Donald Trump's news conference, Tillerson hearing, more: 5 things you need to know Wednesday

President-elect Trump to hold long-awaited news conference

After a torrent of tweets but only a few, informal interactions with journalists following his election victory,  Donald Trump will hold his first news conference since July 27 on Wednesday. Trump's session with the media will come hours after a report alleges that Russia acquired compromising information after the president-elect during the election. Russia denies having any "compromising materials" on Trump, while Trump tweeted the reports are "fake news.". The president-elect canceled a media event scheduled for Dec. 15, one he had called to address questions about possible conflict-of-interest issues arising from his business interests . Since then, Trump has said his sons will direct all his family's business affairs. He has said nothing, however, about selling his companies and properties or putting them in a blind trust, a common practice among earlier presidents.

Tillerson and other nominees to be grilled in Senate hearings

The drama at Capitol Hill confirmation hearings for top nominees of President-elect Donald Trump reaches fever pitch Wednesday with Senate grillings for former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson (secretary of State) and former secretary of labor Elaine Chao (secretary of Transportation). That’s in addition to continued questioning of Sen. Jeff Sessions, tapped to be U.S. attorney general. The most contentious quizzing is expected for Tillerson, who is likely to be asked about his role in his former company’s dealings with nations such as Russia, Iran and Syria, as well as his direct dealings with Russia’s Vladimir Putin.

Need a vacation? It’s airfare sale season

JetBlue and WOW airlines are making domestic and international flights more affordable — for now. A JetBlue flash sale drops fares below $100 round trip on many of the carrier's routes across the nation. The sale ends at 11:59 p.m. Wednesday. WOW is offering flights from California to Europe for $69 — an astonishing price that comes with a lot of fine print. It’s a common practice among airlines to roll out fare sales to help fill empty seats during low-demand periods. The period from early January into early March is one of the slowest, with demand for flights dropping after the big winter holidays.

Inmate, set for lethal injection, would be first execution of 2017

If the execution of Texas inmate Christopher Wilkins goes forward Wednesday, it would be the first execution in the USA this year. More than 11 years ago, Wilkins killed two men over a phony $20 drug deal. He went on to tell jurors at his trial that he didn't care if he got the death penalty.  Wilkins' attorneys have asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene and halt the execution. Seven executions were carried out last year in Texas, the fewest since 1996. Wilkins is among nine Texas inmates already scheduled to die in the early months of 2017.

NASCAR's Carl Edwards set to retire

Carl Edwards, a top driver who nearly won the championship last season, is expected to announce he will immediately step away from NASCAR in a news conference Wednesday at Joe Gibbs Racing. The move is surprising, since Edwards is just 37 and drives for one of the top teams in NASCAR. Edwards has 28 Cup wins and has finished runner-up for the championship twice, in 2008 and 2011. Last year, Edwards was leading in the championship race when he tried to block Joey Logano — and crashed as a result.

And the essentials:

Weather: Huge storm along the West Coast brings heavy snow in Oregon, while light snow will break out in the Northern Plains and Great Lakes region.

Stocks: Asian shares were mostly higher Wednesday on the back of a strengthening dollar and quiet trading ahead of remarks by Trump.

TV Tonight: Wondering what to watch tonight? TV critic Robert Bianco looks at Black-ish and Full Frontal with Samantha Bee.

Be inspired: Daughter holds wedding by mother's bedside.

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