5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • North Korea claims test of anti-aircraft missile

  • White House mulls changes to contain Russia investigation crisis

  • McMaster 'would not be concerned' by Russia backchannel

  • Trump delays G7 climate accord decision

  • Ranting man fatally stabs 2 in Portland

North Korean state media on Sunday reported the isolated regime has tested "a new type of anti-aircraft guided weapon" under the observation of leader Kim Jong Un. "This weapon system, whose operation capability has been thoroughly verified, should be mass-produced to deploy all over the country," said the KCNA news agency story, "so as to completely spoil the enemy's wild dream to command the air, boasting of air supremacy and weapon almighty." This is Pyongyang's third Sunday test in a row; the tests performed one and two weeks ago both used mid-range ballistic missiles.

Source: NBC News, Reuters

President Trump returned Saturday night from his trip abroad to a White House mulling serious changes to contain escalating federal investigations into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 election. Among the changes reportedly under consideration: a reduced role for Press Secretary Sean Spicer; the re-hiring of fired Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski; advance legal vetting of Trump's tweets; and a heftier schedule of press conferences, live social media appearances, and campaign-style rallies permitting the president to speak directly to the media and public. While Trump was traveling, credible allegations surfaced that his son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, attempted to set up a secret communication channel with Russia in December. So far, there is no suggestion of Kushner stepping down.

Source: The New York Times, The Washington Post

National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster on Saturday said he "would not be concerned" by backchannel communications with Russia, though he declined to specifically comment on allegations that President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner unsuccessfully attempted to arrange a secret communication channel between the Trump transition team and the Kremlin shortly after the election. National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn and Press Secretary Sean Spicer also refused to discuss Kushner at Saturday's media briefing. "We're not going to comment on Jared," said Cohn. "We're just not going to comment." McMaster did note the U.S. has "backchannel communications with a number of countries," though Kushner was a private citizen and not an authorized representative of Washington at the time when he allegedly spoke with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak.

Source: The Washington Post, CNN

President Trump emerged from Friday's G7 summit in Sicily with "evolving" views on climate change, White House economic adviser Gary Cohn reported. "He feels much more knowledgeable on the topic today," Cohn said, noting Trump "came here to get smarter." Trump attended the meeting alongside the leaders of Japan, Italy, Germany, France, Britain, and Canada, all of whom are pushing him not to exit the 2015 Paris climate accord. Trump tweeted Saturday morning, "I will make my final decision on the Paris Accord next week!"

Source: The Associated Press, Politico

Two people were killed and a third injured on a commuter train in Portland, Oregon, on Friday, by a man witnesses said was "yelling a gamut of anti-Muslim and anti-everything slurs." Unverified reports suggest the suspect may have been targeting two Muslim girls riding the train, one of whom was wearing a hijab. The victims were attempting to protect other passengers when they were stabbed. The suspect has been detained by police, who have deemed his rant to be hate speech. Neither the attacker nor the victims have been publicly identified.

Source: CNN, NBC News
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