It's Wednesday, Sept. 18, 2019. Let's start here.
1. Iran's pressure campaign
U.S. officials are at the scene of a Saudi oil facility attack, collecting what they call "compelling forensic evidence" against Iran, as President Donald Trump weighs how the U.S. should respond to the aggression.
"He doesn't feel that he's in a hurry," ABC News Chief White House Correspondent Jonathan Karl tells "Start Here" today. "He wants to know exactly what happens. He wants to establish proof of what happens and he will consider his options at that point."
The Trump administration is so far not straying from its maximum pressure campaign against Iran amid increasing tensions between the two countries while the Iranian government tries to push the U.S. to the negotiating table, according to Steve Ganyard, a former Marine Corps pilot and ABC News contributor.
"They need sanctions relief, they want 700,000 more barrels on the market, and they're doing this incremental ramp up of pressure on the U.S. and Saudi Arabia to get it," he says.
2. Going to California
California may be a Democratic stronghold, but it hasn't stopped the president from traveling there to fundraise for his re-election campaign or from taking on some of the state's most aggressive policies.
On Tuesday, he blasted California's homelessness problem, telling reporters aboard Air Force One, “We can’t let Los Angeles, San Francisco and numerous other cities destroy themselves by allowing what’s happening.”
The Trump administration is also expected to revoke the state's authority to set its own car emissions standard, which ABC News Chief National Correspondent Matt Gutman says will likely be challenged in court and will not stop auto-makers from focusing on fuel-efficient vehicles.
"The automakers are actually interested in making cars that are more efficient," he says. "They actually signed a deal a few months ago with the state of California, apparently secretly, this is Ford, Honda, Volkswagen, and BMW ... to make cleaner and more fuel efficient cars, and reduce emissions, basically ignoring this national standard plan."
3. Cokie Roberts remembered
"Start Here" remembers Cokie Roberts, a beloved ABC News colleague, friend, and trailblazer in journalism and political analysis, who died at 75 of complications from breast cancer.
Everyone at ABC has a story about Cokie's kindness and care, including ABC News White House Correspondent Karen Travers, who started her career as Cokie's intern on "This Week" back in 2000.
"Cokie wrote my recommendation letter when I applied to grad school, right after I had been an intern," Travers says. "There is a line in there that is just classic Cokie ... she says, 'Karen has the great good sense to understand that she needs to accumulate more knowledge in order to be a useful journalist,' which basically means, keep learning kid."
"Start Here," ABC News' flagship podcast, offers a straightforward look at the day's top stories in 20 minutes. Listen for free every weekday on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Stitcher, TuneIn or the ABC News app. Follow @StartHereABC on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram for exclusive content and show updates.
'Changing their sport culture': The U.S. Center for SafeSport, founded by the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee in 2017 to investigate sex-abuse claims in Olympic sports, says that reports of sexual abuse and misconduct in Olympic sports are up 55% from last year.
'One state cannot dictate standards for the nation': President Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency sets the stage for a legal fight with California over fuel emissions standards.
'Compelling forensic evidence': Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is heading to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to discuss the recent attack on Saudi oil facilities that has rattled world markets and left the region on edge.
From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:
Part of the difficulty of picking winners and losers in a debate is that each voter brings a different rubric to the task. So FiveThirtyEight takes a look at who won the third Democratic debate among voters who prioritize electability, health care, climate change, and other big issues.
Doff your cap:
A painting by the illustrious and elusive artist Banksy, depicting Britain's parliament as chimpanzees, will soon go up for auction -- but not without one last dig at the artwork’s subjects.
"Devolved Parliament," showing members of the House of Commons as apes, will be put up for auction on Oct. 3 and displayed in London at Sotheby’s auction house, just a mile away from the Commons chamber, according to a press release from Sotheby’s.
The auction date comes ahead of the rescheduled Brexit day, which was meant to happen on March 29 but was postponed until Oct. 31 as lawmakers continue to squabble over plans for Britain to leave the European Union.
Banksy commented on the museum’s decision to put the piece up, writing on Instagram, "I made this ten years ago. Bristol museum have just put it back on display to mark Brexit day. ‘Laugh now, but one day no-one will be in charge.’"