It’s Wednesday, June 12, 2019. Let’s start here.
1. ‘Someone who can beat Donald Trump’
Former Vice President Joe Biden and President Donald Trump held each held rallies in Iowa on Tuesday, giving voters an early preview of a potential 2020 matchup.
Joe Biden criticizes Trump for agreeing with Kim Jong Un on Biden criticism.
“I think I’m either low IQ or slow—I don’t know what I am. Slow Joe Biden? Give me a break,” Biden says recounting Trump’s insults. “This is like out of Alice in Wonderland.” https://t.co/jrMQ5TdwJw pic.twitter.com/GrKelvA7V4
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 11, 2019
Biden is leading fellow Dems in the polls, but with 22 others running, ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce tells “Start Here” that some Democratic voters aren’t sold on him as the front-runner.
“Speaking with voters out here,” Bruce reports from Mount Pleasant, Iowa, “there are a lot who still have not made up their mind. Many say they simply are looking for someone who has stability and someone who can beat Donald Trump.”
Kim Jong Un’s assassinated half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, had become an informant for the CIA and met with operatives on several occasions before he was killed two years ago in Malaysia, according to the new book “The Great Successor” by Anna Fifield, Beijing bureau chief for the Washington Post.
“Everyone points the finger at Kim Jong Un — why did he kill his half brother?” ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz says. “If this is in fact true, and he was speaking to the CIA, it would explain quite a few things about why he was offed.”
ABC News has not independently confirmed the claim. The CIA declined to comment.
3. Stewart to Congress: Do your job!
Jon Stewart blasted Congress in emotional testimony on Capitol Hill as he called on lawmakers to fully fund a program to help 9/11 first responders.
“They responded in five seconds,” Stewart said. “They did their jobs — with courage, grace, tenacity, humility. Eighteen years later, do yours!”
Jon Stewart slams Congress over health care for 9/11 first responders: “I’m awfully tired of hearing that it’s a 9/11 New York issue. Al-Qaeda didn’t shout death to Tribeca. They attacked America and these men and women … brought our country back” https://t.co/xevj4ODYD7 pic.twitter.com/vPOSwLnfYr
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) June 12, 2019
The September 11th Victim Compensation Fund is set to run out of money in 2020, and Stewart, who has long advocated for the first responders, wants lawmakers to approve permanent funding, according to ABC News’ Ben Siegel.
“For many people, especially in the House, this is a no-brainer, but we’re expecting some resistance in the Senate, where things get a bit more caught up in the politics as well as the pricetags,” Siegel tells us.
The House Judiciary Committee is set to vote on the program’s funding today.
4. Russian reporter released
Police claimed Ivan Golunov, a reporter for the independent news site, Meduza, had bags of mephedrone and released photos that suggested Golunov had an at-home drug lab. Golunov argued that the drugs were planted on him and that the photos were fabricated.
Hundreds of protesters had participated in demonstrations calling for Golunov’s release. On Tuesday, Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev announced the case was being closed after an analysis found no proof of his alleged crimes.
“What the story shows,” ABC News’ Patrick Reevell reports from Moscow, “is how Russian authorities have been pushed to do something that they didn’t want to do by protests.”
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‘A fundamental right’: Days after Vermont’s governor signed a law supporting abortion rights, Illinois’ governor plans to do the same.
‘Obscene material’: The FBI releases its file on Hugh Hefner.
From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:
What Kevin Durant’s injury means For KD, the Finals and free agency: So it’s tough to say exactly what this means for Durant’s career going forward. But we do know that Durant’s injuries continue to define the entire 2019 NBA playoffs.
Doff your cap:
Roughly a year after Avicii’s death, his friends and collaborators are paying tribute to the the electronic dance music artist by completing his album.
Avicii, born as Tim Bergling, was found dead of an apparent suicide in his hotel room in Muscat, the capital of Oman, April 20, 2018. He was 28.
DJ Aloe Blacc, best known for his and Avicii’s 2013 smash hit, “Wake Me Up,” is one of the collaborators on the album, “TIM.” On the album’s first-released single, Aloe Blacc sings the first first lyric: “Can you hear me? SOS.”
“Tim thought outside the box. He was a creator … he wanted to move people,” Blacc told “Nightline.” “There are so many people that are going through dark times. And you wouldn’t know it because sometimes they can just wear a really good mask. … This moment is an opportunity for all us to reach out to our friends and our loved ones … and say, ‘How are you doing?'”
If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide, don’t hesitate to seek help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) for free, non-judgmental help 24/7.