Updated Apr 21, 2018

Haspel cleared in probe on destruction of waterboarding tapes

A man crosses the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) seal. Photo: SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

Amid controversy over President Trump's pick for Secretary of State, former CIA director Mike Pompeo, the spy agency has released a declassified memo to lawmakers that show Trump's pick to head the CIA, Gina Haspel, was cleared of wrongdoing in the destruction of videotapes showing terror suspects being waterboarded after 9/11, the AP reports.

Why it matters: Haspel has been met with stark criticism from Democrats and human rights groups, in an attempt to block her nomination to head the CIA, for events related to her time running one of the CIA's "black site" prisons in Thailand where Al Qaeda terror suspects were subjected to torture techniques, including waterboarding. Per the AP, the memo "did not satisfy opponents who want to know more details about her three-decade CIA career."

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America's dwindling executions

The Trump administration wants to reboot federal executions, pointing to a 16-year lapse, but Pew Research reports the government has only executed three people since 1963.

The big picture: Nearly all executions in the U.S. are done by states. Even those have been steadily dropping for two decades, per the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) — marking a downward trend for all executions in the country.

Top NSC official may be moved after "Anonymous" rumor fallout

President Trump at the Daytona 500. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Top Trump administration officials are in discussions to reassign deputy national security adviser Victoria Coates to the Department of Energy from the National Security Council, per two sources familiar with the planning.

Why it matters: Coates' working relationship with National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien, who elevated her to the deputy role only months ago, has strained amid an effort by some people inside the administration to tag her as "Anonymous" — a charge she has vehemently denied to colleagues.

Jeff Bezos commits $10 billion for climate change research

Bezos at Amazon Smbhav in New Delhi on Jan. 15. Photo: Sajjad Hussain/AFP via Getty Images

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos announced the launch of his "Earth Fund" on Monday via Instagram to fund climate change research and awareness.

What he's saying: Bezos says he's initially committing $10 billion to fund "scientists, activists, and NGOS" that are working on environmental preservation and protection efforts.