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You turn to Democracy Now! for ad-free news you can trust. Maybe you come for our daily headlines, or for in-depth stories that expose government and corporate abuses of power. We produce our daily news hour at a fraction of the budget of a commercial news operation, all without ads, government funding or corporate underwriting? This is only possible with your support. Right now every donation to Democracy Now! will be doubled by a generous supporter. This means if you give $25 today, Democracy Now! will get $50 to support our daily news hour. Please do your part. It takes just a couple of minutes to make sure that Democracy Now! is there for you and everybody else in the coming year. Thanks so much. -Amy Goodman
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In Iran, at least 12 people have been killed and dozens more injured in two separate attacks in Tehran this morning. The attacks on the parliament building and the tomb of the republic’s founder are the worst attacks in Tehran in decades. The attackers opened fire and took a number of hostages before all four attackers were killed by security forces. At least one attacker carried out a suicide bombing. ISIS has claimed responsibility. We’ll have more on Iran later in the broadcast.
President Trump has tweeted that he’ll be nominating Christopher Wray to be the next FBI director. Trump tweeted this morning, “I will be nominating Christopher A. Wray, a man of impeccable credentials, to be the new Director of the FBI. Details to follow.” Wray served as assistant attorney general from 2003 to 2005. Since then, he’s been working as a private lawyer at King & Spalding law firm.
Trump’s announcement a few minutes ago comes as tensions are mounting between President Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions, one day ahead of the much anticipated Senate committee testimony of former FBI Director James Comey Thursday. Multiple news outlets are reporting that Sessions and Trump have had a series of tense exchanges in recent weeks and that Sessions offered to resign at least once. The White House is refusing to say whether Sessions still has Trump’s support. This comes as The New York Times is reporting that in February, while still serving as FBI director, James Comey told Attorney General Jeff Sessions he did not want to be left alone with President Trump. Comey’s plea to Sessions followed a private meeting between Trump and Comey in which Trump reportedly pressured him to drop the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia. Sessions had been in the Oval Office during the meeting, but Trump had asked him to leave so he could talk to Comey privately. It’s also being reported that Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told associates that Trump asked him to pressure Comey to stop the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn’s ties to Russian officials. Coats is testifying today before the Senate Intelligence Committee, alongside acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. Rosenstein will face questioning about his participation in the firing of James Comey.
Meanwhile, Yahoo News is reporting that lawyers at at least four of the nation’s most powerful law firms are refusing to represent Trump in the ongoing investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia. All this comes as Comey is slated to testify to the Senate Intelligence Committee Thursday, in which he’s expected to reject Trump’s claims that Comey told Trump he was not under investigation. He’s also expected to face questioning about why he didn’t tell Jeff Sessions that President Trump had pressured him to end the FBI investigation. On Tuesday, former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said the Watergate scandal now “pales in comparison” to the crisis currently engulfing Washington.
James Clapper: “I lived through Watergate. I was on active duty then in the Air Force as a young officer. And it was a—it was a scary time. I have to say, though, that I think, you compare the two, that Watergate pales, really, in my view, compared to what we’re confronting now.”
The parents of NSA contractor Reality Leigh Winner are speaking out, after their daughter was arrested and charged with espionage for leaking a top-secret document to the news media. Winner was charged less than an hour after the publication of an Intercept exposé that 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. This is Winner’s mother, Billie Winner-Davis.
Billie Winner-Davis: “She came home from the grocery store, and she was followed into her driveway and her home by FBI agents. She said she was—she was very scared. They took her by surprise. She was not expecting any of this. She said they were all armed. They took her into the back room of her house, which is a room she never goes into, for reasons, anyway, but—you know, and basically then she was arrested from that point. And we did not have any information with regard to the charges or anything until after the hearing on Monday.”
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden has spoken out about Winner’s arrest, saying, “To hold a citizen incommunicado and indefinitely while awaiting trial for the alleged crime of serving as a journalistic source should outrage us all.” Meanwhile, The Intercept has published a statement, saying, “While the FBI’s allegations against Winner have been made public through the release of an affidavit and search warrant, which were unsealed at the government’s request, it is important to keep in mind that these documents contain unproven assertions and speculation designed to serve the government’s agenda and as such warrant skepticism. Winner faces allegations that have not been proven. The same is true of the FBI’s claims about how it came to arrest Winner.”
President Trump has exacerbated tensions in the Persian Gulf by saying he was behind Saudi Arabia’s recent move to cut diplomatic ties with Qatar. On Tuesday, Trump tweeted, “During my recent trip to the Middle East I stated that there can no longer be funding of Radical Ideology. Leaders pointed to Qatar–look!” Qatar is a major U.S. military ally, home to two major U.S. command posts. Pentagon officials, however, are trying to show their commitment to Qatar amid the regional diplomatic crisis. On Monday, a Pentagon spokesman said, “The United States and the coalition are grateful to the Qataris for their longstanding support of our presence and their enduring commitment to regional security.” Meanwhile, there are news reports that Russia might have been behind a cyberattack two weeks ago that was used to publish a fake news article on Qatar’s state news agency website. The article, which has exacerbated tensions in the region, falsely cited Qatar’s leader making friendly statements about Iran—Saudi Arabia’s regional opponent.
A new investigation by Forbes has revealed that Donald Trump’s son Eric Trump used his foundation to funnel at least $100,000 in donations for children with cancer instead into revenue for the for-profit Trump Organization. The fundraisers were to raise money for the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis. The investigation also reveals how Eric Trump lied to donors who gathered for the fundraisers at the Trump National Golf Club in Westchester County, New York, saying that more money could go to children because he was able to use his father’s golf course for free. In fact, Donald Trump billed his son Eric Trump for the use of the golf course for the fundraisers.
The U.S. has launched airstrikes against a group of pro-Syrian government forces who were amassing near a U.S. military base in southern Syria where U.S. soldiers train Syrian opposition forces fighting ISIS. The coalition says the airstrikes destroyed artillery and an anti-aircraft weapon, but did not say whether it had killed or injured any soldiers. It’s the second time the U.S. has launched airstrikes against pro-Syrian government forces near this U.S. military base. In a statement, the U.S.-led coalition said, “The Coalition does not seek to fight Syrian regime or pro-regime forces but remains ready to defend themselves if pro-regime forces refuse to vacate the de-confliction zone.”
In Paris, France, a man attacked a police officer with a hammer outside the Notre-Dame Cathedral Tuesday, reportedly shouting “This is for Syria” during the attack. The attacker was shot. The police officer suffered only minor injuries. France is part of the U.S.-led coalition that has been launching airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. The journalistic monitoring group Airwars says these airstrikes are also responsible for killing thousands of civilians in Iraq and Syria since 2014.
The chair of Amnesty International in Turkey has been arrested by police, along with 22 other human rights lawyers. Amnesty said, “The fact that Turkey’s post-coup purge has now dragged the Chair of Amnesty International Turkey into its web is further proof of just how far it has gone and just how arbitrary it has become. Taner Kiliç has a long and distinguished record of defending exactly the kind of freedoms that the Turkish authorities are now intent on trampling.”
Back in the United States, Hawaii has become the first U.S. state to enact laws to carry out the landmark 2015 Paris climate accord. On Tuesday, Hawaii Governor David Ige signed into law two bills designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions statewide and to improve soil health and promote carbon sequestration. The move comes after President Trump announced he was pulling the United States out of the 2015 Paris climate accord, sparking widespread domestic and international outrage.
In San Francisco, California, seven activists were arrested inside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement building on Monday at a protest to demand freedom for two undocumented immigrants who were arrested by ICE while they were doing a construction job on the Travis Air Force Base in May. Hugo Mejía and Rodrigo Nuñez are facing expedited deportation to Mexico. This is Hugo’s wife, Yadira Munguia, speaking at the rally on Monday.
Yadira Munguia: “People ask me how I feel. My children and I are destroyed. We feel sad and abandoned. I haven’t had a rest since this happened. And from the bottom of my heart, I’m hurting from the cruel separation that my husband is going through while he is detained. As a mother, I have to stay strong for my kids and for Hugo. My kids are heartbroken, as am I.”
More than 100 painters, carpenters and other construction workers showed up for Monday’s rally in San Francisco to support Hugo Mejía and Rodrigo Nuñez.
Meanwhile, in New Hampshire, hundreds of faith leaders and supporters gathered for a vigil Tuesday outside the Immigration and Customs Enforcement office in Manchester to support a group of more than 70 undocumented immigrants from Indonesia who had scheduled ICE check-ins. The New Sanctuary Coalition says all members of the group were allowed to check in and then return home to their families.
And in Jackson, Mississippi, social justice activist and attorney Chokwe Antar Lumumba has been elected to be Jackson’s next mayor, after winning in a landslide. Lumumba is the son of late Jackson Mayor Chokwe Lumumba, a longtime black nationalist organizer and attorney dubbed “America’s most revolutionary mayor” before his death in 2014. This is Lumumba, celebrating his election victory on Tuesday night with supporters.
Chokwe Antar Lumumba: “Free the land! Free the land! Free the land, by any means necessary. I need you to stand strong as we go forward. There are people who doubt your resolve, doubt that this city can be everything that it will be. And so, you can’t give up now. I say, when I become mayor, you become mayor. So that means y’all got some work to do.”