Sources: Whitaker has no plans to recuse himself

The appointment of acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker has sent Washington scrambling over what it means for special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation as it nears its expected conclusion.

Posted: Nov 9, 2018 10:40 AM
Updated: Nov 9, 2018 10:56 AM

Even in the darkest of times, acts of kindness shine bright. In Thousand Oaks, California, hundreds of people lined up to donate blood after the mass shooting there. Here's what 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. California bar shooting

It was supposed to be a night of fun. It ended in absolute horror. The victims in the mass shooting at the Borderline Bar & Grill in Thousand Oaks, California, were part of the huge crowd line dancing and having a great time at the bar's college night. Then a man dressed in a black trench coat and glasses, later identified as Ian David Long, opened fire. When it was all over 12 people, including a sheriff's deputy, were dead.

This latest mass shooting feels especially painful because many of the victims were so young. College students just trying to enjoy a night out. Grief stricken parents talked of desperately searching for their children, only to learn their loved ones had perished in the violence. And the nation is left, once again, searching for answers to gun violence after witnessing a fourth shooting in just two weeks.

The shooting is not the only calamity that folks in the area are dealing with. Parts of a town right next to Thousand Oaks had to be evacuated because of a brush fire burning through Ventura County. The blaze has charred almost 10,000 acres so far. And that's not the only wildfire burning in the state. About 40,000 people in Northern California evacuated to get away from the fast-growing Camp Fire, which has burned 20,000 acres in Butte County.

2. Russia investigation

Matthew Whitaker, the acting attorney general, probably won't recuse himself from the Russia investigation that he's now overseeing. That's a problem for a lot of people, who say his past comments -- in which he expressed deep skepticism about the probe -- should disqualify him from leading the investigation. Others say Whitaker's appointment is unconstitutional because he hasn't been confirmed by the Senate. Several senior White House officials told CNN they're worried the backlash might jeopardize Whitaker's chances of staying in the job.

Special counsel Robert Mueller's team has reportedly started writing its final report on the investigation, while President Trump reviews with his lawyers his written answers to Mueller's questions. And as fears (and protests) mount in some political circles that Whitaker might end the probe, Democrats are coming up with a plan to protect Mueller's investigation.

3. Midterm elections

You thought the 2018 midterm elections were over? Bless your heart. Just like the 2016 presidential election, this one might be with us for awhile. Both high-profile races in Florida -- for governor and senator -- might be headed for recounts as the margins tighten. Gov. Rick Scott, who is the GOP candidate in the Senate race, accused Democrats of trying to "steal" the election. Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, Scott's opponent, said the governor's actions appeared to be "politically motivated." Meanwhile, in Arizona's Senate race, Democrat Kyrsten Sinema has moved into a slight lead over Republican Martha McSally. Get an update on other undecided races by clicking here.

4. Afghanistan

The Taliban is much stronger in Afghanistan than it was three years ago. A new report from the US Special Inspector General for Afghan Reconstruction says the Afghan government only controls about 55.5% of the country. In November 2015 the government controlled about 72% of Afghanistan. A big part of the problem is that the Afghan army is dealing with a huge personnel shortfall in the face of the determined, sustained Taliban insurgency. The US involvement in the war in Afghanistan has dragged on for 17 years.

5. Keystone XL pipeline

Construction on the Keystone XL oil pipeline has been stopped. A federal judge halted work on the controversial pipeline after ruling that the US government's use of a 2014 environmental review to justify issuing a presidential permit for construction of the cross-border pipeline violated the National Environmental Policy Act, the Endangered Species Act and the Administrative Procedure Act. So no work on the pipeline can proceed until the government does an additional review of the pipeline's potential impact on the environment. Environmentalists and Native American groups have fought the pipeline for years, but President Trump OK'd a permit to start its construction right after he took office last year.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

People are talking about these. Read up. Join in.

Proud parents

Congrats to actress Gabrielle Union and NBA star Dwyane Wade, who announced the birth of their baby girl.

Color blind

The world has had color TV for about half a century now, but there are still more than 7,000 households in the UK that watch black-and-white televisions.

'A little ditty 'bout Jack & Diane'

No, actually this little ditty is about John Mellencamp and Meg Ryan, who announced they're engaged.

'Bad' news

Actor Bryan Cranston sounds as stoked as the rest of us about a "Breaking Bad" movie. But will his iconic Walter White character even be a part of it?

He sounds like a winner

Meet the 69-year-old man who wants to be legally declared 20 years younger so he can improve his chances with women on dating sites.

HAPPENING LATER

Bon voyage!

President Trump and first lady Melania Trump leave this morning for Paris, where they will take part in ceremonies commemorating the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

TOTAL RECALL

Quiz time

The world's tallest statue just opened in which country?

A. Thailand

B. India

C. Japan

D. France

Play "Total Recall: The CNN news quiz" to see if you're right. And don't forget, you can also find a version of the quiz on your Amazon devices! Just say, "Alexa, ask CNN for a quiz."

NUMBER OF THE DAY

17

The number of felony counts the captain in the Missouri duck boat tragedy is facing after being indicted by a federal grand jury.

AND FINALLY

Round and round

Why should hamsters have all the fun? These dogs are having the time of their lives running in this giant wheel. (Click to view)

Mississippi Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 145636

Reported Deaths: 3745
CountyCasesDeaths
DeSoto963299
Hinds9584195
Harrison6848109
Jackson6124118
Rankin528598
Lee484295
Madison4633105
Forrest368186
Jones345287
Lauderdale3350143
Lafayette315049
Washington3097107
Lamar281849
Oktibbeha239261
Bolivar239083
Lowndes228863
Neshoba2164115
Panola211749
Marshall208350
Leflore200890
Pontotoc194728
Monroe190277
Sunflower189755
Lincoln186165
Warren172257
Tate164251
Union160925
Pike160458
Copiah158940
Yazoo151239
Scott150229
Itawamba147634
Coahoma147443
Pearl River144467
Simpson144253
Alcorn143925
Prentiss140429
Grenada136945
Adams136548
Leake131843
Holmes124961
George122224
Tippah121530
Covington117636
Winston116624
Wayne115823
Hancock114139
Marion111046
Attala107833
Tishomingo106142
Newton102729
Chickasaw102432
Tallahatchie95527
Clarke88553
Clay87027
Jasper81122
Walthall75028
Stone72414
Montgomery71925
Calhoun71613
Carroll70614
Lawrence70214
Yalobusha69427
Noxubee69217
Smith68816
Perry65225
Tunica59619
Greene58422
Claiborne57416
Jefferson Davis54217
Humphreys52618
Amite51214
Benton48417
Quitman4796
Webster42014
Kemper40917
Wilkinson38622
Jefferson33811
Franklin3235
Choctaw3077
Sharkey30617
Issaquena1114
Unassigned00

Alabama Coronavirus Cases

Cases: 236865

Reported Deaths: 3472
CountyCasesDeaths
Jefferson31043491
Mobile19446360
Tuscaloosa12684150
Madison12528146
Montgomery12122235
Shelby992276
Baldwin837684
Lee759765
Morgan626247
Calhoun6049113
Etowah600564
Marshall596153
Houston510838
DeKalb469635
Cullman421136
Limestone408844
St. Clair403955
Elmore398961
Lauderdale387253
Walker356199
Talladega339044
Jackson302524
Colbert297641
Blount282236
Autauga266139
Franklin246233
Coffee236615
Dale228454
Dallas222331
Russell21923
Chilton218537
Covington215933
Escambia196931
Tallapoosa171790
Chambers171448
Pike156014
Clarke155319
Marion135535
Winston126623
Lawrence123936
Geneva11848
Pickens117618
Marengo117424
Barbour116710
Bibb115717
Butler114341
Randolph100321
Cherokee99624
Hale93231
Washington89918
Clay89623
Fayette86216
Henry8436
Lowndes78929
Monroe77911
Cleburne75614
Macon71720
Crenshaw70330
Bullock69019
Conecuh68214
Perry6726
Lamar6337
Wilcox62818
Sumter56222
Choctaw41813
Greene41317
Coosa3144
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