June 10, 2019

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother Kim Jong Nam was a Central Intelligence Agency source who held several meetings with operatives, a person with knowledge of the matter told The Wall Street Journal on Monday.

Kim Jong Nam, the eldest son of Kim Jong Il, was killed in 2017, after being attacked with a nerve agent in the Kuala Lumpur airport. After falling out of favor with his father in the early 2000s, Kim Jong Nam left North Korea, and primarily lived in Macau. North Korea is a secretive country, and the United States is always trying to gather information on its inner workings, but it's unclear what information Kim Jong Nam would have been able to share with the CIA.

Several former U.S. officials told the Journal that Kim Jong Nam would most likely have been talking with several intelligence and security services, including China's. A new book about Kim Jong Un, The Great Successor, is out Tuesday, and the Journal reports it's expected to contain information about Kim Jong Nam's role as a CIA source. Catherine Garcia

6:46 p.m.

The basketball world is reacting to the deaths of Los Angeles Lakers great Kobe Bryant and his daughter, Gianna.

Kobe, 41, and Gianna, 13, were killed on Sunday morning along with seven others when their helicopter crashed in Calabasas, California. In a statement, Michael Jordan said words "can't describe the pain I'm feeling. I loved Kobe — he was like a little brother to me. We used to talk often, and I will miss those conversations very much. He was a fierce competitor, one of the greats of the game and a creative force. Kobe was also an amazing dad who loved his family deeply — and took great pride in his daughter's love for the game of basketball."

Bryant's former teammate Shaquille O'Neal tweeted there were "no words to express the pain I'm going through," calling Gianna his "niece" and Kobe "my brother." Magic Johnson said Bryant was the "greatest Laker of all time," and the fact that he is gone is "hard to accept. Kobe was a leader of our game, a mentor to both male and female players." Without Bryant, he added, the game of basketball "will never be the same."

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Bryant, "one of the most extraordinary players in the history of our game," showed "what is possible when remarkable talent blends with an absolute devotion to winning." Bryant "will be remembered most for inspiring people around the world to pick up a basketball and compete to the very best of their ability," Silver continued. "He was generous with the wisdom he acquired and saw it as his mission to share it with future generations of players, taking special delight in passing down his love of the game to Gianna." Catherine Garcia

6:09 p.m.

There were nine people on board the helicopter that crashed in Calabasas, California, on Sunday morning, and all perished, Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Sunday afternoon. Legendary Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant, 41, and his 13-year-old daughter, Gianna, were on the helicopter, NBA officials confirmed.

Villanueva would not comment on the identities of the victims, saying it was "wholly inappropriate" to do so until next of kin are notified. He added that he would have "nothing" else to say on the matter until "the coroner does their job." Flight records show the helicopter, a Sikorsky S-76B built in 1991, left John Wayne Airport in Orange County, California, at 9:06 a.m., the Los Angeles Times reports.

As word of Bryant's death spread, fans began gathering outside the Staples Center in downtown Los Angeles, where the Lakers play. During 18 of his 20 seasons with the Lakers, Bryant was named an All Star 18 times, and won gold medals in the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. Bryant retired in 2016, scoring 60 points in his final game. In 2018, he won an Academy Award for the animated short film Dear Basketball. Catherine Garcia

5:26 p.m.

There's little doubt it was challenging for the San Antonio Spurs and Toronto Raptors to focus on basketball following devastating news of Lakers great Kobe Bryant's death, considering many members of each team either played and coached against or grew up idolizing the Los Angeles legend.

Both teams put their competitive nature aside for a moment to start their game Sunday, agreeing that whoever won the opening tip would hold the ball for 24 seconds, resulting in a shot clock violation. Bryant, in the latter part of his 20-year career, wore no. 24.

The Raptors won the tip, took the violation, and the Spurs followed suit, running out the clock on their end, as well, before the game really began.

If there's any doubt about the respect Bryant garnered around the league just listen to Spurs fans — who consider the Lakers one of their biggest rivals as a result of epic clashes between the two teams that spanned Bryant's career — chant his name name as they began to realize what was unfolding on the court. Tim O'Donnell

3:22 p.m.

Former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant was reportedly killed in a helicopter crash in the Los Angeles area. He was 41.

TMZ initially broke the news, and ESPN and The Los Angeles Times have since confirmed, though details are still limited. The helicopter was reportedly over the suburb of Calabasas when it crashed around 10 a.m. P.T., and a tweet by the Los Angeles County Sheriff's office confirmed there were no survivors among the five people on board. The identities of the four people besides Bryant have not been confirmed. No homes or bystanders were reportedly affected by the crash.

Bryant, who played all 20 seasons of his career with Los Angeles before retiring in 2016, is considered one of the greatest players to ever suit up in the NBA. Just one day ago, the Lakers' current star LeBron James passed Bryant for third on the all-time scoring list while paying tribute to Bryant with an inscription on his shoes. Afterward, Bryant congratulated James on the milestone. Read more at ESPN. Tim O'Donnell

1:31 p.m.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), a U.S. military veteran, stood by President Trump in wake of the backlash against the commander-in-chief's comments describing brain injuries suffered by U.S. troops after an Iranian missile attack on a base in Iraq earlier this month as "headaches" and "not very serious."

CBS' Margaret Brennan asked Cotton during Sunday's edition of Face the Nation if Trump should apologize to the soldiers, 34 of whom it turned out suffered traumatic brain injuries. She pointed out that Veterans of Foreign Wars, a prominent U.S. veterans advocacy group, called on Trump to apologize for his "misguided" comments about potentially dangerous injuries, while also noting Cotton likely knew several people who suffered from similar injuries during his time in the military, which included deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan.

Cotton, though, argued Trump wasn't "dismissing" the soldiers' injuries, but simply "describing them." Tim O'Donnell

1:03 p.m.

Sen. James Lankford didn't seem too perturbed by a tweet President Trump sent Saturday, in which the president said the House's lead impeachment prosecutor Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) has not "paid the price, yet, for what he has done to our country."

Lankford told CNN's Jake Tapper during Sunday's edition of State of the Union that he doesn't consider the tweet a "death threat," which Tapper said Schiff has been receiving. Tapper wondered why Lankford wasn't bothered by Trump's words when he was offended by Schiff's comment earlier this week about how he had heard Republican senators were warned they're heads would end up on a pike should they defy Trump. Lankford said it's because Schiff's insinuation that GOP lawmakers act only out of fear invalidates their work.

On the other hand, Schiff, whom Trump described as "probably a very sick man," told NBC's Chuck Todd on Sunday's edition of Meet the Press that he's pretty sure Trump was issuing a threat of some sort. Tim O'Donnell

12:24 p.m.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani threatened to resign over the downing of a Ukrainian jet carrying 176 passengers earlier this month, The New York Times reports.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps accidentally shot down the passenger plane amid heightened tensions with the United States that have since cooled a bit. A series of communication errors reportedly led to an officer firing missiles at the plane, believing it was a hostile U.S. aircraft. Upon realizing what had actually happened, the IRGC began to cover their tracks, refusing to even tell Rouhani the truth for days.

Rouhani, left in the dark, reportedly deflected phone calls from other world leaders because he had no answers for them, and military commanders were doing the same thing to him when he tried to reach them. When finally informed of the truth, officials close to Rouhani told the Times, the president was "livid," demanding that Tehran admit the mistake and face the consequences. Military officials reportedly argued with Rouhani out of fear that the news would destabilize the country. That's when Rouhani said he would resign.

Eventually, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei got a message to the military, siding with Rouhani and ordering a public statement acknowledging what happened. Read more at The New York Times. Tim O'Donnell

See More Speed Reads