Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 7, 2017

ISIS claims responsibility for twin attacks in Iran, Sessions reportedly offered to resign as tensions rise with Trump, and more


ISIS claims responsibility for dual attacks in Iran

The Islamic State claimed responsibility Wednesday for simultaneous attacks at Iran's parliament building and the tomb of the Islamic republic's revolutionary founder, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. The deadly assaults marked what appeared to be ISIS's first attacks inside Iran. State TV reported that four assailants stormed into the parliament building, and one blew himself up inside. At least eight people were injured there, although the attacks were ongoing early Wednesday and accounts of casualties were still unclear. Iran's official state broadcaster said one attacker was killed by security guards at Khomeini's tomb, on the southern outskirts of Tehran, Iran's capital. Another attacker blew himself up, and a woman was arrested. The attackers reportedly killed a security guard.


Sessions reportedly offered to resign

Attorney General Jeff Sessions reportedly offered to resign in recent weeks as his relationship with President Trump soured. Sessions reportedly made the suggestion in a conversation with President Trump in which Sessions said he needed more freedom to properly do his job, but Trump rebuffed the offer. The relationship between Trump and Sessions grew increasingly tense after Sessions recused himself from the Justice Department's investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials in Moscow's alleged attempts to influence last year's presidential election. Trump reportedly blames Sessions for the broadening of the Russia inquiry. White House officials declined to say whether Sessions still had Trump's full confidence. "I have not had that discussion with him," White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said.


Report: Trump asked intel chief to steer Comey off Russia inquiry

Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats told associates in March that President Trump had asked him to urge then-FBI Director James Comey to back off the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's contacts with Russian officials, according to a report in The Washington Post. Trump reportedly asked Coats and CIA Director Mike Pompeo to stay behind after a March 22 White House meeting ended, and complained to them about Comey's handling of the investigation into Russia's alleged attempts to influence last year's presidential election. The meeting occurred two days after Comey told a congressional panel that the FBI was looking into whether any Trump associates had colluded with Russian officials. Flynn was a focus of that part of the investigation. Coats discussed the meeting with other officials and decided that intervening with Comey would be inappropriate, according to officials familiar with the matter.


Report: Comey to tell Congress about conversations with Trump

Fired FBI Director James Comey will describe conversations he had with President Trump when he testifies to the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday, but stop short of saying he believed Trump was trying to obstruct the investigation into Russia's 2016 election meddling, Bloomberg reported Tuesday, citing a source familiar with Comey's plans. Senators are expected to question Comey on several key points, including whether Trump asked him to drop an inquiry into fired National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, and whether Comey told Trump he was not personally under investigation, as Trump claimed in his letter firing Comey last month. Trump deflected questions about Comey's looming testimony, saying, "I wish him luck." White House officials said Trump wants to push back if Comey paints him in a negative light, with some saying the president might respond during the hearing via Twitter.


Attacker at Paris' Notre-Dame said 'This is for Syria'

A man believed to be a student from Algeria attacked a police officer with a hammer on Tuesday at Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris. French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said the attacker said, "This is for Syria," as he attacked the officer. Another officer shot the suspect in the chest, wounding him. He was rushed to a hospital. The officer's wounds were not serious. Collomb said the attacker also was armed with knives. The attack set off a panic among visitors to the landmark in a city still under a state of emergency declared after the November 2015 terrorist attack, which killed 130 people. "Everyone started fleeing from the cathedral," a woman in the area said, "and police surrounded almost immediately."


Minister says Canada will boost military to fill U.S. leadership void

Canada's foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, said Tuesday that the country would step up its military spending because it can no longer rely as heavily as it used to on the U.S. to counter threats from hostile nations and terrorists. Freeland's remarks echoed statements German Chancellor Angela Merkel made after President Trump met with NATO allies and scolded them for not contributing more to their common defense. Neither Merkel nor Freeland mentioned Trump by name, but Freeland told Canada's House of Commons that "the fact that our friend and ally has come to question the very worth of its mantle of global leadership, puts into sharper focus the need for the rest of us to set our own clear and sovereign course." Last year, Canada spent about 1 percent of its gross domestic product on defense, half of the goal for members of the NATO alliance.


Russian fighter jet intercepts U.S. bomber over Baltic Sea

A Russian fighter jet scrambled and intercepted a nuclear-capable U.S. B-52 strategic bomber over the Baltic Sea near its border on Tuesday. "The Russian SU-27 crew, having approached at a safe distance, identified the aircraft as an American B-52 strategic bomber and escorted it" until it changed course and flew away from the border area, the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement. NATO members regularly scramble jets to intercept Russian nuclear-capable bombers near their air space, but Russia does not do so as frequently. In a separate incident, a Russian MiG-31 fighter jet intercepted a Norwegian patrol plane over the Barents Sea, although Norway's military described the encounter as "normal."


Report: Trumps funneled charity dollars into Trump Organization

The Eric Trump Foundation paid his family's company, the Trump Organization, $1.2 million for the use of a golf course and other services during charity fundraisers over several years, despite Eric Trump's insistence that his foundation was getting the use of the Trump course free of charge, according to a report in Forbes. "Golf charity experts say the listed expenses defy any reasonable cost justification for a one-day golf tournament," Forbes writes. The article also says the Donald J. Trump Foundation, President Trump's charity organization, apparently funneled $100,000 to the Trump Organization by sending the money to the Eric Trump Foundation, which paid a similar amount back to the president's company. The Trump Organization said it was "shameful" and "truly disgusting" to suggest the company profited from the fundraising, noting that the Eric Trump Foundation has raised more than $16.3 million for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, mostly through the golf events.


Uber fires 20 after sexual harassment investigation

Uber announced Tuesday that it had fired more than 20 employees following an investigation it commissioned into allegations of sexual harassment and other complaints about workplace culture. Uber ordered the investigation, led by international law firm Perkins Coie, after former Uber engineer Susan Fowler wrote a blog post in February accusing the company of failing to respond to allegations of sexual harassment and gender discrimination, saying human resources had not punished her manager after she reported he had made unwanted advances. Perkins Coie said it looked into 215 claims of harassment and discrimination. The names of the terminated employees have not been released.


Cosby accuser says drugs left her 'frozen' during alleged sexual assault

Bill Cosby's accuser in his sexual assault trial testified Tuesday that the comedian gave her three blue pills that left her incapacitated, then penetrated her with his hand and put her hand on his penis. The woman, Andrea Constand, said she "wasn't able to fight in any way" because she could not move her hands or legs. "I was frozen," said Constand, telling her story publicly for the first time. "I wanted it to stop." About 60 women have accused Cosby of sexually violating them. The statute of limitations has run out on most of them, and Constand's 2004 case is the only one for which the comic and actor is being prosecuted. Cosby says the allegations are false.


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