(CNN)Who would have thought air travel and local elections could be so fascinating? Well, here we are, and here are the 5 things 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.)
5 things for Wednesday, April 12: Russia, United Airlines, North Korea, Germany
It appears the White House surveillance story is back with a vengeance: The Washington Post is reporting the FBI obtained a warrant to monitor President Donald Trump's former campaign adviser, Carter Page, during the summer of 2016 on suspicions he knowingly engaged in clandestine intelligence activities on behalf of Moscow. The warrant is called a Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) warrant, and for critics wary of the current administration's ties to Russia, it provides probable cause that something was going on. Page, on the other hand, told CNN the warrant was "unjustified."
In other White House news, after a review of the same intelligence reports brought to light by House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes, both Republican and Democratic lawmakers and aides have so far found no evidence that Obama administration officials did anything unusual or illegal, multiple sources in both parties tell CNN. Read the rest of CNN's exclusive report on this here.
Press Secretary Sean Spicer had to walk back -- twice -- a claim he made yesterday where he suggested Syrian President Basher al-Assad was worse than Hitler because Hitler did not use chemical weapons on his own people (... he did).
A full day after the forced removal of a passenger became an international incident, United Airlines finally got their apology right, with the CEO calling the episode "truly horrific." The damage to United's reputation was already done, though: The company's stock tumbled, and its value fell by $1 billion as the fallout continued. Angry customers took pictures of cut up United credit cards, pledging never to fly with the carrier again.
Those following the controversy also found something new to be angry about: After the passenger was identified as Dr. David Dao, a local Kentucky newspaper published sordid details about Dao's legal and professional history. Many saw it as a form of victim-blaming.
Here's something you've probably never heard: There was an exciting election in Kansas last night! Kansas' fourth district held a special election to fill a House seat left by Rep. Mike Pompeo, who became Trump's CIA director. The Republican candidate Ron Estes won, because it's Kansas. But voter turnout for Democratic candidate Jim Thompson was shockingly high, which worried some Republicans because it's Kansas. Thompson actually led for portions of the night, and though one little election certainly doesn't signal a sea change (especially since, you know, the Democrat still lost), political hawkeyes will be intently watching a similar election in red-leaning Georgia next week.
North Korea has issued a forceful response to the deployment of a US naval strike group to the region, saying it would counter "reckless acts of aggression" with "whatever methods the US wants to take." The Pentagon sent the USS Carl Vinson towards the Korean Peninsula with an escort of a guided-missile cruiser and two destroyers after North Korea fired another missile test last week.
Now, this has all happened before: North Korea has been aggressive, and the US has sent the same supercarrier to hang out there. But the latest round of political thrust-and-parry comes amid rising tensions between the two countries, so the strike group's presence might actually make things worse. In fact, China has called for a de-escalation of the situation.
Three explosions went off near a bus carrying the German football team Borussia Dortmund yesterday in what police are calling a "targeted attack." The team was on its way to a home match in Dortmund when the blasts went off, shattering windows and injuring one player. Investigators found a handwritten letter near the scene that claimed responsibility for the attack. The match was postponed and football fans from around the Champions League made sure to show their support for the shaken team.
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The Pentagon wants computer hackers to take a crack at their systems
'Hacked the Pentagon' is either the best or worst resume line ever.
Bill O'Reilly will take a two-week break amidst harassment scandal
The TV host says it is a planned trip. Totally! Nothing to see here at all.
Guitarist J. Geils dies at 71
The founder of the J. Geils band was found unresponsive in his apartment.
We are overdue for a major, humanity-altering pandemic
This woman got Delta to pay her $11,000 NOT to fly
Reason #847 why air travel makes no sense at all.
Please watch this with the sound on
Real talk, dear readers. I am obsessed with this extremely vocal seal. Nature is beautiful. And...kind of cranky and lazy? (Click to view)