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News Wrap: Chattanooga shooter acted alone, says FBI

In our news wrap Wednesday, the FBI reported that the gunman who killed five military service members in Chattanooga, Tennessee, acted alone. Also, House lawmakers attended a classified briefing on the Iran nuclear agreement by Secretary of State John Kerry, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

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    Senior Obama administration officials were on Capitol Hill today to rally support for the Iran nuclear deal. House lawmakers streamed into a secure meeting room for a classified briefing from Secretary of State John Kerry, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz, and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew.

    Reaction so far has been mixed, as Congress begins its 60-day review period.


    I think it’s fair to say there is bipartisan skepticism about whether Iran will meet its commitments under this deal, about the whether administration will hold them to it, and about what happens to all of Iran’s other activities that concern us so much.

  • REP. JIM HIMES (D), Connecticut:

    You can always dream of a better deal, but look at where we were when Iran was a nuclear threshold state before this negotiation began, and consider where the deal puts you in contrast to where we were. And then consider the question that frankly is very, very difficult to answer, which is imagine not doing it and where does that put you?


    Republican House Speaker John Boehner also vowed to do everything possible to stop the nuclear deal from becoming a reality. The House and Senate are expected to vote on the agreement in September.


    The FBI reported that the gunman who killed five U.S. military service members in Chattanooga, Tennessee, last week acted alone. The bureau gave an update today on its investigation into 24-year-old Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez. The special agent in charge, Ed Reinhold, said it was too soon to paint a full picture of Abdulazeez.

  • ED REINHOLD, FBI Special Agent in Charge:

    At this point, it’s too early in the investigation to determine whether or not his — whether or not he had been radicalized. So we are pursuing that as a possibility, but it is too early in the investigation to determine. At this time, we’re treating him as a homegrown violent extremist. We believe he acted on his own that day.


    Reinhold also said preliminary reports indicate all of the victims died from bullets from the same gun.


    The suspect in the deadly shooting rampage at a black church in Charleston, South Carolina, will face federal hate crime charges; 21-year-old Dylann Roof killed nine black worshipers in last month’s attack.

    Today, U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch unveiled the charges in Washington.

  • LORETTA LYNCH, Attorney General:

    We have here a defendant who is alleged to have harbored discriminatory views towards African-Americans, to have sought out an African-American house of worship, one that was particularly noted because of its age and significance, and he also sought out African-American parishioners at worship, implicating several hate crime statues. Racially motivated violence such as this is the original domestic terrorism.


    No decision has been made yet on whether authorities will seek the death penalty.


    There were words of warning today from the trustees who oversee the Social Security system. The Disability Trust Fund will run out of money in late 2016, triggering an automatic 19 percent cut in benefits. The trustees urged Congress to act before that happens in the middle of a presidential campaign. Congress could shift revenue from Social Security’s larger retirement fund, but Republicans are pushing for fundamental changes in the program itself.


    More teenage girls are now using the morning-after pill. A new survey released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that more than one in five teen girls have taken the emergency contraceptive. That’s up from one in 12 a decade ago. The pills are more accessible now that they are available without a prescription.


    In Greece tonight, lawmakers moved toward a crucial late-night vote to reform the country’s banking and judicial systems. The high-stakes vote is required by Greece’s international creditors in order to clear the way for a third round of bailout negotiations. Failure to pass the economic measures could trigger fresh fears about Greece’s future in the Eurozone.


    Chinese dissident Ai Weiwei got his passport back from the Chinese government today. The artist posted a photo to social media showing the passport in his hands. It was confiscated four years ago, when he was detained by authorities for three months, but never charged. Ai has long been outspoken against the ruling Communist Party. The artist plans to attend an exhibition in London this fall.

    The White House is in the final stages of drafting a plan to close the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. White House spokesman Josh Earnest announced that today. He sad the plan would be shared with lawmakers in Congress as soon as it’s finished. Republicans have largely opposed President Obama’s plan to shut it down, arguing that transferring dangerous prisoners to other countries may lead to their eventual freedom.


    Scholars in Britain have discovered the fragments of one of the oldest known copies of the Koran. University of Birmingham researchers said radiocarbon dating indicates the two-page folio is at least 1,370 years old. That suggests they were written within a few years of the founding of Islam.

    And Islam scholar David Thomas said the parchment could also have been made from an animal alive during the Prophet Mohammed’s lifetime.

  • DAVID THOMAS, Islam Scholar:

    The parts of the Koran that are contained in those fragments are very similar indeed to the Koran as we have it today. And so this tends to support the view that the Koran that we now have is more or less very close, indeed, to the Koran as it was brought together.


    The university didn’t originally realize what it had because the pages had been bound with leaves of a similar, but newer Koran manuscript from the late seventh century.


    Stocks turned south on Wall Street today after disappointing tech earnings reports. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 68 points to close at 17851. The Nasdaq fell 36 points and the S&P 500 dropped five.


    American novelist E.L. Doctorow has died. He passed away yesterday in New York from complications of lung cancer. Doctorow was best known for his works of historic fiction like “Ragtime,” “Billy Bathgate,” and “The March.” His critically acclaimed novels would earn him a number of top literary honors, from the National Book Award to the National Humanities Medal. E. L. Doctorow was 84 years old.

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