Wednesday morning news: May 15, 2019

Sec. Pompeo meets with Russian foreign minister in Sochi » Secretary of State Mike Pompeo landed in Sochi on Tuesday for meetings with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

Pompeo said while the two countries are at odds on a great many things—quote—“It’s not destined that we’re adversaries on every issue.”

POMPEO: We talked about some of the regional conflicts and terrorism. I think there are spaces where we can get our teams and begin to build out a common set of understandings. 

Tensions with Iran topped the list of topics they discussed. Moscow has criticized the U.S. for backing out of the Iran nuclear deal. It insists the U.S. policy of applying maximum pressure to Iran won’t work. But Lavrov said Russia shares the end goal of preventing a nuclear-armed Iran.

The U.S. recently deployed an aircraft carrier group the the Middle East amid Iranian threats. But Pompeo told reporters in Russia that while the U.S. will defend its interests, it isn’t looking for a fight.

POMPEO: We fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran. 

President Trump refutes report of possible large troop deployment » And President Trump on Tuesday refuted a New York Times report that the White House is reviewing plans against Iran. The newspaper claimed those plans could include sending more than 100,000 troops to the Middle East.

TRUMP: Would I do that? Absolutely. But we have not planned for that. Hopefully, we’re not going to have to plan for that.

He added that if the U.S. were to plan action against Iran, he would send a lot more troops than that.

Saudi Arabia says Houthi drone attack damaged pipeline » Meantime, against the backdrop of rising tensions with Iran, oil prices rose again on Tuesday. Benchmark Brent crude now trading over $71 a barrel.

That after a coordinated drone attack damaged an oil pipeline that runs across Saudi Arabia. A short time later, Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility.

The attack followed reports of sabotage against oil tankers in the Persian Gulf off the coast of the United Arab Emirates on Sunday.

Barr appoints US attorney to investigate Russia probe » Attorney General William Barr has reportedly appointed a U.S. attorney to investigate how and why the Russia probe began. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: Several media outlets cited sources naming John Durham as Barr’s choice to head the inquiry. He’s the U.S. attorney in Connecticut.

Durham has a reputation for being politically neutral in his work. Ahead of his 2017 confirmation vote, Democratic Senators Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal praised him as a “fierce and fair prosecutor.”

Durham is well known for investigating corruption within law enforcement, including the FBI’s relationship with Boston crime boss James “Whitey” Bulger.

In the Russia probe inquiry, Durham will focus on whether law enforcement and other government officials followed the law while gathering intelligence.

Separately, the Justice Department’s inspector general is still investigating the FBI’s handling of the probe. Congressional Republicans plan to investigate it as well.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.  


Comedian Tim Conway dies at 85 » Actor and comedian Tim Conway died Tuesday at the age of 85. He was best known for his Emmy Award–winning work on The Carol Burnett Show in the 1970s.

AUDIO: Why you trying [SIC] lock the door? You told me to. If I told you to jump out the window, would you do that? No? That’s too bad, I had some hope for that. 

Conway also won Emmys for guest appearances on the TV show Coach in 1996 and 30 Rock in 2008.

His career on the big screen included roles in The Apple Dumpling Gang, The Shaggy D.A., and Cannonball Run II.

He later starred alongside Don Knotts in an animated Christian series for children. He was the voice of Hermie the caterpillar in Max Lucado’s Hermie and Friends.

Conway died at a care facility in Los Angeles from a disorder that causes excess fluid on the brain. His wife, Charlene, and daughter, Jackie, were at his side.

(AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin, Pool) U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov during their talks in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi, southern Russia, Tuesday, May 14, 2019. 

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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