Donald Trump plans to close his scandal-plagued charitable organization, the Donald J. Trump Foundation, as part of an effort to resolve some of the many conflicts of interest complicating his transition effort, The New York Times reports. The president-elect has publicly insisted he has no serious conflicts and anyone saying otherwise is simply bitter, but his children recently canceled highly criticized auctions offering access to them, and the Times reports that Trump will take a few more steps. The marquee move is likely a plan to shutter the foundation, a locus of criticism during the campaign. Although Trump maintains he gives lavishly to charity, he has refused to provide proof, and dogged reporting from The Washington Post’s David Fahrenthold has failed to find any. His foundation, it turns out, has largely subsisted on other people’s money for the last few years, soliciting donations and then giving that money away. But the foundation reportedly did not have a license to solicit donations. The Trump Foundation also may have violated various federal rules about “self-dealing” by using charitable funds to resolve personal legal disputes and to buy gift for Trump. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is also investigating the organization.
—Tunisian authorities have arrested three men in connection with the December 19 attack in Berlin, including the nephew of prime suspect Anis Amri, whom police shot and killed Friday in Milan.
—Actress Carrie Fisher remains in intensive care after an apparent heart attack aboard a plane on Friday.
—Lockheed Martin’s CEO says she told President-elect Donald Trump she would keep the cost of the F-35 fighter down.
—It’s Christmas somewhere. NORAD, the U.S. North American Aerospace Defense Command, is tracking Santa Claus’ progress across the globe here.
—We’re live-blogging the news stories of the day below. All updates are in Eastern Standard Time (GMT -5).
Report: Donald Trump Will Close the Trump Foundation
Nigeria Says It Has Crushed a Boko Haram Stronghold
Nigeria’s president says the country’s army has ousted the terrorist group from a base in northeastern Nigeria. “The terrorists are on the run, and no longer have a place to hide,” said Muhammadu Buhari, who hailed “the final crushing of Boko Haram terrorists in their last enclave.” Boko Haram, which has pledged allegiance to ISIS, has waged a seven-year insurgency that has killed an estimated 15,000 people. The group surged into global headlines with the 2014 kidnapping of nearly 300 schoolgirls from the town of Chibok. Some of them were believed to be kept at Sambisa, the Boko Haram stronghold that Nigeria says it has overrun. But Buhari’s claim is difficult to verify independently, and it follows other proclamations of victory against the group. Since previous announcements, violence has continued, “making claims of defeating Boko Haram questionable despite undoubted progress in pushing back the group,” AFP reports.
Lockheed Martin CEO Vows to Drive Down the Cost of the F-35
Lockheed Martin’s gift to President-elect Donald Trump came a little early this year. Marillyn Hewson, the CEO of the aerospace giant, announced late Friday that she had spoken with Trump about the F-35, the controversial joint-strike fighter. “I gave him my personal commitment to drive the cost down aggressively," Hewson said in a statement. Trump has repeatedly railed against the plane, which many observers think has been a bloated and unsuccessful project. In mid-December, he tweeted that its “cost is out of control.” Then on Thursday he added, "Based on the tremendous cost and cost overruns of the Lockheed Martin F-35, I have asked Boeing to price-out a comparable F-18 Super Hornet!" Even before taking the presidency, Trump has taken to directly and personally pressuring private companies, whether the air-conditioner manufacturer Carrier or aerospace companies like Boeing and Lockheed, raising some eyebrows.
Carrie Fisher Remains Hospitalized After 'Cardiac Event'
The actress Carrie Fisher remains hospitalized in Los Angeles after she suffered a “cardiac event” aboard an airplane on Friday. Her brother Todd told the Associated Press Friday evening that Fisher was “stabilized” and out of emergency, but in a later interview told the AP that she was receiving good care but he couldn’t describe her condition. “We have to wait and be patient,” he said. “We have so little information ourselves.” Fisher, 60, fell ill on a flight from London to Los Angeles. Medical staff met the plane at the airport and rushed her to the hospital. Fisher, who is the daughter of singer Eddie Fisher and actress Debbie Reynolds, is most famous for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars films. She has spoken out about her struggles with drug abuse and bipolar disorder. As news of her illness spread, tributes spread in, including this from her Star Wars co-star Mark Hamill:
as if 2016 couldn't get any worse... sending all our love to @carrieffisher— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) December 23, 2016
Tunisia Arrests Three in Connection With the Berlin Attack
Tunisia’s Interior Ministry announced Friday that it has arrested three men, including the nephew of alleged Berlin attacker Anis Amri, on suspicion of terrorism. The government says the three men, ages 18 to 27, constituted a terror cell, and that Amri’s nephew had confessed to communicating with his uncle via Telegram, an encrypted messaging app popular with ISIS, and that Amri had asked him to pledge allegiance to the group. Amri, 24, was shot and killed by police in Milan, Italy, on Friday after officers tried to approach him and he opened fire. He came to Europe from Tunisia in 2011, initially entering Italy and later moving on to Germany. Authorities believe that Amri plowed a truck through a crowded Christmas market on December 19, killing 12 and injuring 56. He then fled, apparently passing through France before arriving in Italy. Amri allegedly managed to execute the attack despite being on a German government watchlist. While Tunisia has grappled with a few major terrorist attacks, it has in great measure become known as a source of terrorist attacks overseas, particularly fighting with ISIS in Iraq and Syria.