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News Wrap: FBI says Pensacola gunman tied to al-Qaida

In our news wrap Monday, federal officials say a Saudi gunman who opened fire at a U.S. naval base in Pensacola, Florida, in December had ties to al-Qaida. The shooter killed three sailors before being killed himself. Also, Attorney General William Barr says he does not expect criminal probes of former President Obama or former Vice President Biden, saying concerns are “focused on others.”

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: Federal officials say that a Saudi gunman who opened fire at a U.S. naval base in Pensacola, Florida, last December had ties to al-Qaida.

    The Saudi officer killed three sailors last December, before being killed himself. FBI Director Christopher Wray says the data recovered from his cell phone shows links to al-Qaida's branch in Yemen, known as AQAP.

  • Director Christopher Wray:

    He wasn't just coordinating with them about planning and tactics. He was helping the organization make the most it could out of his murders. And he continued to confer with his AQAP associates right up until the end, the very night before he started shooting.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Director Wray and Attorney General William Barr sharply criticized Apple for not helping to unlock the gunman's smartphone. It took FBI agents four months to break the encryption.

    Attorney General Barr also says that he does not expect criminal probes of former President Obama or former Vice President Biden. President Trump has claimed that they may have committed crimes related to launching the Russia investigation.

    Barr dismissed that claim today, as he discussed U.S. attorney John Durham's review of the investigation.

  • Attorney General William Barr:

    As to President Obama and Vice President Biden, whatever their level of involvement, based on the information I have today, I don't expect Mr. Durham's work will lead to a criminal investigation of either man. Our concern over potential criminality is focused on others.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    President Trump said later that he's surprised that Barr is not planning criminal probes of Obama and Biden.

    Democrats say that the Friday night firing of State Department's inspector general may be linked to a Saudi arms deal.

    Representative Eliot Engel, chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said today that inspector general Steve Linick was investigating the $7 billion deal. President Trump said that he does not know Linick, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wanted him fired.

    We will explore this further later in the program.

    A federal prosecutor who oversaw cases against two Trump allies could be getting a big promotion. It's widely reported that U.S. attorney Tim Shea will take over the Drug Enforcement Administration. Shea helped push a lighter sentence for Roger Stone, a Trump friend and adviser, and for dismissing criminal charges against Michael Flynn, the former national security adviser.

    In Israel, a Jewish extremist was convicted today of murdering an 18-month-old Palestinian boy and his parents. The court found the defendant threw firebombs into the family's West Bank home as they slept in 2015.

    The boy's grandfather welcomed the conviction.

  • Hussein Dawabshe (through translator):

    The trial will not bring my family back. but I don't want there to be more children to go through the trauma that we went through.

    We went through this trauma for five years, a whole year at the hospital, and I don't want another family to go through this. Enough already.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Defense lawyers claimed that police used torture to force a confession, but they offered no evidence.

    Back in this country, voters in Wisconsin have disabilities or belong to a minority filed a federal lawsuit over the upcoming August primary and November general election. They want more poll workers, as well as absentee ballots for all voters, among other things.

    Wisconsin held its presidential primary last month, despite fears of the coronavirus.

    And the year's first named storm in the Atlantic swirled off the coast of North Carolina. Today, the tropical storm named Arthur brought heavy rain and rough surf to the Outer Banks, before turning out to sea. Hurricane season doesn't officially begin until June 1.

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