Iran, Israel, General Motors: Your Tuesday Briefing

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Good morning.

We’re covering the latest on the attacks on Saudi oil production, as well as today’s elections in Israel and congressional testimony by Corey Lewandowski, President Trump’s former campaign manager.

A day after warning of possible U.S. military action, Mr. Trump said on Monday that he would “like to avoid” a conflict with Iran following the weekend’s attack on Saudi oil facilities.

Mr. Trump said it appeared that Tehran was behind the attack, which hobbled Saudi Arabia’s oil output, but he also said of Iranian officials, “I know they want to make a deal.”

Saudi officials said that Iranian weapons had been used but didn’t directly blame Iran or call for immediate retaliation.

Go deeper: The Times analyzed satellite photographs released by the Trump administration to determine what they show.

Another angle: Mr. Trump promised to wait for Saudi Arabia to tell him “under what terms we would proceed,” a deference that “reinforced the longstanding criticism that the energy-rich kingdom buys American support,” our correspondents write.

Voting is underway in Israel’s second election in five months, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu again fighting for his political survival.

The election comes after Mr. Netanyahu, who faces possible indictment on accusations of bribery and fraud, failed to stitch together a coalition government.

We’ll have live coverage before voting closes at 3 p.m. Eastern. Polls predict a tight race; here’s what to watch for.

Go deeper: Israeli politics can be tribal, as loyalties to ethnic groups, religious factions and ideologies can be determining factors.

In speeches on Monday, Senator Elizabeth Warren and President Trump described competing versions of populism that could define next year’s presidential race.

Ms. Warren laid out a detailed plan for cleansing Washington of what she said was the compromising influence of corporations and the extremely wealthy.

Hours later, Mr. Trump also denounced corruption, this time by what he called a “failed liberal establishment” that he said was threatening U.S. sovereignty and cultural heritage.

Another angle: Age-related attacks have failed to persuade voters to abandon the three 70-somethings who are leading the Democratic race.

A Democratic senator sent a letter to the director of the F.B.I. last year, saying that the bureau had failed to follow up on “information relevant” to its investigation into sexual assault allegations against the Supreme Court nominee.

The letter by Senator Chris Coons of Delaware has raised fresh questions about the thoroughness of the F.B.I.’s one-week investigation. (Read a copy of the letter here.)

Response: The F.B.I. declined to comment on Monday. The bureau’s director, Christopher Wray, defended the investigation during congressional testimony last year, noting that it had been directed by the White House, which had asked for a narrow inquiry.

Related: The Times has been sharply criticized over an adaptation of a book by two of its reporters that revealed a new allegation of sexual impropriety by a young Mr. Kavanaugh. Our deputy editorial page director, James Dao, answered questions about the controversy.

Getting sufficient genetic material out of a hair without a root, which most hairs are, has long been considered impossible.

But a scientist better known for his work with ancient fossils has figured it out. He has worked with law enforcement agencies to extract genetic profiles from the hairs of killers and victims in long unsolved crimes.

Snapshot: Above, “Devolved Parliament” by the street artist Banksy. The painting will be offered at Sotheby’s on Oct. 3 with a valuation of up to $2.5 million. A year ago, one of his paintings shredded itself following its sale in the same London auction room.

iPhone 11 review: Apple’s lineup of new devices arrives on Friday, but we’re at a point where an upgrade isn’t necessary for most users, our tech columnist writes.

“S.N.L.” drops comedian: Shane Gillis will not be joining the show after videos surfaced in which he used slurs and offensive language.

Late-night comedy: The hosts responded to the sentence given to the actress Felicity Huffman in the college admissions scandal. “She was sentenced to two weeks but with good behavior she’s expected to serve 17 minutes and win a People’s Choice Award,” Jimmy Kimmel said.

What we’re reading: This essay from The Cut, by Tavi Gevinson, arguably one of the original influencers. Kevin Roose, our culture/tech columnist, writes: “It’s very revealing that the winners of social media’s engagement sweepstakes are the ones speaking out against it now.”

Watch: The film adaptation of “The Goldfinch” is inauthentic without being completely fake. It looks and sounds like a movie without quite being one, our reviewer finds.

Smarter Living: Skeptics see video games as drains on young men’s brains — and maybe even on their humanity, Eve Peyser writes in an Op-Ed. But joining her boyfriend to fight alien invaders changed her mind: “I was playing a video game with somebody who loved me, who wanted to teach me how it all worked. All so we could have more fun together.”

And here are five self-care methods that take only 15 minutes a day.

If you’re following the presidential election, you’ve probably encountered the word “stump.”

Campaigning politicians go out “stumping” and deliver “stump speeches,” or standard addresses that they repeat over and over. The state of South Carolina has a 143-year tradition, the Galivants Ferry Stump, that has invited Democratic presidential candidates for the first time this year.

The term goes back to frontier days, when candidates headed out to the hinterlands and addressed crowds from atop a tree stump.

There would have been a lot to choose from. The U.S. Forest Service says the country was hugely deforested between 1630, at the start of European settlement, and 1907.

Trees once covered an estimated 46 percent of the land area of what is now the U.S., versus 34 percent now. While there are large-scale tree-planting campaigns — as there are around the world — the current global leader in reforestation is China.

And an update from the Gordon Bennett Cup, the balloon race we told you about on Monday: The leading team, from Switzerland, has landed, but two of the 20 teams are still flying.

That’s it for this briefing. See you next time.

— Chris

Thank you
Melina Delkic helped compile today’s briefing. Mark Josephson Eleanor Stanford provided the break from the news. Andrea Kannapell, the briefings editor, wrote today’s Back Story. You can reach the team at [email protected].

• We’re listening to “The Daily.” Today’s episode is about the attack on Saudi oil facilities.
• Here’s today’s Mini Crossword, and a clue: Cheapest section of a plane (five letters). You can find all our puzzles here.
J. Kenji López-Alt is joining The Times as a monthly columnist for the Food department, exploring the intersection of home cooking and science. (Here’s his recipe for vodka pie crust.)