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President Donald Trump on Monday said he “never” worked Russia, after an explosive report that the FBI opened a probe into whether the president had fallen under the Kremlin’s influence.

Trump also blasted a reporter for asking about possible Russian influence over him, saying it was a “disgrace” that he was questioned about such a claim.

“I never worked for Russia,” Trump told reporters before boarding a helicopter on the south lawn of the White House.

“And you know that answer better than anybody,” Trump said. “Not only did I never work for Russia, I think it’s a disgrace that you even asked that question because it’s a whole big fat hoax.”

“It’s just a hoax.”

The New York Times, citing sources, reported Friday that after Trump fired FBI Director James Comey in 2017, law enforcement officials launched an investigation about “whether he had been working on behalf of Russia against American interests.”

The probe reportedly was sparked by concerns that Trump fired Comey to quash the FBI’s ongoing investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted: “Wow, just learned in the Failing New York Times that the corrupt former leaders of the FBI, almost all fired or forced to leave the agency for some very bad reasons, opened up an investigation on me, for no reason & with no proof, after I fired Lyin’ James Comey, a total sleaze!”

This story is developing. Please check back for updates.

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US blames Iran for the tanker attacks. Here’s what the Navy could do



The war of words between the U.S. and Iran took a dangerous turn after two ships were attacked in the Gulf of Oman. One of the tankers was operated by a Japanese company.

It was hit as Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe met with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rhouhani.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo put the blame for the attack squarely on Iran Thursday. “It was not an accident that the Japanese tanker was attacked” said Alireza Nader, who heads the New Iran Foundation, a Washington-based think-tank. He said “this was a very blunt warning. Iran is saying to the world we are able to disrupt the world’s oil markets and we’re going to do it.”

But not everyone is convinced. “You have to fully understand what happened before you start shooting” said Mark Cancian, a defense expert with Center for Strategic and International Studies and a long time colonel in the Marines with decades of operational knowledge of naval combat.

Cancian said, “The Department of Defense will be reluctant to retaliate until they are certain what happened and who fired on whom, and why.”

The U.S. has been beefing up naval and air power, capable of striking Iranian forces in the Persian Gulf over the last month after the White House said it had information about possible future attacks against American interests. The Pentagon would not say Thursday whether there were plans to speed the build-up.

File photo of the USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier, which is currently enroute to Persian Gulf.

Source: U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Billy Ho | Flickr

Nader and Cancian both believe it’s possible Iranian trained and funded Houthi rebels, who are mired in a civil war in Yemen, may be to blame. If that’s the case, “the U.S. will not want to get involved in a shooting war over Yemen” according to Cancian.

It will likely take days, weeks or even months for the military to go through the forensics needed to find out exactly who is behind the attack. But if it is determined to be Iran, Cancian believes the U.S. forces in the area will make quick work of Iran’s navy. “The U.S. has assets designed to take on Russia and China. Iran’s ships are very exposed. I’d expect the U.S. would be able to sink Iran’s navy in about two days.”

There are, however, problems for military planners. Iran has invested heavily in a fleet of small speed boats that are capable of overwhelming bigger U.S. ships. Military planners call this a “first minute threat.”

“Once the shooting starts,” said Cancian, “those smaller boats will be the first target of the U.S. Navy.”

Iran, according to Nader, is under increasing pressure due to a new wave of American sanctions. “The regime is desperate because the economy is being choked off,” said Nader.

He added, “Khamenei and Iranian officials did not realize how hard sanctions would hurt oil, petrochemicals, steel and minerals, the core of Iran’s economy.”

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during his meeting with students in Tehran, Iran on October 18, 2017.

Iranian Leader’s Press Office – Handout | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

This is the second time in a month Iran is being blamed for attacking international shipping. Last month, four ships were victims of limpet mines off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. Limpet mines are magnetic and are often attached to a ship by an underwater attack team.

While it’s too early to tell, there is speculation similar mines may have been used in this latest attack, after being attached to the tankers while docked.

Fire and smoke billow from the Norwegian owned Front Altair tanker, which was said to have been attacked in the Gulf of Oman.

ISNA | AFP | Getty Images

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‘It doesn’t matter’ if Chinese President Xi shows up to G-20



U.S. President Donald Trump listens to a question on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Monday, June 10, 2019.

Andrew Harrer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

President Donald Trump on Friday appeared to downplay expectations about a possible meeting with Xi Jinping at the G-20 summit later this month, saying “it doesn’t matter” if the Chinese president shows up or not.

“If he shows up, good, if he doesn’t – in the meantime, we’re taking in billions of dollars a month [in tariffs] from China,” Trump said in a sprawling, 50-minute interview on Fox News’ “Fox & Friends” after a host noted that China had not committed to show up to the summit.

Trump’s remarks Friday morning seemed to clash with comments he made just a few days earlier on CNBC.

In that interview Monday morning, the president vowed to immediately slap tariffs on an additional $300 billion worth of Chinese imports if Xi didn’t attend the G-20 summit, which is scheduled for June 28-29 in Osaka, Japan.

Read more: Trump: If Iran closes the Strait of Hormuz, ‘it’s not going to be closed for long’

Neither the White House nor the Council of Economic Advisors immediately responded to CNBC’s requests for comment on the president’s remarks.

Tariffs, which are taxes on imports, are typically paid by the entities that import the shipments. Tariff defenders, including White House trade advisor and China hawk Peter Navarro, argue that the exporting companies are the ones punished.

“So our people are not paying – you know there’s this big thing about tariffs, ‘Oh, our people pay’ — it’s a lot of nonsense. You know what happens, really? Companies move back,” Trump told Fox on Friday.

In May, Trump increased tariffs on Chinese imports by $200 billion after trade negotiations between the two economic superpowers fell apart.

The possible G-20 meeting was seen by current and former Trump administration officials as a high-stakes stepping stone on the path toward regaining the ground lost with China and eventually securing a deal.

“There won’t be a deal at the G-20,” said Clete Willems, a former top Trump trade advisor, in an interview Tuesday with CNBC’s Kayla Tausche. But a Trump-Xi meeting at the summit could “catalyze a productive period of negotiations where the deal closes.”

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Toronto Raptors beat Golden State Warriors to win first NBA title



Toronto Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (7) kisses the trophy after the Toronto Raptors beat the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals, Game 6 at Oracle Arena.

Rick Madonik | Toronto Star | Getty Images

The Toronto Raptors delivered Canada its first NBA title with a 114-110 victory over the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors on Thursday that set off a country-wide celebration.

With a nation hanging on their every shot, Canada’s only NBA team put the finishing touches to a remarkable 4-2 series upset that denied the Warriors a fourth championship in five years.

“I can’t really think right now, this is crazy. This is awesome man,” said Toronto guard Kyle Lowry. “Toronto! Canada! We brought it home baby! We brought it home!”

When the final buzzer sounded, jubilant Raptors fans flooded the streets of downtown Toronto for a night of celebration not seen in the city since Major League Baseball’s Toronto Blue Jays last won a World Series title in 1993.

Toronto forward Kawhi Leonard, who arrived in a blockbuster trade with the San Antonio Spurs last July, was named the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player.

“Last summer I was going through a lot. I had a great support system, I just kept working hard, working hard and had my mind set on this goal right here,” said Leonard, who last season was limited to nine games due to a quadriceps injury.

“I came to a team, a new coach, and that mindset was the same as mine. This is what I play basketball for, this is what I work out for all summer, during the season and I’m happy that my hard work paid off.”

Kyle Lowry and Pascal Siakam each had 26 points for Toronto while sharp-shooting Warriors guard Klay Thompson, who left the game with an injury in the third quarter, had 30 points.

Despite playing against a more playoff-seasoned opponent, the Raptors proved unflappable throughout the series and whenever the Warriors looked set to seize momentum Toronto would use some smart passes and precise shooting to maintain control.

The Warriors, who lost Kevin Durant to a ruptured Achilles in Game Five, were dealt another crushing blow late in the third quarter of a tight game when Thompson came down awkwardly after a shot attempt.

Thompson, who was fouled on the play, was in obvious pain and headed toward the locker room but suddenly reappeared to shoot his free throws, which if he did not shoot would have made him ineligible to come back later in the game.

But after making both free throws Thompson went to the Warriors locker room and was later seen walking on crutches.

The loss sends the Warriors into an offseason of uncertainty given some of their top players, including Durant and Thompson, are eligible to become free agents.

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