Oil Tanker, Hong Kong, St. Louis Blues: Your Thursday Briefing

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Good morning,

We’re covering the latest from the Hong Kong protests, help for New York City renters, and the first Stanley Cup title for the St. Louis Blues.

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The C.I.A. director, Gina Haspel, center, in January.CreditSarah Silbiger/The New York Times

Department officials are seeking to interview senior C.I.A. officers as part of their review of the Russia investigation, in which U.S. intelligence agencies concluded that President Vladimir Putin had intervened to benefit the Trump campaign.

Investigators want to question at least one senior counterintelligence official and a senior analyst, according to people briefed on the matter. The C.I.A. director, Gina Haspel, has told officials that her agency will cooperate — but will still work to protect critical intelligence.

Background: Attorney General William Barr called for the review in order to determine whether law enforcement officials abused their power. Here’s what we know about the origins of the Russia investigation.

Yesterday: Asked in an interview if he would accept incriminating information about an opponent from a foreign government, President Trump said, “I think I’d take it.” He said he would call the F.B.I. only “if I thought there was something wrong.”


A House committee voted on Wednesday to recommend holding two cabinet secretaries in contempt of Congress, hours after President Trump invoked executive privilege to block the release of documents about the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.

The House Oversight and Reform Committee’s action against Attorney General William Barr and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross sets up a possible vote by the full House.

Background: The Trump administration has said it’s reasonable to ask how many residents are U.S. citizens, though federal judges in three lawsuits have concluded that the rationale for adding the question was contrived. The Supreme Court is expected to decide the question’s legality within weeks.

Why it matters: The fight over the census is part of a larger dispute about the line between Congress’s oversight power and the president’s authority to keep information secret.


After mass demonstrations in which the police fired tear gas and rubber bullets at protesters on Wednesday, the Legislative Council announced today that it would again delay discussing a bill that would allow extraditions to mainland China. Here are the latest updates.

The legislature’s president gave no indication of when lawmakers would resume deliberations on the measure, which is still expected to win approval. Here’s more on the proposal that has outraged Hong Kong residents.

Go deeper: Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, has stood firm, comparing the protesters to spoiled children. Her position illustrates how far the relationship between Hong Kong and mainland China has tilted toward Beijing.


Housing activists outside the Manhattan offices of Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday.CreditBrittainy Newman/The New York Times

Prominent real estate developers, who have long wielded influence in Albany, appealed in vain to Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday to block a Democratic push to significantly tighten tenant protections.

Landlords have warned that removing incentives for renovations and lowering rental income would lead to worse housing conditions for many New Yorkers. But Republicans, who had a close alliance with the city’s real estate industry, lost control of the State Senate in November. Now in complete control of the Legislature, Democrats are expected to approve the rent regulation package this week.

Explainer: The new rules cover everything from security deposits to apartment upgrades. Read more about how the measures will affect tenants and landlords.

CreditAlyssa Schukar for The New York Times

About half of the students at Minford Elementary School in Ohio have witnessed drug use at home. Educators spend time every day teaching the children how to cope with the consequences of an opioid epidemic.

“If you’re worried about your parents getting arrested last night, you can’t retain information,” said Kendra Rase Cram, pictured above, a teacher who helps students deal with trauma.

College admissions scandal: A former Stanford sailing coach, John Vandemoer, was sentenced to home confinement for taking bribes from a college consultant, a far lighter punishment than prosecutors had sought.

Lifeline for taxi drivers: New York officials plan to investigate the city’s role in a crisis that left thousands of cabbies in debt. Mayor Bill de Blasio said the city was eliminating as much as $10 million in fees to medallion owners.

Central Park Five fallout: Elizabeth Lederer, the lead prosecutor in the 1989 case that resulted in the wrongful conviction of five black and Latino boys, said she wouldn’t return as a lecturer at Columbia Law School. Her decision was the latest fallout from a Netflix mini-series about the case.

Upgrading weather forecasts: Aiming to improve predictions of severe weather, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration introduced the first major changes to the core of its system in four decades.

CreditPatrick Smith/Getty Images

Snapshot: Above, Ryan O’Reilly holding the Stanley Cup after the St. Louis Blues beat the Boston Bruins, 4-1, on Wednesday. It’s the franchise’s first N.H.L. title in its 52-year history.

Overlooked obituaries: Ma Rainey, often called the “Mother of the Blues,” was the first entertainer to successfully bridge the divide between vaudeville and authentic black Southern folk expression. She’s the latest entry in our series about people who didn’t receive obituaries in The Times when they died.

Late-night comedy: The hosts were skeptical after a new poll showed several Democratic candidates ahead of President Trump. “If you want to know how much these polls matter, just ask President Hillary Clinton,” Jimmy Fallon said.

What we’re reading: This article from Smithsonian.com. “There have long been wars fought over food,” says Kim Severson, our national food correspondent. “This covers one you probably haven’t heard of: the battle over seabird eggs in Gold Rush-era San Francisco.”

CreditAndrew Scrivani for The New York Times

Go: The Public Theater’s “Much Ado About Nothing” in Central Park is set squarely in the #MeToo and Black Lives Matter moment.

Read: “Siege,” Michael Wolff’s follow up to “Fire and Fury,” debuts on our hardcover nonfiction and combined print and e-book nonfiction best-seller lists.


Smarter Living: A few guidelines will help you make technology work for your family. Set an example by setting limits: Children not only copy our behavior, but they also feel like they have to compete with devices for our attention. Be vigilant, and prepare to revisit this topic.

And free yourself from self-doubt by learning to dodge land mines at work.

On Wednesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee, which is investigating Russian interference in the 2016 election, heard for the second time from Donald Trump Jr.

Why it didn’t hear from Donald Trump II is a matter of etiquette.

Because he is named exactly after his father, Donald John Trump, etiquette experts say the son should be differentiated from his father with the suffix Jr., or junior. If a child is named for some other older relative (an uncle, cousin, grandfather), then they should use the suffix II, the second.

Donald Trump Jr. on Wednesday.CreditTom Brenner for The New York Times

The number of juniors has been decreasing in the U.S. for nearly a century, according to Cleveland Evans, a professor of psychology at Bellevue University and past president of the American Name Society (the exception being among Hispanics).

He said that tracked with an increased emphasis on individualism and unique child names. About half of girls received one of the 50 most popular names until the mid-20th century, according to one study published in 2010. That same year, only a quarter did.


That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Chris


Thank you
To Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford, Chris Harcum and Kenneth R. Rosen for the break from the news. Jake Lucas wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at briefing@nytimes.com.

P.S.
• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about the nationalist party that controls Poland, part of our series about the rise of populism in Europe.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Bear whose porridge was too hot (4 letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
• The new NYT Parenting site has a free newsletter that brings the latest news and guidance for parents straight to your inbox.

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