JUDY WOODRUFF: And in the day’s other news: The chairman of the House of Representatives Oversight Committee, Jason Chaffetz, announced that he’s resigning from Congress at the end of June. His decision came as the committee is investigating the Trump campaign’s contacts with Russia. The Utah Republican said that he wants to spend more time with his family and possibly run for governor.
One person was killed and 22 hurt in New York’s Times Square today when a car plowed into pedestrians. The driver, a 26-year-old Navy veteran, was taken into custody and underwent tests for alcohol and drugs. The car drove the wrong way up a street, and then up on the sidewalk for three blocks, and finally came to rest with two wheels in the air. Police said there’s no indication that terrorism was involved.
The founder of FOX News, Roger Ailes, died today in Palm Beach, Florida, several days after hitting his head in a fall in his home. He transformed the business and built the network into a dominant presence, but his career ended in scandal.
P.J. Tobia has our report.
MAN: Today, America lost one of its great patriotic warriors.
P.J. TOBIA: FOX News Channel announced the death of the cable network’s longtime leader.
MAN: He has dramatically and forever changed the political and the media landscape singlehandedly for the better. Neither will ever be the same again, as he was a true American original.
P.J. TOBIA: Ailes left a huge imprint on both American politics and media. He created the 24-hour FOX News network in 1996 from scratch to compete with CNN and other TV networks he saw as too liberal. Within a few short years, FOX dominated cable and helped shape politics with its fair and balanced credo.
FOX News would have an explicitly conservative take to its coverage.
NARRATOR: Fair and balanced.
P.J. TOBIA: Ailes said this in a 2004 interview with C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb:
ROGER AILES, FOX News Founder: Well, we have changed the business a little bit. I think FOX News has come on the scene and identified itself as fair and balanced. We try to do that every day. I think others, instead of trying to get more fair and balanced, probably are offended by that or worried about it.
P.J. TOBIA: Early in his career, Ailes helped launch a little-known big band singer named Mike Douglas, who became a household name with his afternoon variety show. It was there that Ailes first met Richard Nixon. Ailes offered to become Nixon’s media adviser before he ran for president a second time in 1968.
He would go on to advise and work for the winning candidacies of Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.
Mr. Bush tweeted today: “He wasn’t perfect, but Roger Ailes was my friend and I loved him. Not sure I would have been president without his great talent. Loyal help. Rest in peace.”
Ailes also served as a one-time adviser to Donald Trump. After a falling out, the two men mended fences in 2016, when Ailes jumped on the Trump bandwagon.
At FOX, Ailes reigned supreme for two decades. But after sexual harassment allegations by former anchor Gretchen Carlson became public last year, Ailes’ career and legacy began to unravel. More than 20 other women came forward with allegations. So far, 21st Century FOX has paid $45 million in relation to those charges, with more pending.
21st Century Fox corporate head Rupert Murdoch and his sons ousted Ailes last July, only hours before Mr. Trump accepted the GOP nomination. Roger Ailes was 77 years old.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Late today, the medical examiner in Palm Beach County, Florida, said that Ailes died of bleeding on the brain.
The U.S. Treasury Department is imposing new sanctions on Venezuela. They’re aimed at the chief judge and seven other members of the country’s Supreme Court. It’s retaliation for the court’s rulings against the opposition-controlled congress. The rulings have triggered ongoing protests and violence.
The Trump administration formally alerted Congress today of its plans to renegotiate NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement. The president initially threatened to pull out of the 23-year-old trade pact with Mexico and Canada. He has said since that he hopes to negotiate a better deal.
Today’s announcement came as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and his Mexican counterpart met in Washington.
REX TILLERSON, U.S. Secretary of State: Trade is an important, extremely important issue. And I think the filing of the authorities with the Congress this morning to start moving towards fast-track authority is a very positive move.
LUIS VIDEGARAY, Mexican Foreign Minister: The government of Mexico welcomes this development. We are prepared. We are ready just to work together with both the governments of the U.S. and Canada to make our trade agreement better.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The announcement sets in motion 90 days of consultations with Congress. And then negotiations begin with Mexico and Canada.
And on Wall Street, stocks rallied a minor drubbing after yesterday’s drubbing. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 56 points to close at 20663. The Nasdaq rose nearly 44, and the S&P 500 added eight.