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News Wrap: Trump says he did not make Comey tapes

June 22, 2017 at 6:45 PM EDT
In the our news wrap Thursday, President Trump clarified via Twitter he did not record conversations with former FBI Director James Comey. Mr. Trump had previously raised the possibility that tapes existed after he fired Comey in May. Also, Gulf Coast states were hit by Tropical Storm “Cindy,” which slogged ashore overnight with heavy rain.
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HARI SREENIVASAN: In the day’s other news: President Trump declared he didn’t record conversations with FBI Director James Comey. He’d raised the possibility that tapes existed after he fired Comey last month. Today, on Twitter, the president said: “I have no idea whether there are tapes or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I didn’t make, and do not have, any such recordings.”

The president also expressed frustration again today about Russia’s hacking of the presidential campaign. He stated on Twitter that the Obama administration should have taken action, since it was still in office at the time. And he charged the whole thing is a hoax pushed by Democrats.

Gulf Coast states took a thrashing today after Tropical Storm Cindy slogged ashore overnight with heavy rain. Flooding was reported from Texas to Florida, and Alabama Governor Kay Ivey warned the danger is not over yet.

GOV. KAY IVEY (R), Alabama: This is not just a coastal issue, for goodness sake. This is about inland as well. So, everybody needs to have heads up and be alert to the rising water that can effect flooding.

HARI SREENIVASAN: The storm has now weakened to a tropical depression, but could bring heavy rain all the way to the Mid-Atlantic region by the weekend.

In Afghanistan, the Taliban set off a powerful car bomb today that killed at least 34 people. It happened in the capital of Helmand Province in the south. The suicide attack targeted Afghan soldiers who were lined up at a bank to receive their paychecks. But officials said most of the dead were civilians.

The Associated Press reports al-Qaida suspects are being systematically tortured in secret prisons across Southern Yemen. An AP investigation found at least 18 sites run by the United Arab Emirates and Yemeni forces. It said 2,000 men have disappeared into the prisons, where they have been beaten with wires and roasted over fires. U.S. officials say they have no knowledge of the abuses.

British officials say testing has found flammable siding on at least seven high-rise buildings since a London apartment tower burned last week; 79 people died in the blaze. Prime Minister Theresa May’s office said today that 600 buildings in the country have similar siding, and all of them need to be tested.

THERESA MAY, Prime Minister, United Kingdom: Landlords have a legal obligation to provide safe buildings, and where they cannot do that, we expect alternative accommodation to be provided. We cannot and will not ask people to live in unsafe homes.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn called for urgent checks on some 4,000 buildings.

Back in this country, the Interior Department says it’s taking grizzly bears in Yellowstone National Park off the endangered species list. They have been protected since 1975, when there were only 136 grizzlies left around Yellowstone. Now there are more than 700. The change could allow for limited hunting of the bears outside the park.

And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 12 points to close at 21397. The Nasdaq rose two points, and the S&P 500 slipped one point.

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