Tuesday morning news: August 14, 2018

President Trump signs National Defense Authorization Act » President Trump signed a $716 billion defense bill Monday to fund the military through 2019.

TRUMP: After years of devastating cuts. We’re now rebuilding our military like we never have before, ever.

The president speaking at Fort Drum in New York where he signed the annual defense authorization act. The bill does not, by itself, fund the military but it sets the stage for appropriations committees to allocate the money.

The bill does boost military pay by 2.6 percent. That’s the largest hike in nine years. It also provides nearly $8 billion for 77 new F-35 fighter jets while barring delivery of F-35s to Turkey amid ongoing disputes with the NATO ally.

But some analysts say it’s not quite the big military buildup the president claims, and it certainly doesn’t give the White House everything it wants. Not included in the authorization bill: money for a new branch of the military, but the president once again made the case for a Space Force, saying America must get the upper hand on its adversaries in space.

TRUMP: I’ve seen things that you don’t even want to see, what they’re doing. They want to jam transmissions, which threaten our battlefield operations and so many other things.

The bill was titled the John S. McCain National Defense Authorization Act in honor of the ailing Arizona senator who chairs the Senate Armed Services Committee. President Trump did not mention McCain in remarks following the signing ceremony.

But the senator issued a statement Monday saying—quote—”I’m humbled that my colleagues in Congress chose to designate this bill in my name.”

FBI fires Peter Strzok » The FBI agent at the center of a firestorm over his anti-Trump text messages is now out of a job. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg reports.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: Peter Strzok’s attorney revealed yesterday that the FBI fired the agent on Friday. The move came months after Strzok exchanged anti-Trump text messages while serving in key roles on the Russia probe and the Clinton email investigation.

Special counsel Robert Mueller removed Strzok from the Russia probe a year ago after learning of the messages.

Strzok’s lawyer, Aitan Goelman, said the FBI Office of Professional Responsibility had recommended a 60-day suspension and a demotion. He said political pressure led the bureau to fire his client. Strzok was defiant at a House hearing in July insisting that his political views never affected his work.  

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

Prosecution rests case in Manafort trial » Prosecutors rested their case against Paul Manafort on Monday. The former Trump campaign chairman is facing bank fraud and tax evasion charges. They are the first criminal charges stemming from Robert Mueller’s Russia probe though Manafort’s alleged crimes happened years before he joined the Trump campaign.

Over 10 days of testimony, prosecutors called two dozen witnesses and painted a picture of a big spender who thought he was above the law. The government says Manafort hid at least $16 million in income in foreign banks between 2010 and 2014.

Manafort says he is innocent on all charges.

Ghazni attack » The Afghan government is fighting the Taliban for control of a strategic city near Kabul after a deadly Taliban attack killed more than a hundred people. WORLD Radio’s Paul Butler has that story.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: Afghan forces have reportedly reclaimed most of the city of Ghazni, after four straight days of fighting.

The Afghan Defense Ministry said Monday that security forces had recaptured 90 percent of the city after the government sent in a thousand additional troops.

Taliban fighters launched a surprise attack last Friday, killing at least 100 members of the Afghan security forces. Between 20 and 30 civilians have also died.

The fighting has blocked access to medical care, and damaged water and electric lines. Officials say the city’s food supplies are also running low.

Ghazni is strategically important because it’s located on the main road linking the capital city of Kabul with southern Afghanistan.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Paul Butler.

Iran says no to negotiating with U.S. » Iran’s supreme leader said Monday his country will not negotiate with the United States.

President Trump has signaled a willingness to reopen talks with Iran after pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal earlier this year.

But Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said—his words—“Negotiations with the U.S. would definitely harm us and they are forbidden.” And he said the U.S. cannot be trusted, and that negotiating with the United States would mean—quote—“giving it an instrument through which it can add to its hostility.”

He also downplayed the impact of U.S. sanctions on Iran’s economy, blaming the country’s monetary crisis on “management problems” within President Hassan Rouhani’s administration.

I’m Kent Covington. Up next, Anna Johansen reports on the persisting violence in Chicago. Marvin Olasky interviews Eric Metaxas. This is The World and Everything in It.

(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster) President Donald Trump signs the $716 billion defense policy bill named for Sen. John McCain at Fort Drum, N.Y., Monday, Aug. 13, 2018. 

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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