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June 19, 2017
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North Korea blasted Homeland Security agents at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport for "literally mugging" a diplomatic delegation, although the U.S. claims the North Koreans in question were not protected by diplomatic immunity. Pyongyang accused the DHS officers of taking a diplomatic package away from a delegation that was visiting New York for a United Nations conference, but the three North Koreans did not hold diplomatic status, CNN reports.

"According to the U.S. State Department, the North Korean citizens were not accredited members of North Korea's Mission to the U.N. and had no entitlement to diplomatic immunity. The package in question had no diplomatic protection from inspection," said the Department of Homeland Security in a statement. "Multiple media items" and "packages" were seized in the confrontation.

"According to the 1961 Vienna Convention, diplomatic couriers 'shall not be liable to any form of arrest or detention' and the diplomatic bags they carry may not be opened or detained," CNN writes. That being said, couriers are required to have the proper accreditation on them while traveling in order to prove their immunity.

North Korea slammed the U.S. agents for behaving like "gangsters," calling the confrontation "an illegal and heinous act of provocation."

"The U.S. should reflect on its reckless act and be fully aware of the grave consequences to follow," North Korea said. Jeva Lange

4:56 p.m. ET

A van jumped the curb and plowed into a crowd in the center of Barcelona on Thursday. Thirteen people were killed and at least 100 were injured, Catalonian authorities said. Police have confirmed that the incident was a terrorist attack. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack through its Amaq news agency.

The driver of the van reportedly fled on foot after plowing into pedestrians in the city's historic Las Ramblas district, a popular tourist destination. Two suspects have been arrested. Local authorities in the Catalonian town of Vic — almost due north of Barcelona — have said they identified a second van linked to the attack in Las Ramblas, The Guardian reports.

Police have dismissed earlier reports that two armed men were hiding out in a bar following the attack. Becca Stanek

This is a breaking news story and has been updated throughout.

4:48 p.m. ET

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) thinks it's about time for President Trump's chief strategist Stephen Bannon to leave the White House. "I think it's important for the president to fire Steve Bannon. He should go," King, an ardent Trump supporter, said Thursday in an interview with WABC.

The tipping point for King was Bannon's latest interviews, in which he relished in the fact that the left is making the debate over Confederate monuments a discussion about race, contradicted Trump on North Korea, and openly talked about his fights with colleagues. "The race-identity politics of the left wants to say it's all racist. Just give me more. Tear down more statues. Say the revolution is coming. I can't get enough of it," Bannon told The New York Times in the aftermath of the white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, over the weekend.

For King, a man who once held hugely controversial hearings on the alleged radicalization of American Muslims, Bannon's comments went too far. "I mean, what he said the other day, where he was saying that he hopes the Democrats use race as an issue because that's a win for Republicans, that to me is exploiting a racial issue," King said. "That can't be allowed."

Watch it below. Becca Stanek

4:14 p.m. ET
Facebook/Star Wars

Star Wars Jedi master Obi-Wan Kenobi could be getting his very own movie. The Hollywood Reporter revealed Thursday that Disney is in the very early stages of developing a standalone film about the man who trained Anakin Skywalker.

There's not yet a script for the project, but Disney is reportedly in talks with Stephen Daldry, the Oscar-nominated director of Billy Elliot and The Hours, to direct. It's not yet clear whether Ewan McGregor, who has played Obi-Wan in the prequel trilogy, would reprise his role.

The Obi-Wan Kenobi movie apparently isn't the only Star Wars spinoff that Disney is considering: Other projects in development include standalone movies centered on Jabba the Hutt and Boba Fett. And, of course, there's the next installment in the series, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, due out Dec. 15. Becca Stanek

3:35 p.m. ET

Republican Senate candidate Corey Stewart on Thursday tried to defend President Trump's condemnation of "both sides" for the violence at the Charlottesville, Virginia, white nationalist rally, only to be promptly shut down by CNN's Kate Bolduan.

Stewart, who is running to challenge Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine (D), acknowledged that the people at the rally shouting, "Jews will not replace us," should be condemned. But he then argued that those individuals were "not the issue here." "The issue is you've got the violent left," Stewart said.

He questioned the fact that "not even establishment Republicans have come out and condemned the far left group, Antifa, which has been espousing violence and attacking people." "Is it possible that it's because someone died who was counter-protesting?" Bolduan asked, noting that a woman was killed Saturday after a white supremacist demonstrator drove a car into a group of counter-protesters.

Stewart tried to twist that comment around. "You're trying to use this poor women's death to say that Confederate monuments should be taken down," Stewart said. "That's exactly what you're trying to say, Kate."

Bolduan attempted to explain this was actually not at all what she was trying to say, only to be repeatedly interrupted by Stewart. She eventually put her foot down: “Stop talking. Stop talking. Stop talking for a second. You're the guest on my show. I would like to continue the conversation with you, respectfully," she said.

With Stewart finally quiet, Bolduan clarified that she does believe there is "a time and a place to have a debate and a conversation about the appropriate place for Confederate statues." However, Bolduan said, "it stopped being about statues when people showed up with swastikas."

Watch the heated exchange below. Becca Stanek

3:12 p.m. ET

President Trump hailed Gen. John Joseph "Black Jack" Pershing in a tweet Thursday, promoting the myth that the Philippine-American War officer had used bullets dipped in pigs' blood to shoot Muslims as a method of discouraging terrorism:

The tweet followed Trump's condolences to Barcelona after a suspected terrorist attack in the Spanish city left at least 13 dead. "Be tough and strong, we love you!" he tweeted.

Trump has previously touted Pershing as a disturbing example of how to deal with terrorism, telling the unproven story at a South Carolina rally in 2016: "[Pershing] took 50 bullets, and he dipped them in pig's blood," Trump claimed. "And he had his men load his rifles and he lined up the 50 people, and they shot 49 of those people. And the 50th person he said, 'You go back to your people and you tell them what happened.' And for 25 years there wasn't a problem, okay?"

The fact that there is no evidence at all to support the myth of Pershing's appalling executions — MSNBC writes that "the story appears to be a hoax spread via e-mail forwards" — is being highlighted by critics who note "the president said two days ago he waits for the facts before talking about attacks," as BuzzFeed News' David Mack points out. Jeva Lange

2:42 p.m. ET

Tennessee Sen. Bob Corker (R) said President Trump "has not demonstrated that he understands the character of this nation" in grave comments delivered at the Rotary Club of Chattanooga on Thursday. "The president has not yet been able to demonstrate the stability nor some of the competence that he needs to ... in order to be successful. And we need for him to be successful," Corker said.

The senator pointedly added that Trump does not appear to understand "what has made this nation great and what it is today."

The remarks followed a number of tweets from Trump on Thursday, some of which bashed Republican senators and others that defended Confederate monuments. Many reporters and analysts consider Corker to be something of a bellwether on Trump:

"We're at a point where there needs to be radical changes that take place at the White House itself," Corker said. "It has to happen." Watch his full comments below. Jeva Lange

1:53 p.m. ET
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Mitch McConnell's former chief of staff, Josh Holmes, ripped into President Trump on Thursday, warning that "when you're eight months in and Republicans are all you have left, chipping away at the remaining few is a helluva strategy," Politico Playbook reports.

Now the president of the management firm Cavalry, Holmes expressed concern that Trump has repeatedly made Republican members of Congress the target of his rants and tweets. "Trump is using the precious capital of the bully pulpit to talk about Confederate monuments in between savage attacks on fellow Republicans," Holmes said. "Just think about that. Not tax reform. Not repeal and replace. Not North Korean nuclear capabilities. No focused critiques on extremely vulnerable Democrats who have opposed him at every possible turn."

On Thursday, Trump once again attacked his longtime enemy, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake (R), tweeting support for Flake's primary opponent. "Great to see that Dr. Kelli Ward is running against [Jeff Flake], who is WEAK on borders, crime, and a non-factor in Senate," Trump said. "He's toxic!" Politico called Trump's ramped up attacks on Flake "a free gift" for Democrats: "It distracts the GOP and could force McConnell and other outside groups to spend millions of dollars in a costly primary tying up money that could be used elsewhere."

Still, Trump remains popular among most Republicans, polls show. Jeva Lange

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