Friday morning news: May 25, 2018

North Korea react and next steps » World leaders are scrambling to figure out what comes next after President Trump called off his planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. South Korea’s government seemed surprised by the move and UN Secretary-General António Guterres said it “deeply concerned” him.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said for now the U.S. government will maintain sanctions and keep “maximum pressure” on North Korea and it expects other nations to do the same.

POMPEO: I met with the Chinese foreign minister yesterday afternoon, and he ensured me that they would continue to abide by all the UN Security Council resolutions relating to this.

President Trump on Thursday canceled the summit over—his words—“tremendous anger and open hostility” in Pyongyang’s latest statement.

On Wednesday the North Korean regime once again threatened nuclear war, saying the United States will—quote—“meet us at a meeting room or encounter us at nuclear-to-nuclear showdown.” That, the same day North Korean officials brought select journalists to a site where they claimed to destroy their only nuclear test site.

North Korean officials had reportedly failed to show up for prep meetings ahead of the June 12th summit.

President Trump called the cancellation a “tremendous setback” for North Korea and the world, but left the door open for future talks:

TRUMP: If and when Kim Jong Un chooses to engage in constructive dialogue and actions, I am waiting.

Trump added that the U.S. military stands ready to act “if necessary.”

Lawmakers get briefing on Russia probe » Lawmakers met with intelligence officials in two separate classified briefings Thursday about the Justice Department’s Russia probe. The meetings addressed what President Trump is calling “spygate”—the FBI’s use of a confidential informant to get information from his 2016 presidential campaign.

The first meeting was at the request of the White House. It included only Republicans. But after a Democrats complained, a second meeting was set up including House and Senate leaders from both parties.

After that meeting, the top Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, Adam Schiff told reporters:

SCHIFF: Nothing we heard today changed our view that there is no evidence to support any allegation that the FBI or any intelligence agency placed a spy in the Trump campaign or otherwise failed to follow appropriate procedures and protocols.

The president began calling for an investigation after The New York Times reported last week that an FBI source had contact with two Trump campaign advisers before the election.

Trump posthumous pardons black boxing champ » President Trump has granted a rare posthumous pardon to boxing’s first black heavyweight champion. The move clears Jack Johnson’s name more than 100 years after what many saw as a racially charged conviction.

The president signed the pardon in the Oval Office joined by WBC heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder and retired champ Lennox Lewis, who Trump said pushed for Jackson’s pardon.  

TRUMP: He overcame these difficult circumstances to reach the heights of boxing and the boxing world and inspired generations with his tenacity and a very independent spirit.

Jack Johnson was convicted in 1913 by an all-white jury for violating the Mann Act for traveling with his white girlfriend. That law made it illegal to transport women across state lines for “immoral” purposes.

Senators call for action against Turkey » A pair of U.S. senators are working to put pressure on Turkey over its imprisonment of American pastor Andrew Brunson.

New Hampshire’s Jean Shaheen, a Democrat, and Republican James Lankford of Oklahoma want to block the sale of American fighter jets to Turkey until its government releases Brunson.

SHAHEEN: He’s basically being held hostage by President Erdogan, and Erdogan has been so bold as to say I will trade you your pastor for my pastor, meaning Fethullah Gülen.

Shaheen called his jailing a “blatant attempt to blackmail the United States.”

Brunson has been a missionary in Turkey for more than two decades. The Turkish government said he conspired against President Erdogan in an attempted coup. The U.S. State Department is convinced he’s innocent.

Harvey Weinstein facing arrest » Law enforcement officials say Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein is expected to surrender to authorities in New York this morning. He’s facing criminal charges tied to allegations of sexual assault.

The officials say the charges in New York are related to a former actress, Lucia Evans, who said Weinstein assaulted her in his offices in 2004.

Morgan Freeman accused of sexual misconduct » Meantime, another Hollywood figure is facing accusations of sexual misconduct. CNN reports eight women allege that Oscar-winning actor Morgan Freeman made frequent comments about their bodies, or would stare at them in ways that made them uncomfortable. Two people cited unwanted touching.

At least one incident was caught on tape. In an interview last year to promote a new film, reporter Chloe Melas spoke with Freeman alongside his co-stars.

MELAS: Right when I walked into the room, he began making sexually suggestive comments to me.

Melas was six months pregnant at the time, and when the conversation turned to her pregnancy, Freeman appeared to be staring intently at her body when he made this remark:   

FREEMAN: Boy do I wish I was there. 

His co-stars Alan Arkin and Michael Cain glanced at Freeman, visibly shocked by the comment.

Morgan Freeman’s publicist released a statement Thursday responding to the accusations, saying—quote—“I apologize to anyone who felt uncomfortable or disrespected — That was never my intent.”

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: Culture Friday with Trevin Wax. This is The World and Everything in It.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci) President Donald Trump speaks about North Korea before signing the “Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act,” in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Thursday, May 24, 2018, in Washington.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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