The VICE Morning Bulletin

Trump says he isn't thinking of firing Mueller, power failure wreaks havoc at Atlanta airport, EPA employees reportedly targeted for voicing concerns, and more.

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Dec 18 2017, 3:20pm

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

Everything you need to know about the world this morning, curated by VICE.

US News

Trump Says He Won’t Fire Mueller
The president waved off the idea that he might be on track to eventually fire special counsel Robert Mueller. When asked if he was considering the move, Trump responded: “No I’m not.” Still, the president did attack Mueller’s team for getting a hold of Trump transition team emails via the General Services Administration, describing the development as “pretty sad.” The special counsel’s spokesman Peter Carr said the emails had been obtained through an “appropriate criminal process," dismissing the notion of illegality.—CNN

Power Failure Wreaks Havoc at Atlanta Airport
A power outage forced Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport to go into a virtual lockdown Sunday, with travelers stuck in terminals and on planes for hours. Almost 1,200 flights were canceled before the electricity was restored just before midnight. Atlanta’s authorities opened up the city’s main convention center for stranded passengers who had no place to stay Sunday night. Delta canceled another 300 flights, most of which were scheduled to arrive at the city, on Monday.—NBC News

EPA Employees Targeted for Voicing Concerns
A lawyer with the Republican group America Rising made FOIA requests to obtain the emails of three staffers at the Environmental Protection Agency who had aired worries about agency's direction. The request demanded any emails that made mention of EPA boss Scott Pruitt or President Trump. “This is a witch hunt against EPA employees,” said one EPA worker, after an operation affiliated with America Rising was officially contracted to do media work for the agency.—The New York Times

Carolina Panthers Owner Seeks Sale Amid Misconduct Investigation
The NFL team’s owner Jerry Richardson said he will sell the franchise at the end of the current football season. The news follows Friday’s announcement by the Panthers that Richardson would be investigated by the organization for “allegations of workplace misconduct.” On Sunday, a Panthers spokesman confirmed the NFL was taking charge of the formal probe.—ABC News

International News

US Intelligence Helped Russia Stop Potential Terrorist Attack
Russian government spokesman Dmitry Peskov said “meaningful information” given by US officials prevented a planned attack in St. Petersburg on December 16 and helped “save many lives.” Seven suspects have been arrested, according to Peskov. “It cannot be called anything but an ideal example of cooperation in fighting terrorism,” he said.—Reuters

Conservative Candidate Wins Chilean Election
Sebastián Piñera has won the country’s presidential run-off with just over 54 percent of the vote, beating the left-wing coalition candidate Alejandro Guillier. Piñera, a billionaire who has promised to cut taxes, said: “I want to talk to [Guillier] about the points we agree about.”—BBC News

Gunmen Attack Kabul Military Camp
At least five gunmen reportedly stormed a military training facility in the Afghan capital Monday morning. The country's interior ministry said attackers traded fire with security forces for several hours, but there was no confirmation about the number of injured or dead. ISIS claimed its fighters—who were believed to have been killed by police—were responsible for the attack.—Al Jazeera

Honduras Finally Declares Winner of Presidential Election
Three weeks after the national vote, the Honduran electoral tribunal declared conservative incumbent Juan Orlando Hernandez the winner, announcing a 1.53 percent victory over left-y challenger Salvador Nasralla. The Organization of American States (OAS) has called for a new vote, suggesting the first try did not have “democratic quality.”—Reuters

Everything Else

‘The Last Jedi’ Nets $220 Million Debut
The latest installment in the Star Wars franchise had the second-best opening weekend ever at the North American box office, falling just short of the nearly $248 million taken by The Force Awakens. Episode VIII enjoyed a global opening of $450 million.—The Hollywood Reporter

Gene Simmons Denies Sexual Battery Allegation
An anonymous woman filed a lawsuit against the Kiss star alleging he made “unwanted, unwarranted sexual advances” during and after a radio interview. Simmons said he planned on “vigorously countering these allegations.”—Noisey

Sarah Palin’s Son Again Facing Domestic Violence Charges
Track Palin appeared in an Alaska court Sunday to be arraigned on felony burglary, assault in the fourth degree, and criminal mischief charges. He was previously arrested on domestic violence charges in January of last year.—NBC News

LeBron James Shares Political Message on His Sneakers
The Cleveland Cavaliers star played with one black and one white shoe Sunday, with the slogan “EQUALITY” seen across both. Referring to Trump in his post-game comments (after a win), James said: “We’re not going to let one person dictate us… how beautiful and how powerful we are as a people.”—ESPN

Tom DeLonge Has Weird Connection to Possible UFO Video
Luis Elizondo, a director at the former Blink-182 member’s nonprofit To The Stars, reportedly once helped investigate UFOs at the Pentagon. He even commented for a New York Times story about a declassified military video of an unidentified, rotating object in the sky.—Noisey

Trump Angers Doctors with List of Words Banned at the CDC
Doctors and scientists were outraged over the weekend after the Trump administration reportedly told officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) not to use seven words or phrases, including “evidence-based.” "fetus," and "transgender." The Association for the Advancement of Science said the new policy was “ridiculous," while the agency's director insisted there was no ban per se. —Tonic/PBS

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