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In our Tuesday news wrap, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called news accounts that a CIA informant was rescued from Russia in 2017 “factually wrong.” Sources had reported the Kremlin mole had been in danger after exposure of Russian interference in the 2016 elections. Also, search teams in the Bahamas discovered more bodies in Hurricane Dorian's wreckage, pushing the death toll to at least 50.
And now to the day's other news.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dismissed news accounts that a CIA informant was rescued from Russia. CNN and The New York Times reported that the Kremlin mole was extracted in 2017. He was said to be in growing danger after exposes of Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
Pompeo insisted today that the reports are wrong, without saying why.
As a former CIA director, I don't talk about things like this very often. It is only the occasions when there's something that I think puts people at risk, or the reporting is so egregious as to create enormous risk to the United States of America, that I even comment in the way that I just did.
And I won't say anything more about it. I know the CIA put out a statement. Suffice to say that the reporting there is factually wrong.
The reports said that the informant worked for the CIA for decades, and eventually gained access to the highest levels of the Kremlin.
Officers in the Bahamas said today that the death toll from Hurricane Dorian has risen to at least 50. Search teams recovered more bodies from the wreckage, largely on Great Abaco Island, and they continued looking today. Evacuations on Abaco are also continuing, as thousands try to get out to Nassau.
The head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has joined the furor over President Trump's claim that Hurricane Dorian threatened Alabama. Neil Jacobs defended NOAA today for criticizing a Birmingham area forecasting office that contradicted Mr. Trump. But he also thanked the forecasters for — quote — "good intent."
The New York Times has reported that U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross had threatened to fire top officials at NOAA over the issue.
In Iraq, at least 31 people were killed in a stampede today, as Shiite pilgrims marked the holy day of Ashura. Officials say a walkway collapsed and touched off chaos. It happened during an annual pilgrimage that drew hundreds of thousands of worshipers. They marked the death of the Prophet Mohammed's grandson Hussein. In addition to the dead, at least 100 people were injured.
The British Parliament was officially suspended today for one month amid the Brexit chaos. Prime Minister Boris Johnson forced the suspension, but, first, lawmakers voted against leaving the European Union without a formal deal. They also opposed calling new elections.
Today, Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn dueled with Johnson at long distance over the elections issue.
No one can trust the word of the prime minister, who is threatening to break the law to force through no-deal. So, a general election is coming, but we won't allow Johnson to dictate the terms.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson:
What a load of nonsense. We were very, very clear that, if people wanted a democratic moment, if they wanted an election, we offered it to the Labor opposition. And, mysteriously, they decided not to go for it. So we're going to get on.
Johnson has vowed to deliver Brexit by the Halloween deadline with or without a deal.
Back in this country, voters in North Carolina's sprawling Ninth Congressional District headed back to the polls today for a redo of a 2018 midterm race. The initial results were thrown out over evidence of fraud on the Republican side. President Trump rallied voters in the district last night, in a race seen as a small bellwether for the 2020 elections.
The percentage of Americans without health insurance rose in 2018 for the first time since Obamacare was passed in 2010. The U.S. Census Bureau says that 27 million people lacked medical coverage, or about 8.5 percent of the population. At the same time, the poverty rate fell to its lowest point since 2001.
California now has two new laws aimed at doctors who write fraudulent medical exemptions from school vaccinations. Governor Gavin Newsom signed the legislation on Monday. The bills passed amid a surge of measles cases this year, and despite emotional protests by hundreds of vaccine opponents.
And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 74 points to close at 26909. The Nasdaq fell three points, and the S&P 500 added one point.
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