In our news wrap Thursday, a U.S. official said Iran may have killed more than a thousand people in a crackdown on mass protests. Brian Hook, U.S. special representative for Iran, cited reports from intelligence analysis and inside the country; President Trump called the situation “horrible.” Also, Trump appealed to the Supreme Court to shield his financial records from congressional oversight.
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In the day's other news: A federal prosecutor has reportedly undercut claims that an FBI investigation of the 2016 Trump campaign and its alleged ties to Russia was a setup.
The Washington Post and others say that U.S. attorney John Durham found no evidence that U.S. intelligence agencies planted false leads. Attorney General William Barr had hand-picked Durham. A separate review, by the Justice Department's inspector general, has also reportedly found that the FBI probe was justified. It is due out on Monday.
President Trump appealed today to the U.S. Supreme Court to shield his financial records from congressional oversight. U.S. House committees subpoenaed the records from Mr. Trump's accounting firm. The president is also asking the court to keep his tax returns from prosecutors in New York.
The United States charged today that Iran may have killed more than 1,000 people in a crackdown on protests. The special U.S. representative for Iran, Brian Hook, cited reports from inside Iran and intelligence analysis.
At the White House, President Trump met with U.N. Security Council ambassadors and called for international pressure on Iran.
President Donald Trump:
It's a horrible situation. It's something that is — that is going to be a big scandal throughout the world very soon. They're killing a lot of people. And they're arresting thousands of their own citizens in a brutal crackdown in recent weeks because they're protesting.
The president wouldn't confirm or deny reports that he might send thousands more troops to the Middle East to counter Iran.
The U.S. Justice Department is accusing a Russian cyber-gang of stealing at least $100 million from banks and other institutions worldwide. A 10-count indictment today charged two alleged leaders of a group known as Evil Corp. They remain at large, but officials announced a $5 million reward for one of the men. That's the most ever for an accused cyber-criminal.
In France, union workers staged one of their biggest strikes in decades, largely bringing travel to a standstill. Tens of thousands of people turned out in Paris and elsewhere. They protested President Emmanuel Macron's move to standardize more than 40 existing pension plans.
Maya Claude (through translator):
I think the majority of people are against Macron's pensions scheme, which will not lead us anywhere. We will end up with a pension that is equivalent to that of someone beginning their career, even when having worked 40 years. That doesn't make sense.
Some of the Paris demonstrators set fires, and police answered with tear gas. It was unclear how long the strike might last.
A grim report today on the global resurgence of measles. The World Health Organization says that nearly 10 million people were infected last year. More than 140,000 died, most of them young children who had not been vaccinated. Both figures were up sharply from 2017. And the WHO says the numbers are far worse this year. It cites opposition to vaccines as a main factor.
Back in this country, Republican Congressman Tom Graves of Georgia has announced that he will not run for reelection. He said he wants to spend more time with his family. The six-term lawmaker will be the 21st House Republican to retire after the current term of Congress.
On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 28 points to close at 27677. The Nasdaq rose four points, and the S&P 500 also added four.
And the holiday season is officially under way in Washington, with the lighting of the National Christmas Tree. The president and the first lady did the honors this evening in front of thousands of guests and a lineup of musical performers. The annual tradition dates back to 1923.