahead of the president’s speech, Democrats are warning against declaring a national emergency along the border and vowed to use Congress and the courts to challenge any such effort.

You should also know: President Trump claimed former presidents told him they should’ve built a border wall. All four living presidents say that’s not true.

Cyntoia Brown will be released from prison after Tennessee’s governor granted her clemency

Brown is in prison for fatally shooting a man who was paying her for sex when she said she was a 16-year-old sex trafficking victim.

Now Gov. Bill Haslam, in one of his last acts in office, is commuting her life sentence. Brown, now 30, will be released to parole supervision on Aug. 7 after serving 15 years.

Brown’s story gained national attention last year after celebrities like Kim Kardashian West and Rihanna tweeted about her. Here’s the full background of her story.


The World Bank head is stepping down early and Donald Trump will likely appoint his successor. Jim Yong Kim, named head of the World Bank Group in 2012, still had three years left in his second term when he stepped down.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg will miss Supreme Court arguments following cancer surgery. Justice Ginsburg was released from hospital over the holidays, but she remains working from home. This marks the first arguments she’s missed since joining the high court in 1993.

The Saudi teenager fighting deportation from Bangkok has left the airport with UN officials. Thai authorities originally said they would deport 18-year-old Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun back to her family in Kuwait. She barricaded herself in an airport hotel room and used social media to say she would only speak to UN officials.

A babysitter allegedly returned a dead infant to his mother while pretending he was still alive. Authorities said Marissa Tietsort, a 28-year-old babysitter who is pregnant, killed 2-month-old Benson Xiong, dressed him in his snowsuit, placed his body in a car seat, and covered him with blankets.

The Oakland dog owner who went viral for biting a jogger says she was only protecting her pets. Alma Cadwalader, 19, alleges the jogger was pepper-spraying her two dogs in a park without provocation when she stepped in to stop it.

Alexa interrupted a tech executive at the Consumer Electronics Show and said “that’s not true.” The executive was demonstrating Alexa’s capabilities to recommend nearby hotels and restaurants while humans are driving, and then the digital assistant chimed in. It’s a fun clip.

Kevin Hart apologized to the LGBTQ community again over his anti-gay tweets. The comedian, who stepped away from hosting the 2019 Oscars after past tweets resurfaced, made another apology on his radio show.

Planned Parenthood’s new president wants to focus on nonabortion health care

Dr. Leana Wen, the first woman physician to head Planned Parenthood, is only about two months into her tenure. Her plan is to put an emphasis on health care over the political activism of her predecessor.

She has wasted no time, rolling out a new campaign called “This Is Health Care,” with a clear message: Planned Parenthood is first and foremost a health care organization, not a political symbol.

The campaign carries a different tone to the one former Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards adopted with campaigns like “#Fight4BirthControl” or “I Stand With PP.”

Dr. Wen told us, “People aren’t coming to Planned Parenthood to make a political statement. They’re coming because they need their vaccinations. They need their well woman exams. They’re getting HIV tests.”

Read Ema O’Connor’s profile of Dr. Wen and her plans for the organization.

I’m in five-figure debt because of my dog

This week, we are rolling out a new series on debt, called What We Owe.

The first piece we’ve published is from contributor Elizabeth Ann Entenman, who wrote about how when her dog was diagnosed with life-threatening cancer, she went into five-figure debt to pay for treatment — and she doesn’t regret it.

From the piece: “Pearl is one of the last remaining beings in my adult life that knew my mother. More importantly, she knew me when I had a mother at all. … I fully embrace the cliché that even though I saved her, she’s the one who saved me. ... I’ve spent every day trying to give her the best life possible as a thank-you for being my best friend.”

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