President Trump addressed the United Nations General Assembly Tuesday, praising his administration’s “America First” policies, assailing the International Criminal Court, accusing Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro of corruption and announcing new sanctions against Maduro’s inner circle, and accusing Iran of sowing “chaos, death, and destruction.” Many of the world leaders and dignitaries in the General Assembly erupted in laughter when Trump boasted about his accomplishments as U.S. president.
President Donald Trump: “In less than two years, my administration has accomplished more than almost any administration in the history of our country. [laughter] America’s—so true. Didn’t expect that reaction, but that’s OK.”
Trump’s appearance came as his national security adviser issued another dire warning against Iran. Speaking at a forum for opponents of the Iranian government on the sidelines of the General Assembly, John Bolton threatened there would be “hell to pay” if Iran crosses the U.S. The threat came after the Trump administration defied U.S. allies last May by reneging on the Iran nuclear deal and unilaterally reimposing sanctions against Iran, and it came as Trump claimed he had turned down requests that he meet with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the General Assembly, tweeting, “I am sure he is an absolutely lovely man!” On Tuesday, Rouhani responded to the threats, saying the U.S. is guilty of “recklessness” and “economic terrorism.”
President Hassan Rouhani: “It is ironic that the U.S. government does not even conceal its plan for overthrowing the same government it invites to talks.”
President Rouhani also said he did not request to meet with President Trump. We’ll have more on Trump’s appearance at the General Assembly and growing U.S. threats against Iran after headlines with University of Michigan professor Juan Cole.
Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee will turn to an outside counsel to question Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh’s accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford during a high-stakes hearing on Thursday, as Blasey Ford is set to testify that Kavanaugh attempted to rape her when she was 15 years old. The Washington Post reports Republicans have selected Rachel Mitchell, sex crimes bureau chief for the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office in Phoenix, Arizona—and a longtime registered Republican. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell confirmed Tuesday the committee had hired a “female assistant” to “ask these questions in a respectful and professional way.” All 11 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee are men. There has never been a female Republican on the committee. This comes as USA Today reports Christine Blasey Ford has submitted four affidavits to the Senate corroborating her claims that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her. The declarations, from Ford’s husband and three of her friends, say she told them of the assault before Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, Senate Judiciary Committee chair and Republican Chuck Grassley said Tuesday he would not delay Kavanaugh’s confirmation process to give more time for authorities to investigate accusations by a second Kavanaugh accuser, Deborah Ramirez, who says Kavanaugh exposed himself and thrust his genitals in her face during a college party in a dorm room when they were both students at Yale University. On Tuesday, President Trump lashed out against Ramirez—at the United Nations—questioning her account and saying the charges are part of a Democratic Party “con game.”
President Donald Trump: “And now a new charge comes up, and she said, 'Well, it might not be him.' And there were gaps. And she said she was totally inebriated. And she was all messed up. And she doesn’t know it was him, but it might have been him. Oh, gee, let’s not make him a Supreme Court judge because of that? This is a con game being played by the Democrats.”
Trump’s attack comes as over 2,200 Yale women alumnae have signed an open letter supporting Deborah Ramirez. Republican leaders have set a Senate Judiciary Committee vote on Kavanaugh’s nomination for Friday—just one day after Christine Blasey Ford is set to testify. This all comes as attorney Michael Avenatti says a third woman will come forward before Thursday with new evidence against Kavanaugh, and officials in Montgomery County, Maryland, are reportedly looking into a fourth potential allegation of sexual assault by Brett Kavanaugh, during his senior year in high school.
A Pennsylvania judge has sentenced comedian Bill Cosby to three to 10 years in prison for aggravated indecent assault, labeling him a “sexually violent predator.” After Tuesday’s sentencing, Cosby’s publicist and spokesperson, Andrew Wyatt, compared Judge Steven O’Neill’s sentence to the sexual assault accusations against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
Andrew Wyatt: “What is going on in Washington today with Judge Kavanaugh is part of the sex war that Judge O’Neill, along with his wife, are a part of.”
In April, a jury found Cosby guilty of three counts of aggravated indecent assault for drugging and sexually assaulting Andrea Constand, one of 60 women who have accused Cosby of sexual assaults dating back decades. Constand’s was the only case still within the statute of limitations. Another Cosby accuser, Chelan Lasha, spoke just ahead of Cosby’s sentencing.
Chelan Lasha: “He ruined my life at 17 years old. He took away my future, my financial, everything about me, and lived his life on, over and over and over again, with no regards. And I think he needs to pay for what he’s done to everyone. I have nightmares about it this very day, and I want them to go away, just like him.”
Later in the broadcast, we’ll speak with another of Cosby’s accusers, Lili Bernard.
In the Gaza Strip, hundreds of Palestinians held a funeral Tuesday for a man who was shot and killed a day earlier near Israel’s separation barrier with the besieged Palestinian territory. Gaza’s Health Ministry says 90 others were injured after Israeli forces used tear gas and live bullets to disperse Monday’s protests. Palestinians in the Gaza Strip have been protesting since March 30 under the banner of the Great March of Return. Since then, Israeli forces have killed at least 174 Palestinians and wounded over 18,000 others.
Tuesday’s funeral came as the World Bank said in a new report Gaza’s economy is in “free fall” and “collapsing” due to Israel’s 11-year blockade of the Palestinian territory. The report found youth unemployment in Gaza is about 70 percent, adding, “A situation where people struggle to make ends meet, suffer from worsening poverty, rising unemployment and deteriorating public services such as health care, water and sanitation, calls for urgent, real and sustainable solutions.”
Argentina’s central bank president resigned unexpectedly Tuesday, just three months after taking the post. Luis Caputo’s departure comes as President Mauricio Macri attempts to win a loan from the International Monetary Fund in exchange for implementing harsh austerity measures. Those measures have spawned massive protests across Argentina, including a 24-hour general strike this week that idled airports, shut down public transportation and halted other sectors of the economy. This is protester Delfina Grinstein in Buenos Aires.
Delfina Grinstein: “We’re here to protest the IMF deal because we know that we’re facing a very bad economic situation. And we’re also against paying down the debt, because all that money could be used for education and healthcare.”
Back in the United States, a federal judge has restored endangered species status to grizzly bears in and around Wyoming’s famed Yellowstone National Park. Tuesday’s ruling by district court Judge Dana Christensen in Montana reverses an order by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke that threatened Yellowstone’s estimated 700 bears, whose population has grown from just 136 when the bears were first listed as endangered in 1975. Zinke’s move would have allowed for the first legal grizzly bear hunts in decades.
And in Chicago, the legal team defending police officer Jason Van Dyke from murder charges presented a computer-generated video in court Tuesday, calling the 4-minute depiction of the death of Laquan McDonald evidence that the officer acted in self-defense when he shot the unarmed African-American teenager in a hail of gunfire in October 2014. The computer-generated video did not reflect what was recorded in a police dash cam video of the actual incident. It did not include the images of other officers at the scene, and it showed Van Dyke shooting just a fraction of the 16 bullets he actually fired at McDonald. Jason Van Dyke faces two counts of first-degree murder. He is the first police officer in Chicago to stand trial for killing someone on duty in 50 years.