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5 things for Friday, June 2: Paris climate agreement, Philippines attack, national spelling bee
"We're getting out." And with that, President Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate accord. During the announcement in the Rose Garden, Trump said the pact hurts American workers and puts "draconian" financial burdens on the US. He said he's open to renegotiating the agreement to try to score a better deal.
He's fulfilling one of his biggest campaign promises, but the blowback has been intense. Political foes and CEOs blasted the decision. CNN's David Gergen said it was "one of the most shameful acts" in the nation's history. The President was accused of turning America's back on the world. Scientists and activists worry about the long-term effects on the planet.
But CNN's Chris Cillizza says Trump's decision fits in with what White House chief strategist Steve Bannon thinks is Trump's best path to reelection -- keep his conservative base happy and then figure out the rest later.
The lengthy process to get out of the accord won't conclude until November 2020 (that's correct, right around the election), so that ensures we'll be talking about this one during the next presidential campaign.
Thirty-five people are dead after an attack at a casino in a resort in Manila. But authorities in the Philippines aren't calling it a terrorist attack. A lone gunman went into the casino area of Resort World Manila firing shots and setting gambling tables on fire. Most of the victims weren't shot though; they died of suffocation while hiding in a bathroom. The gunman committed suicide. We don't know who he is but police say he's a foreigner. So if this wasn't a terrorist attack, what was it? The theory is this may have been a robbery, because the gunman tooks millions in gaming chips and stuffed them in a backpack.
So we now have a date for when fired-FBI Director James Comey will testify. Comey will appear before the Senate intelligence committee at 10 a.m. ET on June 8. He's expected to talk about his conversations with President Trump and allegations that the President told him to stop his investigation into ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn's alleged ties to Russians. It will most definitely be a morning of must-see-TV.
In other Russia-related news, letters obtained by CNN reveal that two Democratic senators had asked for an FBI perjury investigation of Attorney General Jeff Sessions because they thought he lied during his confirmation hearing about meeting with Russia's ambassador. The senators have yet to hear back from the FBI.
The House intelligence committee's been busy too. It's been issuing subpoenas, but not all of them related to Russia. Three subpoenas have been issued seeking information on the "unmasking" -- by three Obama administration officials -- of the names of Trump transition aides caught on US-monitored lines talking with foreign officials.
And guess who's talking about Russia and the 2016 elections? Russian President Vladimir Putin. He says, yeah, some Russians may have indeed meddled in the election, but they weren't working for the government. Putin says they were just "patriotic hackers" doing their part for the motherland.
President Trump wants to take the fight for his travel ban to the Supreme Court. In court filings, the Trump administration asked the high court to let the proposed ban -- which would block travelers from six Muslim-majority countries from entering the US -- go into effect. The travel ban's taken it on the chin in the lower courts, where judges have ruled for a nationwide halt to it. The justices will likely ask for a response from the ban's challengers, so it's not certain when the Supremes will take action on this. Team Trump has argued the ban is necessary for national security, but critics have said it's just discrimination against Muslims.
Send all of your spelling questions to Ananya Vinay. The 12-year-old from Fresno, California won the Scripps National Spelling Bee. She outlasted 291 other kids (and several rounds against runner-up Rohan Rajeev) to lay her hands on the trophy and the $40,000 grand prize. So what was the winning word? "Marocain," a dress fabric made with a warp of silk or rayon and a filling of other yarns.
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