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As Iranian voters prepare to head to the polls Friday, there's one thing the high-stakes presidential election certainly will not decide: the country's commander in chief.

That post, at least, is already filled by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader for nearly three decades. As long as he maintains control over the highest seat in the land, Khamenei enjoys wide-ranging authority over the security forces and effective veto power over matters both diplomatic and domestic — including the council that vets and approves presidential candidates.

Each year, the United States sends billions of dollars to poor countries. Does it really help them grow?

The question isn't new.

But it's taken on renewed urgency in the Trump administration. Last month, NPR's David Greene asked Stephen Moore, who advised Trump's campaign on economic policy, whether he supports the idea of cutting the U.S. foreign aid budget. His response: "100 percent."

Former Fox News Chairman and CEO Roger Ailes has died, the network says, citing a statement from the late executive's family. Ailes resigned from his post leading Fox News last July, amid allegations of sexual harassment. He was 77.

Ailes helped found Fox News in 1996. On Thursday, the network initially announced his death by citing the Drudge Report, which had published a statement from Ailes' wife, Elizabeth.

Updated at 10:46 a.m. ET

The morning after former FBI Director Robert Mueller was named special counsel to oversee the investigation into the Trump team ties to Russia, President Trump is declaring "this" the "single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!"

It's another example of Trump going to grievance politics after a week of missteps and revelatory leaks.

Season 3 Trailer

May 18, 2017

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The livelihoods of farmers and ranchers are intimately tied to weather and the environment. But they may not be able to depend on research conducted by the government to help them adapt to climate change if the Trump administration follows through on campaign promises to shift federal resources away from studying the climate.

A jury has acquitted Tulsa police Officer Betty Jo Shelby, who killed unarmed motorist Terence Crutcher in an encounter that was captured on video by a police helicopter last September. The case in Oklahoma sparked criticisms that Shelby, who is white, overreacted when she shot Crutcher, who was black.

Updated at 2:25 p.m. ET

Chris Cornell, the unmistakable voice and frontman of the bands Soundgarden and Audioslave, died overnight in Detroit at the age of 52. He was discovered just past midnight at the MGM Grand Detroit, according to police.

The office of the Wayne County Medical Examiner on Thursday determined the cause of his death to be suicide by hanging, noting that a full autopsy has yet to be completed.

Donald Trump's first overseas trip as president begins Friday with a pilgrimage of sorts. With stops in Saudi Arabia, Israel and the Vatican, Trump will be visiting the centers of Islam, Judaism and Christianity, the three major monotheistic religions.

But he's wading into deep waters with potential for missteps and disagreement. He'll meet with Muslim leaders despite declaring that "Islam hates us" during the campaign; he'll meet with Pope Francis, who advocates for countries to be welcoming to refugees.

Robert Mueller, who has been appointed to handle the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, took the reins as FBI director a week before the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001. That day would influence his entire 12-year run leading the agency.

Mueller oversaw arguably the most significant changes the century-old FBI had gone through, and he received praise from lawmakers from both parties on Wednesday for his commitment to justice.

Is 'Internet Addiction' Real?

May 18, 2017

When her youngest daughter, Naomi, was in middle school, Ellen watched the teen disappear behind a screen. Her once bubbly daughter went from hanging out with a few close friends after school to isolating herself in her room for hours at a time. (NPR has agreed to use only the pair's middle names, to protect the teen's medical privacy.)

"She started just lying there, not moving and just being on the phone," says Ellen. "I was at a loss about what to do."

A day after protests at the Turkish Embassy in Washington, D.C., turned violent, the State Department is criticizing Turkey's government.

Video appears to show security forces belonging to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pushing past police and violently breaking up a protest outside the ambassador's diplomatic residence.

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Next we're going to hear from California Democrat Eric Swalwell. He serves on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and also the House judiciary committee. Welcome to the program.

ERIC SWALWELL: Thanks for having me back.

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Washington politics spilled over into the financial markets Wednesday, as the week's turmoil — including questions over what President Trump said to former FBI Director James Comey before firing him — has put the administration's pro-business legislative agenda in question, most notably the president's proposed tax cuts.

A wooden puzzle in the silhouette of a human head might look fun if the stakes weren't so high.

Updated at 9:15 p.m. ET

The Justice Department is appointing former FBI Director Robert Mueller as a special counsel to oversee the growing probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible ties to associates of President Trump.

"In my capacity as acting Attorney General, I determined that it is in the public interest for me to exercise my authority and appoint a Special Counsel to assume responsibility for this matter," Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said in a statement.

Wild Chinook salmon, probably the most prized seafood item on the West Coast, could all but vanish from California within a hundred years, according to a report released Tuesday.

The authors, with the University of California, Davis, and the conservation group California Trout, name climate change, dams and agriculture as the major threats to the prized and iconic fish, which is still the core of the state's robust fishing industry.

Last week, the mother of a Chibok schoolgirl abducted in 2014 by Boko Haram militants got the call she had long been waiting for: A representative of the town of Chibok said her daughter was among the 82 girls just released by Boko Haram militants to the Nigerian government.

It had been a timeless love story. A garden snail with a rare genetic condition can't mate with normal snails; scientists launch an international search for a mate; the snail becomes a media sensation; and miraculously not one but two possible mates are found.

That's where we left the tale of Jeremy, the rare left-coiling snail, last November.

When Seth Rich was killed in July 2016, police suspected it was a botched robbery.

This week, sparked by a report from a TV station in Washington, D.C., that crime took over conservative media.

The reason: Seth Rich was a Democratic National Committee staffer, and some have theorized that his work was connected to his murder.

There is no hard evidence that is true. In fact, further reporting has blown large holes in Fox 5 DC's Monday report.

The Trump administration said Wednesday that it will continue to waive some sanctions against Iran, a key aspect of the nuclear deal negotiated by the Obama administration and five other world powers.

Under the terms of the deal, Iran agreed to curb its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. But those sanctions waivers need to be periodically renewed, and today was the first deadline to fall during President Trump's term.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department announced on Tuesday that it had confiscated 7,000 birds in the largest-ever seizure of fowl used for illegal cockfighting.

What happens to a town when a key industry collapses?

Sometimes it dies. But sometimes it finds a way to reinvent itself.

Case in point: Ketchikan, Alaska, where the demise of the timber industry has led to a radical transformation.

Many people who used to earn their livelihoods through timber have now turned to jobs in tourism.

It's an identity shift that makes the city far different from what it was in the logging heyday.

"It was this boomtown!" says longtime Ketchikan resident Eric Collins. "It was just a crazy, wild frontier place."

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Lawmakers are also starting to hear from their constituents.

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President Trump's latest on-the-job lesson in being commander in chief is a vital one: Intelligence is a team sport.

For all of America's immense military power, global reach and technical capabilities, we still rely on our allies for on-the-ground knowledge. Bottom line: We need friends to fight terrorism, and Trump's actions are making it harder for the intelligence community to do its job.

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