5 things for June 14: Russia probe, interest rates, North Korea, migrants, World Cup
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1. Russia investigation
President Trump's legal team, prepping for a high-stakes meeting with special counsel Robert Mueller, talked with its client as he flew back from the North Korea summit. The team is gaming out the next move as it gets ready for a potential showdown with Mueller over the President's willingness to answer his questions about the Russia investigation. The President still entertains the possibility of sitting down with Mueller, but most of his legal team remains skeptical, multiple sources tell CNN. If Trump refuses an interview with Mueller, he could be subpoenaed, and the resulting fight over that could drag out the Russia investigation for another "nine to 15 months."
Meanwhile, Trump's personal attorney, Michael Cohen, has split with his legal team. It could signal a shift in strategy as criminal charges could become more likely as investigators sift through his financial dealings, including the payment he made to porn star Stormy Daniels on Trump's behalf before the election.
2. Interest rates
The red-hot economy shows no sign of cooling down, so the Federal Reserve feels comfortable enough to raise rates. The Fed raised the federal funds rate -- which helps determine rates for mortgages, credit cards and other borrowing -- a quarter of a percentage point to a range of 1.75% to 2%. It's the second rate hike for the year, and it won't be the last. Two more rate increases are expected this year, as the Fed tries to stay ahead of inflation, which has crept up a bit as of late. Wall Street, of course, didn't like the hike; the Dow fell 119 points.
3. North Korea
There's a dispute between Washington and Pyongyang over sanctions. North Korean state media said the US would start easing up on sanctions as the nation made progress on getting rid of its nukes. Not so, says Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who said there will be no sanctions relief for the North while it still has nuclear weapons.
Meantime, President Trump was still taking a victory lap after returning from his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, tweeting: "There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea," and we could all "sleep well tonight." But lots of folks are disputing that notion, since the Trump-Kim sit-down produced no verifiable proof that the rogue regime will discontinue its nuclear program. And the White House is expected, as soon as today, to formally call off military drills with South Korea, one of the more shocking results of the summit.
4. Migrant crisis
Remember those 630 migrants left stranded in the Mediterranean after Italy and Malta refused to let them in? Well, now they're on an 800-mile journey to Spain, after officials there agreed to accept them. The migrants, now on three ships, are headed to Valencia. Once there, they'll be given a 15-day permit to stay, during which they can start the asylum process. Their saga has become a diplomatic hot potato in Europe, where anti-immigrant sentiment and strained resources have butted up against migrants arriving by the thousands.
5. World Cup
Soccer fans, rejoice! The World Cup starts today, and there are so many intriguing story lines, both on and off the pitch: Germany's trying to be the first repeat winner since the 1960s. This may be Cristiano Ronaldo's and Lionel Messi's last, best chance to win the one major title that has evaded them. The US is watching from home, while host country Russia is the tourney's most controversial site in decades.
But wait, there's more! If you don't know whom to root for since your country's not in it (we're looking at you, Americans) this handy guide is a must-read. And it's never too early to start dreaming about future World Cups, now that we know the US, Mexico and Canada will host the event in 2026.
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