Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 31, 2018

Trump says he'll meet with Iran leaders "whenever they want," U.S. spy agencies say North Korea is building more missiles, and more

1

Trump says he will meet with Iran leaders 'whenever they want'

President Trump said Monday that he would "certainly meet with Iran if they wanted to meet." Trump, speaking during a joint press conference at the White House with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, said he believes Iran "will probably end up wanting to meet. I'm ready to meet whenever they want to. No preconditions. They want to meet, I'll meet, whenever they want." Just last week, Trump responded to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's statement that the U.S. "must understand that war with Iran is the mother of all wars," tweeting that if Rouhani threatens the U.S. again, "YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE." Iran rejected the idea of a meeting with Trump until he shows "respect" for Tehran.

2

Report: Spy agencies see signs North Korea is working on new missiles

New satellite images and intelligence gathered by the United States indicated that North Korea is building new missiles at a factory that produced the country's first intercontinental ballistic missiles capable of reaching the U.S. North Korea appeared to be constructing one or two liquid-fueled intercontinental ballistic missiles, officials with knowledge of the matter told The Washington Post. The new intelligence regarding the research facility on the outskirts of Pyongyang doesn't show that North Korea is expanding its nuclear capabilities, but suggest that it is continuing to work on prohibited weapons following North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's June summit with President Trump.

3

Judge orders Trump administration to help find missing migrant parents

U.S. District Judge Dana Sabraw, the judge who issued a now-past deadline to reunite migrant families separated at the border, has given the Trump administration until Wednesday to provide detailed information on hundreds of "missing" parents deemed ineligible for reunification. The government on Friday said that 650 of the 2,551 migrant children remained separated because their parents had been deported or deemed otherwise ineligible. The ruling amounted to a victory for the American Civil Liberties Union, which has been fighting in court to bring the families back together. The judge's order "leaves no doubt that the court expects the remaining reunifications to get done promptly," said ACLU attorney Lee Gelernt.

4

Carr Fire now 9th most destructive fire in California history

The massive Carr Fire in Northern California has now become the ninth most destructive wildfire in state history, Scott McLean, a spokesman for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection, said Monday. The blaze has killed at least six people and burned more than 800 homes. About 12,000 firefighters are battling the blaze, which was 23 percent contained on Monday but "still putting up a fight," McLean said. More than 27,000 people remained evacuated but 10,000 had been allowed to return to their homes. Two other fires, among 17 burning in the state, raced through vineyards and brushy hills in Mendocino and Lake counties and threatened about 10,000 Northern California homes after burning seven homes and 107 square miles of rural land by late Monday.

5

Trump repeats threat to shut down government over wall funding

President Trump on Monday repeated his threat to shut down the government unless Congress approves funding for his promised border wall. "As far as the border is concerned, and personally, if we don't get border security, after many, many years of talk within the United States, I would have no problem doing a shutdown," Trump said during a press conference with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte. "It's time we had proper border security," Trump added. "We're the laughing stock of the world. We have the worst immigration laws anywhere in the world." The current government funding measure runs out at the end of September, 37 days before the Nov. 6 midterm elections. Republican leaders have vowed to avoid a shutdown, which analysts warn would reflect badly on the GOP since it controls both houses of Congress as well as the White House.

6

Prosecutors won't charge Minneapolis officers for fatal shooting

Minnesota prosecutors said Monday that they would not file charges against two white Minneapolis police officers who shot and killed a black man, Thurman Blevins, last month. Investigators found that the officers were justified in using deadly force because Blevins ran away, refusing commands to stop and show his hands, and turned toward the officers while holding a loaded gun. The decision came a day after police body-cam video of the incident was released. Blevins' relatives and friends said he posed no threat to anybody when officers responding to a call about someone firing a gun into the air came across him sitting with a woman and a baby, and ordered him to show his hands.

7

Manafort drops challenge to Mueller's jurisdiction as trial starts

One-time Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort has dropped an appeal seeking to halt Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation of him. The move came as jury selection was scheduled to start Tuesday in his trial, which is expected to end long before Manafort's appeal of Mueller's jurisdiction would have been settled. Manafort faces charges of tax evasion and bank fraud stemming from his work as a political consultant and lobbyist and unrelated to Russian election meddling and possible collusion by Trump associates. Manafort's lawyers filed his civil lawsuit claiming Mueller was going beyond his authorized mandate. They will still be able to make that argument in appeals should Manafort be found guilty.

8

Trump administration weighs tax change that would benefit rich

The Trump administration is considering a proposal to cut capital gains taxes by $100 billion over 10 years, mostly for the wealthy, The New York Times reported Monday. Treasure Secretary Steven Mnuchin told the Times in an interview on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit meeting in Argentina earlier this month that his department was considering invoking its regulatory powers to let Americans factor inflation into calculating their capital gains tax liabilities when they sell an asset such as a house or a stock. Mnuchin said the Treasury Department could do this by changing the definition of "cost" for calculating capital gains. The move would be expected to face a court challenge. It also would help Democrats argue that Republican tax policy is designed to help the wealthy, countering GOP assertions that their tax cuts aim to benefit middle-class Americans.

9

Pope accepts resignation of Australian bishop convicted of abuse coverup

Pope Francis on Monday accepted the resignation of Australian Archbishop Philip Edward Wilson, who was found guilty two months ago of failing to report to police the 1970s abuse of two altar servers by a priest. Wilson, the highest-ranking Catholic official ever convicted of a sex-abuse coverup in court, submitted his resignation on July 20 but it wasn't reported until the pope accepted it. The news came just two days after Pope Francis accepted the resignation from the College of Cardinals of Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, a former archbishop of Washington and of Newark. McCarrick was believed to be the first cardinal to step down due to sexual abuse allegations against him.

10

Malaysia civil aviation chief resigns after MH370 report

The head of Malaysia's civil aviation authority, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, resigned Tuesday following the release of a report showing failures of Kuala Lumpur's air traffic control center during the 2014 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370. "Over the past four years, I have tried my level best to assist in the search for MH370 and I am ever resolute in finding answers we all seek towards this unfortunate tragedy as we owe it to the families and loved ones," he said. "I am saddened to have to leave under these circumstances." The report did not determine the cause of the aircraft's disappearance, and said air traffic control's lapses in complying with operating procedures were not responsible. The report said someone deliberately steered the plane off course — dooming all 239 people on board — although investigators could not say whether it was a pilot or somebody else.

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