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Analysis, background reports and updates from the PBS NewsHour putting today's news in context.

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    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the White House in D.C. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    President Donald Trump speaks to reporters after his meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov at the White House in D.C. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — As President Donald Trump considers a replacement for fired FBI Director James Comey, lawmakers are urging the president to steer clear of appointing any politicians.

    The advice came Sunday amid more criticism over Trump’s dismissal of Comey during an FBI probe of Russia’s meddling with last year’s election and any ties to the Trump campaign. James Clapper, the former director of national intelligence, said the Founding Fathers created three co-equal branches of government with checks and balances, but with Trump as president, that was now “eroding.”

    “I think, in many ways, our institutions are under assault, both externally — and that’s the big news here, is the Russian interference in our election system,” Clapper said “I think as well our institutions are under assault internally.”

    When asked, “Internally, from the president?” Clapper responded, “Exactly.”

    The White House had no immediate comment. No White House aide appeared on the Sunday news shows, leaving Nikki Haley, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to defend Trump. “The president is the CEO of the country. He can hire and fire whoever he wants,” she said.

    Lawmakers from both parties reprimanded Trump for his actions, which included shifting explanations from the White House for Comey’s dismissal and an ominous tweet by Trump that warned Comey against leaks to the press because Trump may have “tapes” of their conversations.

    Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Judiciary Committee, said selecting an FBI agent to lead the agency would allow the nation to “reset.” He dismissed as less desirable at least two of the 14 candidates under consideration, ex-FBI agent and former Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan and Sen. John Cornyn of Texas, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate.

    “It’s now time to pick somebody who comes from within the ranks, or has such a reputation that has no political background at all that can go into the job on Day 1,” said Graham, R-S.C.

    “The president has a chance to clean up the mess he mostly created,” Graham said, adding: “I have no evidence that the president colluded with the Russians at all … but we don’t know all the evidence yet.”

    Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, continued to argue that the president should consider Merrick Garland, the federal judge nominated to the Supreme Court last year by President Barack Obama but who was denied a hearing by Republicans. A former top aide to Sen. Mitch McConnell, Josh Holmes, said that McConnell is interested in the suggestion.

    Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer of New York said the new FBI director should be someone “not of partisan background” with “great experience” and “courage.” Declining to comment on a Garland nomination, Schumer left open the possibility that Democrats might withdraw support for a new FBI director unless the Justice Department names a special prosecutor for the Russia probe.

    Under Senate rules, Republicans could confirm an FBI director with 51 votes. Republicans hold 52 seats in the chamber to Democrats’ 48.

    Calling Trump’s remarks about possible taped conversations “outrageous,” Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, the top Democrat on the Senate Intelligence Committee, said his panel or another committee would “absolutely” subpoena such tapes.

    “We have got to make sure that these tapes, if they exist, don’t mysteriously disappear,” Warner said, adding that he hopes to have Comey testify in a public hearing before his committee.

    President Donald Trump’s abrupt firing of FBI Director James Comey drew controversy and mixed reactions this week. Some said he kept his promise to shake up Washington, while others saw it as a maneuver to block an FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. NewsHour Weekend Special Correspondent Jeff Greenfield joins Hari Sreenivasan.

    The blowback against the firing of Comey angered the increasingly frustrated president, who made the decision after consulting only a small group of advisers, worried the news would leak out. Trump has openly vented his frustration with the media and Democrats on Twitter, musing about canceling press briefings and arguing that it’s difficult for aides to know his thinking.

    The administration has interviewed at least eight candidates to replace Comey, just over half of the 14 being considered. Trump has said a decision could come before he leaves Friday for the Mideast and Europe, his first overseas trip as president. He was also set to welcome foreign leaders to the White House, with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday and President Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia on Thursday. A leader of the United Arab Emirates was scheduled to visit Monday.

    Clapper and Schumer made their comments on CNN’s “State of the Union”; Graham spoke on NBC’s “Meet the Press”; Haley and Warner appeared on ABC’s “This Week”; and Warner spoke on “Fox News Sunday” along with Lee and Holmes.

    Associated Press writers Catherine Lucey, Sadie Gurman and Darlene Superville contributed to this report.

    WATCH: New FBI director scrutiny will be ‘very intense’

    The post Lawmakers urge President Trump to avoid picking a politician as new FBI director appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends a news conference following the talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, in May. Photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko/Reuters

    Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan attends a news conference following the talks with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia, in May. Photo by Alexander Zemlianichenko/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The United States is on a collision course with its NATO ally Turkey, pushing ahead with arming Syrian Kurds after deciding the immediate objective of defeating Islamic State militants outweighs the potential damage to a partnership vital to U.S. interests in the volatile Middle East.

    The Turks are fiercely opposed to the U.S. plans, seeing the Kurdish fighters as terrorists. And when Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan visits the White House on Tuesday, the most he and President Donald Trump may be able to do is agree to disagree, and move on.

    “The Turks see this as a crisis in the relationship,” said Jonathan Schanzer at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

    The challenge is hardly new. Long before Trump took office, U.S. presidents have grappled with the fragility of partnering with Turkey’s government and the Kurds to carry out a Middle East agenda.

    Past administrations have sought a delicate balance. Too exuberant in its support for the Kurds, and the U.S. risks pushing ally Turkey toward U.S. geopolitical rivals like Russia or emboldening the Kurds to try to create an independent state — a scenario that would destabilize multiple countries in the region. Too little cooperation with the Kurds risks squandering a battlefield ally with proven effectiveness against extremist threats and who has staunchly supported Washington.

    Trump has made his priorities clear.

    His administration is arming Syrian Kurdish fighters as part of an effort to recapture the Syrian city of Raqqa, the Islamic State group’s self-declared capital. Coupled with the U.S.-backed fight in the Iraqi city of Mosul, Raqqa is seen as a key step toward liberating the remaining territory the militants hold.

    Turkey has been pressuring the U.S. to drop support for the Kurdish militants in Syria for years and doesn’t want them spearheading the Raqqa effort. Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish group, known as the YPG, a terrorist group because of its ties to the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party inside Turkey. The United States, the European Union and Turkey all agree the PKK is a terrorist organization.

    The Turks fear any weapons the U.S. provides the Syrian Kurds could well end up with their ethnic brethren in Turkey, who’ve fought violently as part of a separatist insurgency for more than three decades. As a nod to Turkey’s concerns, the Pentagon has promised tight monitoring of all weapons and greater intelligence sharing to help the Turks better watch over their frontiers. Kurds are an ethnic group predominantly concentrated along the borders of four countries — Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran.

    But a face-to-face confrontation on the matter between Trump and Erdogan seems inevitable.

    Erdogan and other top Turkish officials have pressed for the U.S. to reverse its strategy, however low the prospects of Trump changing his mind. As a result, experts see Erdogan using the meeting to confront Trump on a host of other Turkish grievances. Those include extraditing the Pennsylvania-based cleric, Fethullah Gulen, whom Erdogan blames for fomenting a failed coup last summer, and dropping U.S. charges against Reza Zarrab, a Turkish businessman accused of money-laundering and violating U.S. sanctions in Iran.

    “I see this trip as a new milestone in Turkey-U.S. relations,” Erdogan said, as he prepared to fly to Washington.

    Citizens of Turkey voted Sunday by a thin margin to overhaul the country’s political system, which could lead to a major consolidation of power for Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Jeffrey Brown talks to Steven Cook of the Council on Foreign Relations and Kadir Ustun of the SETA Foundation about the ramifications of the controversial referendum.

    The U.S., too, has a wish list for Turkey. Washington is concerned by rising anti-Americanism in Turkey that Erdogan’s government has tolerated since the July coup attempt. The U.S. also has pressed unsuccessfully for the release of Andrew Brunson, an American pastor, and other detained U.S. citizens.

    Trump also has much at stake. His willingness to partner with authoritarian rulers and overlook their shortcomings on democracy and human rights have alarmed U.S. lawmakers of both parties. Trump’s premise has been that he is focusing on deal-making. That puts added pressure on him to get results.

    Trump has gone out of his way to foster a good relationship with Erdogan. After a national referendum last month that strengthened Erdogan’s presidential powers, European leaders and rights advocates criticized Turkey for moving closer toward autocratic rule. Trump congratulated Erdogan.

    Now, the American leader may try to cash in.

    “Trump has prioritized protecting U.S. national security interests over lecturing allies on democratic values or human rights,” said James Phillips, a senior research fellow for Middle Eastern affairs at the Heritage Foundation. “I don’t think the president will lose any sleep if he is criticized for meeting with President Erdogan, as long as it pays dividends for advancing his foreign policy agenda.”

    But Erdogan may not be amenable to accepting the U.S. military support for the Kurds in a quid pro quo. Last month, the Turkish military bombed Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq, in one case with American forces only about six miles (10 kilometers) away. His government has insisted it may attack Syrian Kurdish fighters again. The U.S., whose forces are sometimes embedded with the Kurds, has much to fear.

    Barack Aydin of the Washington-based Kurdish Policy Research Center, said the key ought to be a broader peace process between Erdogan’s government and Kurdish opponents in Turkey, which would eliminate these problems.

    “That would be a very good start,” Aydin said.

    READ MORE: Trump has embraced autocratic leaders without hesitation

    The post Erdogan visits Trump, amid friction between U.S., Turkey appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks during a 2015 news conference in Washington, D.C. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, speaks during a 2015 news conference in Washington, D.C. Photo by Carlos Barria/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — These are the candidates under consideration to replace fired FBI Director James Comey:

    SEN. JOHN CORNYN

    Cornyn is the No. 2 Senate Republican and a former Texas attorney general and state Supreme Court justice. He has been a member of the Senate GOP leadership team for a decade and serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee. In the aftermath of Comey’s dismissal, Cornyn said Trump was “within his authority” to fire him and said it would not affect the investigation of possible Russian ties to Trump’s presidential campaign.

    REP. TREY GOWDY

    Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., questions FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers during a hearing into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., questions FBI Director James Comey and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers during a hearing into alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    The South Carolina Republican is best known for leading the congressional inquiry into the deadly attacks on a U.S. facility in Benghazi, Libya, a panel that oversaw a lengthy grilling of Hillary Clinton in 2015. A former federal prosecutor and state attorney, Gowdy was elected to Congress in the 2010 tea party wave and has focused on law enforcement issues. He originally endorsed Florida Sen. Marco Rubio for president before backing Trump in May 2016.

    FORMER REP. MIKE ROGERS

    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers speaks at the 2013 Reuters Cybersecurity Summit in Washington, D.C. Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

    House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers speaks at the 2013 Reuters Cybersecurity Summit in Washington, D.C. Photo by Yuri Gripas/Reuters

    Rogers is the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He served Michigan in Congress for more than a decade before stepping down in 2015. Rogers worked for the FBI as a special agent based in Chicago in the 1990s and briefly advised Trump’s transition team on national security issues. His name was floated as a possible replacement for then-FBI Director Robert Mueller in 2013, and he received support from an association of FBI agents before President Barack Obama chose Comey.

    RAY KELLY

    Kelly was commissioner of the New York City Police Department for more than a decade, serving two mayors. In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, he created the first counterterrorism bureau of any municipal police department and oversaw a drastic reduction in crime. But Kelly also came under fire for his use of aggressive police tactics, including a program that spied on Muslims and a dramatic spike in the use of stop-and-frisk, which disproportionately affected nonwhite New Yorkers.

    J. MICHAEL LUTTIG

    Luttig, the general counsel for Boeing Corp., is viewed as a conservative legal powerhouse from his tenure as a judge on the 4th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals and his time as a Justice Department lawyer. He was considered for two U.S. Supreme Court vacancies that went to Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. Luttig clashed with the George W. Bush White House on a prominent terror case, rebuking the administration for its actions in the case involving “enemy combatant” Jose Padilla.

    LARRY THOMPSON

    A deputy attorney general under President George W. Bush, Thompson served as the department’s No. 2 from 2001 to 2003. Among his most high-profile actions was allowing Syrian-born Canadian citizen Maher Arar to be deported to Syria, where he was tortured, after being falsely named as a terrorist. Thompson also served as U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Georgia and held several high-level positions at PepsiCo.

    PAUL ABBATE

    Abbate is a senior official at the FBI, currently responsible for the bureau’s criminal and cyber branch. He previously led FBI field offices in Washington, one of the agency’s largest, and in Detroit. He’s been deeply involved for years in FBI efforts to fight terrorism, serving in supervisory roles in Iraq and Afghanistan and later overseeing FBI international terrorism investigations as a section chief. He’s been with the FBI for more than 20 years, and is one of the FBI officials who interviewed this week for the role of interim director.

    ALICE FISHER

    Currently a partner at the law firm Latham & Watkins specializing in white-collar criminal and internal investigations, Fisher formerly served as assistant attorney general for the Criminal Division of the Justice Department. Fisher faced resistance from Democrats during her confirmation over her alleged participation in discussions about policies at the detention facility in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. She also served as deputy special counsel to the Senate special committee that investigated President Bill Clinton’s Whitewater scandal. If selected, she would be the bureau’s first female director.

    ANDREW MCCABE

    A Duke-educated lawyer, McCabe was named last year as the FBI’s deputy director, the No. 2 position in the bureau, overseeing significant investigations and operations. Since joining the FBI more than 20 years ago, he’s held multiple leadership positions, including overseeing the FBI’s national security branch and its Washington field office. McCabe became acting director after Comey was fired, but has shown a repeated willingness to break from White House explanations of the ouster and its characterizations of the Russia investigation.

    MICHAEL GARCIA

    A former New York prosecutor, Garcia has served as an associate judge on the New York Court of Appeals — the state’s highest court — since early 2016. He served as the U.S. attorney in Manhattan from 2005 to 2008, and previously held high-level positions in the Commerce Department, the Justice Department and the Department of Homeland Security.

    JOHN SUTHERS

    A former U.S. attorney and Colorado attorney general, Suthers was elected mayor of Colorado Springs in 2015. He is widely respected among state law enforcement and many Colorado Democrats. Suthers was inspired to become a prosecutor after he spent part of an internship in the Colorado Springs district attorney’s office watching the trial of a gang of soldiers convicted of killing various citizens, including actor Kelsey Grammer’s sister, during a crime spree in the 1970s.

    ADAM LEE

    Lee, a longtime agent, is special agent in charge of the FBI’s Richmond office. He worked in a variety of positions within the bureau. Before Comey tapped him to lead the Richmond office in 2014, he was section chief of the Public Corruption and Civil Rights Section, investigating some of the highest profile cases against government officials and civil rights violations in recent years. He also led the FBI’s global Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and Antitrust Programs.

    HENRY E. HUDSON

    Hudson is a federal judge in Richmond who earned praise from conservatives when he struck down the centerpiece of the Obama administration’s health care law in 2010. He is a George W. Bush appointee who earned the nickname “Hang ‘Em High Henry” for his tough-on-crime stand as a federal prosecutor and on the bench. He became a hero to animal rights activists when he sentenced NFL star Michael Vick to nearly two years in prison in 2007 for running a dogfighting ring.

    FRANCES TOWNSEND

    Townsend was homeland security and counterterrorism adviser to President George W. Bush after a series of high-profile Justice Department jobs.

    Among other roles, Townsend is a national security analyst for CBS News. She worked as a federal prosecutor in New York under then-U.S. Attorney Rudy Giuliani, focusing on white-collar and organized crime. At the Justice Department, she worked in a variety of jobs including leading the Office of Intelligence Policy and Review, which helped oversee intelligence-gathering activities related to the nation’s top secret surveillance court.

    Associated Press writers Sadie Gurman and Eric Tucker in Washington and Nick Riccardi in Denver contributed to this report.

    WATCH: New FBI director scrutiny will be ‘very intense’

    The post Here are the 14 candidates under consideration for FBI director appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    WASHINGTON — Decrying violence against police, President Donald Trump honored the “brave souls” of law enforcement on Monday and vowed his administration would look for ways to reduce violence against police.

    Trump addressed law enforcement and family members of the fallen at the 36th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service outside the U.S. Capitol, reaffirming his campaign promises to restore justice and end attacks on police.

    “Every drop of blood spilled from our heroes in blue is a wound inflicted upon the whole country,” Trump said. “And every heartache known by your families in law enforcement is a sorrow shared by the entire family of the American nation.”

    Trump was joined by families of law enforcement earlier in the day in the Oval Office, where he signed a proclamation and said he would enlist the Justice Department to develop strategies to prevent and prosecute violent crimes against law enforcement. He said that 118 law enforcement officers had died in the line of duty in 2016.

    Trump told police officers with him in the Oval Office that “some of you have suffered greatly and we’re going to take care of it.”

    The president, who departs for his first overseas trip as president later this week, said it was his duty as president to keep America “safe from crimes, safe from terrorism and safe from all enemies — foreign and domestic.”

    He said that at the center of that duty is the “requirement to ensure law enforcement personnel are given tools and resources they need to do their jobs and come home to their families safely.”

    Trump noted the ambush killings of police officers last year in Dallas and Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and was joined in the Oval Office by family members of slain officers from Phoenix, Arizona, New Jersey and New York.

    Trump spoke nearly week after he fired FBI Director James Comey. His administration is considering Comey’s replacement, a decision that could come before he departs Friday for Saudi Arabia.

    READ MORE: DOJ will ‘take care of’ violent crimes against police, Trump says

    The post WATCH: President Trump speaks at National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A pile of government pamphlets explaining North Carolina's controversial "Voter ID" law sits on table at a polling station in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

    A pile of government pamphlets explaining North Carolina’s controversial “Voter ID” law sits on table at a polling station in Charlotte, North Carolina. Photo by Chris Keane/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday rejected an appeal to reinstate North Carolina’s voter identification law, which a lower court said targeted African-Americans “with almost surgical precision.”

    The justices left in place the lower court ruling striking down the law’s photo ID requirement and reduction in early voting.

    The situation was complicated when Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper and Attorney General Josh Stein tried to withdraw the appeal, which was first filed when Republican Pat McCrory was governor.

    Chief Justice John Roberts said the political situation created uncertainty over who is authorized to seek review of the lower court ruling.

    The dispute is similar to the court fight over Texas’ voter ID law, also struck down as racially discriminatory.

    Republicans in both states moved to enact new voting measures after the Supreme Court in 2013 struck down a provision of the federal Voting Rights Act that had required them to get advance approval before changing laws dealing with elections.

    Voters, civil rights groups and the Obama administration quickly filed lawsuits challenging the new laws. The Trump administration already has dropped its objections to the Texas law.

    Shortly before Trump took office in January, the Justice Department urged the Supreme Court to reject the North Carolina appeal.

    When the law passed, North Carolina Republicans said voter ID is a sound requirement to increase the integrity of elections. But the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the state provided no evidence of the kind of in-person voter fraud the ID mandate would address. The Richmond, Virginia-based court said the law was enacted with intentional bias against black voters. The law was amended in 2015 to include a method for people unable to get a photo ID to still vote.

    Following the appellate ruling, the state asked the high court to allow the challenged provisions to remain in effect in November’s election. The justices rejected the request by virtue of a 4-4 tie on most of the challenged provisions, with the four more conservative justices supporting the state’s bid.

    Roberts cautioned Monday that the rejection of the appeal is not a comment on the court’s view about the substance of the law.

    WATCH: What we know so far about voting problems

    The post Supreme Court rejects appeal — for now — over North Carolina voter ID law appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    President Donald Trump signs a law enforcement proclamation in the Oval Office of the White House before attending the 36th Annual National Peace Officers' Memorial Service in Washington, D.C. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    President Donald Trump signs a law enforcement proclamation in the Oval Office of the White House before attending the 36th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service in Washington, D.C. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump is asking the Justice Department to develop strategies to prevent and prosecute violent crimes against law enforcement.

    Trump says in the Oval Office that police officers have “had it with what’s going on” and notes that 118 law enforcement officers died in the line of duty in 2016.

    Trump signed a proclamation to mark Peace Officers’ Memorial Week and Police Week. He was speaking Monday to the National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service on Capitol Hill.

    Trump is scheduled to attend and deliver remarks at 11 a.m. ET at the 36th Annual National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service, which honors law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty last year.

    Trump told police officers with him in the Oval Office that “some of you have suffered greatly and we’re going to take care of it.”

    WATCH: President Trump speaks at National Peace Officers’ Memorial Service

    The post Trump: DOJ will ‘take care of’ violent crimes against police appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    The same federal appeals court that prevented President Donald Trump’s controversial travel ban from taking effect will hear arguments Monday over whether to reinstate the revision of that ban, which has also been held up in courts.

    The court is scheduled to hear arguments at 9:30 a.m. PST, 12:30 p.m. EST. Watch live in the player above.

    Trump’s original travel ban, which sought to temporarily suspend the entry of those from seven Muslim majority countries and halt the U.S. refugee program, sparked protests nationwide when it was first issued in January. The executive order was blocked by a number of judges in the days that followed, including those on the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

    The revised order, which sought to temporarily suspend the entry of those from six Muslim-majority countries, is facing lawsuits from several states. State lawmakers and human rights organizations argue it violates the Constitution by discriminating against Muslims.

    On May 8, before a separate federal appeals court in Richmond, Trump’s lawyers defended the ban as well as statements about Muslims made by the president before taking office, which have been used by other courts to judge his motivations.

    LISTEN: Federal appeals court reviews Trump’s revised travel ban

    That court, the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, has not yet issued a decision.

    Trump has clashed with the Ninth Circuit before. U.S. District Judge William Orrick issued a temporary injunction against Trump’s executive order that says the government can withhold funding from so-called “sanctuary cities” if they do not comply with requests from federal immigration officials. In response, Trump tweeted a series of criticisms aimed at the court, calling it a “messy system.” He told the Washington Examiner he has considered breaking up the Ninth Circuit.

    “There are many people that want to break up the Ninth Circuit. It’s outrageous,” he said.

    Trump’s Muslim rhetoric key issue in travel ban rulings

    Monday’s hearing in Seattle will examine how the revised travel ban is different from the first. It will also ask Trump’s lawyers about the executive order’s 120-day ban on refugees.

    PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.

    The post WATCH: Appeals court hears arguments over Trump’s revised travel ban appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Immigration activists rally against the Trump administration's new ban against travelers from six Muslim-majority nations, outside of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters in Washington, D.C. Photo by Eric Thayer/Reuters

    Immigration activists rally against the Trump administration’s new ban against travelers from six Muslim-majority nations, outside of the U.S. Customs and Border Protection headquarters in Washington, D.C. Photo by Eric Thayer/Reuters

    SAN FRANCISCO — Three judges appointed by President Bill Clinton will hear the appeal of Hawaii’s challenge to President Trump’s travel ban targeting six predominantly Muslim countries.

    The San Francisco-based 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals will hear arguments in its Seattle courthouse on Monday.

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear arguments at 9:30 a.m. PT, 12:30 p.m. ET. Watch live in the player above.

    The 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Virginia is considering a similar ruling.

    The U.S. Supreme Court could take up the issue if the appeals courts issue contradictory decisions.

    The three 9th Circuit judges are:

    MICHAEL DALY HAWKINS, 72

    Clinton, a Democrat, appointed Hawkins in 1994 after Hawkins served as Arizona’s top federal prosecutor from 1977 to 1980 and as a U.S. Marine Corps judge deciding court martials from 1973 to 1976.

    Hawkins was in private practice for 14 years before Clinton appointed him.

    In 2012. Hawkins joined Judge Stephen Reinhardt’s majority ruling striking down California’s gay marriage ban. It was the first federal appeals court ruling that determined gay marriage bans were unconstitutional. The U.S. Supreme Court, in another case, ruled similarly three years later.

    RONALD GOULD, 70

    Clinton appointed Gould in 1999. After clerking for U.S. Supreme Court Judge Potter Stewart from 1974 to 1975, Gould joined the prominent law firm Perkins Coie, where he remained until his appointment to the bench.

    Gould listens to oral arguments electronically from his Seattle court because of multiple sclerosis.

    In 2014, he wrote the majority decision that high schools must provide the same athletic amenities to girls as boys. The ruling expanded the U.S Department of Education’s so-called Title IX mandate to treat male and female college athletes the same.

    RICHARD PAEZ, 70

    Clinton elevated Paez to the appeals court from federal district court in Los Angeles in 1999. Clinton had appointed Paez to the district court five years earlier after Paez spent 13 years as a state judge in California.

    Before he became a judge, Paez worked as a staff attorney for the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles, Western Center on Law and Poverty and California Rural Legal Assistance.

    He wrote the majority opinion in 2011 that Arizona lawmakers went too far when they enacted strict immigration regulations, including making it a state crime to lack immigration papers. The U.S. Supreme Court later ruled similarly.

    READ MORE: Trump ‘absolutely’ considered breaking up 9th Circuit Court

    The post Who are the 3 judges hearing arguments on Trump’s revised travel ban? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    White House press secretary Sean Spicer is expected to take questions about President Donald Trump’s revised travel ban Monday as the administration’s lawyers defend the ban in court in Seattle.

    Spicer is scheduled to take questions at today’s news briefing at 1:30 p.m. EST. Watch live in the player above.

    A three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals is hearing arguments Monday over the revised travel ban, which sought to temporarily suspent entry of residents from six predominantly Muslim countries.

    A federal appeals court in Virginia is also weighing the constitutionality of the president’s reworked executive order.

    WATCH LIVE: Appeals court hears arguments over Trump’s revised travel ban

    When the original travel ban was first issued, it temporarily halted the entry of people from seven Muslim majority countries. Courts blocked it from taking effect. When the ban was revised in March, Iraq was taken off the list of targeted countries. Human rights advocates have argued that the order still violates the Constitution because it discriminates against Muslims.

    A week ago, White House press secretary Sean Spicer said the Trump administration has been “consistent” in referring to the president’s order as a ban. However, when the order was first introduced, Spicer was emphatic that it wasn’t a travel ban, contrary to what the president was tweeting at the time.

    READ MORE: Who are the 3 judges hearing arguments on Trump’s revised travel ban?

    The post WATCH LIVE: Spicer expected to address travel ban arguments in news briefing appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    People protest President Donald Trump's travel ban outside of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Seattle, Washington. Photo by David Ryder/Reuters

    People protest President Donald Trump’s travel ban outside of the U.S. Court of Appeals in Seattle, Washington. Photo by David Ryder/Reuters

    SEATTLE — Federal judges on Monday peppered a lawyer for President Donald Trump with questions about whether the administration’s travel ban discriminates against Muslims, the second time in a week the issue has been in court.

    Acting Solicitor General Jeffrey Wall, who is defending the travel ban, told a three-judge panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Seattle that the executive order halting travel from six majority Muslim nations doesn’t say anything about religion.

    “This order is aimed at aliens abroad, who themselves don’t have constitutional rights,” Wall said in a hearing broadcast live on C-Span and other news stations.

    Advocates for refugees and immigrants rallied outside the federal courthouse in Seattle, some carrying “No Ban, No Wall” signs.

    The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hears arguments over Trump’s revised travel ban. Watch live in the player above.

    Trump’s executive would suspend the nation’s refugee program and temporarily bar new visas for citizens of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Last week, judges on the 4th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments over whether to affirm a Maryland judge’s decision putting the ban on ice. They focused their questions on whether they could consider Trump’s campaign statements calling for a ban on Muslims entering the U.S., with one judge asking if there was anything other than “willful blindness” that would prevent them from doing so.

    On Monday, Wall told the judges that “over time, the president clarified that what he was talking about was Islamic terrorist groups and the countries that sponsor or shelter them.”

    Monday’s arguments mark the second time Trump’s efforts to restrict immigration from certain Muslim-majority nations have reached the San Francisco-based 9th Circuit.

    After Trump issued his initial travel ban on a Friday in late January, bringing chaos and protests to airports around the country, a Seattle judge blocked its enforcement nationwide — a decision that was unanimously upheld by a three-judge 9th Circuit panel.

    The president then rewrote his executive order, rather than appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, and in March, U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson in Honolulu blocked the new version from taking effect, citing what he called “significant and unrebutted evidence of religious animus” in Trump’s campaign statements.

    “Again, in this court, the President claims a nearly limitless power to make immigration policy that is all but immune from judicial review,” Hawaii Attorney General Douglas Chin wrote to the 9th Circuit. “Again, he must be checked.”

    Neal Katyal, a former acting attorney general for Hawaii, will represent the state of Hawaii. Each side has been allotted 30 minutes but will be granted more if necessary.

    The administration’s lawyers are seeking to persuade the judges that the lower court’s decision is “fundamentally wrong,” and that the president’s order falls squarely within his duty to secure the nation’s borders. The order as written is silent on religion, and neither Hawaii nor its co-plaintiff, the imam of the Muslim Association of Hawaii, has standing to sue, they say — arguments that were rejected in the lower court.

    The travel ban cases are expected to reach the Supreme Court, but that would likely be cemented if the 4th and 9th Circuits reach differing conclusions about its legality. Because of how the courts chose to proceed, a full slate of 13 judges heard the 4th Circuit arguments last week, while just three, all appointees of President Bill Clinton, will sit in Seattle.

    For that reason — with the possibility for myriad concurring or dissenting opinions — it could take the 4th Circuit longer to rule, noted Carl Tobias, a law professor at University of Richmond law school in Virginia.

    READ MORE: Who are the 3 judges hearing arguments on Trump’s revised travel ban?

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    Rod Rosenstein, nominee to be Deputy Attorney General, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C. in March. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

    Rod Rosenstein, nominee to be Deputy Attorney General, testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington, D.C. in March. Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein will brief all members of the Senate on Thursday about President Donald Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

    That’s the word from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office on Monday.

    Last week, Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said he made a request for Rosenstein to answer lawmakers’ questions about his memo on Comey and the circumstances surrounding his dismissal.

    READ MORE: Here are the 14 candidates under consideration for FBI director

    The post Rosenstein to brief Senate on Thursday on Comey firing appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Microphones remain at the ready as night falls on offices and the entrance of the West Wing White House in Washington, D.C. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    Microphones remain at the ready as night falls on offices and the entrance of the West Wing White House in Washington, D.C. Photo by Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Closed-door emergency meetings. Hallways packed with reporters. Statements rushed out, but few questions answered.

    It’s become a familiar scenario in the crisis-prone Trump White House, where big news breaks fast and the aides paid to respond seem perpetually caught off-guard.

    The Washington Post report Monday led to the latest feeding frenzy. The news that Trump revealed highly classified information to Russian officials in a meeting last week prompted another round of bizarre scenes, just days after Trump’s decision to fire FBI director James Comey sent his communications team into a tizzy.

    They included a surprise encounter between reporters and Trump’s top national security adviser and an attempt to drown out conversations with a blaring television.

    White House officials denied the story in several statements, including a 45-second on-camera statement delivered by Trump’s national security adviser. But officials refused to answer specific questions, including what precisely the report had gotten wrong, ensuring it would dominate a week that White House officials hoped would be quiet in advance of the president’s first foreign trip.

    Reporters started gathering in the hallway outside Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s office right after the Post story broke. As the group grew to more than 20 people, press aides walked silently by as journalists asked for more information. Soon, three of the four TV channels being played in the press area were reporting the Post story.

    At one point National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster, who would later deliver the televised denial, stumbled into the crowd of journalists as he walked through the West Wing.

    “This is the last place in the world I wanted to be,” he said, nervously, as he was pushed for information. “I’m leaving. I’m leaving.”

    Not long after, the press office sent a trio of short, written statements. Then Spicer briefly appeared to say McMaster would speak outside soon, prompting a mass exodus to a bank of microphones set up in the West Wing driveway.

    “I was in the room, it didn’t happen,” McMaster told reporters after emerging.

    “The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation,” McMaster said. “At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.”

    Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Tamara Keith of NPR join Judy Woodruff to examine how tumultuous news — like the firing of FBI Director James Comey or a report released Monday by The Washington Post that President Trump may have shared classified information with Russian officials during a White House meeting — affects the future of the Trump administration’s agenda.

    But what, precisely, had been misreported?

    The Post cited current and former U.S. officials who said Trump had shared classified details with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak. They said the information, which had been provided by a U.S. partner through an intelligence-sharing arrangement, was considered so sensitive that details have been withheld from allies and tightly restricted even within the U.S. government.

    The Post story did not claim that Trump revealed any specific information about how the intelligence was gathered, as McMaster’s denial suggested.

    Reporters immediately returned to Spicer’s office, hungry for answers.

    As they huddled in a hallway, one eagle-eyed reporter for the conservative One America News Network spotted a handful of staffers, including Spicer and spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders, walking not far from Spicer’s office.

    Soon after, faint, muffled sounds were heard coming from that direction.

    It was unclear precisely where they were coming from or what they were — but after a reporter tweeted about the noise, White House staffers quickly turned up the volume on the office television, blaring a newscast loudly enough to drown out any other potential noise.

    Around 7:30 p.m., Sanders emerged to announce that White House officials would not be answering any more questions for the evening.

    “We’ve said all we’re going to say,” she said, asking reporters to clear the hallway.

    They obliged.

    READ MORE: How lawmakers are reacting to report of Trump sharing classified intel with Russian officials

    The post White House returns to crisis mode after Washington Post report appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Sophie works at a loom to create designs for purses. Photo courtesy of Garden Center Services

    Sophie works at a loom to create designs for purses. Photo courtesy of Garden Center Services

    Chris’ love of cookies yielded a Cookie Monster painting. Tracey has a penchant for fairies. Spring inspired Sophie’s butterfly print.

    These artists are painting, sculpting and sketching in the growARTS program at Garden Center Services in Chicago, a provider of daytime and residential services for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

    GrowARTS started about eight years ago when a volunteer introduced art activities. “All of a sudden, we saw the untapped skills that some of our individuals had,” said Garden Center Services Executive Director Gerry Beagles.

    The center started selling the paintings at annual fundraising events, where they became a popular item. Quickly, the program grew from a volunteer-supported program to one led by a full-time hired position, he said.

    The artists get a paycheck when their items are sold in stores. Photo courtesy of Garden Center Services

    The artists get a paycheck when their items are sold in stores. Photo courtesy of Garden Center Services

    “Some of the parent/guardians of the individuals are blown away by what their adult child is creating. They just never had an awareness that [their child] had the skillset, vision and patience to create the art that they are selling,” said Beagles.

    “It was cool to see folks so often in a situation of not receiving that type of praise or being given praise too easily … literally producing these pieces of artwork that are so unique,” he said.

    In addition to paintings and sculptures, the artists use looms to make intricate yarn designs to stitch onto purses, and transfer images of their drawings onto T-shirts and canvas totes. They’ve created microbusinesses selling candles, soaps and greeting cards online.

    The growARTS program trains budding artists on expressing themselves through their work and meeting an audience of potential buyers. Photo courtesy of Garden Center Services

    The growARTS program trains budding artists on expressing themselves through their work and meeting an audience of potential buyers. Photo courtesy of Garden Center Services

    One of the center’s employees, Sylvia Wisniewski, works on getting to know the individuals and how they can channel their interests into their art. Megan Valesey, behavior specialist and art director, helps the artists build their technical skills and work around any mobility issues they might have.

    Some of the artists are unable to express themselves verbally, said Valesey, so the art gives them another outlet for expression. “These people aren’t different, they’re just experiencing different things in their life,” she said.

    The artists gain inspiration from visiting local art museums and galleries. At one time, the center had its own standalone studio, which it had to close due to lack of funding. Instead, the artists’ works are displayed at monthly pop-up art sales, or sold in shops.

    Chris' painting of Cookie Monster has sold, but the artists can commission their work, sometimes adding a twist to keep them unique. Photo courtesy of Garden Center Services

    Chris’ painting of Cookie Monster has sold, but the artists can commission their work, sometimes adding a twist to keep them unique. Photo courtesy of Garden Center Services

    The artists get a percentage of the sales in the form of a paycheck, which they like to spend on going out to dinner or fancy coffees, “just like you and me,” said Valesey.

    “It’s a way for them to truly experience what it’s like to market as an artist,” she said. “They’re exposed to the business end – setting up, maintaining a functional workspace, keeping inventory of materials. It’s learning not only how to paint but to run a business.”

    The program also helps develop social skills, she continued. “A lot of the individuals we support struggle with how to interact with their peers and with individuals in the community. One of the great things about selling the art is they interact with all sorts of individuals and build friendships with strangers” in a supportive community, said Valesey.

    The next Art for Independence pop-up sale is the evening of June 16.

    The artists display their work at pop-up sales and local retailers. Photo courtesy of Garden Center Services

    The artists display their work at pop-up sales and local retailers. Photo courtesy of Garden Center Services

    View our Social Entrepreneurship profiles and tweet us your suggestions for more groups to cover.

    The post Artistic skills and independence bloom for these adults with disabilities appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    President Donald Trump speaks as Jordan's King Abdullah listens at a joint news conference in the Rose Garden  at the White House in April. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    President Donald Trump speaks as Jordan’s King Abdullah listens at a joint news conference in the Rose Garden at the White House in April. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Jordan says King Abdullah II is to speak by phone later Tuesday to President Donald Trump.

    The Royal Court says arrangements for the call were made last week.

    The conversation will take place amid reports by The Washington Post that Trump revealed highly classified information to senior Russian officials at a meeting last week, putting a source of intelligence about the Islamic State extremist group at risk.

    Jordan is a key ally in the U.S.-led international military coalition against Islamic State, which controls territory in neighboring Syria and Iraq.

    The Post, citing current and former U.S. officials, says Trump shared details about an Islamic State terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Russian Ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak.

    READ MORE: White House returns to crisis mode after Washington Post report

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    H.R. McMaster, Trump’s national security adviser, held a briefing today, addressing reports that President Donald Trump shared highly classified information with top Russian officials.

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s national security adviser says Trump didn’t know where information that he shared with Russian officials came from.

    READ MORE: President Trump’s talk with Russian officials ‘wholly appropriate,’ McMaster says

    The adviser, H.R. McMaster, says at a White House briefing that the information was available through “open-source reporting.”

    McMaster says Trump hadn’t been briefed on the source or method of the information. McMaster didn’t deny that Trump had discussed information deemed classified.

    Trump was later informed that he had broken protocol. White House officials then reached out to the National Security Agency and the CIA in an effort to contain any damage.

    McMaster identified Trump’s homeland security adviser, Tom Bossert, as the official who contacted both agencies.

    READ MORE: White House returns to crisis mode after Washington Post report

    PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.

    The post WATCH: McMaster says Trump didn’t know where intel he shared came from appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Former Ambassador Susan Rice says America’s single greatest weakness now is “is our profound political polarization.”

    “If we cannot find a way to put country over party, democracy over demagoguery, even in the face of such a dangerous external threat,” she said, referring to Russia’s interference in the 2016 elections, “then we might as well hang up our leadership cleats and resign ourselves to becoming a second-rate power.”

    “That should not be our future. We are so much better than that,” she said.

    The conference, hosted by the liberal Center for American Progress, focuses on how to move forward from the 2016 election. It’s also expected to offer a preview of those considering a 2020 run.

    The Dems’ next nominee for president might be speaking at this conference

    Rice’s remarks to the conference come the day after the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump may have shared highly-classified intelligence with Russian officials last week in the White House. Rice was caught up in the Trump-Russia controversy earlier this year, when several news organizations reported that she asked U.S. intelligence agencies last year to “unmask” the identity of individuals who communicated with Russian officials.

    “We have to agree a hostile foreign power has no business messing with our elections,” she said, referring to Russia.

    WATCH LIVE: McMaster addresses report that Trump shared intel

    The post WATCH: Former Ambassador Susan Rice says America’s greatest weakness is ‘profound political polarization’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    President Donald Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will deliver a joint statement, following talks over Syria.

    U.S. President Trump and Turkey’s Erdogan will speak from the Roosevelt Room of the White House at 1 p.m. ET today. Watch live in the player above.

    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will welcome Turkey’s president to the White House Tuesday in a high-stakes meeting that could set the tone for how his administration deals with authoritarian leaders.

    Trump and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan are expected to address the Syrian civil war, the refugee crisis and the fight against the Islamic State group when they hold their first face-to-face meeting.

    The Trump administration has ramped up efforts to respond to the crisis in Syria, taking unprecedented action against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government over its use of chemical weapons against civilians.

    But with Iran and Russia working to bolster Assad’s government, the Trump administration is turning to regional allies, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Egypt for help as it crafts its Syria policy.

    READ MORE: 3 things to watch for when Trump visits the Middle East

    Erdogan arrived Monday in Washington, the Turkish flag hanging prominently outside the Blair House, a historic presidential guesthouse across the street from the White House.

    The meeting comes against the backdrop of an announcement by the Trump administration that it plans to arm Kurdish Syrian fighters in the fight against the Islamic State group — a decision that has infuriated Erdogan.

    Turkey has been pressuring the U.S. to drop support for the Kurdish militants in Syria for years and doesn’t want them spearheading the Raqqa effort. Turkey considers the Syrian Kurdish group, known as the PKK, a terrorist group because of its ties to the outlawed Kurdish Workers’ Party inside Turkey. The United States, the European Union and Turkey all agree the PKK is a terrorist organization.

    Trump’s deal-making skills will be put to the test as he works to assure Erdogan that the decision to arm Kurdish fighters will not result in weapons falling into the wrong hands.

    But the meeting has high stakes for the nascent Trump administration as it looks to engage regional allies in delicate security matters while enforcing international standards for human rights.

    Trump’s willingness to partner with authoritarian rulers and overlook their shortcomings on democracy and human rights has alarmed U.S. lawmakers of both parties. That puts added pressure on him to get results.

    Trump has gone out of his way to foster a good relationship with Erdogan. After a national referendum last month that strengthened Erdogan’s presidential powers, European leaders and rights advocates criticized Turkey for moving closer toward autocratic rule. Trump congratulated Erdogan.

    But Erdogan may not be amenable to accepting the U.S. military support for the Kurds in a quid pro quo. Last month, the Turkish military bombed Kurdish forces in Syria and Iraq, in one case with American forces only about six miles (10 kilometers) away. His government has insisted it may attack Syrian Kurdish fighters again. The U.S., whose forces are sometimes embedded with the Kurds, has much to fear.

    Washington is concerned by rising anti-Americanism in Turkey that Erdogan’s government has tolerated since the July coup attempt. The U.S. also has pressed unsuccessfully for the release of Andrew Brunson, an American pastor, and other detained U.S. citizens.

    WATCH: What shrugging off a two-state solution could mean for Mideast peace prospects

    The post WATCH LIVE: President Trump and Turkey’s Erdogan to deliver joint statement appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A screenshot shows a WannaCry ransomware demand, provided by cyber security firm Symantec, in  Mountain View, California, U.S. May 15, 2017.  Courtesy of Symantec/Handout via REUTERS

    A screenshot shows a WannaCry ransomware demand, provided by cyber security firm Symantec, in Mountain View, California, U.S. May 15, 2017. Courtesy of Symantec/Handout via REUTERS

    On Monday, at least 45,000 computers across the globe continued to be held hostage by malware called WannaCrypt (also known as WannaCryptor and WannaCry). This ransomware attack, which demands users shell out $300 to $600 worth of Bitcoins to regain access to their systems, spread across Asia after rocking Europe this weekend. In all, 150 countries have reported compromised computer systems. Businesses in China had systems hijacked, Russia’s interior ministry had 1,000 computers affected and at least one South Korean movie theater had issues playing trailers. Kaspersky Lab, a Russian cybersecurity firm, alleges WannaCrypt ransomware may be tied to hackers from North Korea.

    Ransomware is not a new invention. The first piece of malware that demanded payment was written in 1989. But the latest iterations have become increasingly sophisticated. While governments and corporations scramble to perform damage control, here’s what we know about the origins of this cyber attack, who might be to blame and what you can do to protect yourself.

    How did this happen?

    • The tools behind the attack originated within the NSA. EternalBlue and DoublePulsar, two tools the NSA used to infiltrate computer networks, were stolen from the agency and leaked online in April as part of a massive data dump by the Shadow Brokers hacker group.
    • WannaCrypt exploits a very specific hole in Windows called Server Message Block connections. SMB networks are used in homes and businesses to transfer data between trusted computers. WannaCrypt hijacks this connection using EternalBlue, which allows the malware to spread across businesses in seconds. The DoublePulsar portion of the code then installs a backdoor into affected computer systems, allowing for remote control of the personal computers.

    Who was affected?

    • Computers in 150 countries have been affected. Kaspersky Lab says that the majority of affected systems were in Russia. It appears the developers hoped their malware would go international, as the ransom message had been translated into dozens of languages. You can see how many computers have been infected here.
    • FedEx, French automaker Renault and Spanish telecommunications firm Telefonica are among those attacked.
    • Hospital computer systems across Europe were crippled for several hours. The British National Health Service was one of the earlier targets and also among the hardest hit. On Friday, it reported 16 computer networks were shut down. The hospitals were forced to turn away all non-emergency patients. NHS has mostly recovered — by Monday, only two hospitals were still closed to new patients.
    • Is the threat still out there?

      • New infections stopped Friday when a malware researcher in the UK discovered a web domain in the code. The domain is believed to be a defense against sandboxing, the act of isolating software to research it. By checking if this website — iuqerfsodp9ifjaposdfjhgosurijfaewrwergwea.com — exists, the program would have closed itself to prevent being examined by cybersecurity personnel. Seconds after the researcher registered the domain, the malware stopped propagating. But this is only a temporary fix, as the software can be modified to check a different domain.
      • Microsoft patched this hole in March for modern versions of Windows. But the vulnerability still existed for legacy versions of Windows, like Windows 8 and Windows XP. Even though Microsoft no longer provides updates for Windows XP, it is still widely used in Europe and Asia.
        Reports say new variants of WannaCrypt have appeared that do not have this kill switch. However, a glitch in the installer means that the variant propagates, but doesn’t install the part of the malware that locks the computer.

      How to protect yourself.

      • If you have a recent backup, restore from it: Ransomware is worthless to a hacker if a user has a backup. You may lose some data, but it’s a lot better than losing access to all of your files. Make sure the backup is connected to your main computer, so it doesn’t become infected. So either use an external hard drive or a cloud-based system to backup your valuable files.
      • Because WannaCrypt exploits a quirk of the Windows operating system, Macintosh and Linux systems are safe.
      • Microsoft released a patch for the Windows XP and Windows 8 vulnerability on Friday. The patch was automatically applied for Windows 7 systems in March, but Windows XP users must download the patch to secure their system.
      • Always practice net safety. Don’t open attachments from people you don’t know, and don’t visit potentially compromised websites. Some web browsers will alert you if a site appears to be suspicious.
      • Keep your computer up to date. Several security holes are fixed before they can be exploited. No matter what operating system you use, keep on top of when updates are released and install as soon as you can.

      The bottom line: This should be ‘a wake-up call’

      In a blog post, Microsoft admonished governments around the world for keeping software vulnerabilities to themselves, instead of reporting them to the developers.

      “The governments of the world should treat this attack as a wake-up call. They need to take a different approach and adhere in cyberspace to the same rules applied to weapons in the physical world,” said Microsoft President and Chief Legal Officer Brad Smith. “We need governments to consider the damage to civilians that comes from hoarding these vulnerabilities and the use of these exploits.“

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      The post Everything you need to know about the ‘WannaCrypt’ ransomware attack appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster takes questions from reporters in the White House briefing room in Washington, D.C. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    White House national security adviser H.R. McMaster takes questions from reporters in the White House briefing room in Washington, D.C. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Pushing back against allegations of damaging intelligence disclosures, President Donald Trump’s national security adviser insisted Tuesday that Trump’s revelations to Russian officials about activities by the Islamic State group were “wholly appropriate” and amounted to a routine sharing of information.

    H.R. McMaster added that none of the U.S. officials present for the president’s Oval Office meeting with the Russian foreign minister last week “felt in any way that that conversation was inappropriate.” He used the words “wholly appropriate” nine separate times.

    Trump himself claimed the authority to share “facts pertaining to terrorism” and airline safety with Russia, saying in a pair of tweets he has “an absolute right” as president to do so. Trump’s tweets did not say whether he revealed classified information about ISIS, as published reports have said and as a U.S. official told The Associated Press.

    McMaster, in a White House briefing, said: “In the context of that discussion, what the president discussed with the foreign minister was wholly appropriate to that conversation and is consistent with the routine sharing of information between the president and any leaders with whom he is engaged.”

    The White House has not expressly denied that classified information was disclosed in the Oval Office meeting between Trump and Russian diplomats last week. The Kremlin dismissed the reports as “complete nonsense.”

    National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is addressed reports Tuesday that President Donald Trump shared highly classified information with top Russian officials.

    The news reverberated around the world as countries started second-guessing their own intelligence-sharing agreements with the U.S.

    A senior European intelligence official told the AP his country might stop sharing information with the United States if it confirms that Trump shared classified details with Russian officials. Such sharing “could be a risk for our sources,” the official said. The official spoke only on condition that neither he nor his country be identified, because he was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

    On Capitol Hill, Democrats and Republicans alike expressed concern about the president’s disclosures. Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., called the reports “deeply disturbing” and said they could affect the willingness of U.S. allies and partners to share intelligence with the U.S.

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called the intelligence uproar a distraction from GOP priorities such as tax reform and replacing the health care law.

    “I think we could do with a little less drama from the White House on a lot of things so that we can focus on our agenda,” he told Bloomberg Business.

    Doug Andres, a spokesman for House Speaker Paul Ryan, said the speaker was looking for “a full explanation of the facts from the administration.”

    Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called for Congress to have immediate access to a transcript of Trump’s meeting with the Russians, saying that if Trump refuses, Americans will doubt that their president is capable of safeguarding critical secrets.

    At the White House, Trump said in his tweets, “I wanted to share with Russia (at an openly scheduled W.H. meeting) which I have the absolute right to do, facts pertaining … to terrorism and airline flight safety. Humanitarian reasons, plus I want Russia to greatly step up their fight against ISIS & terrorism.”

    Trump shared details about an Islamic State terror threat related to the use of laptop computers on aircraft with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Russian ambassador to the U.S. Sergey Kislyak, a senior U.S official told AP. The classified information had been shared with the president by an ally, violating the confidentiality of an intelligence-sharing agreement with that country, the official said.

    Trump later was informed that he had broken protocol and White House officials placed calls to the National Security Agency and the CIA looking to minimize any damage.

    The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to speak publicly, would not say which country’s intelligence was divulged.

    The disclosure put a source of intelligence on the Islamic State at risk, according to The Washington Post, which first reported the disclosure on Monday.

    The CIA and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence have declined to comment.

    The Washington Post reported Monday that President Trump may have jeopardized a secret source of intelligence regarding the Islamic State group by discussing highly sensitive information during a White House meeting with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador last week. Judy Woodruff speaks with The Washington Post’s Greg Jaffe, one of reporters who helped break the story.

    The U.S. official said that Trump boasted about his access to classified intelligence in last week’s meeting with Lavrov and Kislyak. An excerpt from an official transcript of the meeting reveals that Trump told them, “I get great intel. I have people brief me on great intel every day,” he said.

    On Monday, McMaster told reporters: “The president and the foreign minister reviewed a range of common threats to our two countries including threats to civil aviation. At no time, at no time were intelligence sources or methods discussed and the president did not disclose any military operations that were not already publicly known.”

    The revelations could further damage Trump’s already fraught relationship with U.S. intelligence agencies. He’s openly questioned the competency of intelligence officials and challenged their high-confidence assessment that Russia meddled in last year’s presidential election to help him win. His criticism has been followed by a steady stream of leaks to the media that have been damaging to Trump and exposed an FBI investigation into his associates’ possible ties to Russia.

    The disclosure also risks harming his credibility with U.S. partners around the world ahead of his first overseas trip. The White House was already reeling from its botched handling of Trump’s decision last week to fire James Comey, the FBI director who was overseeing the Russia investigation.

    The Royal Court in Jordan said that King Abdullah II was to speak by telephone with Trump later Tuesday, a conversation that was scheduled last week.

    The revelation also prompted cries of hypocrisy. Trump spent the campaign arguing that his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, should be locked up for careless handling of classified information.

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson disputed the report. He said Trump discussed a range of subjects with the Russians, including “common efforts and threats regarding counter-terrorism.” The nature of specific threats was discussed, he said, but not sources, methods or military operations.

    Associated Press writers Vivian Salama and Deb Riechmann filed this report. AP writers Julie Pace, Catherine Lucey, Jill Colvin and Ken Thomas and Jan M. Olsen contributed to this report from Washington. Associated Press writer Paisley Dodds contributed from London.

    READ MORE: White House returns to crisis mode after Washington Post report

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