In our news wrap Friday, President Trump during a news conference dove back into the diplomatic row over Qatar, saying the nation must do more to fight extremism. Also, the president said he “absolutely” supports NATO’s Article 5, a provision that requires alliance members defend one another in the event of an attack, which he had previously neglected to affirm.
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In the day’s other news: President Trump dove back into the diplomatic row over Qatar, where 10,000 U.S. troops are stationed. Saudi Arabia, Egypt and other Arab states have cut ties with the Persian Gulf kingdom.
At his Rose Garden news conference today, Mr. Trump praised the Saudis and said Qatar must do more to fight extremism.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:
The nation of Qatar, unfortunately, has historically been a funder of terrorism at a very high level. The time had come to call on Qatar to end its funding. They have to end that funding and its extremist ideology in terms of funding.
Just an hour earlier, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had taken a very different tack. He urged the Saudis and others to ease what he called a blockade of Qatar. He said it’s hindering U.S. military efforts, including against the Islamic State group.
The president also did today what he had not done at NATO meetings last month. He said he absolutely supports the alliance’s Article 5. That provision requires NATO members to defend one another in the event of an attack. Mr. Trump also called again for member states to spend more on defense.
Iranians paid tribute today to the 17 people killed in Islamic State attacks on Tehran, and their leaders blamed the U.S. and Saudi Arabia. At a mass funeral ceremony, the speaker of Parliament speaker lit into U.S. lawmakers for moving ahead with new sanctions against their country hours after Wednesday’s deadly attacks.
ALI LARIJANI, Speaker of Parliament, Iran (through interpreter):
As the Iranian nation was engaged in conflict with terrorists at the Parliament, the American Senate, with ultimate shamelessness, passed a law against the Iranian nation and in support of terrorists. Doing this proved that America is the great international ISIS.
Meanwhile, Iran’s Intelligence Ministry announced that 41 people have been arrested for suspected links to the attacks.
In Iraq, ISIS took credit for a suicide attack today that killed at least 21 people and wounded dozens more. Officials say the Sunni militants staged the bombing at a crowded market in a mainly Shiite city south of Baghdad.
U.S. Army Private Chelsea Manning said that she wanted to show the human toll of the war in Iraq, and that’s why she leaked thousands of classified documents. Manning spoke in her first interview since being released from military prison last month. She told ABC News that she felt obligated to expose civilian casualties, While serving as an intelligence analyst in Iraq.
We’re getting all this information, and it’s just death, destruction, mayhem. And, eventually, you just stop — I stopped seeing just statistics and information. And I started seeing people.
I have accepted responsibility. No one told me to do this. Nobody directed me to do this. This is me. It’s on me.
The transgender soldier formerly known as Bradley Manning is now appealing her conviction.
Meanwhile, a federal contractor employee charged with leaking classified information will stay in jail until her trial. Reality Winner was denied bond yesterday in Georgia. Prosecutors warned that she might have taken other classified documents.
Newly elected Congressman Greg Gianforte will plead guilty to assaulting a reporter. A Montana prosecutor says that the Republican will make the plea deal Monday to a misdemeanor charge. Gianforte allegedly knocked down a reporter for The Guardian newspaper the day before last month’s special election.
On Wall Street, blue chips rose, but tech stocks sold off. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 89 points to close at 21272, a new record. The Nasdaq fell nearly 114 points, and the S&P 500 slipped two.
And the stage is now set for Japan’s Emperor Akihito to step down. Parliament today adopted a law authorizing the first abdication in 200 years. Akihito has indicated that he wishes to retire, citing his age, 83, and declining health. The law clears the way for Crown Prince Naruhito to ascend to the throne.