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10 things you need to know today: December 4, 2018

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Harold Maass
Geroge H.W. Bush lies in state
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1.

Bush's casket lies in state at Capitol

Former President George H.W. Bush's remains arrived Monday at the U.S. Capitol, where he will lie in state until early Wednesday. A Marine band played hymns as an eight-member military honor guard carried Bush's casket into the Capitol. In a Monday evening ceremony, dignitaries praised Bush, who died Friday at 94, for his decades of public service as a Navy pilot, congressman, U.N. ambassador, CIA director, vice president, and president. "Here lies a great man," said House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), and "a gentle soul." Bush's son, former President George W. Bush, was among the grieving family members, friends, and political leaders. A funeral service will be held Wednesday before Bush's body is returned to College Station, Texas, for burial. [The Washington Post, The Associated Press]

2.

Lawmakers seek to push back government shutdown deadline

The House and Senate plan to vote this week to delay the government shutdown deadline by two weeks to avoid a showdown this week, as politicians and the public pay their respects to the late former President George H.W. Bush, a House leadership aide said Monday. Leaders in both chambers want to approve a funding extension before Friday's deadline to keep the government open through Dec. 21. The Republican-controlled Congress was pushing for a deal this week, but Democrats would not go along with President Trump's demand for $5 billion for his long-promised wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Senate Democrats say they will agree to up to $1.6 billion for border security and fencing, but not for a wall. [CNBC]

3.

Report: Mueller inquiry winding down

Special Counsel Robert Mueller's prosecutors recently told defense lawyers that they are "tying up loose ends" in their investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, several people with knowledge of the matter told Yahoo News' Michael Isikoff. Over the next several days, Mueller's team will file sentencing memos about three defendants: President Trump's former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, and Trump's former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen. These reports are expected to contain new major details about their cases, and give insight into what they shared with investigators after they agreed to cooperate. Last month, Mueller's office accused Manafort of breaching his plea deal by lying repeatedly to investigators and FBI officials. [Yahoo News]

4.

Wisconsin Republicans push to limit Democratic governor's powers

Wisconsin Republican lawmakers on Monday tried to push through legislation to limit the power of Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers, who last month beat incumbent Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican. The measures Republicans are trying to pass in a rare lame-duck session would change the 2020 presidential primary date to benefit a conservative state Supreme Court justice and curtail the governor's ability to adopt rules that enact state laws. Angry opponents filled the Wisconsin Capitol's halls, shouting "Respect our votes!" and "Shame!" In Michigan, Republicans introduced proposals to narrow the authority of Democrats who last month were elected governor, attorney general, and secretary of state on campaign finance oversight and other legal matters. [The Associated Press, The Washington Post]

5.

Trump reportedly asks Pakistan to help push Afghanistan peace talks

Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan said Monday that President Trump had sent him a letter asking for Pakistan's help pushing for peace talks with the Afghan Taliban. Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry said Trump told Khan that Pakistan could play a "very important" role in the process, including getting the Afghan insurgents to the negotiating table. The letter, which has not been confirmed by the Trump administration, would mark Trump's first direct communication with Khan since the former cricket star took office in August. Two weeks ago, Trump told Fox News he cut Pakistan's aid because it would "take our money and do nothing for us." [The Washington Post]

6.

Stocks surge over U.S.-China trade truce before skepticism sets in

The Dow Jones Industrial Average jumped by 288 points — or 1.1 percent — after trading as much as 442 points higher as investors celebrated the three-month truce President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping have struck in their trade war. The Nasdaq Composite rose by 1.5 percent and the S&P 500 gained 1.1 percent. After meeting on Saturday during the G-20 summit in Argentina, Trump and Xi agreed to hold off on raising any more tariffs while the two sides try to negotiate a trade deal. Stock-index futures fell early Tuesday as skepticism over the deal bubbled up. "Just because they have a truce for three months doesn't mean this thing is going away," said Jurrien Timmer, director of global macro at the asset manager Fidelity Investments in Boston. [CNN, The New York Times]

7.

Children return to school in fire-ravaged Northern California

Children from Northern California communities devastated by the deadliest wildfire in the state's history returned to school on Monday. Schools in Butte County had been closed since Nov. 8, when the Camp Fire destroyed the town of Paradise and surrounding areas. Ultimately, the fire killed at least 88 people and destroyed nearly 14,000 homes. Two dozen people remain unaccounted for. Nearly all of the 31,000 students at schools that had been closed were able to return, although some had to attend classes in other buildings because their schools were damaged or destroyed. [The Associated Press]

8.

White House pushes for ending electric-car subsidies

White House economic adviser Larry Kudlow on Monday said the Trump administration wants Congress to end subsidies for electric cars in 2020 or 2021. Kudlow said the administration also wants to end subsidies enacted during the Obama administration, such as those on "renewables." "As a matter of our policy, we want to end all of those subsidies," Kudlow told reporters. Under federal law, consumers who purchase plug-in electric vehicles receive tax credits worth $2,500 to $7,500, but the subsidies already end after a manufacturer hits 200,000 vehicles. President Trump threatened to end electric-car subsidies last week, after General Motors announced it was closing several North American facilities. GM already expected to reach the cap by the end of 2018. Tesla hit it in July. [Reuters]

9.

France to suspend fuel tax hike after protests

The French government is preparing to suspend fuel tax increases that sparked weeks of protests, including violent clashes over the weekend, Reuters reported Tuesday, citing a government source. The move would mark a major reversal by French President Emmanuel Macron. The so-called Yellow Vest movement, named after the high-visibility jackets French motorists must have in their cars, which the protesters are wearing, started on Nov. 17 as a social-media-organized protest group denouncing the impact of the fuel taxes on already dwindling household spending power. The protests grew into wider attacks against Macron. His critics say his policies favor the rich but don't help the poor. [Reuters]

10.

Bus carrying youth football team crashes, killing 1 and injuring 45

One child was killed and at least 45 people were injured Monday when a charter bus carrying a youth football team from Tennessee crashed in central Arkansas. Most of the injured were children. Arkansas State Police said the bus turned over along Interstate 30 near Benton, 25 miles southwest of Little Rock. The football team, from the historically black neighborhood of Orange Mound in southeast Memphis, had played in a weekend tournament in Dallas, according to Memphis TV station WMC. The children reportedly were elementary-school age. Damous Hailey, one of a half-dozen adults on the bus, told The Commercial Appeal newspaper that the bus swerved and flipped "about 15 or 20 times." [ESPN]