Jul 26, 2018

U.S. pastor Andrew Brunson moves from prison to house arrest in Turkey

Pastor Andrew Craig Brunson being escorted by Turkish police officers. Photo: Stringer/AFP/Getty Images

American pastor Andrew Brunson was released from prison in Turkey on Wednesday after being imprisoned for more than a year and a half on terrorism charges, according to the U.S. State Department.

The details: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called it a "positive development," but added, "it is not enough. We have seen no credible evidence against Mr. Brunson, and we call on Turkish authorities to resolve his case immediately in a transparent and fair manner." Axios has previously reported that senior Trump administration officials assume Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is using Brunson to force the U.S. to extradite Fethullah Gulen, a Turkish dissident living in Pennsylvania who Erdogan believes has been organizing a revolution against him.

President Trump has called for the release of Brunson twice this year calling it a "total disgrace" that Turkey has not released the pastor.

Brunson, 50, an evangelical pastor from North Carolina, had denied the charges. The Associated Press reports that if convicted, he could face up to 15 years in prison for the failed coup attempt. Brunson could also get another 20 years if found guilty of espionage.

Go deeper

Biden formally secures Democratic presidential nomination

Joe Biden speaks at Delaware State University's student cente on June 5. Photo: Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images

Former Vice President Joe Biden became the formal Democratic presidential nominee on Friday evening, per AP.

The big picture: Biden has been the presumptive frontrunner to take on President Trump since Sen. Bernie Sanders suspended his campaign in early April.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 6,724.516 — Total deaths: 394,018 — Total recoveries — 2,996,832Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 9 p.m. ET: 1,894,753 — Total deaths: 109,042 — Total recoveries: 491,706 — Total tested: 19,231,444Map.
  3. Public health: WHCA president says White House violated social-distancing guidelines to make reporters "a prop" — Jailing practices contribute to spread.
  4. Sports: How coronavirus could reshuffle the sports calendar.
  5. Jobs: Better-than-expected jobs report boosts stock market.
  6. Media: The Athletic lays off 8% of staff, implements company-wide pay cut.

Scoop: German foreign minister to travel to Israel with warning on annexation

Heiko Maas. Photo: Michael Kappeler/picture alliance via Getty Images

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is expected to travel to Israel next week to warn that there will be consequences if Israeli leaders move forward with plans to annex parts of the West Bank, Israeli officials and European diplomats tell me.

Why it matters: Israeli and European officials agree that if Israel goes ahead with unilateral annexation, the EU will respond with sanctions.