5 things for Friday, June 9: James Comey, UK elections, Hezbollah
Posted June 9
TGIF! Think your week was rough? Couldn't have been as bad as Theresa May's. That's among the 5 things you need to know today to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. You can also get "5 Things You Need to Know Today" delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.
1. James Comey hearing
James Comey's hearing was called a political Super Bowl and it lived up to the hype. The fired FBI director didn't pull any punches when he testified before the Senate intelligence committee. He went in on President Trump, repeatedly calling him a liar and accusing the President of asking him for his personal loyalty. (Trump's personal lawyer said that didn't happen.) Comey said he felt Trump was trying to direct him to drop the Michael Flynn investigation when the President said he had "I hope you can let this go." (Trump's lawyer denies that too.)
He sounded the alarm on Russia, saying he had no doubt they interfered in our election last year and that they'll be coming back for more. And he even revealed that he was the leaker behind the media stories on the memos he took when he met with Trump.
And that was just what went on in the public portion of the hearing. Later on -- in a closed hearing with the senators that allowed him to talk about classified matters -- Comey said Attorney General Jeff Sessions may have had a third, undisclosed meeting with Russia's ambassador, sources tell CNN.
So how did all the various players in this political drama fare? CNN's Chris Cillizza separates the winners from the losers.
2. UK elections
This is most definitely not what Theresa May had in mind. In yet another British election shocker, the Prime Minister and her Conservative party lost the majority in parliament. The Conservatives won the most seats in the election, but not enough to govern without the help of minority parties. The implications of this are ginormous. May -- who called for these early, or snap, elections hoping to increase her party's majority in parliament -- will probably have to resign, after just about a year on the job. And her Brexit plans of a complete severing of ties with the European Union will now have to be revisited.
Two US citizens are accused of living double lives as Hezbollah sleeper agents. Ali Kourani and Samer el Debek were arrested and charged by the Justice Department with providing material support to Islamic Jihad Organization, an offshoot of Hezbollah. The men, who are naturalized citizens, allegedly traveled back and forth between the US and Lebanon for years, attending terrorist training camps. They are also accused of engaging in intelligence and counterintelligence activities in other countries on behalf of Hezbollah, including getting info on security procedures at the Panama Canal. Hezbollah is considered a terror group by the US government.
Japan's emperor is now free to step down. The country's parliament passed a bill that lets Emperor Akihito to abdicate. Akihito, 83, had been wanting to resign his post because he was concerned his age was affecting his ability to serve. But Japanese imperial law doesn't allow emperors to quit, and none has done so in 200 years. So parliament passed a bill that only applies to Akihito. The law also includes a resolution that might one day let female royalty who marry commoners to keep their titles. Current imperial law forces any princess -- like Princess Mako, engaged to a law firm worker -- who marries a common man to rescind their royal rights.
5. Opioid epidemic
The FDA wants a powerful opioid yanked off the market. It has asked drugmaker Endo Pharmaceuticals to remove painkiller Opana ER. Why? Because of the opioid epidemic that's raging in some parts of the country. It's the first time the FDA's ever asked for an opioid to be pulled because of abuse concerns. Opana ER is twice as powerful as OxyContin and was the drug of choice for many addicts during an HIV outbreak two years ago in Indiana. Endo is reviewing the FDA's request. Opioid overdoses killed more than 33,000 people in 2015.
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Manspreading is always rude, and now it's a no-no on public buses in Madrid.
Diamond in the rough
A ring bought for $13 at what was essentially a flea market sold for more than $840,000 at auction. Not a bad return on investment.
Thanks for the tip
If you're an Uber driver and have to drive a customer 500 miles, it helps when that customer is an NFL player who can give you a $300 tip.
The Cleveland Cavs are (probably) going to lose the NBA Finals and they may be losing King James too. Word is he's headed to the Lakers or Clippers.
In North Carolina, a rainbow-drenched float is fine for the Pride parade -- unless it supports Donald Trump.
And finally ...
Awww! Mom starts singing a song and baby girl is completely mesmerized. (Click to view)