1/ As global tensions flare over North Korea, Trump heads to Mar-a-Lago without his top aides. This is Trump’s seventh trip to Mar-a-Lago since taking office. (CNN)
2/ The US is ready to launch a preemptive strike if North Korea is about to test a nuclear weapon. North Korea has warned that a “big event” is near. The threat of a preemptive strike comes on the same day the US announced the use of its “mother of all bombs.” (NBC News)
- North Korea’s vice foreign minister says Trump’s policy is more “vicious and aggressive” than Obama’s. He added Trump’s tweets that the North was “looking for trouble” were making tensions in the region worse. (Associated Press)
3/ North Korea threatens a preemptive strike of its own. The North said it would “hit the US first” with a “merciless retaliatory strike” should there be any signs of a US attack. (The Hill)
4/ China warned that tensions on the Korean Peninsula could get out of control and urged an end to “mutual provocation and threats.” North Korean military issued a statement threatening to attack American military bases in South Korea, warning that it could annihilate those targets “within minutes.” (New York Times)
5/ 36 ISIS fighters killed by “mother of all bombs.” The blast destroyed three underground tunnels as well as weapons and ammunition, but no civilians were hurt. The military previously estimated ISIS had 600 to 800 active fighters in the area. (CNN)
6/ Russia said there is growing evidence that the Syrian chemical attack was staged. Russia says Syrian forces struck a building where terrorists kept the internationally banned chemical. The US says it has images proving the bomb left a crater in a road rather than hitting a building. (Bloomberg)
7/ Scott Pruitt called for an “exit” from the Paris climate agreement. It’s the first time a high-ranking official has explicitly disavowed the agreement endorsed by nearly 200 countries to fight climate change. It would takes three years under the accord’s terms for a party to withdraw, followed by a one-year waiting period — about the same length as Trump’s first term in office. (Washington Post)
8/ The White House won’t release records of its visitors, raising new concerns from transparency advocates. The decision not to voluntarily disclose visitor logs is a break from the policy of Obama’s, which released logs about about three months after visits occurred. Trump has called Obama the “least transparent president.” (Politico)
9/ DeVos pick to head the Civil Rights Office once claimed reverse racism because she couldn’t receive calculus help from a program designed to assist minority students while at Stanford. She is white. (ProPublica)
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