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News Wrap: Federal prosecutors believe Trump could have been charged with obstruction

In our Monday news wrap, a bipartisan group of more than 370 federal prosecutors signed a statement contending that, based on details from the Mueller report, President Trump would have been charged with obstruction of justice if he were not president. Also, Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen reported to federal prison in New York to begin a three-year sentence.

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  • William Brangham:

    A million plant and animal species are on the edge of extinction. That's according to a new United Nations report out today on biodiversity.

    Scientists attributed the unprecedented threat to the — quote — "relentless pursuit of economic growth." We will have more on the devastating impact human actions are having on nature right after the news summary.

    The U.S. has deployed an aircraft carrier to the Middle East amid reports Iran was preparing to possibly attack U.S. troops in the region. National Security Adviser John Bolton issued a statement Sunday night, saying the U.S. will — quote — "send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests will be met with unrelenting force."

    And today, while in Finland, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. has seen enough evidence to cause concern.

  • Mike Pompeo:

    We have continued to see activity that leads us to believe that there's escalation that may be taking place. So we're taking all the appropriate actions both from a security perspective, and well as our ability to make that sure the president has a wide range of options in the event that something should actually take place.

  • William Brangham:

    We will have more on the U.S. military moves later in the program.

    Back in this country, a bipartisan group of more than 370 federal prosecutors have signed a statement saying that President Trump would have been charged with obstruction of justice if he were not president. Special counsel Robert Mueller declined to charge Mr. Trump with obstruction, but he didn't exonerate him.

    Meanwhile, Attorney General William Barr missed today's deadline to hand over Mueller's full, unredacted report on his Russia investigation. The House Judiciary Committee will vote Wednesday on whether to hold Barr in contempt of Congress.

    President Trump's former personal lawyer Michael Cohen reported to federal prison in New York today. He was sentenced to three years for lying to Congress and for violating campaign finance law by arranging hush money payments for two women who claimed to have had affairs with Mr. Trump.

    Cohen took one final swipe at his former boss as he was swarmed by reporters outside his New York City apartment.

  • Michael Cohen:

    I hope that when I rejoin my family and friends, that the country will be in a place without xenophobia, injustice and lies at the helm of our country. There still remains much to be told, and I look forward to the day that I can share the truth.

  • William Brangham:

    Cohen cooperated with the Mueller probe and with separate ongoing state investigations into the Trump Organization and into spending on the president's inauguration.

    And late today, the Treasury Department denied a request from House Democrats to release President Trump's tax returns. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the request lacked a legitimate legislative purpose.

    Investigators in Russia are trying to piece together what caused a plane to crash-land in Moscow yesterday and burst into flames, killing at least 41 people. Survivors fled for their lives as smoke billowed from the Aeroflot plane. Investigators recovered the jet's flight recorders, but haven't yet been able to pinpoint the cause of the disaster.

  • Svetlana Petrenko (through translator):

    Investigators are looking at different versions of the incident, that the pilot and other staff were underqualified, that the plane was broken, and bad weather conditions.

  • William Brangham:

    Russian media reported that the pilot said the plane lost radio communications after it was struck by lightning.

    And there was a tense calm in Gaza today, after Hamas announced a cease-fire deal with the Israeli government. Violence over the weekend killed nearly 30 people. It was the deadliest fighting since the 2014 war. Some Palestinians began the Muslim holy month of Ramadan among ruins, as families buried some of the 25 who died. Most were civilians. The Israeli government claimed its strikes targeted militants. Palestinian rockets also killed four Israeli civilians.

    Turkey's top election board today voided the victory of an opposition candidate in Istanbul's mayoral election, and ordered a new vote for June 23. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's party had challenged the legitimacy of the election after it narrowly lost. Turkey's main opposition party said today's ruling amounted to — quote — "plain dictatorship."

    On Wall Street today, concerns over an escalation in the U.S. trade war with China pushed stocks lower, a day after President Trump threatened to impose more tariffs on Chinese goods. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 66 points to close at 26248. The Nasdaq fell more than 40 points and the S&P 500 slipped 13.

    And a new royal baby has been born. Meghan, the duchess of Sussex, gave birth to a baby boy early this morning. Well-wishers gathered outside Windsor Castle, holding signs and balloons, and drinking champagne to celebrate the news. Prince Harry told reporters they will share the baby's name in the coming days.

  • Prince Harry:

    It's been the most amazing experience I can ever have possibly imagined. How any woman does what they do is beyond comprehension. But we are both absolutely thrilled and so grateful to all the love and support for everybody out there.

  • William Brangham:

    Their baby is seventh in line to the British throne, and is Queen Elizabeth's eighth great-grandchild.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour": the devastating effects humans may have on up to one million species; a look at the recent military activity involving Iran and North Korea; Amy Walter and Tamara Keith on the race for 2020; and much more.

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