Yemen rebels say drone hits arms depot at Saudi airport
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Yemen’s Houthi rebels said Tuesday they launched a bomb-laden drone targeting an airport in Saudi Arabia that also has a military base inside of it, an attack acknowledged by the kingdom as Mideast tensions remain high between Iran and the U.S.
The attack on Najran comes as Iran quadrupled its uranium-enrichment production capacity amid tensions with the U.S. over Tehran’s atomic program, nuclear officials said Monday, just after President Donald Trump and Iran’s foreign minister traded threats and taunts on Twitter.
Iranian officials made a point to stress that the uranium would be enriched only to the 3.67% limit set under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, making it usable for a power plant but far below what’s needed for an atomic weapon.
But by increasing production, Iran soon will exceed the stockpile limitations set by the accord. Tehran has set a July 7 deadline for Europe to set new terms for the deal, or it will enrich closer to weapons-grade levels in a Middle East already on edge. The Trump administration has deployed bombers and an aircraft carrier to the region over still-unspecified threats from Iran.
In the drone attack, the Houthi’s Al-Masirah satellite news channel said early Tuesday they targeted the airport in Najran with a Qasef-2K drone, striking an “arms depot” there. Najran, 840 kilometres (525 miles) southwest of Riyadh, is right on the Saudi border with Yemen and has repeatedly been targeted by the Iranian-allied Houthis.
Trump team to brief Congress on Iran; Dems seek counterpoint
WASHINGTON (AP) — As questions mount over President Donald Trump’s tough talk on Iran, top national security officials are heading to Capitol Hill to brief Congress. But skeptical Democrats have asked for a second opinion.
The competing closed-door sessions Tuesday, unusual and potentially polarizing, come after weeks of escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf that have raised alarms over a possible military confrontation with Iran. Lawmakers are warning the Trump administration it cannot take the country into war without approval from Congress, and the back-to-back briefings show the wariness among Democrats, and some Republicans, over the White House’s sudden policy shifts in the Middle East.
Trump, veering between bombast and conciliation in his quest to contain Iran, threatened Monday to meet provocations by Iran with “great force,” but also said he’s willing to negotiate.
“We’ll see what happens,” Trump told reporters Monday as he left the White House for a campaign rally. He said Iran has been “very hostile.”
“We have no indication that anything’s happened or will happened, but if it does, it will be met, obviously, with great force,” Trump said. “We’ll have no choice.”
Cohen claims Trump lawyer shaped false statement to Congress
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump’s former fixer, Michael Cohen, told Congress it was Trump’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, who suggested he tell lawmakers that the negotiations for Trump Tower Moscow ended in January 2016, even though they continued for months after that.
The House Intelligence Committee on Monday released two transcripts of closed-door interviews with Cohen from earlier this year, along with some exhibits from the testimony. Cohen, who is serving a three-year prison sentence, pleaded guilty last year and admitted that he misled Congress by saying he had abandoned the Trump Tower Moscow project months earlier than he actually did.
During the interviews, legislators repeatedly pressed Cohen for details on his false statement to Congress and tried to nail down whether he was directly told by Trump’s legal team to mislead the committee, but the transcripts provide no slam-dunk evidence.
Cohen offered no direct proof that Sekulow knew the January 2016 date we false, but Cohen claims Sekulow should have known because he had access to relevant emails and other communications as part of an agreement between defence attorneys to share documents.
Attorneys for Sekulow said Cohen’s testimony is not credible.
5th migrant child dies after detention by US border agents
HOUSTON (AP) — A 16-year-old Guatemala migrant who died Monday in U.S. custody had been held by immigration authorities for six days — twice as long as federal law generally permits — then transferred him to another holding facility even after he was diagnosed with the flu.
The teenager, identified by U.S. Customs and Border Protection as Carlos Gregorio Hernandez Vasquez, was the fifth minor from Guatemala to die after being apprehended by U.S. border agents since December.
Advocates demanded that President Donald Trump’s administration act to safeguard the lives of children in detention as border crossings surge and the U.S. Border Patrol detains thousands of families at a time in overcrowded facilities, tents, and outdoor spaces.
“We should all be outraged and demand that those responsible for his well-being be held accountable,” said Efrén Olivares, a lawyer with the Texas Civil Rights Project.
“If these were white children that were dying at this rate, people would be up in arms,” he said. “We see this callous disregard for brown, Spanish-speaking children.”
In Pennsylvania, Trump touts 2020 chances, swipes at Biden
MONTOURSVILLE, Pa. (AP) — President Donald Trump voiced confidence Monday in his ability to win a repeat victory in Pennsylvania in 2020 and took a fresh swipe at one of his leading Democratic rivals, telling rallygoers that native son Joe Biden had abandoned them by representing Delaware in the Senate.
In fact, Biden moved to neighbouring Delaware with his family when he was a boy, and later represented the state in the Senate for more than three decades. He maintained ties to Pennsylvania over the years.
Trump’s Pennsylvania visit, intended to boost Republican congressional candidate Fred Keller over Democrat Marc Friedenberg in a Tuesday special election for an open House seat, had as much to do with helping his own reelection prospects as it did with pushing Keller over the finish line.
“We’ve got to win tomorrow, Fred,” Trump told a cheering rally crowd at a hangar at Williamsport Regional Airport.
Trump’s visit to the key battleground state came two days after Biden held a campaign rally in Philadelphia, and the former vice-president wasn’t far from Trump’s mind.
‘Instincts just took over’: Coach describes stopping gunman
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — Former University of Oregon football star Keanon Lowe said he had just entered a classroom at the Portland high school where he works as a coach and security guard when a student armed with a black shotgun appeared in the doorway.
Lowe had just seconds Friday to react. He lunged at the gunman and wrestled with him for the weapon as other students ran screaming out a back door, Lowe told reporters Monday at a news conference.
Lowe said he managed to get the gun away from the student and pass it to a teacher while Lowe held down the student with his other hand. Lowe wrapped the student in a bear hug until police arrived, he said.
No one was injured. Police are still trying to determine if any shots were fired.
“I saw the look on his face, the look in his eyes, I looked at the gun, I realized it was a real gun and then my instincts just took over,” Lowe, 27, said.
Ex-White House lawyer won’t testify after Trump direction
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump directed his former White House Counsel Donald McGahn to defy a congressional subpoena Monday, citing a Justice Department legal opinion that maintains McGahn would have immunity from testifying about his work as a close Trump adviser. A lawyer for McGahn said he would follow the president’s wishes and skip a House Judiciary Committee hearing on Tuesday.
Trump’s action, the latest in his efforts to block every congressional probe into him and his administration, is certain to deepen the open conflict between Democrats and the president. Democrats have accused Trump and Attorney General William Barr of trying to stonewall and obstruct Congress’ oversight duties.
The House Judiciary Committee had issued a subpoena to compel McGahn to testify Tuesday, and the committee’s chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y., has threatened to hold McGahn in contempt of Congress if he doesn’t. Nadler has also suggested he may try and levy fines against witnesses who do not comply with committee requests.
McGahn’s lawyer, William Burck, said in a letter to Nadler that McGahn is “conscious of the duties he, as an attorney, owes to his former client” and would decline to appear.
Still, Burck encouraged the committee to negotiate a compromise with the White House, saying his client “again finds himself facing contradictory instructions from two co-equal branches of government.”
3 handwritten wills found in Aretha Franklin’s home
PONTIAC, Mich. (AP) — Three handwritten wills have been found in the suburban Detroit home of Aretha Franklin, months after the death of the “Queen of Soul,” including one that was discovered under cushions in the living room, a lawyer said Monday.
The latest one is dated March 2014 and appears to give the famous singer’s assets to family members. Some writing is extremely hard to decipher, however, and the four pages have words scratched out and phrases in the margins.
Franklin was 76 when she died last August of pancreatic cancer. Lawyers and family members said at the time that she had no will, but three handwritten versions were discovered earlier this month. Two from 2010 were found in a locked cabinet after a key was located.
The 2014 version was inside a spiral notebook under cushions, said an attorney for Franklin’s estate, David Bennett.
Bennett, who was Franklin’s lawyer for more than 40 years, filed the wills on Monday. He told a judge that he’s not sure if they’re legal under Michigan law. A hearing is scheduled for June 12.
Tornadoes on the Plains not as bad as feared; threat remains
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — An intense storm system moved across the Southern Plains on Monday, spawning tornadoes that caused scattered damage and a deluge of rain but not the “particularly dangerous” twisters that forecasters had feared.
No injuries were reported.
Late Monday, the National Weather Service reduced severe threat of violent storms to a small area of southern Oklahoma and northern Texas. But it kept an area stretching from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Wichita Falls, Texas, under tornado watch — the level of threat just below a tornado warning — until 5 a.m. CDT Tuesday morning
The biggest threat overnight appeared to be flash flooding from torrential rains that accompanied the storms, forecasters said.
The National Weather Service had warned that Monday evening could bring perilous weather to a large swath of western Texas, most of Oklahoma and southern Kansas. The storm was expected to move later Monday into western Arkansas.
AP Explains: US sanctions on Huawei bite, but who gets hurt?
Trump administration sanctions against Huawei have begun to bite even though their dimensions remain unclear. U.S. companies that supply the Chinese tech powerhouse with computer chips saw their stock prices slump Monday, and Huawei faces decimated smartphone sales with the anticipated loss of Google’s popular software and services.
The U.S. move escalates trade-war tensions with Beijing, but also risks making China more self-sufficient over time.
Here’s a look at what’s behind the dispute and what it means.
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The Associated Press