‘Start Here’: FBI says terror plot foiled in California, ISIS leader makes appearance

It’s Tuesday, April 30, 2019. Let’s start here.

Interested in Start Here Morning Briefing ?

1. Plot point

A former U.S. Army infantryman is accused by federal authorities of planning a mass-casualty attack in Southern California.

Mark Steven Domingo was planning to detonate an IED at a white nationalist rally in Long Beach, California, on Sunday, federal officials said. The FBI said Domingo, given an inert improvised explosive device by an undercover agent, later was detained after he scoped out the potential attack site.

Domingo was seeking retribution for the war in Afghanistan and the New Zealand mosque massacre last month, allegedly discussing plans to target Jews, police officers, churches and a military facility, authorities said.

After the recent attacks in New Zealand and Sri Lanka, there’s been increasing concern over reprisals by ideological extremists, former FBI agent and ABC News Contributor Steve Gomez says on “Start Here.”

“It appears,” he says, “that all of these are just playing off of each other, which makes it even more difficult to deal with.”

2. Candid camera

ISIS may no longer hold territory in Iraq and Syria, but the terror group’s leader seems just as defiant as ever, appearing for the first time in five years in a newly released video.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi praised the attackers in Sri Lanka who killed at least 250 people on Easter Sunday, calling the coordinated suicide bombing payback for ISIS losing its stronghold in Baghouz, Syria, to U.S.-backed forces.

“Baghdadi said right away that he understood that they had been defeated in certain places in the Caliphate, and that they’d lost this territory,” ABC News Chief Global Affairs Correspondent Martha Raddatz says, “but he was still calling for his followers to attack the West and that it might be a very long battle.”

3. ‘I believed her’

Former Vice President Joe Biden said he takes “responsibility” for Anita Hill’s mistreatment when she testified against Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas during hearings before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“I believed her from the very beginning, but I was chairman,” Biden said in an exclusive interview with Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America.” “She did not get a fair hearing. She did not get treated well. That’s my responsibility.”

Biden is currently the front-runner among Democratic presidential candidates, but his long political record could prove both an asset and a liability, ABC News Senior Congressional Correspondent Mary Bruce tells “Start Here.”

4. Another day, another infrastructure week

President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders are meeting today with hopes of finding common ground on infrastructure priorities.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer wrote a letter to the president on Monday, outlining Democratic plans for a package that’s “big and bold enough to meet our country’s needs” and includes “clean energy and resiliency priorities.”

“Both sides are bringing in slightly different perspectives and different agendas,” ABC News White House Correspondent Karen Travers says, “but this is the one issue where you could actually say maybe there’s a glimmer of hope of Democrats and the administration working together.”

“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.


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From our friends at FiveThirtyEight:

Biden was all over cable news last week — and so was Anita Hill: Biden’s full name was mentioned 3,393 total times last week across the three cable news networks we monitor — CNN, Fox News and MSNBC. Sen. Bernie Sanders was the second most talked-about candidate with 1,099, followed by Sens. Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris.

Doff your cap:

Today we doff our caps to recent Brigham Young University graduate Matt Easton, who, before literally doffing his own cap among thousands of fellow cap-doffers, had the courage and conviction to say during his commencement speech something never before said at graduation at the traditionally conservative school: He’s gay.

“BYU has a very strict honor code, a lot of rules about homosexuality and being gay, so during my time at BYU my focus was almost entirely on my studies,” he told “Good Morning America,” adding that the speech was a great chance to “focus on being more authentic.”

Easton, valedictorian for the College of Family, Home and Social Sciences, said he wanted to use his platform as a speaker to help support others in similar situations.

“I hope,” he said, “that LGBTQ Mormons and queer students and people who feel like they’re alone and afraid, just as I felt alone and afraid, could hear my speech and could feel a little more seen and a little more loved and a little more valued — because they are.”

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