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National Govt & Politics
The Latest: Dennis Rodman hails planned Trump-Kim meeting

The Latest: Dennis Rodman hails planned Trump-Kim meeting

The Latest: Dennis Rodman hails planned Trump-Kim meeting
Photo Credit: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik
South Korean national security director Chung Eui-yong, center, speaks to reporters at the White House in Washington, Thursday, March 8, 2018, as intelligence chief Suh Hoon, left and Cho Yoon-je, the South Korea ambassador to United States, listen. President Donald Trump has accepted an offer of a summit from the North Korean leader and will meet with Kim Jong Un by May, Chung said in a remarkable turnaround in relations between two historic adversaries. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The Latest: Dennis Rodman hails planned Trump-Kim meeting

The Latest on the United States, North Korea and South Korea (all times local):

10:15 p.m.

Former NBA star Dennis Rodman, who has traveled several times to North Korea and is one of the few Americans to have met its leader, is praising President Donald Trump for planning a summit with Kim Jong Un.

Rodman tells The Associated Press he looks forward to returning to the pariah nation for "basketball diplomacy" in the coming months.

He says: "Well done, President Trump. You're on the way to a historical meeting no U.S. president has ever done."

Rodman adds, "Please send my regards to Marshal Kim Jong Un and his family."

Rodman was speaking by phone soon after the planned summit was announced in Washington — a major surprise after a year of rising tensions over North Korea's nuclear weapons.

Rodman met Kim in 2013 and 2014.


8:55 p.m.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee chairman says North Korea's desire to talk with President Donald Trump shows that sanctions are "starting to work."

Republican Rep. Ed Royce of California says the administration can "pursue more diplomacy, as we keep applying pressure."

The committee was not briefed ahead of the announcement.

Some members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee are skeptical.

Republican Cory Gardner of Colorado says the "price of admission" for Trump and Kim Jong Un meeting must be "complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."

Democrat Ed Markey of Massachusetts says Trump should treat it "as the beginning of a long diplomatic process" — avoiding "unscripted" remarks that could derail it.


8:40 p.m.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has spoken with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe about President Donald Trump's decision to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Undersecretary of State Steve Goldstein says Tillerson spoke to both Abe and Trump about the decision before it was announced publicly at the White House.

Tillerson is in Ethiopia, where the surprise announcement came in the middle of the night. Only hours before, Tillerson had said the U.S. was a "long ways from negotiations" with the North and the State Department said the U.S. was not going to schedule talks "at this point."

But Goldstein says Tillerson is "a very careful speaker. He knew exactly what he was saying today."

Goldstein says the meeting "shows that the maximum pressure campaign is working."


8:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump says "Great progress" is being made, but sanctions on North Korea will remain in place as he prepares for what would be the first-ever meeting between the two countries' leaders.

Trump is on Twitter after South Koreans broke the news that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wanted to meet with him. Trump says Kim "talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze."

He also says North Korea has agreed to stop testing missiles. The messages were conveyed by a South Korean delegation that visited the White House Thursday.

Trump adds, "Meeting being planned!"


8:15 p.m.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (shin-zoh AH'-bay) says he plans to visit the U.S. to hold talks with President Donald Trump in April.

He told reporters in Tokyo on Friday morning that he had spoken with Trump on the phone, and they had agreed to continue putting maximum pressure on North Korea until it takes concrete steps toward giving up its nuclear weapons program.

Abe says there is no change in that position.

His remarks came after Trump agreed to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jung Un by May to negotiate an end to its nuclear weapons program.


7:45 p.m.

The White House says President Donald Trump's meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will be held "at a place and time to be determined."

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders released a statement after a South Korean official broke the stunning news. Sanders says Trump "will accept the invitation to meet with" Kim.

She also says Trump "greatly appreciates the nice words of the South Korean delegation" and President Moon Jae-in

She adds that the U.S. looks "forward to the denuclearization of North Korea," but says all sanctions will remain in place in the meantime.


7:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump's hastily reached decision to accept Kim Jong Un's invitation for a meeting sent White House staff scrambling to prepare a public announcement.

Trump appeared in the White House briefing room shortly after 5 p.m. to tease the news, saying the South Korean government would make a "statement" two hours later.

Trump had wanted the statement to come from the White House press room, but aides moved it outside the West Wing, enabling a foreign official to break the historic news.

White House aides say they were unable to immediately provide additional information because they were not involved in the decision, which was entirely Trump's.

The South Korean national security adviser made the roughly 2-minute announcement after nightfall near the entrance to the West Wing.


7:10 p.m.

South Korea's national security director says President Donald Trump has decided he will meet with North Korea's Kim Jong Un "by May."

Chung Eui-yong spoke outside the White House after a day of briefings with senior U.S. officials, including Trump, on the recent inter-Korea talks. Chung says Trump said "he would meet Kim Jong Un by May to achieve permanent denuclearization" of the Korean peninsula.

Chung says Kim told the South Koreans he is "committed to denuclearization" and pledged that "North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests."

The meeting would be the first of its kind between a leader of North Korea and a sitting president of the United States. The two countries have been in a formal state of war since the Korean War in the 1950s.


5:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump says an upcoming announcement about North Korea is "almost beyond" talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

Trump announced earlier that South Korea will be making a "major statement" about North Korea at 7 p.m. Eastern time Thursday.

An ABC News producer tweets that ABC reporter Jon Karl asked Trump privately if the statement will be about talks between the U.S. and North Korea. Trump responded: "It's almost beyond that. Hopefully, you will give me credit."

Trump teased the announcement in the White House press briefing room. It comes after hours of consultations at the White House between U.S. and South Korean officials over recent inter-Korean talks.


5:40 p.m.

Presidential spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders says South Korea's national security adviser will be briefing reporters at the White House Thursday evening.

A South Korean delegation has spent hours briefing U.S. officials on the outcome of their recent pathfinding meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

President Donald Trump made a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room to announce that South Korea would be making a "major statement" about North Korea at 7 p.m. Eastern time.

North Korea has invited the U.S. to reopen direct talks, saying it would suspend its nuclear tests during such talks.

Trump hasn't said whether he'd agree to those conditions, but has credited himself for the recent flurry of action.


5:16 p.m.

President Donald Trump says South Korea will be making a "major statement" about North Korea at 7 p.m. Eastern time Thursday.

Trump teased the announcement in his first visit to the White House press briefing room. It comes after hours of consultations at the White House between U.S. and South Korean officials over recent inter-Korean talks.

That dialogue in North Korea concluded with an invitation to the U.S. to reopen direct talks with Pyongyang, saying it would suspend its nuclear tests during such talks. Trump has expressed openness to the invitation, saying, "We'll see."


4:15 p.m.

South Korean officials were briefing the White House Thursday on the outcome of their pathfinding meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Seoul has already publicized that North Korea offered talks with the United States on denuclearization and normalizing ties, a potential diplomatic opening after a year of escalating tensions over the North's nuclear and missile tests. The rival Koreas also agreed to hold a leadership summit in late April.

Top Trump administration officials were getting a chance to hear firsthand from South Korean national security director, Chung Eui-yong, who led the delegation that went to Pyongyang.

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The Latest Headlines You Need To Know

  • Charles Lazarus, who founded what would become Toys R Us in 1948, has died, company officials confirmed Thursday. He was 94. >> Read more trending news The news came just days after officials with the toy store chain announced it would be closing its U.S. stores. “There have been many sad moments for Toys R Us in recent weeks, and none more heartbreaking than today’s news about the passing of our beloved founder, Charles Lazarus,” Toys R Us officials wrote Thursday in a tweet. “Our thoughts and prayers are with Charles’ family and loved ones.” Michael Goldstein, a friend of Lazarus’ who formerly served as chairman of Toys R Us, told Bloomberg News that Lazarus died Thursday in Manhattan. 'He was the father of the toy business,' Goldstein told CNN Money. 'He knew the toys and loved the toys and loved the kids who would shop in the stores. His face lit up when he watched kids playing with toys.' >> Related: Toys R Us closings: What happens to 31,000 employees, your gift cards? In a 1986 article, The Atlantic magazine credited Lazarus as “the person most responsible for loosening Santa’s grip” on the toy industry, expanding sales from a holiday-only to a year-round business. Lazarus served as a cryptographer during World War II and took over his family’s bicycle shop in Washington D.C. after he returned to the U.S. in 1923, according to The Atlantic. He started to sell baby furniture, The Atlantic reported, but he noticed that he rarely got return customers because of the sturdiness of his stock. >> Related: Amazon looking to buy abandoned Toys R Us storefronts 'Toys are a great kind of thing to sell, because they don't last that long,' he told the magazine in 1986. Lazarus served as head of Toys R Us through the company’s sale in 1966 to Interstate Department Stores Inc., and through Interstate’s bankruptcy in 1974, according to Bloomberg. Toys R Us dominated the toy store business in the 1980s and early '90s, when it was one of the first of the category killers -- big stores that are so totally devoted to one thing and have such impressive selection that they drive smaller competitors out of business. Lazarus, who remained at the helm until 1994, stacked the merchandise high to give shoppers the feeling it had an infinite number of toys. >> Related: Toys R Us closing sales: What you need to know when liquidation begins He stepped down as chairman of the company in 1998, Bloomberg reported. Officials with Toys R Us announced last week that the company planned to close or sell its 735 stores nationwide, including its Babies R Us stores. The superstore chain could no longer bear the weight of its heavy debt load and relentless trends that hurt its business, namely competition from the likes of Amazon, discounters like Walmart, and mobile games. The Associated Press contributed to this report. 
  • Nearly six months after the Las Vegas massacre, the New York Times released surveillance video of the shooter in the days leading up to Oct. 1, 2017. The Times says the footage was obtained exclusively from MGM Resorts and shows Stephen Paddock hauling bags of weapons to his suite at Mandalay Bay. Paddock is also seen gambling at the casino, eating at restaurants, riding an elevator, talking with valets and even hotel staff at various points.Police said Paddock opened fire onto a crowd at the Route 91 Harvest music festival from his room at the Mandalay Bay, killing 58 people and wounding over 600 others. He was found dead in his room from a self=inflicted gunshot wound. The motive for his attack still remains unknown. According to News3lv.com, MGM Resorts released the following statement: “In the interest of providing greater context around Stephen Paddock’s actions in the days leading up to October 1, MGM Resorts has released these security videos and images. As the security footage demonstrates, Stephen Paddock gave no indication of what he planned to do and his interactions with staff and overall behavior were all normal. MGM and Mandalay Bay could not reasonably foresee that a long-time guest with no known history of threats or violence and behaving in a manner that appeared outwardly normal, would carry out such an inexplicably evil, violent and deadly act. 'Our focus continues to be on supporting victims and their families, our guests and employees, and cooperating with law enforcement with their ongoing investigation.” -Debra Deshong
  • The father of the first Austin bombing victim, 39-year-old Anthony Stephan House, thanked local and federal law enforcement officers for their handling of the investigation in a letter released Thursday that also questioned the meaning behind the attacks. >> Read more trending news “I wish to express my deepest appreciation for the exhaustive efforts and work of the Austin Police Department, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms agency, and other agencies that participated in this investigation of the series of explosive devices,” Elliot House, Anthony House’s father, wrote in a letter first reported by CBS News. >> Related: Austin package bombings: Friends remember victims Draylen Mason, Anthony House “Hopefully, the death of the bomb maker suspect ends the ring of fear and terror in the Austin area, although it leaves a few questions, shared with both the family of my son, Anthony House, and 17-year-old Draylen Mason, both being black and the only deaths in the series of bombings,” House continued. “We are plagued with how they were selected and why.” Anthony House was the father of an 8-year-old girl and a Texas State University graduate. Elliot House said he also appreciated the “personal condolence” from Christopher Combs, the FBI’s special agent in charge of the San Antonio Field Division, and Mayor Steve Adler. House noted that he especially appreciated that Adler “apologized for the initial investigation of the bombing involving my son by APD.” >> Related: Austin bombings: How to help the victims Many in the community have criticized the Austin Police Department for its handling and characterization of the first bombing. Several people in an East Austin town hall last week questioned whether Austin police would have more readily sounded the alarm and warned the community about the package bombs sooner had the first bombing killed a white person in a neighborhood west of Interstate 35. >> Related: 55 hours of terror, and a final blast in Austin serial bombings Elliot House expressed his grief, saying that the death of his son in the bombing left him childless, as his other son, Corey Alan House, was killed in 1994 at age 17. “I have no more sons. I continue to mourn my losses,” House wrote in the letter to authorities. “But continue the good work.”
  • Sacramento police officials have released the harrowing audio and video, including footage from two officers’ body cameras, in the shooting death of an unarmed black man killed by police Sunday night.  Stephon Alonzo Clark, 23, was shot multiple times in the backyard of his grandparents’ house, where he lived with several siblings. Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn previously said the two unnamed officers involved in the shooting, who are on administrative leave while the case remains under investigation, fired on Clark 20 times.  The footage was made public after it was shared with Clark’s family, per department policy. The body camera footage shows that the officers opened fire upon Clark seconds after encountering him on his patio. It also shows that, while the two officers involved ordered Clark to show them his hands, neither identified themselves as police officers.  Clark’s aunt, Saquoia Durham, told The Sacramento Bee that her nephew did not stand a chance. “As soon as they did the command, they started shooting,” Durham told the newspaper. “They said, ‘Put your hands up, gun’ and then they just let loose on my nephew. They didn’t give him a chance to put his hands up or anything, and then when they shot him down, they knew they messed up.” Family members and local activists also wondered why one of the videos shows, about six minutes after the shooting, an officer saying, “Hey, mute.” Officers are then seen muting the microphones on their body cameras for the rest of the recording released to the public.  A police spokesman told the Bee there are a number of reasons officers may choose to mute their microphones, but did not go into detail. The officers who shot at Clark said they believed he was armed, but all that was found with his body was a cellphone. The killing has sparked protests and demands from Clark’s family and friends, as well as Sacramento officials, for answers about why an unarmed man was killed outside his own home.  The Bee reported that the Rev. Al Sharpton has been in touch with Clark’s family and plans to travel to Sacramento to help ensure that Clark has a proper burial. The family has established a GoFundMe page to help fund his funeral arrangements, which include being buried next to a brother also cut down by gun violence, the Bee reported. >> Related: 20 bullets fired: Police kill unarmed black man holding cellphone in own backyard Clark’s grandparents and other family members were inside the house as the shooting took place. His grandfather called 911 after hearing the gunshots, and his grandmother, Sequita Thompson, said she only learned the dead man was her grandson when she looked out the window after hours of police questioning on what she heard that night.  “I opened that curtain and he was dead. I started screaming,” Thompson told the Bee.  The shooting and the events surrounding it are laid out in the audio and video released Wednesday night, beginning with a 911 call from a resident in Clark’s neighborhood. The caller tells a dispatcher that there is a man going through the neighborhood and breaking vehicle windows, including those on the caller’s truck.  “What did he use to break the windows?” the dispatcher asks. “I have no idea,” the man responds. “I heard the noise and I came outside and he was standing right there on the side of my truck, and I grabbed my ball bat … (unintelligible) … I didn’t hit him, or nothing like that.” The caller tells the dispatcher that the man is now in another yard, trying to get over a fence, but that he is trapped because of a neighbor’s dogs.  The dispatcher asks for a description of the man, and the caller tells her he could not determine the man’s race because of the dark hoodie he was wearing. The suspect was wearing pants that appeared to have white stripes or dots on them, he says.  During silent periods in the call, at least one dog can be heard barking in the background. The dispatcher continues to get the scant details of the vandal’s appearance: he’s tall, at more than 6 feet, and thin.  The dispatcher tells the caller that the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Office is sending a helicopter to search for the man and keep an eye on him until city police officers arrive. The weekend was a busy one because of St. Patrick’s Day, she says.  The caller, a mechanic, tells the dispatcher that he keeps his tools in his truck, so the sound of his windows being broken alarmed him.  “He’s lucky to be alive, if I would have gotten a hold of him,” the caller says, laughing.  At that point in the 911 call, the officers who would shoot and kill Clark were about a block and a half away, according to the dispatcher.  Audio from the dispatch office gives a glance into the same time frame from the viewpoint of law enforcement officers. The dispatcher relays a description of the accused vandal, and a male voice from the helicopter overhead mentions two large dogs as the only heat sources he can see on the infrared camera.  A few minutes later, the deputy in the helicopter comes back on, telling the responding officers below he sees a man looking in the window of a home.  “Two yards to the south of you, I’ve got a guy in a backyard looking into their window,” the deputy says. “He’s picking up a -- looks like a toolbar, or some sort of thing. He might be trying to break the window. Stand by.” A moment later, the deputy says, “Okay, he’s breaking the window! Running south! Running to the south!” The footage from the circling helicopter does not show Clark smashing the window, but picks up immediately afterward. The deputy is relaying his movements as Clark, seen only as a white figure in the camera’s infrared vision, jumps onto what appears to be a shed and vaults over the fence into his grandparents’ yard.  At that point, he stops running and walks up to a vehicle between the fence and his grandparents’ home, briefly looking inside.  As the helicopter continues to circle, the two police officers on the ground can be seen on the road in front of Clark’s grandparents’ home. One of the officers spots Clark and begins to run toward him, gun drawn.  His partner follows and, as both officers run in his direction, Clark goes around the corner into the backyard of the house. Both officers follow, with one running into the open for a second before grabbing his partner and taking cover at the corner of the house.  The officers huddle there and, as the helicopter’s camera gets a full view of the backyard, shots can be seen fired from the officers’ guns.  Clark falls to the ground on his grandparents’ patio as the bullets ricochet off the pavement around him. He appears to try crawling away before becoming still.  “Shots fired! Shots fired!” the deputy in the helicopter says.  “Copy, shots fired,” the dispatcher responds.  One of the officers on the ground, sounding out of breath, tells the dispatcher that the man is down, with no movement. He requests that backup officers arrive from a specific direction and asks that fire medics be en route.  The officers have been criticized for waiting five minutes, until backup arrived, before rendering aid to Clark. Fire medics pronounced him dead at the scene.  At one point, the dispatcher asks the officers if they also need medics.  “Negative,” an officer responds. “Neither one of us are hit, we’re okay. Suspect’s down.” The footage from the officers’ body cameras prior to the gunfire starts out quiet, as they make their way through the neighborhood, searching for the man suspected of vandalizing people’s vehicles. In the videos, the officers are seen asking a neighbor’s permission to search her backyard for the man.  As they search, the dogs heard in the original 911 call are much closer. The officers clear a shed before heading back onto the street.  A few moments later, the officers begin running toward the area where the deputy in the helicopter spotted Clark looking into the vehicle window next to his grandparents’ house.  “Show me your hands! Show me your hands! Stop!” one officer screams at Clark when he spots him. He runs after Clark, who is heading around the corner toward the patio. As the officer rounds the corner, he again screams, “Show me your hands!” and, “Gun!” before pushing his partner back. As both officers huddle at the corner, the same officer yells, “Show me your hands! Gun! Gun! Gun!”  They then both open fire. See the body camera footage from both officers, beginning when they first spot Clark, below. Warning: The images and language may be disturbing for some readers. Footage from the second officer’s body camera shows his hands holding his service weapon around the corner of the house as he and his partner unleash a barrage of bullets. It is not clear from the location of his body camera, which would be attached to his chest, if the second officer could see who he was shooting at.  The second officer’s body camera captured the fiery blasts from his partner’s gun as the gunshots rang out.  “Five seven, shots fired,” the first officer breathlessly tells the dispatcher. “Subject down.” Over the next few minutes, the officers continue ordering Clark to show them his hands, with no response. The second officer says that Clark was “still pointing” when he saw him prior to the shooting. They both spend a few moments quietly trying to catch their breath, during which time the officers determine that neither of them was shot. The officers agree to do a “tactical reload,” a maneuver in which law enforcement officers reload recently-fired weapons with fresh, full magazines to ensure they don’t run out of ammunition. The second officer estimated that he fired his weapon about five times, though his body camera footage shows more. Hahn has previously said that each officer fired 10 times.  The second officer’s body camera footage shows that additional police officers began to show up about that time, with one officer asking if the suspect had a gun.  “We haven’t secured it,” the second officer said. “We’re not moving in until we have more (backup).” The first officer is also heard saying, “(Clark’s) still down, he’s not moving. We can’t see the gun.” >> Read more trending news The officers tell their colleagues that Clark walked toward them with his hands out in front of him and that he held something that looked like a gun.  As the officers speak, their flashlights highlight Clark’s body, lying face-down on the patio. They continue to search from a distance for a gun. They also continue to try to get a response from Clark.  “Hey, can you hear us?” one officer yells.  “We need to know if you’re okay,” a female officer says. “We need to get you medics, but we can’t go over there to get you help unless we know you don’t have your weapon.” They continue trying to speak to the motionless Clark as sirens are heard in the background.  “Sir, can you move?” the female officer asks. “Can you hear us?” At least one officer keeps a gun trained on Clark the entire time and, for a few moments, the second of the first two officers on the scene suggests firing a non-lethal weapon at his body to ensure he isn’t faking unconsciousness, the footage shows. It does not appear that the officers did so. A few minutes later, the footage shows the officers finally approaching Clark’s body.  “Hey, if one of you guys want to go hands, cover him … oh, (expletive),” the second officer says as they get to Clark. The body camera shows the edge of something flat and light-colored peeking out from underneath his body. As they handcuff his limp hands behind his back and turn him over to start CPR, their flashlights show what the item is. It is the iPhone Clark was carrying.
  • The top lawyer representing President Donald Trump in special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election resigned Thursday, according to multiple reports. >> Read more trending news Attorney John Dowd’s resignation came days after he called for an end to Mueller’s investigation, claiming it was “manufactured” by former FBI Director James Comey and based on an infamous -- and mostly unverified -- dossier that was funded in part by the Democratic National Committee and Democrat Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. “I love the president and wish him well,” Dowd wrote Thursday in an email to The Washington Post. >> More on Robert Mueller's investigation The newspaper reported that Dowd’s departure was “a largely mutual decision” based on Trump’s recent belief that Dowd couldn’t handle Mueller’s investigation and the attorney’s frustration with the president’s recent additions to his legal team. Trump attorney Jay Sekulow earlier this week brought one of his friends, veteran Washington attorney Joseph diGenova, onto the team, according to The New York Times. It was not immediately clear who would take over as lead of the president’s legal team.  >> Related: Trump slams Mueller, McCabe in Sunday tweets “John Dowd is a friend and has been a valuable member of our legal team,” Sekulow said Thursday in a statement to the Times. “We will continue our ongoing representation of the president and our cooperation with the office of special counsel.” CNN reported that Dowd’s exit could hint that Trump’s legal team plans to become more aggressive in defending the president. >> Related: Former Trump campaign aide Rick Gates pleads guilty in Mueller investigation Dowd, who took over Trump’s legal team last summer, has advised the president to cooperate in Mueller’s investigation and refrain from publicly attacking the special counsel, the Times reported. Still, Trump has targeted Mueller for criticism in recent days, repeating his claims that the probe is little more than a politically motivated “witch hunt.” Last month, Mueller indicted 13 Russian individuals and three organizations on charges of interfering in the election. Three of Trump's associates -- former national security adviser Michael Flynn, deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates and campaign aide George Papadopoulos -- have pleaded guilty to lying to investigators and agreed to cooperate. Trump's former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, has pleaded not guilty to a variety of money laundering and other criminal charges. The Associated Press contributed to this report.