5 things for April 13: Comey book, Syria, Russia probe, teacher protests, Cosby trial


(CNN)It’s Friday — the 13th! But come on out from under the covers. It’ll be OK. Now, 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.)

Ever daydream about how you’d get back at a boss who fired you? Well, James Comey just wrote the playbook. In his new memoir, “A Higher Loyalty,” the ex-FBI director calls President Trump “unethical, and untethered to truth,” and says Trump gave him “flashbacks to my earlier career as a prosecutor against the mob.” The big question now is how Trump will respond. With Comey about to start a book tour, the Republican National Committee launched a website — called, we kid you not, “Lyin’ Comey” — that hopes to refute some of the book’s claims. CNN’s Stephen Collinson calls Comey’s book, which goes on sale Tuesday, “the most devastating, contemporaneous takedown of a sitting president in modern history.” Chris Cillizza says it’s a declaration of war.

      Trump allies attack ‘Lyin’ Comey’ as he starts tour

    2. Syria

    A coalition of Western nations is slowly forming to respond to last week’s suspected chemical attack in Syria that killed dozens. UK Prime Minister Theresa May said her government is ready to join the US in any military strike on Syria. The French say they’re on board, too. Earlier this week, President Trump appeared to suggest airstrikes were imminent, then walked that back a bit. Syrian President Bashar al-Assad warns the West to stay out of the fray.

      All the players in Syria will make your head spin

    3. Russia investigation

    Trump’s personal attorney often recorded phone conversations, both before and during the 2016 presidential campaign, that likely have been scooped up in the FBI raid on attorney Michael Cohen’s apartment, office and hotel room, according to sources familiar with the matter. The recorded conversations, according to one source, were even played back at times to candidate Trump and associates, the source said. Among the recordings were discussions about the campaign and interactions with the media, the source said. 

      WaPo: Trump allies worry FBI seized Cohen tapes

    Meanwhile, the White House is preparing talking points designed to undermine Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein’s credibility, according to sources familiar with the plan. It calls on Trump’s allies to cast Rosenstein as too conflicted to fairly oversee the Russia investigation.

      White House seeks to undermine Rosenstein

    And 54% of Republican voters believe special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe is not a fair investigation — up 10 percentage points over the last six months

    4. Teacher protests

    The Oklahoma teacher walkouts are over. The state’s largest teachers union shut them down after nine days amid the sense that lawmakers weren’t going to budge and give teachers more money. The union gets $479 million in funding for next school year, less than what teachers wanted. But union president Alicia Priest said the fight’s not over: “We have created a movement, and there’s no stopping us now.” Some students in the state will head back to class today.

      Frustrated Oklahoma teachers run for office

    Meanwhile, in Arizona, Gov. Doug Ducey proposes giving teachers there a 20% pay raise by 2020. But educators, who held rallies and “walk-ins” this week, are skeptical and may still walk out. Teachers in Kentucky will rally today at the state Capitol to push for more funding for schools in their state.

      Father quits job after 15 years

    5. Bill Cosby trial

    Bill Cosby’s chief accuser in court takes the stand today in his retrial on indecent assault charges. Andrea Constand said the comedian assaulted her at his home in 2004. Cosby said the sex was consensual, and he’s pleaded not guilty. Constand’s testimony comes after a string of other women told jurors Cosby also drugged and assaulted them over the years. One of them was reality TV star and supermodel Janice Dickinson, who said Cosby drugged and raped her in 1982 in Lake Tahoe. Dickinson said she later confronted Cosby and wanted to “punch him in the face.”

      Cosby retrial: Will #metoo, new witnesses affect verdict?


    “We are committed to addressing the scenario that has allowed predators to exploit performers behind closed doors under the guise of a professional meeting.”
    Screen Actors Guild president Gabrielle Carteris, whose organization, in the #MeToo era, wants Hollywood to stop holding meetings in hotel rooms 


    Another Kardashian
    Congrats to Khloe Kardashian. Kim and Kylie’s sister gave birth to a girl.

      Khloe Kardashian welcomes baby girl

    Double dribble
    WNBA star Lindsay Whalen was just named head women’s basketball coach at the University of Minnesota — but she’s not quitting the Minnesota Lynx.
    Bats away
    A Pennsylvania school district is arming its teachers with bats — miniature bats, mind you — to fight school intruders. The internet had a field day with this one.
    Australian triplets
    Sydney’s a great city, but it still has problems with population growth, traffic and housing costs. Officials think they can fix that by splitting the city up three ways.


    $3 billion
    That’s about how much Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg made while sitting in a chair this week testifying to Congress. Facebook’s stock rose about 4.5% during the two days of testimony.

      Takeaways from Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony


    Quiz time
    Life coach Tony Robbins apologized for his comments about which movement?
    A. #TakeAKnee
    B. #MeToo
    C. #NeverAgain
    D. #BlackLivesMatter
    Play “Total Recall: The CNN news quiz,” to see if you picked the right answer.


    Epic equation
    Slo-mo video + balloons + power drills + drones + dramatic movie-style music = just what you need on a Friday. (Click to view.)

    Read more: www.cnn.com


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