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5 things to know for December 11: Trump, Brexit, Maria Butina, France, Google

CNN's Richard Quest takes a look at the different Brexit deal options facing the UK government, after Prime Minister Theresa May pulled the plug on a parliamentary vote.

Posted: Dec 11, 2018 6:35 AM


As we inch closer to 2019, take some time to scroll through the photos that helped shape 2018. Here's what else 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. President Trump

Despite all the tough talk on his Twitter feed, President Donald Trump is worried he'll be impeached when the Democrats take over the House next month. A source close to Trump told CNN the President sees impeachment as a "real possibility." White House aides are more concerned about the federal investigation involving ex-Trump attorney Michael Cohen than Robert Mueller's Russia probe. While they don't believe Mueller's collusion investigation would lead to impeachment, they do worry that the Cohen case -- involving alleged campaign finance violations -- just might. So far though, Trump's allies in the GOP are just kind of shrugging at all of this, and the President is convinced that even if he's impeached in the House, the GOP-led Senate wouldn't convict him.

2. Brexit

Theresa May will meet with European Union leaders today as the embattled British Prime Minister hopes to find a way to renegotiate her Brexit deal. There was supposed to have been a vote on the deal today in Parliament, but May pulled it after it became apparent it would fail. And it's not clear her attempts at reworking it will work either, with some EU leaders already saying the current deal is the best one she's going to get. There's real talk now among some British lawmakers of holding a second Brexit referendum and real fear that the UK could tumble out of the EU in March without a deal, an outcome that could be disastrous for the British economy.

3. Maria Butina

Accused Russian spy Maria Butina has a plea deal and is talking to the feds, a source tells CNN. Butina was accused of infiltrating conservative organizations such as the National Rifle Association in advance of the 2016 election to advance Russian interests. She originally said she was just a foreign student interested in improving relations between the United States and Russia, but now she's apparently changed her tune. Butina's plea offer indicates she will plead guilty to one count of conspiracy when she has a "change of plea" hearing Wednesday before a federal judge, according to a copy of a document CNN obtained. It's still not clear how her case aligns with other ongoing Russian investigations or if she'll cooperate in other federal probes as part of her deal. After all the legal wrangling is over, she will likely be deported.

4. France

French President Emmanuel Macron says he is going to raise the minimum wage and ditch proposed new taxes on pensions. It's all a bid to stop the wave of violent protests that have washed over France in the past few weeks. In a nationally televised speech Monday, Macron said the protests by the "yellow vest" protesters are "unacceptable," but he also conceded the anger of the protesters is "just" and that people have "legit concerns." Macron's proposals could cost France as much as $10 billion. At times the protests have paralyzed parts of Paris, with landmarks such as the Eiffel Tower forced to close and some Metro stations shut. Sporting events across the country have also been called off.

5. Google

The Big Tech scandals of this year roughed up the big boys like Facebook, but Google has remained relatively unscathed. But that might be about to change. Google CEO Sundar Pichai will testify on Capitol Hill for the first time when he meets this morning with the House Judiciary Committee. So what will he talk about? Oh there's lots, such as the recent admission that a bug in Google+ (no, it's not dead yet) revealed the private information of 52.5 million people. Or maybe he can brief them on Google's controversial plan to create a censored search engine in China. And Republican lawmakers will definitely want to talk to Pichai about their allegations that Google's actions and algorithms are biased against conservatives.

HAPPENING LATER

Time for people

Time magazine's Person of the Year will be revealed later this morning. Leading candidates include Robert Mueller, the March for Our Lives activists, Jamal Khashoggi and President Donald Trump.

TODAY'S QUOTE

"Some days I can't do anything but sit and cry as the grief overtakes me."

Susan Bro, mother of Heather Heyer, who was killed in last year's "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia.  Bro read a victim impact statement during the sentencing phase of the murder trial of James Fields, who was convicted of killing Heyer.

BREAKFAST BROWSE

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

The wedding singer
When the daughter of India's richest man gets married, not just any old singer will do. So of course he went out and got Beyoncé.

Long way from home
Voyager 2 has put in a lot of miles on the road the past four decades. The NASA probe has now reached interstellar space.

Best wishes
Let's all send some good vibes to Sarah Hyland. The "Modern Family" actress just revealed she's had a second kidney transplant.

Out of this world
First Kyrie Irving said the Earth is flat. Now Stephen Curry says he doesn't believe in the moon landing. What the heck is up with the NBA?

'Staring down all of business'
Remember the "Fearless Girl" statue? She's been moved to a new home, right in front of the New York Stock Exchange.

TODAY'S NUMBER

170

The number of people arrested by Immigration and Customs Enforcement since July who offered to sponsor unaccompanied minors in government custody. Most of them had no criminal record.

AND FINALLY ...

Skee-Bowl?
What happens when you combine a love of Skee-Ball with too much time on your hands? A giant Skee-Ball machine, of course. (Click to view.)

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