Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 6, 2017

Trump decides not to try blocking Comey's testimony, contractor charged with leaking NSA report on Russian hacking, and more


Trump won't invoke executive privilege to block Comey testimony

President Trump will not assert executive privilege to try blocking former FBI Director James Comey from testifying before a congressional panel this week, the White House said Monday. "The president's power to assert executive privilege is well established," principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, but Trump won't do it because he wants to "facilitate a swift and thorough examination of the facts sought by the Senate Intelligence Committee." Comey, who was fired by Trump last month, is expected to be asked about conversations in which he says Trump asked him about the FBI's investigation into Russia's attempts to influence last year's presidential election. Comey reportedly wrote memos in February recounting a conversation in which Trump urged him to drop an investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian officials.


Contractor charged with leaking NSA report on Russian hacking

The Justice Department announced Monday that it had filed charges accusing a federal contractor with top secret security clearance with leaking a classified National Security Agency document on Russian hacking before the 2016 presidential election to The Intercept, an online media outlet. Reality Leigh Winner, 25, of Pluribus International Corporation in Georgia, was arrested June 3, and admitted leaking the National Security Agency document, prosecutors said. The NSA report, posted Monday by The Intercept, said that Russian hackers sent emails to employees of an election software and hardware supplier, trying to fool them into providing their user information. The aim of the so-called spear-phishing attack was to obtain information on how the voting network operates. At least one worker's account may have been compromised, according to the report.


London police identify London attackers

London police said Monday that they had released all 12 people detained in the investigation of the Saturday van-and-knife attack in London, in which seven people were killed. Authorities identified the three attackers, all of whom were shot and killed by police. One of the men, 27-year-old Khurum Shazad Butt, was known to counterterrorism authorities and once made a brief appearance in a 2016 British TV documentary called The Jihadis Next Door. Another attacker, Rachid Redouane, 30, was not known to authorities. Youssef Zaghba, 22, was a resident of East London and is believed to have been an Italian citizen of Moroccan descent, police said. More than 130 British imams said in a joint statement that they were refusing to perform Islamic burials for the men. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. The imams said the terrorists do not represent Islam. "These vile murderers seek to divide our society," the imams said. "We will ensure they fail."


Top U.S. diplomat in China quits, citing Trump withdrawal from climate deal

The top U.S. diplomat in China, Charge d'affaires officer David Rank, has resigned, citing President Trump's decision to pull the U.S. out of the Paris climate accord, NBC News reported Monday. Rank, a career foreign service officer, announced his departure during a town hall meeting with embassy employees, saying that as a "parent, patriot, and a Christian" he could not support Trump's policy in good conscience. Former Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad was confirmed on May 22 to take over as ambassador to China, replacing Rank, but Branstad had not yet arrived to start the job. A State Department spokesman confirmed Rank's departure, but said he was simply retiring.


Trump repeats criticism of London mayor

President Trump on Monday resumed his criticism of London Mayor Sadiq Khan for telling people there was "no reason to be alarmed" about the increased police presence in the city following last weekend's deadly London Bridge attack. Trump said Khan had made up a "pathetic excuse" for his statement, which Trump claimed suggested there was no reason to be alarmed about the attack itself. Khan's spokesman said the mayor would not respond to Trump's "ill-informed" tweet because he was too busy "dealing with Saturday's horrific and cowardly attack," and working with police and other officials to keep the city safe. Khan later said the U.K. should cancel Trump's planned state visit. "I don't think we should roll out the red carpet to the president of the U.S.A. in the circumstances where his policies go against everything we stand for," Khan said.


Police: Former worker fatally shoots five at Orlando business

A "disgruntled" former employee fatally shot his former boss and four other employees at Fiamma, a company that makes awnings for RVs near Orlando, Florida, Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings said Monday. The suspect, John Robert Neumann Jr., killed himself as deputies arrived. Neumann was fired in April. Three years ago, deputies were dispatched to the business to investigate a report that the suspect had battered a co-worker, although no charges were filed. Investigators said the attack did not appear to be related to terrorism.


Two charged in deadly Oakland warehouse fire

Two men were charged with 36 counts of manslaughter on Monday in connection with a deadly December fire at an Oakland, California, warehouse where people were illegally living. Nancy E. O'Malley, the district attorney of Alameda County, said Derick Almena, the leaseholder, and Max Harris, a supervisor in the building, "knowingly created a fire trap with inadequate means of escape," then "filled that area with human beings and are now facing the consequences of their actions." Most of the victims in the fire were attending a party on the second floor of the warehouse, known as the Ghost Ship, and they were unable to escape down the only available staircase. It was the nation's deadliest structure fire in more than a decade.


Trump unveils plan to privatize air traffic control system

President Trump gathered Monday with aviation officials and prominent Republican lawmakers to announce plans to privatize America's air traffic control system. "We live in a modern age yet our air traffic control system is stuck, painfully, in the past," Trump said. The plan also calls for separating air traffic control operations from the Federal Aviation Administration, which spent $7 billion working on modernizing the aviation system during the Obama administration. Trump said in a White House ceremony that the FAA under Obama "didn't know what the hell they were doing," leaving behind a "an ancient, broken, antiquated, horrible system that doesn't work."


Apple unveils its first smart speaker

Apple unveiled its HomePod smart speaker at its 2017 Worldwide Developers Conference on Monday. The device, which is intended to rival Google Home and Amazon's Echo, will be powered by an A8 chip and feature Apple's virtual assistant, Siri. HomePod also will be integrated with Apple Music, and will start shipping later this year for $349. Apple also revealed its first new iMac in almost two years, with faster processors and brighter displays, as well as two software upgrades: iOS 11, which will feature a person-to-person payment system integrated into iMessage in addition to an improved camera; and High Sierra, the new MacOS, which will enable the Safari browser to block autoplay video.


Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial off to emotional start

Bill Cosby's sexual assault trial started Monday, with the prosecution's first witness, Kelly Johnson, tearfully testifying that the actor and comedian drugged and violated her in 1990. Cosby's lawyer questioned her credibility, noting that she said nothing about the encounter for 25 years, and when she went public about it she failed to mention that Cosby had given her $400. About 60 women have accused Cosby of sexually assaulting or abusing them since 1965. He is on trial on charges that he drugged and sexually assaulted a former Temple University basketball team employee, Andrea Constand, at his home in Philadelphia in 2004. In an opening statement, Cosby's lawyer said he was a flawed man "whose infidelities have made him vulnerable" to false accusations.


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