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Daily Briefing

10 things you need to know today: June 23, 2019

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Tim O'Donnell
Donald Trump.
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1.

Trump delays deportation operation

President Trump on Saturday said that he will delay a planned operation to remove undocumented immigrants from the United States. Trump said that he is doing so "at the request of the Democrats." He added that the plan is to allow Democrats and Republicans to work together on a solution to issues concerning the southern border. If that is not accomplished, he said, deportations will start. Immigration and Customs Enforcement was reportedly set to begin the operation on Sunday, with the goal of targeting up to 2,000 migrant families across the country. Three officials told The Associated Press that the operation was canceled because details having been leaked to the media meant officer safety could be jeopardized. [Donald Trump, The Associated Press]

2.

U.S. cyber forces reportedly hit Iranian missile control systems last week

U.S. Cyber Command launched a cyber strike against Iranian missile control systems on Thursday, U.S. officials said. The cyber attacker occurred after President Trump backed down from a conventional military strike against Iran in retaliation for Iran shooting down a U.S. drone. The attacks disabled the computer systems of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that controlled its rocket and missile launchers. The plans for the cyber attacks were reportedly in the works for weeks — the Pentagon proposed the tactic after Iran's alleged attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman earlier this month. The White House declined to comment and Tehran had no immediate reaction to the news as of Sunday morning. [Al Jazeera, The Washington Post]

3.

Ethiopia reportedly staves off coup attempt, but military chief killed

Ethiopia's government has reportedly quelled a coup, but not before the military's chief of staff and a regional president were killed in separate attacks. General Seare Mekonnen, whom Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed named as head of the military last year, was killed — along with another general, Gezai Abera — at his residence in the capital, Addis Ababa, by his bodyguard, who is now in custody. The president of the Amhara region, Ambachew Mekonnen, was killed in his office along with his senior adviser, Ezez Wasie. The prime minister's office accused Brigadier-General Asaminew Tsige, a "renegade" whom Ahmed recently pardoned, of orchestrating the coup attempt. It is not known if he has been arrested, though many others involved in the plot have been apprehended. [BBC, The Associated Press]

4.

Trump says military action against Iran is still an option, but hints at potential friendship

President Trump on Saturday said that military action against Iran is still an option, but he added that he could also be Tehran's "best friend," so long as they agree to not construct a nuclear weapon. The president also expressed his appreciation for Iran's decision to not target a U.S. spy plane carrying 30 people. The comments come after the president called off a strike against Iran in retaliation for Iran shooting down a U.S. drone on Thursday. Earlier on Saturday, Tehran said that it would 'firmly confront' any U.S. threat against it. Iran on Saturday also summoned the United Arab Emirates' top envoy to Tehran to protest the UAE's decision to allow the U.S. to use a base there to launch the drone Iran shot down, state media reported. [The Associated Press]

5.

Kushner outlines Middle East peace plan

President Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law Jared Kushner is set to unveil his Middle East peace plan at an international conference in Bahrain next week. The White House on Saturday shared an outline of the proposal. The total plan costs $50 billion with more than half going to Palestinian territories over ten years. The rest would be split between Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan. It also proposes a travel corridor for Palestinian use that would cross Israel to link the West Bank and Gaza, including a highway and, possibly, a rail line. Kushner is optimistic about the plan, which he says would create a million jobs in the West Bank and Gaza, but the Palestinians have criticized it, and most foreign investors will likely steer clear for now. [Reuters]

6.

Japanese-American internment survivors protest use of base as migrant detention center

More than 200 demonstrators, many of whom were survivors of Japanese-American internment camps during World War II, gathered at the gates of Fort Sill, Oklahoma, on Saturday to protest the Trump administration's plan to move 1,400 migrant children to the fortified army post later this summer. Fort Sill held 700 Japanese-Americans in horrid conditions during the internment era, which is a driving force behind the outrage surrounding the White House's decision. "We are here to say, 'Stop repeating history,'" Satsuki Ina, a 75-year-old survivor of internment, said. Military police tried to disperse the crowd, but they remained until local police from Lawton, Oklahoma, arrived and let them speak. [The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times]

7.

Kim receives 'excellent' letter from Trump

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly received a personal letter from President Trump, North Korean state media reported on Sunday. Kim reportedly said the letter "is of excellent content," and he is seriously considering what his U.S. counterpart had to say in the letter, months after their February negotiations in Hanoi over North Korean denuclearization failed. The White House confirmed Trump sent a letter and that correspondence between the two leaders is ongoing. Earlier this month Trump said he received a "beautiful letter" from Kim, though an administration official said that it mainly consisted of Kim wishing the president well for his birthday. There is speculation, however, that the epistolary exchange could lead to a third summit between Trump and Kim. [The Washington Post, CNN]

8.

Biden challenges notion that he has flip-flopped on reproductive rights

Nearly all of the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates attended a Planned Parenthood forum on Saturday in Columbia, South Carolina. The 20 candidates who spoke largely vowed to defend abortion rights under nearly any circumstance. Former Vice President Joe Biden, who has received criticism for his inconsistent approach on abortion rights, chiefly regarding the Hyde Amendment, challenged that notion, telling the crowd he has a "100 percent voting record" on reproductive rights before his microphone cut out. He also said that, as president, he would codify the right to an abortion into law "as defined by Casey," a 1992 Supreme Court decision which allowed states to restrict abortion access through measures such as waiting periods and administrative burdens. [ABC News, The Guardian]

9.

David Ortiz continues to recover, out of intensive care

David Ortiz is getting healthier and has moved out of intensive care, though he remains hospitalized, his wife, Tiffany, said on Saturday. The beloved former Boston Red Sox slugger, who helped guide the franchise to three World Series crowns, is recovering from a shooting in his native Dominican Republic earlier in June, which was reportedly a case of mistaken identity. After receiving initial treatment in the Dominican Republic, Ortiz was flown to Boston where he underwent surgery. Ortiz, Tiffany Ortiz said in an Instagram post, "remains in good condition and continues to recover under the care of Drs. David King and Larry Ronan." [NBC News, The Associated Press]

10.

Women's World Cup knockout stage continues with France, Brazil taking spotlight

The 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup continues on Saturday with England taking on Cameroon at 11:30 a.m. and France, the tournament host, squaring off with Brazil at 3 p.m in the first round of the knockout stages. The winner of the France-Brazil game will take on the winner of the United States-Spain match, scheduled for Monday. Victories for the U.S. and France could set up an intriguing quarterfinal contest between the two teams widely considered tournament favorites, but Brazil, led by Marta, perhaps the greatest women's soccer player of all time, has played well in the tournament so far. On Saturday, Germany cruised past Nigeria, and Norway edged Australia in penalties to advance to the quarterfinals. [ESPN, FiveThirtyEight]