Trump tweets ‘very nice note’ he says he got from Kim Jong Un

WASHINGTON — North Korean leader Kim Jong Un praised Donald Trump in a letter after last month’s summit in Singapore, saying the U.S. president’s “energetic and extraordinary efforts” in reshaping relations between the two countries will help create a “new future” for both sides.

“The significant first meeting with Your Excellency and the joint statement that we signed together in Singapore 24 days ago was indeed the start of a meaningful journey,” Kim wrote in the July 6 letter Trump posted on Twitter alongside an English translation Thursday.

The letter’s date indicates it was sent before Secretary of State Michael Pompeo’s visit to Pyongyang last week, in which the U.S. and North Korea struggled to agree over plans to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

“Great progress being made,” Trump tweeted on Thursday along with the letter, calling it a “very nice note from Chairman Kim.”

— Bloomberg News

Authorities do not believe attack on 91-year-old is hate-related incident

LOS ANGELES — Rodolfo Rodriguez was attacked by several people after reportedly bumping into a little girl on his daily walk in South Los Angeles.

Detectives do not believe an attack on a 91-year-old man on the Fourth of July is a hate related incident, authorities said.

On Tuesday night, Century Station detectives arrested Laquisha Jones, who is suspected of being involved in the assault, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Jones, 30, was booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon.

Rodriguez had gone out for a walk in Willowbrook about 7 p.m. on July 4 when he was assaulted, according to a GoFundMe campaign set up by his family. Rodriguez has a broken cheekbone and bruises on his face.

His family said a woman confronted Rodriguez after he reportedly bumped into a little girl who was with her. Rodriguez was then struck from behind, and “as he fell on the ground, he blacked out,” Sheriff’s Det. Matt Luna said.

Misbel Borjas, who lives near Rodriguez, was passing by in a car when she saw him walking and trying to pass a woman and a girl. Then, Borjas said, she saw the woman push Rodriguez and start to hit him with a block of cement.

“She was yelling at him, ‘Go back to your country,’ or ‘Go back to Mexico,’” Borjas recalled. “It was racist.”

But authorities said that through their investigation, “detectives have discovered that this is not a hate-related incident.”

— Los Angeles Times

Double murderer in prison has spot on Minn. ballot vying for U.S. Senate seat

MINNEAPOLIS — Even if enough voters choose Leonard J. Richards as the Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate, there’s no way he will ever get to take the oath of office and begin his six-year term.

Richards is already serving a lifetime term. In Stillwater prison. For murder. Make that two murders.

Yes, it is legal in Minnesota for felons to run for office, so long as it is a federal seat. Nobody knows that better than Richards, who is trying to wrest the party nod away from incumbent Amy Klobuchar.

Now 75 years old and sporting Department of Corrections ID No. 149837, Richards has run for federal office several times — without a victory — since his imprisonment, most recently when he sought the seat that U.S. Rep. Tom Emmer now holds.

In 1992, Richards ran in the Democratic primary for the 8th Congressional District seat and received more than 14,500 votes. He ran for the U.S. Senate in the Democratic primary in 1994, winning more than 4,000 votes.

Minnesota law does not permit inmates to run for a state-level office.

Richards was convicted of murder twice in Hennepin County for the 1982 slaying of his half sister, May Wilson, and the 1987 shooting death of his attorney, Robert Stratton. His life sentence imposed nearly 30 years ago offers no parole.

—Star Tribune (Minneapolis)

Pompeo at NATO warns Europe of threats posed by support for Iran

BRUSSELS — U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo unleashed a new broadside against Iran on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels on Thursday, asking U.S. allies to “cut off all funding” so the regime can’t finance terrorism.

In a string of four tweets on Thursday morning, Pompeo accused Iran of sending weapons across the Middle East and raised the specter of a terrorist attack on European soil, posting a map showing locations of what it said were Iranian-backed attacks on the continent since 1978.

“There’s no telling when Iran may try to foment terrorism, violence & instability in one of our countries next,” Pompeo wrote.

Calling out Iran has been a consistent theme for Pompeo in the three months since he was confirmed as secretary of State. President Donald Trump backed out of the 2015 Iran nuclear accord in May, and Pompeo later delivered a speech laying out 12 demands — immediately rejected by Iran — to become a “normal” country and stop what he called its malign activity in the Middle East.

U.S. officials are pressuring countries around the world to stop buying Iranian oil, warning they will face sanctions if the fail to do so by a Nov. 4 deadline.

—Bloomberg News

Trump taps Senate’s deputy sergeant-at-arms for NASA post

WASHINGTON — The deputy sergeant-at-arms of the Senate has been picked by President Donald Trump to be the deputy administrator of NASA.

James W. Morhard, who has been deputy SAA since Republicans took over the Senate majority in 2015, has largely focused on the various administrative functions of the Senate.

He should be no real stranger to the space agency, particularly given one of his earlier roles on Capitol Hill.

Morhard was a senior aide to Sen. Ted Stevens, R-Alaska. The White House announcement of his pending nomination noted that, while serving as staff director of the Appropriations Committee, Morhard oversaw the Commerce-Justice-Science subcommittee. That subcommittee’s broad jurisdiction includes the NASA budget.

Morhard survived the 2010 plane crash that claimed Stevens’ life.

In April 2018, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced Michael C. Stenger, who served as chief of staff to Sergeant-at-Arms Frank J. Larkin, would take over as the SAA. Morhard remained as the deputy at that point.

The current administrator of NASA is former Oklahoma GOP Rep. Jim Bridenstine.

— CQ-Roll Call