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Pence defends barring pride flags & Iran releases U.S. resident: The Morning Rundown

‘One flag should fly, and that’s the American flag,’ Vice President Mike Pence told NBC News.
Image: Pride rainbow flags outside the Stonewall Inn in New York City
Pride rainbow flags outside the Stonewall Inn in New York City.Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

Good morning, NBC News readers.

The pride flag won’t be flying proudly from U.S. embassy flagpoles overseas this month, Vice President Mike Pence told NBC News.

Back at home, Nixon’s former White House counsel compared the findings in the Mueller report to Watergate.

Here's what we're watching today.

Pence says only American flags should fly from U.S. embassy flagpoles

The vice president defended the Trump administration's move to prohibit U.S. embassies from flying the rainbow pride flag on their flagpoles during June, which is LGBTQ Pride Month, telling NBC News that "it's the right decision."

The State Department had rejected requests from at least four U.S. embassies, NBC News reported exclusively last week.

The pride flag can and is being flown elsewhere on embassy grounds, including inside embassies and on exterior walls. However, during the Obama administration, the government granted blanket permission to embassies overseas to fly the pride flag during June.

"When it comes to the American flagpole, and American embassies, and capitals around the world, one American flag flies," the vice president said.

Iran releases U.S. resident it convicted of spying, lawyer says

A Lebanese man with permanent U.S. residency who had been imprisoned in Iran since 2015 on spying charges that his family dismissed as baseless was released Tuesday, according to his lawyer.

IT expert Nizar Zakka, 52, was arrested in Tehran in September 2015 after being invited by the Iranian government to attend a conference. He had been living in Washington, D.C.

The U.S. had protested his imprisonment and called for his release.

With tensions rising between Tehran and the Trump administration, and as U.S. sanctions squeeze the Iranian economy, Zakka’s release could signal a potential opening in the standoff.

Justice Department agrees to hand over key Mueller documents to House

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler announced Monday that he had reached an agreement with the Department of Justice over obtaining access to some of special counsel Robert Mueller's "most important files."

The Democrats believe that the evidence could shed light on possible obstruction of justice by President Trump.

In a throwback to another era and another scandal, former Nixon White House counsel John Dean, was the star witness at hearings Monday as House Democrats launched a series of hearings scrutinizing incidents of possible obstruction of justice identified in Mueller's report.

"Special counsel Mueller has provided this committee with a road map," said Dean, who played a key role in the Watergate hearings, in his opening statement.

Republicans on the committee largely mocked Dean's testimony and the president called him a "loser."

In other news, the DOJ on Monday also offered new details on its probe into "spying" on Trump's 2016 presidential campaign.

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  • 'Big Papi' returns to Boston: Former Red Sox slugger David Ortiz was flown back on Monday night after being shot and is in stable condition in intensive care.

THINK about it

Love him or hate him, Drake may be the best thing about these NBA Finals, Christopher Mosley writes in an opinion piece.

Science + Tech = MACH

NASA's bold Artemis program aims to put astronauts back on the moon — led by the first female moonwalker.


What can the "Blue Zone" island of Sardinia teach us about living longer?

Image: The Spiaggia Capriccioli beach on the island of Sardinia, near Italy, on July 30, 2018.
Sardinia is not only lovely, it also has an extraordinarily high number of centenarians. Sean Gallup / Getty Images file

Quote of the day

"After more than 1,350 days in captivity in Iran, we have received excellent news: Mr. Nizar Zakka is a free man."

Lawyer Jason Poblete said in a statement about his client Tuesday.

One fun thing

From close-ups of a congee-for-one platter to slow-motion shots of skewered shrimp, food has become a central storytelling device in Asian American romantic comedies.

For Michael Golamco, who co-wrote the new Netflix film “Always Be My Maybe,” food and cooking are key parts of the story.

“What resonates for me is that love is not said, it is communicated through acts ... It’s not like, 'Hey, I love you.' It’s 'Hey, did you eat something?'” Golamco said, adding that he and his co-writers are all pretty food-obsessed.

Image: Always Be My Maybe
Ali Wong and Randall Park in "Always Be My Maybe".Ed Araquel / Netflix

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Thanks, Petra