News Wrap: Homeland Security sends agents to address child migrant crisis
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JUDY WOODRUFF: The U.S. Homeland Security Department is sending more agents to the Mexican border to handle a surge of thousands of undocumented children. Secretary Jeh Johnson told Congress today that 115 experienced agents have deployed to the Rio Grande Valley, and another 150 may join them.
Republican Representative Patrick Meehan of Pennsylvania asked what’s being done to get the children home safely.
JEH JOHNSON, Secretary of Homeland Security: We’re talking about children as young as 5 and 7 years old. This is a humanitarian issue. And so, when you’re talking about someone who is desperate to be reunited with her mother or her father in the United States, I think, as Americans, we need to be careful about how we treat these kids.
REP. PATRICK MEEHAN, R, Penn.: We all get it. And this is what’s so difficult about this. This — we’re dealing with children, and we get it, but we ought not be leaving American people with the false impression that somehow the system is going to work, and is actually going to lead to removals. Once those children are here, they’re staying here.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, the Associated Press reported the government plans to use a 55,000-square-foot warehouse in South Texas to process the children.
Islamist fighters in Nigeria have kidnapped another 60 girls and women, plus 31 boys. Witnesses said today the Boko Haram attacks came over the weekend in the northeast, but security forces denied anything happened. More than 200 schoolgirls were abducted in that region last April and are still missing.
Rebels in Eastern Ukraine shot down another military helicopter today, killing nine soldiers. It happened just a day after the pro-Russian separatists pledged to respect a cease-fire. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin moved to cancel a decree authorizing him to use force inside Ukraine.
In Egypt, the newly elected president is rejecting calls to pardon three Al-Jazeera journalists. They were sentenced yesterday to seven years in prison on charges of aiding a terrorism organization, the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood.
Today, President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi addressed the issue in a nationally televised speech.
PRESIDENT ABDEL FATTAH AL-SISI, Egypt (through interpreter): I called the minister of justice, and I told him one word: We will not interfere in judicial matters, because the Egyptian judiciary is an independent and exalted judiciary. If we desire strong state institutions, we must respect court rulings and not comment on them, even if others don’t understand those rulings.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The United States, Australia and others condemned the court verdicts and appealed to Al-Sisi to use his legal authority to pardon the journalists.
A British jury delivered its verdicts today in the scandal over hacking the telephones of politicians, celebrities and even a murder victim. One former editor of the News of the World tabloid, Andy Coulson, was convicted, while another, Rebekah Brooks, was acquitted.
Andy Davies of Independent Television News has this report.
ANDY DAVIES, Independent Television News: Out of the Old Bailey he walks and into the midst of an industry which once so empowered him, Andy Coulson, the former tabloid boss, former prime ministerial aide, this evening, leaving court in the knowledge he may now face prison over his role in the phone hacking scandal.
What a contrast, then, for the prime minister’s old friend and Andy Coulson’s former lover, Rebekah Brooks, the woman whose barrister said had been the subject of a witch-hunt, cleared today of all the charges against her and leaving court with her husband, Charlie, also acquitted.
So much noise has surrounded this trial. And when it came down to it, the judge asked for complete silence in court for the verdicts. The defendants stood side by side in the court. And when Andy Coulson heard the word “guilty,” he didn’t move an inch. He just looked straight ahead.
Rebekah Brooks, with her husband, Charlie, on one side of her and her former P.A. Cheryl Carter on the other, at the first of the three not-guilty verdicts, looked at the jury and smiled. Rebekah Brooks’ husband, Charlie, had also been accused of a cover-up, of a complicated little plot to hide laptops and documents at one stage in an underground car park from the police. He said it was to hide embarrassing pornography.
Today, the jury cleared both him and the former News International head of security Mark Hanna of perverting the course of justice. For Andy Coulson, this trial isn’t over just yet. The jury are still considering their verdicts in relation to two other charges. These involve allegations that he authorized one of his journalists to make illegal payments to police officers, accusations he’s repeatedly denied.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The outcry over phone hacking led the Murdoch media empire to shut down News of the World in 2011, after 168 years in business.
Back in this country, it was showdown day for two congressional veterans, as seven states held primaries, and Florida a special election. The headline race was in Mississippi, where six-term Republican Senator Thad Cochran faced tea-party candidate Chris McDaniel in a runoff. In New York, Democrat Charlie Rangel, who’s been in the House of Representatives for 44 years, tried to stave off a strong primary challenge.
Subpar earnings reports and worries about Iraq weighed on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 119 points to close at 16,818. The Nasdaq fell 18 points to close at 4,350. And the S&P 500 slid 12 points to finish under 1,950.