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President Donald Trump lashed out against Iran Sunday, warning he was prepared to unleash dire “consequences” if Iran’s president threatens the United States again. In a Sunday evening tweet addressed to President Hassan Rouhani and written in all caps, Trump wrote, ”NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!” Trump’s threat came just hours after President Rouhani warned the U.S. against attacking Iran, saying, “War with Iran is the mother of all wars.”
President Hassan Rouhani: “Mr. Trump, don’t play with the lion’s tail. This would only lead to regret. You will forever regret it.”
Rouhani’s comments came after he learned Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was to set to address an Iranian-American audience in California. During those remarks, delivered Sunday, Pompeo compared Iran’s leaders to con artists and mobsters. This comes as the U.S. is working to restore sanctions against Iran—and companies that do business with Iran—after Trump withdrew the U.S. from the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May. We’ll have more on the Trump administration’s war of words with Iran later in the broadcast.
In Afghanistan, at least 23 people were killed and more than 100 others were wounded Sunday after a suicide bomber struck near Kabul’s main airport. The attack ripped through a crowd of supporters of Afghan Vice President Rashid Dostum, an ethnic Uzbek politician who had just returned to the Afghan capital after more than a year of self-imposed exile. Dostum was unharmed in the explosion. Dostum left Afghanistan last year, after the country’s attorney general ordered the arrest of his bodyguards for allegedly torturing and sexually assaulting a rival politician. Dostum was also involved in a massacre in 2001 that killed up to 2,000 Taliban prisoners of war. Elsewhere in Afghanistan Sunday, gunmen stormed a mosque in eastern Nangarhar province, opening fire and killing four worshipers during evening prayers.
In northwestern Pakistan, a suicide bomber struck a convoy carrying a candidate in Pakistan’s general election, killing him and his driver and wounding three other people. The Pakistani Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack, which killed Ikramullah Gandapur, a member of the Pakistan Justice Movement, the party headed by former-cricket-star-turned-election-front-runner Imran Khan. The bombing came on the eve of Wednesday’s general election and amid increasing violence aimed at derailing the vote. Earlier this month, a massive suicide bombing claimed by ISIS at an election campaign gathering in the southwestern province of Balochistan killed 151 people and injured another 200.
Back in the United States, the FBI has obtained a recording in which Donald Trump discussed how to suppress the story of Karen McDougal, a former Playboy model who alleges she had a year-long extramarital affair with Trump. In the tape, made before the 2016 election, Trump reportedly discussed with his former attorney and fixer Michael Cohen whether to buy the exclusive rights to the story of Karen McDougal, who alleges she had an affair with Trump dating back to 2006. At the time, McDougal had sold her story for $150,000 to the National Enquirer, a tabloid published by Trump’s close friend David Pecker. The paper ultimately kept the rights to the story and refused to publish it, in a process known as “catch and kill.” The tape will now be available to prosecutors in any future criminal investigation of Michael Cohen, after Trump’s legal team reportedly waived attorney-client privilege on the recording. On Sunday, the lawyer for another woman Trump allegedly had an affair with—adult film star Stephanie Clifford, also known as Stormy Daniels—predicted more recordings of Trump’s conversations with Michael Cohen will emerge. This is Stormy Daniels’s lawyer Michael Avenatti, speaking on ABC’s “This Week.”
Michael Avenatti: “This is not the only tape, I can tell you that for a fact. There’s multiple tapes.”
George Stephanopoulos: “You don’t know that there are more tapes of President Trump, though.”
Michael Avenatti: “No, I do know there’s more tapes of President Trump. There’s multiple tapes of President Trump, number one. All right, so that’s first of all. And that ultimately is going to prove to be a big problem for the president. You know, that old adage, 'You live by the sword, you die by the sword,' is going to be true in this case, because the president knew that his attorney, Michael Cohen, had a predisposition towards taping conversations with people.”
Donald Trump’s former foreign policy adviser Carter Page has denied working as a Russian spy, after the FBI released more than 400 pages from an application for a foreign surveillance warrant alleging he was targeted for recruitment by the Russian government. In the heavily redacted document, the FBI said it “believes that Page has been collaborating and conspiring with the Russian government. … There is probable cause that such activities involve or are about to involve violations of the criminal statutes of the United States.” Carter Page has yet to be charged with a crime. On Sunday, he called the FISA warrant “misleading” and “a complete joke.”
This comes as President Trump once again reversed his position on whether Russia interfered in the 2016 election. After returning to Washington following a weekend spent golfing at his New Jersey resort, Trump tweeted that reports of Russian meddling were “all a big hoax.” Trump’s latest reversal came after he tried to walk back his remark, made at his summit earlier this month with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, that he didn’t see any reason why Russia would have meddled in the 2016 election.
In Israel, a fragile ceasefire remains in effect, after four Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were killed during violence Friday along the border with Gaza. During the flare-up, Israel launched dozens of strikes it said were targeted at Hamas rockets and mortars. The death of the Israeli soldier was the first since Palestinians launched weekly nonviolent protests at the border in March. Israeli forces have shot and killed at least 140 Palestinians during those protests, while wounding thousands of others. We’ll have the latest from Israel and Palestine later in the broadcast.
Hundreds of members of the Syria Civil Defense group, known as the White Helmets, have been evacuated to Jordan along with their family members, as Syrian government forces advanced on their position. The evacuation was facilitated by Israeli forces, who ferried some 422 volunteers and family members to Jordan after granting them access to the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The U.K., Germany and Canada have agreed to process the refugees’ asylum claims. The evacuation came as thousands of other Syrians have massed along the border with the Golan Heights, as Syrian forces continue airstrikes nearby. A number of Syrians, who braved minefields along the border, approached Israel’s border fence, where they were reportedly turned around by Israeli troops.
Back in the United States, President Trump has once again called for NFL players who take a knee during the playing of the national anthem to be punished. On Friday, Trump tweeted that players “must stand at attention, hand on heart,” calling out NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell over his $40 million annual salary and demanding, “First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!” Over the past two seasons, dozens of players have knelt during the anthem to protest police shootings of unarmed black men.
And Cuba’s National Assembly has approved a new draft constitution that would pave the way for marriage equality. The document would define marriage as a “consensual union of two people, regardless of gender.” This is Mariela Castro, daughter of former President Raúl Castro and director of the Cuban National Center for Sex Education.
Mariela Castro: “As in the constitution, marriage was established for heterosexuals, based on heteronormativity, and so I think we have the right to place another vision of marriage that’s much more inclusive, that guarantees rights that up 'til now we haven't guaranteed. And something I say to a lot of people: Giving rights to someone doesn’t mean taking them away from those who already have them.”