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News Wrap: North Korea releases American detainees

In the news wrap Wednesday, three detainees are on their way home to the U.S. after being held in North Korea. The Korean-Americans were freed ahead of a planned summit between Kim Jong Un and President Trump. Also, a war monitoring group says an airstrike in Syria killed at least 15 people. The targets were weaponry that likely belonged to Iran's Revolutionary Guard, the group said.

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  • William Brangham:

    Three American detainees are on their way home tonight from captivity in North Korea.

    The Korean-Americans were freed today, ahead of a planned summit between Kim Jong-un and President Trump. It came during a visit to Pyongyang by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Pompeo's plane carrying the three men stopped in Tokyo on its way back to the U.S. Pompeo said the men seemed to be in good health.

    Later, at a Cabinet meeting, President Trump said the release was a gesture of goodwill in advance of their summit.

  • President Donald Trump:

    Nobody thought this was going to happen. And I appreciate Kim Jong-un doing this and allowing them to go. I believe that we have — both sides want to negotiate a deal. I think it's going to be very successful deal. I think we have a really good shot at making it successful. But lots of things can happen.

  • William Brangham:

    The president also ruled out the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea as the location for his meeting with Kim.

    Iran's supreme leader today lambasted President Trump for pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused Mr. Trump of telling lies, and he said the president is powerless against Iran. European leaders called for finding ways to keep the nuclear deal alive.

    We will have a full report later in the program.

    In Syria, a war monitoring group says an airstrike overnight killed at least 15 people, including eight Iranians. The group says the targets, near Damascus, were weaponry that likely belonged to Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard. Syrian state media blamed Israel, and showed video of the attack.

    Israel neither confirmed nor denied it, but the Israeli intelligence minister said such attacks should send a warning to Iran.

  • Yisrael Katz (through translator):

    We are not going to conquer Syria. This is not the intention. But there is importance to what we do on the practical level to bring this to Iran's awareness, a clear conclusion. They have nothing to look for in Syria. The price is too high.

  • William Brangham:

    And this evening, air raid sirens sounded in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, along the border with Syria.

    Russia staged its annual World War II victory parade today, with President Vladimir Putin and an array of new weapons. Tanks and other military hardware rolled through Red Square, along with thousands of troops. Warplanes flew overhead, some carrying a hypersonic missile that Putin has described as invincible.

    Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was also there for a meeting with Putin.

    A former CIA case officer is now accused of passing secrets to China, and possibly exposing U.S. informants inside China, which caused one of the worst intelligence failures in recent history.

    Jerry Chun Shing Lee was indicted Tuesday after his arrest in January. He allegedly began selling defense secrets to China in 2010. His attorney says he's innocent.

    President Trump today hailed the results of Tuesday's Republican primaries. In Indiana, businessman Mike Braun won the nomination to challenge Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly in November. In West Virginia, state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey will face Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.

    Morrisey beat former convict Don Blankenship, whom the president had criticized days before the election.

  • Patrick Morrisey, R-W.V.:

    I would also like to recognize President Trump for weighing in, in this race.

    (CHEERING AND APPLAUSE)

  • Patrick Morrisey, R-W.V.:

    Mr. President, if you're watching right now, let me tell you, your tweet was huge.

  • William Brangham:

    And, in Ohio, Richard Cordray secured the Democratic nomination for governor. The former head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will now take on Republican Mike DeWine, who is the state's attorney general.

    Meanwhile, in North Carolina, Republican Congressman Robert Pittenger lost his primary. He's the first incumbent to lose this year.

    NBC News says an internal probe has found no evidence of a culture of sexual harassment. That follows the firing last fall of "Today Show" host Matt Lauer. He was accused of having an inappropriate sexual relationship with another employee. The network says senior management received no complaints against Lauer before late last year.

    And on Wall Street, tech and energy stocks led the broader market higher. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 182 points, the Nasdaq rose 73 points, and the S&P 500 added nearly 26.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour," the nominee for CIA director faces tough questions; the global ramifications of the U.S. withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal; who consumes so-called junk news on both the left and the right; plus, much more.

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