Russia, Germany, Coronavirus: Your Friday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering an intelligence warning of Russian aid to the Trump campaign, Germany’s reckoning with a domestic terrorist attack and the post-Brexit immigration overhaul that will affect women.

Russia is aiding President Trump in the 2020 election, intelligence officials warned the House Intelligence Committee in a secret briefing last week.

Five people described the briefing to our reporters, who also learned that Mr. Trump had been angered by the briefing, saying Democrats would use it against him.

Our reporters were told that Mr. Trump then berated Joseph Maguire, the acting director of national intelligence, for allowing the briefing. This week, Mr. Trump announced he was replacing Mr. Maguire with a political ally: Richard Grenell, his ambassador to Germany. Two administration officials said the timing was a coincidence.

Another accusation: Britain, Australia and the United States made simultaneous assertions that Russia’s main military intelligence agency had carried out a broad cyberattack against the republic of Georgia in October that took out websites and interrupted television broadcasts.

That was Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, speaking about a gunman’s attack on two bars frequented by immigrants in Hanau late Wednesday, killing nine people — all immigrants or their descendants.

The rampage took place deep in the heart of a region that prides itself on its diversity and tolerance.

Officials identified the gunman as a 43-year-old German who posted a racist video and screed online. Hours after the attack, he was found dead from a gunshot, along with his mother, at his home.

In London: An attacker who entered a London Central Mosque during afternoon prayer and stabbed a 70-year-old prayer leader was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder, the police said.

Regular worshipers said they were familiar with the suspect, and the authorities said they were not treating the stabbing as an act of terrorism.

Chinese officials announced on Friday that 889 new cases of the coronavirus had been reported in the previous 24 hours, raising the overall total above 75,000.

The new count came after the government changed its criteria for confirming cases of the virus for the second time in about a week. The government said that confirmation of cases in Hubei Province will require genetic testing, a process that is difficult to conduct and whose results are often wrong. Here are the latest updates.

New focus: Public health officials are rushing to study clusters of cases — for example, a Tokyo party where one case spread to a dozen, or the church in Daegu, South Korea, where 77 people were infected. Here are maps of where the virus has spread.

A personal account: Blair Zong, 33, lives in San Jose, Calif., but was visiting her relatives in Wuhan, China, when the outbreak became an epidemic. She agreed to keep a daily diary of her two weeks in quarantine after she was evacuated back to the United States.

Traveling soon? We talked to experts about what you need to know.

From its earliest days, Google urged employees to speak out. Now it appears to be clamping down. It has scaled back opportunities for employees to grill their bosses and tried to prevent discussions about labor rights.

Then, in November, Google fired at least four activists who had stepped forward to denounce its treatment of workers. We spoke to some of them, including Rebecca Rivers, above, for The Times Magazine’s annual Future of Work issue.

U.K. immigration plan: Women’s groups warned that salary thresholds generally set at 25,600 pounds, or about $33,300, for foreign workers, designed to wean the economy off cheap foreign labor and set to go into effect next year, will give precedence to occupations in which women are underrepresented and deepen gender inequality.

Roger Federer sidelined: The Swiss tennis star, currently ranked No. 3, said he had undergone knee surgery and would miss a series of tournaments, including the French Open in May.

January temperatures: Last month was the warmest in 141 years of record keeping, and 2020 is “virtually certain” to be among the 10 warmest years on record.

Snapshot: Above, Whisky the Norwegian wonder dog and some of her toys. The Border collie is so smart that she knows not only the names of her toys but also the categories they belong to. What a good girl.

What we’re reading: This imagined scene from McSweeney’s of Billy Joel playing “Piano Man” for the characters he wrote the song about, who are aghast. “Hilarious,” writes Dan Saltzstein, senior editor for Special Projects.

Read: Douglas W. Tallamy’s “Nature’s Best Hope” examines grass-roots solutions for reversing wildlife decline. It’s new this week on our hardcover nonfiction best-seller list.

Smarter Living: Even the cocktail you choose is part of your carbon footprint. If you want a greener happy hour, check where your choices were bottled and go with the closest geographical option. Find other tips in this week’s Climate Fwd: newsletter.

We’re in the thick of the U.S. presidential election, with a few primaries and caucuses already completed and a slew of states set to vote in the coming weeks. “The Daily” recently spoke with Dean Baquet, The Times’s executive editor, to discuss the lessons learned from the last presidential election and how they have informed our 2020 coverage. Here are excerpts from the conversation.

On his reflections from the 2016 election:

I think that the combination of post-economic crisis, and a sense that there are parts of America that were still shaken by the economic crisis, I think a lot of Americans — more Americans than we understood at the time — were rattled and were looking for something dramatic.

There were [Times] reporters out in the country who were writing stories about what was going on in the country. But we didn’t elevate them and say, “Wait a minute, there’s something powerful going on here.” We didn’t see that.

On how The Times is approaching the current election:

We’ve brought in people from the business staff to go out to the country to talk about the effects of the economy. We are about to announce a plan to put writers in seven or eight states that we’re usually not in. And we give huge play now to stories about anxiety in the country. I think if you read The New York Times right now, you read a New York Times that reflects a country that’s in some turmoil, a country that’s divided much more than we understood in 2016.

And I don’t think we’ve labeled any — the campaigns would disagree — but I don’t think we’ve made anybody feel like the inevitable candidate. Or the long shot. I am extremely proud of where our coverage is right now.

On his thoughts on covering both sides of a story:

I do think that American journalism has a tendency to go for the easy version of what I call “sophisticated true objectivity.” And the easy version is: “OK, this guy said this. This guy said that. I’ll put them together. You decide.”

True objectivity is you listen, you’re empathetic. If you hear stuff you disagree with, but it’s factual and it’s worth people hearing, you write about it.

(Some answers have been condensed and edited. You can listen to the full conversation, or read a transcript, here.)

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Alex

Thank youTo Mark Josephson, Eleanor Stanford and Chris Harcum for the break from the news. You can reach the team at

P.S.• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Our latest episode is the second of a two-part series about a digital underworld of child sexual abuse imagery.• Here’s our Mini Crossword, and a clue: Religious offshoots (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.• Noah Weiland, who recently completed a stint writing our Impeachment Briefing, is starting a new beat in our Washington bureau covering health policy.