It’s Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018. Thanks for choosing to start here.
Interested in Start Here Morning Briefing ?
Add Start Here Morning Briefing as an interest to stay up to date on the latest Start Here Morning Briefing news, video, and analysis from ABC News.
1. White House staff shakeup: Trump eyeing new chief of staff, DHS secretary
Nielsen is expected to leave her role in the coming weeks and could be asked to resign, according to sources, but Kelly is fighting to delay her departure.
Amid the potential impending departures, another administration official was targeted by first lady Melania Trump. In a statement released by her spokeswoman, the first lady called for Deputy National Security Adviser Mira Ricardel to be fired: “It is the position of the Office of the First Lady that she no longer deserves the honor of serving in this White House.”
It was an unusual move for the normally discreet first lady to be publicly involved in staffing issues. Ricardel still had a job as of Tuesday night, and White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told ABC News she did not have any new personnel announcements.
ABC News White House Correspondent Tara Palmeri walks us through what’s happening in the West Wing and the East Wing.
2. Amazon announces HQ2 in NYC, Northern Virginia
Dozens of cities across the country pitched Amazon on becoming the site of its second headquarters, and after a year of hype, the e-commerce giant chose New York City and a suburb of Washington, D.C.
The company will invest a total of $5 billion in the new locations, bringing 50,000 jobs to the Long Island City neighborhood of Queens and Arlington, Virginia, in exchange for more than $2 billion in incentives, Amazon announced in a statement.
Critics are questioning Amazon’s motives with the HQ2 sweepstakes if the company was ultimately going to choose two of the richest areas in the country. It’s not that cities were played, it’s that Amazon “played the system,” according to ABC News Chief Business and Economics Correspondent Rebecca Jarvis.
“This is sort of the state of play when it comes to American jobs and how various states and cities recruit top companies to come and work with them,” she tells us.
3. Opening statements begin in ‘El Chapo’ trial
Opening statements have begun in the trial of Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, who faces 17 criminal charges, including drug trafficking, murder and torture.
The defense argues Guzman, 61, is a scapegoat and not the real leader of the Sinaloa cartel, but Guzman once boasted in a Rolling Stone interview with actor Sean Penn in 2015: “I supply more heroin, methamphetamine, cocaine and marijuana than anybody else in the world.”
Federal prosecutors say they will show jurors evidence that links the cartel leader to nearly three dozen murders.
“He’s sort of the Al Capone of the global drug trade,” ABC News’ Aaron Katersky tells us. “In a hierarchical, very mafia-like organization, [he] was able to climb the ladder by figuring out how to get drugs into the United States when certain traditional smuggling routes were cut off.”
4. Satellite images reveal secret ballistic missile sites
“The facilities themselves are not new,” ABC News’ Elizabeth McLaughlin, who covers the Pentagon, tells us. “But it’s the information regarding how active they still are and it flies in the face really of what we’ve heard about the progress made around the talks between Pyongyang and Washington.”
The images were released earlier this week by a Washington, D.C.-based think tank amid stalled discussions between North Korea and American diplomats over the country’s nuclear weapons program. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and his North Korean counterpart Kim Yong Chol were expected to hold talks last Thursday in New York, but North Korea canceled the meeting. Trump downplayed the reports on Twitter Tuesday.
In other news:
California burning: California fires have caused unprecedented damage, left at least 50 dead: As thousands of exhausted firefighters appeared to be getting a handle Tuesday on two massive wildfires at opposite ends of California, officials continued to find more bodies amid the charred destruction, with now at least 50 people found dead from the fires.
Counting ballots: Georgia’s next governor remains unclear as Abrams scraps for votes: Battles in the courtroom and protests at the state capitol underscore the bitter turmoil plaguing Georgia’s gubernatorial election. Legal victories have buoyed Stacey Abrams’ campaign efforts and there is a belief now that enough outstanding ballots exist to force a one-on-one runoff against Republican Brian Kemp.
Botched surgery: Woman suffers brain damage after receiving plastic surgery in Mexico, family says: A woman who traveled to Mexico to receive plastic surgery suffered brain damage from the anesthesia used in the procedure, her family told ABC El Paso affiliate KVIA. Although the anesthetic was injected into Laura Avila’s spine, it traveled to her brain, and she suffered severe brain damage, Angie Avila said doctors told her. In addition, she suffered from a heart attack and deprivation of oxygen, Angie Avila said.
Disturbing photo: School, police investigating photo of students posing in apparent Nazi salute: A Wisconsin school district and local police are investigating a photo of a group of mostly white high school boys giving what appears to be the Nazi salute after it drew strong backlash on social media. The image of students in the Baraboo School District was posted on the @GoBaraboo parody account on Sunday.
Holding out hope: ‘Every reason to believe’ US journalist Austin Tice still alive in Syria: US envoy: The U.S. government believes that journalist Austin Tice, missing for more than six years in Syria, is still alive, according to the Trump administration’s top official for freeing hostages. The FBI is still chasing down leads, including from his fellow journalists, but the U.S. “has every reason to believe” Tice is still alive and being held captive in Syria, said Special Presidential Envoy for Hostage Affairs Robert O’Brien in his first public remarks on the case.
From our partners at FiveThirtyEight:
Scenes from California as unprecedented destruction from fires continue: Even after residents escape the flames raging up and down the state, they’re now facing the reality of searching for family and shelter.
Country’s biggest stars catch up with Robin Roberts ahead of CMA Awards: Carrie Underwood, Keith Urban and more reflect on how their lives have changed in the past 10 years.
On this day in history:
Nov. 14, 2013 — President Obama is under fire for Obamacare rollout glitches.
Today’s must-see photo:
A firefighter battles a fire along the Ronald Reagan Freeway, aka state Highway 118, in Simi Valley, California. (Photo credit: Ringo H.W. Chiu/AP)
For more great photos from around the world click HERE.
What’s hot on social:
A 70-year-old “Pokemon Go” fan plays the game on 15 phones that are attached to his bicycle.
“Start Here” is the flagship daily news podcast from ABC News — a straightforward look at the day’s top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn, or the ABC News app. On Amazon Echo, ask Alexa to “Play ‘Start Here'” or add the “Start Here” skill to your Flash Briefing. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content, show updates and more.