In testimony released by the Senate Judiciary Committee today, Donald Trump Jr. told the panel last year he didn’t believe his 2016 meeting with a Russian lawyer — who he thought had damaging information on Hillary Clinton, his father’s campaign rival — was inappropriate. Meanwhile, the Senate Intelligence Committee also announced today it agrees with the U.S. intelligence community that Russia meddled in the 2016 U.S. election to boost President Donald Trump. “The Russian effort was extensive, sophisticated, and ordered by President Putin himself,” said Democratic Sen. Mark Warner, the body’s vice chairman.
The Presidential Daily Brief
Pyongyang has reportedly canceled high-level talks with South Korea over Seoul’s ongoing military exercises with the United States. North Korea’s state news described the air combat drills — dubbed “Max Thunder” — as a “provocation” that threatens the neighbors’ improving ties. The regime also threatened to cancel its June 12 summit with President Trump over his demands that North Korea unilaterally give up nuclear weapons and over the appointment of John Bolton as national security adviser. Bolton has previously advocated pre-emptive strikes on Pyongyang.
Addressing the United Nations, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley laid the blame for Israeli soldiers killing scores of Palestinian protesters on Hamas and its supporters in Iran. “The Hamas terrorist organization has been inciting violence for years,” Haley said, denying that the clashes were related to the controversial move of the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. She left the room as the Palestinian envoy spoke. While Germany, the U.K. and others have called for an independent inquiry into the killings, Israel’s ambassador condemned what he called “violent riots.”
The Trump administration is preparing to hold undocumented children who cross the border with their families in warehouses on military bases, according to Defense Department documents, part of a plan to split up migrant families. The separation of families at the border has been denounced by some as overtly cruel, but Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen defended the practice yesterday in testimony before a Senate committee. The Trump administration admitted it lost track of 1,500 undocumented children, about 20 percent, during a three-month period in 2017.
Federal prosecutors identified Joshua Schulte, 29, as a suspect in the leak of CIA cybertools for overseas espionage operations that were published by WikiLeaks last March. But the former agency employee has been charged not for the “Vault 7” leak, but for child pornography found on a server Schulte designed and maintained. Meanwhile, the CIA may soon have a new director: Several senior Democrats now say they’ll support Gina Haspel, whose nomination looked shaky due to her role in an enhanced detainee interrogation program that many say was torture.
Know This: Paulette Jordan won yesterday’s Democratic primary in the Idaho governor’s race, another step on her road to potentially becoming the nation’s first female Native American governor. Meghan Markle’s father may miss the royal wedding this weekend due to heart surgery. And hidden pages of Anne Frank’s diary have been discovered — and they contain dirty jokes.
Listen to This: In the audio version of The Dress, people are arguing over whether this recording says “Yanny” or “Laurel.” Here’s an explanation of the aural illusion.
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The South American government has reportedly spent an estimated $5 million on a security network built around the WikiLeaks founder, who took up residence at Ecuador’s London embassy in 2012. Ecuador’s president and foreign minister both signed off on Operation Hotel, which includes surveillance and escape plans, and is believed to cost at least $66,000 per month. Assange was officially granted Ecuadorian citizenship earlier this year, but remains at the embassy — which cut his social media access and reportedly barred Assange from having visitors recently amid souring relations.
Check out the bibliotech. The nonprofit has announced plans to send Wikipedia’s entire English archive, as well as the Rosetta Project’s archive of human languages, to the moon for posterity. The millions of pages of information will be etched onto sheets of metal thinner than a human hair, enclosed in a package the size of a CD. Arch co-founder Nova Spivack called it “a great gift to archaeologists in the future.” The archive will be launched in 2020 by Astrotobic, which aspires to be the first lunar delivery company.
Unemployment in Vietnam is at 2 percent for the general population — but 17 percent for those with a college degree. That’s not a poor reflection on the country’s economy, which has grown rapidly, but on its out-of-date higher education model, which leans heavily on communist ideology. So students are studying abroad or supplementing their education with private options, working against the clock to be ready before foreign investment demands more of local talent than Vietnamese universities can provide. Meanwhile, neighboring countries are becoming more competitive every year.
He had the right stuff. The hugely influential journalist, whose celebrated books include The Bonfire of the Vanities, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test and The Right Stuff, died Monday in a Manhattan hospital. His nonfiction work laid the foundation for a genre that came to be known as New Journalism, using deep reporting and colorful writing to bring readers fascinating and diverse stories — from America’s first astronauts to the burgeoning West Coast counterculture scene of the 1960s. Wolfe is survived by his wife, Sheila, and two children.
He’s betting on their purrformance. David Tepper is expected to pay $2.2 billion in cash for the Carolina Panthers franchise in the most expensive buy in NFL history. The team, launched in 1995, was put up for sale after owner and founder Jerry Richardson was accused of sexual and racial misconduct. He is still under investigation. Since Tepper is a part-owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers, he’s already been vetted by the league, so the deal isn’t expected to meet significant resistance at an owners’ meeting vote next week.