HARI SREENIVASAN: In the day’s other news: President Trump cut a deal with Democrats to raise the national debt ceiling for three months. That’s far less than Republican leaders had wanted. The deal combines the extension with Hurricane Harvey relief money. It came as the death toll from Harvey rose to at least 70. We will have a full report after the news summary.
Fifteen states and the District of Columbia filed suit today over the president’s decision to end the DACA program. It shields thousands of young undocumented immigrants from deportation. The states argue the decision violates due process and is racially motivated.
Washington state’s Democratic Governor Jay Inslee went further at a news conference in Seattle.
GOV. JAY INSLEE, D-Wash.: It is a dark pall of cruelty and inhumanity which has covered this land as a result of this president’s willful, malicious bigotry, which has attempted to stifle the dreams of some of the strongest, most ambitious, most vibrant, most brilliant people in our blessed community.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Mr. Trump said today he has no second thoughts about dismantling DACA. He also predicted Democrats and Republicans will work out a solution in the next six months.
On North Korea, the president spoke by phone with his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, and urged him again to put more pressure on Pyongyang. He spoke as he left the White House for a flight to North Dakota, and he said — quote — “It was a very good phone call.”
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: President Xi would like to do something. We will see whether or not he can do it. But we will not be putting up with what’s happening in North Korea. I believe that President Xi agrees with me 100 percent. He doesn’t want to see what’s happening there either.
HARI SREENIVASAN: The president said military action is not his first choice, but he left open the possibility.
Chinese state TV said Xi insisted the crisis must be defused with diplomacy.
A U.N. commission reports it has strong evidence that Syria’s government carried out a deadly sarin gas attack in April. The attack killed 83 people and sparked a U.S. air raid in reprisal, but the Syrians denied responsibility. The U.N. report relies on satellite images, video and interviews. The report also accuses the Syrian regime of 20 chemical attacks in the last four years.
Myanmar is blaming a misinformation campaign for criticism of its crackdown on Rohingya Muslims. The leader of the mostly Buddhist country, Aung San Suu Kyi, said today that her government protects all people.
Later, Suu Kyi’s national security adviser challenged the Rohingya to come forward with any accusations.
THAUNG TUN, National Security Adviser, Myanmar : If there is wrongdoing, action will be taken against the person who has caused the wrongdoing. Nobody is above the law. In Myanmar, nobody is above the law. But you have to prove, you have to provide the proof that this was done.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Myanmar’s army says it is responding to attacks by Rohingya insurgents. Refugees tell of government troops destroying whole villages. At least 146,000 have fled into neighboring Bangladesh since late August. The U.N. warns that number could double.
The European Union’s top court has thrown out a legal challenge from Hungary and Slovakia to taking in asylum seekers. The two nations have refused to abide by an E.U. plan to relocate some 160,000 refugees now in Greece and Italy. But the court today overruled the objections.
Back in this country, a major wildfire east of Portland, Oregon, has spread so much ash, it’s being likened to the Mount Saint Helens eruption in 1980. The fire broke out Saturday in the scenic Columbia River Gorge. By today, it had burned across at least 50 square miles.
Federal prosecutors began making their bribery case against New Jersey Senator Bob Menendez. In opening statements, they said the veteran Democrat sold his office for a lifestyle he couldn’t afford. Earlier, outside the courthouse in Newark, Menendez denied accepting cash and lavish gifts from a Florida eye doctor in exchange for favors.
SEN. ROBERT MENENDEZ, D-N.J.: I started my public career fighting corruption. That’s how I started. And I have always acted in accordance with the law, and I believe, when all of the facts are known, I will be vindicated.
HARI SREENIVASAN: Menendez is up for reelection in 2018. If he’s convicted and steps down, Republican Governor Chris Christie would name his replacement, providing it happens before Christie leaves office in January.
And on Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 54 points to close at 21807. The Nasdaq rose 17 points, and the S&P 500 was up seven.