A new exposé by The Intercept reveals Russian military intelligence conducted a cyberattack on at least one U.S. voting software company just days before the U.S. presidential election last November. A federal military contractor has been charged with leaking the top-secret NSA report. About an hour after the story was published on Monday, the Justice Department announced it was charging 25-year-old intelligence contractor Reality Leigh Winner with sending a classified report to the news media. She was arrested by the FBI at her home on Saturday in Augusta, Georgia. The Intercept calls the classified report from May 5, 2017, the most detailed U.S. government account of Russian interference in the election that has yet come to light. It shows that the agency is convinced the Russian General Staff Main Intelligence Directorate—or GRU—was responsible for interfering in the 2016 presidential election.
This comes as former FBI Director James Comey is set to testify Thursday before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Russian interference in the 2016 election. On Monday, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters the White House would not block Comey’s testimony.
Sarah Huckabee Sanders: “The president’s power to exert executive privilege is very well established. However, in order to facilitate a swift and thorough examination of the facts sought by the Senate Intelligence Committee, President Trump will not assert executive privilege regarding James Comey’s scheduled testimony.”
We’ll have more on The Intercept expose after headlines.
The New York Times reports that drug overdose deaths surged in 2016, killing nearly 60,000 Americans last year alone. For Americans under the age of 50, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death. The Times analysis found overdose deaths increased significantly across the East Coast last year, including in Ohio, where the state has filed a lawsuit against the pharmaceutical industry, accusing drug manufacturers of aggressively advertising opioids and lying to both doctors and patients about the dangers of addiction.
President Trump announced Monday plans to privatize air traffic control. A Congressional Budget Office analysis says privatizing air traffic control would increase the cost of air travel. The consumer advocate group Flyers Rights says the proposal amounts to “handing the airlines (for free) control over a core public asset, and providing them nearly unbridled power to extract new fees and increased taxes from passengers.”
In breaking news from Afghanistan, at least seven civilians have been killed and another 16 wounded in a blast outside a mosque in western Afghanistan today. This comes as the death toll from last week’s massive suicide bombing in Kabul has risen to more than 150 people, making it the deadliest attack in Kabul since the United States invaded Afghanistan in 2001. Although the attack struck a diplomatic area near several embassies, all of the bombing’s victims were Afghan.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan is calling for President Trump’s state visit to Britain to be canceled, after Trump misquoted and then berated the mayor following Saturday’s attack in London, which killed seven people. Sadiq Khan is London’s first Muslim mayor. After the attack, Trump tweeted, “At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is 'no reason to be alarmed!'” In fact, Khan had been speaking about the increased police presence in the city when he said there was no reason to be alarmed.
Meanwhile, London police say they’ve identified the three men involved in Saturday’s attack on the London Bridge and Borough Market. Police say alleged attacker Khurum Shazad Butt was a British citizen known to both police and British intelligence agencies. He was featured in a Channel 4 documentary entitled “The Jihadis Next Door.” The two other alleged attackers, Rachid Redouane and Youssef Zaghba, were not known to authorities. British unions and some politicians, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, are calling for Prime Minister Theresa May to resign over cuts to police funding. National elections are being held in Britain on Thursday.
In Syria, the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces say they’ve begun the battle to retake the city of Raqqa from ISIS. Raqqa is considered the de facto capital of ISIS. The U.S.-led coalition has been waging an escalating bombing campaign in and around Raqqa for months in advance of the battle to retake the city. The journalistic monitoring group Airwars says the U.S.-led coalition reportedly bombed five homes near a swimming pool Saturday, killing up to 20 civilians. Airwars also says at least 21 civilians were reportedly killed Sunday by either coalition airstrikes or artillery shelling launched by the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.
In China, at least eight people have died and nine more were injured when a liquefied gas tanker exploded at a petrochemical company in Shandong province on Monday. It’s the latest in a series of fatal industrial accidents in China.
In more news on China, the acting U.S. ambassador to China has resigned in protest of President Trump’s decision to pull out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate change agreement. David Rank had served 27 years in the State Department before resigning Monday. His resignation is the latest in a series of protests against Trump by top diplomats at the State Department. Last month, the U.S. ambassador to Qatar tweeted, “Increasingly difficult to wake up overseas to news from home, knowing I will spend today explaining our democracy and institutions.”
Meanwhile, California Governor Jerry Brown is in China and has said that climate change could be even more dangerous than fascism during World War II, while speaking at a clean energy forum in Beijing on Monday.
Gov. Jerry Brown: “When there’s a war, people react. During World War II, President Roosevelt on one day said, 'No more fossil fuel cars! We want tanks! We want airplanes! We want ships!' He made the transition, because there was a threat. Now, the threat of climate change is not of the same nature as the fascist forces that were threatening the world, but in some ways it may even be more devastating.”
George Conway, the husband of White House adviser Kellyanne Conway, took to Twitter to mock President Trump Monday over Trump’s furious tweeting about his proposed Muslim travel ban. Early Monday morning, Trump criticized his own Justice Department, writing, “The Justice Dept. should have stayed with the original Travel Ban, not the watered down, politically correct version they submitted to S.C.”—referring to the Supreme Court. In response, Conway wrote, “These tweets may make some ppl feel better, but they certainly won’t help OSG get 5 votes in SCOTUS, which is what actually matters. Sad.” OSG refers to the Office of the Solicitor General, which is arguing in favor of Trump’s travel ban in front of the Supreme Court. The tweets come after Conway withdrew his name from consideration for top positions within Trump’s White House, including the post to head the Justice Department’s Civil Division.
In Florida, a U.S. Army veteran killed five people on Monday when he opened fire with a semi-automatic handgun at his former factory. Forty-five-year-old John Robert Neumann Jr. had been fired from the awning manufacturer Fiamma in April. He began his shooting rampage around 8 a.m., shooting his former co-workers multiple times in the head before he killed himself. He did not have a permit for the handgun.
And students at the University of Puerto Rico have voted to end their two-month-long strike, which was protesting the defunding of public education and the imposition of widespread austerity amid Puerto Rico’s debt crisis. At midnight, students reopened the gates at the university’s main campus, and classes are slated to resume on June 12.