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News Wrap: House overwhelmingly approves new Russia sanctions

July 25, 2017 at 6:45 PM EDT
In the our news wrap Tuesday, the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to impose new sanctions on Russia, partly over its meddling in the 2016 election, and bars President Trump from relaxing the penalties without congressional approval. Also, the State Department denied reports that Secretary Rex Tillerson is increasingly frustrated in his job and has told friends he may not last a year.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: President Trump today kept sawing on the tree limb where he’s recently placed his attorney general, Jeff Sessions. He charged that Sessions has been very weak on investigating Hillary Clinton, and needs to be — quote — “much tougher.”

As for whether Sessions will keep his job, the president said, “Time will tell.”

One of Mr. Trump’s advisers said he probably wants Sessions to resign. We will have a full report later in the program.

The State Department denied today that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is increasingly frustrated in his job. Several news outlets reported that the former ExxonMobil chief is chafing at curbs on his independence. The reports said he’s told friends that he may not last a year.

But spokesperson Heather Nauert rejected any such talk.

HEATHER NAUERT, State Department Spokeswoman: That is false. We have spoken with the secretary. The secretary has been very clear he intends to stay here at State Department. We have a lot of work that is left to be done ahead of us. He recognizes that. He is deeply engaged in that work.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Nauert said that Tillerson is currently taking a little time off.

The U.S. House of Representatives today voted overwhelmingly to impose new sanctions on Russia, partly over its meddling in the 2016 election. This bars President Trump from relaxing the penalties without congressional approval.

Meanwhile, in the Russia investigations, the president’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, met privately with the House Intelligence Committee. And former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort spoke with Senate Intelligence Committee staffers. We will return to this story later in the program.

In Jerusalem, Muslim clerics urged worshipers to keep up protests and avoid entering a contested holy site until further notice. They had objected to Israel installing metal detectors at the Temple Mount/Noble Sanctuary site after an attack on police. Overnight, the Israelis dismantled the metal detectors, in favor of high-tech cameras, but protests continued and Palestinian officials remained adamant.

RAMI HAMDALLAH, Prime Minister, Palestinian National Authority (through interpreter): We condemn all the Israeli measures that take away our people’s right for worship. We reject all obstacles that hinder the freedom of worship granted by international laws. And we demand that we return to the situation where things stood before.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Palestinians warned that the new cameras could see through clothing and embarrass female worshipers. Israeli police said they will not use cameras that violate anyone’s privacy.

An outbreak of cholera in Yemen was set to reach 400,000 cases today. It has struck a population already ravaged by war and hunger.

We have a report from Neil Connery of Independent Television News.

But be aware, some of the images are graphic and disturbing.

NEIL CONNERY: Tagrid Tatan barely has the strength to cry. She’s 12 years old.

For months, Yemen’s children have paid the highest price in a war now in its third year. Zara is 15. This is what hunger has done to her.

And now a cholera epidemic is spreading, with more than 5,000 cases every day. At Todada (ph) hospital, they’re overwhelmed by cholera victims. More than 40 percent of those affected are children.

Yemen was already on its knees, but now a disease which should have been left in the 19th century is in every part of the country. In the villages, this waterborne infection is claiming lives, as one father who lost his 4-year-old son, Ali, told us.

MAN (through interpreter): My son died of cholera because the water is contaminated, and we do not have a solution for this well. We need a solution to stop this illness that has killed our children.

NEIL CONNERY: In the nearby clinic, Tagrid is finally receiving help, but, across Yemen, hunger and cholera cast the darkest of shadows.

JUDY WOODRUFF: So hard to watch that report from Neil Connery of Independent Television News.

The U.S. and Iran have had a new confrontation in the Northern Persian Gulf. An American patrol ship fired warning shots today near an Iranian vessel. U.S. military officials said it ignored warnings and came within 150 yards. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard charged that the U.S. vessel provoked the incident.

There’s word that North Korea could field an intercontinental ballistic missile that can carry a nuclear warhead to a target by next year. The Washington Post is reporting the new Pentagon estimate shaves two years off the previous forecast. U.S. intelligence analysts say that the North could conduct new missile tests this week during a national holiday.

Upbeat corporate profits pushed Wall Street higher today. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 100 points to close at 21613. The Nasdaq rose one point, and the S&P 500 added seven.

And Barbara Sinatra died today at her home in Rancho Mirage, California. She became Frank Sinatra’s fourth wife in 1976, and the union lasted until the legendary singer’s own death in 1998. With his help, the former showgirl-turned-socialite raised millions of dollars to help abused children. Barbara Sinatra was 90 years old.