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5 things for Thursday, February 16, 2017: Andrew Puzder, Venezuelan visas, Michael Flynn
President Trump's nominee for labor secretary has withdrawn amid a flurry of bipartisan criticism. Puzder is the CEO of the company that owns the Hardee's and Carl's Jr. fast food chains. Negative stories about him have been piling up, making critics nervous on both sides of the aisle. Among the snags: Puzder's reportedly contentious divorce, some questionable business practices and labor ethics stances, and, oh yeah, the fact that he employed an undocumented housekeeper. His exit comes one day after Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, resigned after it became public Flynn misled the Vice President about conversations he had with a Russian diplomat about sanctions.
The Venezuelan government on Wednesday ordered cable providers to take CNN en Español off the air, days after CNN aired an investigation into the alleged fraudulent issuing of Venezuelan passports and visas.
Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez accused CNN of performing what she defined as an "imperialistic media operation" against her country in last week's broadcast of the yearlong investigation.
Puzder may be the latest one out the door, but there is still a LOT of focus on Michael Flynn. Two top House Republicans have asked the Inspector General to investigate leaks surrounding Flynn's departure. Trump says leaks are the "real scandal." In any case, leaks -- and the ties to Russia some of them suggest -- have been a major problem for the young administration.
Despite it all, Trump has his sights set on something a little more positive: He is holding a campaign rally this weekend in Melbourne, Florida. Yes, you read that right. A campaign rally. After less than a month in office. It's never too early?
On the flip side of campaign rallies, two major protests by groups opposing Trump's leadership are coming up on the docket. Today, some workers at schools, restaurants and other businesses in Washington DC will take part in a "Day Without Immigrants," a strike of sorts meant to highlight the contributions of immigrants to society. Meanwhile, organizers of the globally popular Women's March have set a date for a protest. The March 8 strike will be dubbed "A Day Without a Woman" to highlight the contributions of -- well, you get it.
Mystery continues to surround the murder of Kim Jong Nam, half-brother to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Two more people were arrested Thursday in connection with his death, bringing the total number of arrests to three. Kim Jong Nam's death shines a light on the reclusive and combative nation, whose aggression continues to present a diplomatic challenge for the US.
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