ISIS leader releases tape » A man claiming to be ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi has released a new recording.
AUDIO: [Clip from recording]
U.S. military officials say they can’t confirm it’s really him.
This is the first recording attributed to al-Baghdadi in nearly a year. Last year, Russian officials claimed they killed him in an airstrike on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Raqqa. U.S. officials later disputed that claim, saying they believed al-Baghdadi was still alive.
The 54-minute recording urges the group’s followers to continue fighting its enemies. It also claims, quote— “America is going through the worst time in its entire existence.” Specific mentions of the U.S. spat with Turkey over pastor Andrew Brunson suggest the speaker recorded his message within the last month.
Manafort juror: Lone holdout blocked full conviction » A juror in the Paul Manafort trial is offering insight into the verdict handed down earlier this week. Paula Duncan is a self-described Trump supporter.
DUNCAN: We didn’t want it to be hung, so we tried for an extended period of time to convince her. But in the end, she held out, and that’s why we have 10 counts that did not get a verdict.
Duncan told Fox News in an exclusive interview she didn’t want the president’s former campaign manager to be guilty. But she considered the evidence against Manafort, quote— “overwhelming.” One juror disagreed, and that lone hold-out led the judge to throw out 10 of the counts causing the deadlock. Jurors found Manafort guilty on eight counts of tax and bank fraud.
Duncan insisted she and fellow jurors did their due diligence. She noted they agreed to throw out information from Rick Gates—who testified against his former business associate—and focus instead on documents presented by prosecutors.
Hurricane Lane triggers flooding, landslides in Hawaii » Hurricane Lane is soaking Hawaii, with no immediate end in sight. The storm, expected to decrease in strength over the next few days, will not make landfall on the islands. But NOAA meteorologist Steve Goldstein warned that doesn’t mean it won’t leave a mark.
GOLDSTEIN: There’ll be a lot of moisture over the Hawaiian islands for the next several days. 10-20 inches of rainfall is forecast, and over 30 inches of rain is possible.
Lane dumped 12 inches of rain on Hawaii’s Big Island Thursday, and residents are bracing for a storm surge that could top four feet. FEMA administrator Brock Long urged residents to heed all official warnings.
LONG: We’re extremely concerned about the potentials for inland flooding, landslides occurring, and damage to the transportation and communications infrastructure. And we are taking all the precautions that we can here at FEMA to help our state and local partners in Hawaii preposition and ready to support all life safety and life-sustaining actions that may be needed as this storm approaches.
Officials have opened shelters on Big Island, Maui, Molokai, and Lanai. But because of limited space, emergency managers are asking residents outside flood zones to shelter in place.
Reality Winner gets 5-year sentence » A former government contractor who pleaded guilty in June to transmitting national security information will spend five years in jail. Prosecutors say that’s the longest sentence ever imposed for leaking classified information to the media.
U.S. Attorney Bobby Christine called 26-year-old Reality Winner “the quintessential example of an insider threat.”
CHRISTINE: She knowingly and intentionally betrayed the trust of her colleagues and her country. Make no mistake, this was not a victimless crime. Winner’s purposeful violation put our nation’s security at risk.
Winner admitted hiding a classified report in her pantyhose in June 2017 to sneak it out of the National Security Agency office in Augusta, Georgia, where she worked. She sent it to an online media outlet. Although officials never named the outlet, The Intercept reported on a secret NSA document the day of Winner’s arrest. The document detailed Russian government attempts to hack voting software and election officials’ accounts.
MSU gymnastics coach indicted » Prosecutors on Thursday charged former Michigan State University gymnastics coach Kathie Klages with lying to investigators in the Larry Nassar case. The indictment doesn’t specify what Klages allegedly lied about, but she previously denied claims she knew of abuse accusations against Nassar dating back to 1997.
Nassar was a sports doctor who worked with gymnasts and other athletes. He was convicted last year of molesting many of them and sentenced to life in prison.
Klages is the third person charged in the fallout from the Nassar case. She faces up to four years in prison if convicted. Michigan State suspended her last year for defending Nassar.
I’m Paul Butler. Straight ahead: What’s really behind the nation’s terrible murder rate? And your listener feedback — lots of it! This is The World and Everything in It.