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President Trump expressed doubt Tuesday about whether his planned June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un would take place.
President Donald Trump: “And, you know, there’s a chance that it will work out. There’s a chance, there’s a very substantial chance, that it won’t work out. I don’t want to waste a lot of time, and I’m sure he doesn’t want to waste a lot of time. So there’s a very substantial chance that it won’t work out. And that’s OK. That doesn’t mean it won’t work out over a period of time. But it may not work out for June 12th. But there is a good chance that we’ll have the meeting.”
That was President Trump, speaking to reporters as he welcomed South Korean President Moon Jae-in to the Oval Office. North Korea canceled recent talks with South Korea in protest of the joint U.S.-South Korea air force drills being conducted over the Korean Peninsula, which the North called a “deliberate military provocation.” Meanwhile, North Korea says it’s preparing to blow up its main nuclear weapons test site within the coming days, and has invited a handful of journalists to travel to the site to witness the detonation.
On Capitol Hill, Congress passed sweeping legislation to exempt thousands of banks from key regulations in the 2010 Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, meaning the vast majority of banks will no longer have to follow the regulations aimed at preventing another financial meltdown. The Dodd-Frank Act was passed after the 2008 economic crisis, which was provoked by years of risky lending by Wall Street banks.
Yet, in a rare bipartisan effort Tuesday, House lawmakers voted 258 to 159 to exempt banks with less than $250 billion in assets from many of these regulations, even though banks’ profits are soaring. A report issued Tuesday from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation said the net income of banks and saving institutions hit $56 billion in the first quarter of this year—a 27 percent increase from a year ago. Thirty-three Democrats joined their Republican counterparts in voting for the financial regulation rollback, which, if signed into law, would leave fewer than 10 banks in the U.S. subject to stricter federal oversight. We’ll have more on the regulation rollback later in the broadcast.
Voters in Georgia, Texas, Arkansas and Kentucky headed to the polls Tuesday to determine a number of key primaries, and it was another big night for female Democratic candidates. In Georgia, Stacey Abrams made history by becoming the first African-American woman to win a major party’s nomination for governor in the U.S. If Abrams wins in November, she will become the first African-American governor in the Deep South since Reconstruction. This is Abrams, speaking at a victory rally In Atlanta.
Stacey Abrams: “We must remember that we’re in the state where the red clay gives life to generations of dreamers; a state where Martin marched on ballot boxes and challenged a nation’s conscience; a Georgia that gave us the Godfather of Soul, the queen of the Met, and sent a peanut farmer to the Oval Office. That is our Georgia.”
Meanwhile in Houston, Texas, Lupe Valdez made history by becoming the first openly gay and first Latina candidate to win a major-party nomination for Texas governor. We’ll have more on Tuesday’s primaries later in the broadcast.
The Guardian is reporting that former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who is now one of President Trump’s lawyers, helped OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma protect its profits and avoid prison time for its executives back in the mid-2000s. Giuliani represented Purdue Pharma in an investigation into the company’s deceptive marketing practices launched by the U.S. attorney for the Western District of Virginia. Giuliani helped Purdue win a deal that limited future prosecution of the company, avoided prison time for its executives and permitted Purdue to continue doing business with the federal government, allowing Purdue to continue raking in billion-dollar profits. OxyContin is at the center of a national opioid epidemic that has killed an estimated 300,000 people since the late 1990s.
In Afghanistan, at least 16 people have died, and dozens more have been wounded, when a car bomb exploded as members of the Afghan security forces were attempting to defuse it. The majority of the victims in Tuesday’s explosion in the southern city of Kandahar were civilians, including children. This comes after the Taliban attacked two government centers in the southern province of Ghazni late Monday, killing at least 22 Afghan police officers.
In Pakistan, a severe heat wave in the city of Karachi has killed at least 65 people, as temperatures have topped 104 degrees Fahrenheit. The deaths were reported by the organization that runs the city’s central morgue, although city officials have not yet confirmed the death toll. Scientists say that soaring temperatures linked to climate change could make parts of South Asia too hot for human survival by 2100.
In Nicaragua, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights has condemned the Nicaraguan government’s bloody crackdown against protesters last month. The commission said at least 76 people have been killed since mid-April, when mass demonstrations broke out in response to a proposed rollback of social security benefits. The protests, and the government’s bloody repression, mark the biggest crisis in leftist President Daniel Ortega’s 11 years in power.
Back in the United States, officials with the Environmental Protection Agency barred multiple journalists from covering a summit on water contamination at the EPA’s D.C. headquarters Tuesday, with one journalist reporting she was shoved out of the building by security guards. The reporters were from CNN, the Associated Press and E&E News. The journalist who was shoved, Ellen Knickmeyer of AP, was ultimately allowed into the meeting. The meeting was about nationwide water contamination from the chemicals PFOA and PFOS, which are used in Teflon and firefighting foam. The attempt to exclude some journalists from Tuesday’s hearing comes as EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, who spoke at Tuesday’s meeting, is facing an escalating scandal about how his agency and the White House have suppressed the publication of a federal health study about the dangers of these chemicals, after a White House aide warned its publication would cause a “public relations nightmare.” Click here to see our full coverage of the chemicals PFOA and PFOS.
Ten women who work at McDonald’s have filed sexual harassment complaints with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, accusing male co-workers and supervisors of groping them, propositioning them for sex and making lewd sexual comments. The women also say their supervisors ignored their complaints about sexual harassment or retaliated against the women for reporting the abuse. Meanwhile, Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson has been removed as president of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, after thousands of people signed a petition demanding his ouster over his previous comments that objectified and demeaned women, including saying female seminarians should work hard to look attractive and that women abused by their husbands should stay with the abusive men.
And a federal judge in Virginia has ruled in favor of transgender student Gavin Grimm, who sued his local Virginia school district for the right to use the bathroom that matches his gender identity. In Tuesday’s ruling, Judge Arenda Wright Allen said federal law protects transgender students like Grimm and that the school district had subjected him to illegal “sex stereotyping.” After the ruling, Grimm said, “I feel an incredible sense of relief. After fighting this policy since I was 15 years old, I finally have a court decision saying that what the Gloucester County School Board did to me was wrong and it was against the law.” Click here to see our interview with Gavin Grimm.