10 things you need to know today: July 9, 2017
Trump talks trade, North Korea with China's Xi, Kushner, Manafort, and Donald Trump Jr. met with Kremlin-linked lawyer during campaign, and more
Trump talks trade, North Korea with China's Xi
President Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping had a friendly meeting Saturday on the sidelines of the G-20 summit in Germany, where the two talked trade and what to do about North Korea's missile tests. Trump's recent impatience with China's failure to immediately rein in Pyongyang was not in evidence; he told Xi it is "an honor to have you as a friend" and expressed confidence of forthcoming "success" with North Korea. Trump also met with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, declaring they are of the same mind on the "problem and menace of North Korea."
Kushner, Manafort, and Donald Trump Jr. met with Kremlin-linked lawyer during campaign
President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner; his then-campaign chair Paul Manafort; and his eldest son, Donald Trump Jr., met with a Russian lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, with ties to the Kremlin during the 2016 campaign, The New York Times reported Saturday. Trump Jr. and Kushner's attorney confirmed to NBC News the meeting took place on June 9, 2016, in Trump Tower in New York City. Trump Jr. described the conversation as a "short introductory meeting" concerning a Russian adoption program, adding that alleged Russian election manipulation "was not a campaign issue at that time and there was no follow up."
Putin, Trump push to move on from election meddling issue
Russian President Vladimir Putin said Saturday President Trump apparently accepted his account of Moscow's innocence of manipulating the 2016 election during their meeting Friday. Trump "asked a lot of questions on this subject," Putin said. "It seemed to me that he was satisfied with [my] answers." Trump tweeted about the meeting Sunday. "I strongly pressed President Putin twice about Russian meddling in our election. He vehemently denied it," he wrote, adding "it is time to move forward in working constructively with Russia," perhaps by "forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit" with Putin to stop election hacking.
G-20 leaders settle on communiqué after climate controversy
World leaders at the G-20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, on Saturday issued a joint communiqué acknowledging the United States' differing stance on climate change. Negotiators attempted to reach consensus on the issue but were unable to reconcile the Trump's administration's approach with that of the other powers involved. "We take note of the decision of the United States of America to withdraw from the Paris Agreement," the statement says, but the "leaders of the other G20 members state that the Paris Agreement is irreversible." The "differences were not papered over; they were clearly stated," said German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
Ivanka Trump sat in for the president at G-20
President Trump's daughter and White House adviser Ivanka Trump took her father's seat at the G-20 summit in Germany on Saturday, sitting in for the president while he stepped away for bilateral meetings. A photo shared on Twitter (and then apparently deleted) by a Russian official shows Ivanka seated amid British Prime Minister Theresa May, Chinese President Xi Jinping, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel. President Trump returned to his place after a brief absence, and Ivanka was not observed making any significant statement on the United States' behalf during her time in the session.
Syrian cease-fire takes effect
The cease-fire in southwest Syria announced by the U.S. and Russia Thursday took effect Sunday. National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster hailed the agreement, which also involves Jordan and Israel, as "an important step" toward "defeating ISIS, helping to end the conflict in Syria, reducing suffering, and enabling people to return to their homes." The deal is open-ended but does not specify enforcement procedure. "There's still a lot of anxiety," said a Syrian opposition activist. "We've entered the cease-fire but there are no mechanisms to enforce it. That's what concerns people."
KKK rallies around Confederate statue in Virginia
About 50 members of the Ku Klux Klan rallied in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Saturday to protest the city's plan to take down a statue of Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee from a public park. The KKK group was dwarfed by an anti-racism counter-protest estimated at about 1,000 people. Local authorities said 23 people were arrested at the event but did not specify whether they were KKK members or counter-protesters. The KKK members shouted "white power," and a few wore the racist organization's signature white hoods. Police dispersed the crowd with tear gas.
California wildfires prompt evacuations
Record heat and two fast-moving wildfires prompted evacuations in southern California Saturday as about 1,000 firefighters struggle to contain the blazes. The Whittier Fire is in Los Padres National Forest, north of Los Angeles. It was started by a vehicle fire Saturday afternoon and spread across 5,400 acres in a matter of hours. The nearby Alamo Fire has grown to nearly 20,000 acres. "Low humidity, high heat and the winds are right — and there's just a lot of stuff to burn," said a Santa Barbara County representative. Neither fire has destroyed any buildings so far.
American tourist killed in Greece
An American tourist named Bakari Henderson was killed in a bar brawl while visiting the Greek island of Zakynthos on Friday, local media reported. Henderson, 22, was out with his friends when he began fighting with another bar patron. Both men were asked to leave the bar, after which the fight escalated and Henderson was beaten to death by 10 men. Two men have been arrested and charged with homicide, and eight other people remain under investigation. A recent graduate of the University of Arizona, Henderson was working on a photo shoot while in Greece.
Imprisoned Chinese Nobel laureate may be allowed to travel for treatment
American and German doctors who visited Liu Xiaobo, the Chinese Nobel Peace Prize laureate serving an 11-year sentence as a political prisoner, said Saturday he can travel abroad for cancer treatment. Their announcement conflicts with previous statements from Chinese authorities, who maintain Liu is receiving excellent care following his diagnosis of late-stage liver cancer. The democracy activist's family says he is near death and is pushing for his immediate release so he can spend his final days among loved ones.