10 things you need to know today: June 1, 2018

A North Korean official delivers a letter from Kim Jong Un to Trump, allies retaliate after Trump imposes tariffs, and more

Mike Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol.
(Image credit: BRYAN R. SMITH/AFP/Getty Images)

1. Trump imposes tariffs, and U.S. allies retaliate

President Trump imposed steel and aluminum tariffs on the European Union, Canada, and Mexico, prompting immediate retaliation by some of America's closest allies. The U.S. tariffs of 25 percent on imported steel and 10 percent on aluminum took effect at midnight Thursday. "This is protectionism, pure and simple," said Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission. Mexico said it would slap taxes on imported U.S. pork bellies, apples, cranberries, grapes, certain cheeses, and various types of steel. Canada imposed a surtax on $16.6 billion of American steel, aluminum, and other products. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau called Trump's claim that the tariffs were necessary for national security an "affront" to Canadians who have fought alongside Americans from World War II to Afghanistan.

The Washington Post

2. North Korean official brings Trump letter from Kim Jong Un

Former North Korean intelligence chief Kim Yong Chol will make a rare visit to Washington on Friday to give a "personal letter" from Kim Jong Un to President Trump in a sign of the "good progress" toward reviving a summit between the two leaders, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday. "Our two countries face a pivotal moment in our relationship, and it would be nothing short of tragic to let this opportunity go to waste," Pompeo said after meeting with Kim Yong Chol in New York. Pompeo did not say whether the June 12 summit in Singapore, which Trump canceled last week, was officially back on. Trump said it might take several summits to reach a deal on North Korean denuclearization.

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The Associated Press

3. Trump pardons conservative provocateur Dinesh D'Souza

President Trump announced Thursday that he would pardon conservative provocateur Dinesh D'Souza, who pleaded guilty to a felony related to campaign finance violations in 2014. D'Souza made $20,000 in illegal contributions to a New York Senate candidate, and was sentenced to five years of probation and several months in a confinement center. Trump tweeted that D'Souza "was treated very unfairly by our government!" D'Souza is known for making ferociously partisan and unfounded allegations against former President Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Also on Thursday, Trump said he was considering commuting the 14-year corruption sentence of former Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich (D) and issuing a presidential pardon to Martha Steward, who was convicted on charges related to insider trading in 2004.

CNN

4. Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy ousted

Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy was ousted from office on Friday, losing a no-confidence vote after two days of bitter debate in parliament. The vote was 180 to 169, with one abstention. Rayoy said he would accept the decision, adding that "it has been an honor to be the leader of Spain and to leave it in a better state than the one I found. I believe I have satisfied my responsibility, which is to improve the lives of Spaniards. If I have offended someone in my role I ask forgiveness." He will be replaced by a leader of the opposition Socialist Party. Rajoy survived high unemployment, a financial crisis, and a showdown over demands for independence in the Catalan region, but he lost his grip on power due to corruption scandals plaguing his Popular Party.

The Washington Post

5. Danish lawmakers approve burqa ban

The Danish Parliament on Thursday passed a law banning Muslim women from wearing traditional clothing that hides the face, such as a niqab or burqa. The legislation does not specifically single out Muslims, but says that "anyone who wears a garment that hides the face in public will be punished with a fine." The penalty is 1,000 kroner ($157) but it rises 10 times higher for repeat offenders. The law takes effect Aug. 1. Denmark's justice minister, Soren Pape Poulsen, said people "must be able to see each other's facial expressions, it's a value in Denmark." Amnesty International calls the policy a "discriminatory violation of women's rights." The European Court of Human Rights upheld a Belgian ban on full-face veils last year. France adopted Europe's first burqa ban in 2011.

BBC News

6. Italian populists end chaos with deal on coalition government

Italy's two leading populist groups, the anti-establishment Five Star Movement and the anti-immigrant League, reached a deal to form a government on Thursday, reuniting after a split that roiled global markets. Days earlier, President Sergio Mattarella rejected the coalition cabinet over fears that the proposed finance minister would try to lead Italy, Europe's fourth largest economy, out of the eurozone. Mattarella approved the new cabinet proposal. Before that, the political chaos had threatened to force early elections that could have turned into a Brexit-like referendum on whether Italy would split with the European Union. It was not immediately clear, however, to what degree the new government would ease the quarreling among Italy's political factions.

The New York Times

7. Assad threatens to force U.S. troops out of northeastern Syria

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said that he would use force to push U.S. troops out of northeastern Syria if they don't cede control to the government willingly. "The Americans should leave somehow. They are going to leave," Assad said in comments to Russian state-owned RT that were broadcast Thursday. Assad said his government is negotiating with local factions to return control of the region to the government, adding that if talks fail "we are going to resort to liberating the area by force, with the Americans or without the Americans." Syrian Kurds have declared a self-governing autonomous region in the northeast, and the U.S. has 2,000 troops there helping militias fight the Islamic State.

The Washington Post

8. 14-year-old Karthik Nemmani wins Scripps National Spelling Bee

Karthik Nemmani, an 8th-grader from McKinney, Texas, won this year's Scripps National Spelling Bee after correctly spelling "koinonia," a Greek word defined as "intimate spiritual communion and participative sharing in a common religious commitment and spiritual community." The finals went 18 rounds. Naysa Modi, 12, of Frisco, Texas, took second place after leaving out the second "S" in the word "bewusstseinslage." Modi had beaten Nemmani in their county spelling bee. There were 516 competitors in the national bee this year, ranging in age from 8 to 15 — the largest number in the history of the event. Nemmani, 14, won $40,000 in cash, a $2,500 savings bond, a set of encyclopedias, and a trophy.

CNN

9. Warriors win Game 1 of NBA Finals despite LeBron James' 51 points

LeBron James scored a playoff career-high 51 points but his Cleveland Cavaliers lost to the Golden State Warriors in Game 1 of the NBA Finals in Oakland on Thursday. The Warriors won 124-114 in overtime, kicking off the fourth straight Cavs-Warriors championship battle. Stephen Curry scored 29 points for the Warriors. Kevin Durant added 26, and Klay Thomson 24. Cleveland missed a chance to win with 4.7 seconds left in regulation time. Guard George Hill hit the first of two free throws, tying the game, then missed the second. Cavs shooting guard J.R. Smith grabbed the rebound. Instead of shooting he dribbled toward half court and time ran out as James watched in disbelief, and the game went into overtime. Game 2 is Sunday in Oakland.

USA Today The Associated Press

10. Samantha Bee apologizes for vulgar insult of Ivanka Trump

Full Frontal host Samantha Bee apologized Thursday to Ivanka Trump for calling the president's daughter and senior adviser a "feckless c--t" during the Wednesday night episode of her TBS show. Bee came under criticism for her use of the vulgar insult in a segment asking Ivanka to persuade President Trump to put a stop to his administration's policy of separating children from their parents when the family has crossed the border illegally. The White House called Bee's joke "vile and vicious" and suggested Bee's show should be canceled. At least two advertisers dropped Bee's show. One of them, Autotrader, called Bee's language "offensive and unacceptable."

Deadline CNN

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