Sep 20, 2017

Erdogan claims Trump apologized over bodyguard attack

A Turkish security guard kicks a protestor in Washington in May 2017. Photo: Voice of America via AP

Turkish President Recep Tayyip ErdoฤŸan told PBS NewsHour that President Trump apologized to him about the May incident in which Turkish security personnel beat peaceful protesters in Washington, D.C.

Pushback: A White House official told Axios that Erdogan and Trump "discussed a wide range of issues" on the call but "the comments were not true and the President did not apologize."

The quote: "Actually President Trump called me about a week ago about this issue. He said that he was sorry and he told me he was going to follow up about this issue when we come to the United States within the framework of an official visit. The protesters were insulting us, and they were screaming and shouting. The police failed to intervene properly."

The incident: Erdogan looked on as guards charged into a park and clashed with protesters. Trump did not speak out against the violence at the time, but it belatedly sparked a diplomatic incident as arrest warrants were issued for 12 of Erdogan's security guards, and four other security officials were arrested. Erdogan said that was a "scandalous sign of how justice works in the United States." More recently, Congress has considered banning guns sales to Erdogan's presidential security.

The broader picture: Turkey is a key strategic ally of the U.S., but there have been severe strains on the relationship, one of which centers on the U.S. alliance with Kurdish fighters against ISIS. Erdogan has also been acting in an increasingly authoritarian fashion after a failed coup attempt last year, and Trump was criticized for congratulating him on winning a constitutional referendum that was widely viewed as a power grab.

This story has been updated with the denial from the White House.

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Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 โ€” while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

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Wells Fargo agrees to pay $3 billion to settle consumer abuse charges

Clients use an ATM at a Wells Fargo Bank in Los Angeles, Calif. Photo: Ronen Tivony/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Wells Fargo agreed to a pay a combined $3 billion to the Justice Department and the Securities and Exchange Commission on Friday for opening millions of fake customer accounts between 2002 and 2016, the SEC said in a press release.

The big picture: The fine "is among the largest corporate penalties reached during the Trump administration," the Washington Post reports.