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News Wrap: Senate Intelligence leaders dismiss claim of Trump wiretap

March 16, 2017 at 6:45 PM EDT
In our news wrap Thursday, leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee said they've seen no indications to prove President Trump's claim that he was wiretapped by former President Obama. Also, the House Budget Committee narrowly approved the Republicans’ replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act. House Speaker Paul Ryan acknowledged that parts of the legislation are subject to change.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: A federal judge in Maryland became the second in as many days to block President Trump’s revised travel ban nationwide. The other ruling came last night in Hawaii. Both judges concluded Mr. Trump’s earlier public remarks suggest that it’s still intended to be a Muslim ban. The White House vowed to appeal. We will explore the court rulings, and what comes next, later in the program.

Bipartisan leaders of the Senate Intelligence Committee are the latest to dismiss President Trump’s claim that he was wiretapped by President Obama. They, along with House Speaker Paul Ryan, said today that they have seen — quote — “no indications of that.” House intelligence leaders said much the same thing yesterday.

But White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer argued today that nothing is clear until the Justice Department reports next week.

SEAN SPICER, White House Press Secretary: The Department of Justice asked for an additional week. So, the statement clearly says that at this time that they don’t believe that. They have yet to go through the information. The Department of Justice, as you know, has not supplied this.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Spicer also said the president still stands by his claim.

The House Budget Committee narrowly approved the Republican health care bill today. Three GOP conservatives voted no, putting dissent in Republican ranks clearly on display. And, for the first time, House Speaker Paul Ryan acknowledged parts of the bill may have to be changed to shore up support.

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-Wis., Speaker of the House: Clearly, the main parts of this bill are going to stay exactly as they are, but we’re making those improvements and refinements based upon the feedback that we’re getting from our members, and the president of the United States is the one who’s been mediating this.

The president of the United States is the one who is bringing people together, sitting around a table, hashing out our differences, so that we can get to a consensus document.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In a FOX News interview that aired last night, the president said of the bill — quote — “A lot of things aren’t consistent. But these are going to be negotiated.”

European leaders congratulated Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte today, after his victory over anti-Muslim lawmaker Geert Wilders. In a victory celebration last night, Rutte called it a victory for stability and security.

MARK RUTTE, Prime Minister of the Netherlands (through interpreter): This is also a night when the Netherlands, after Brexit, after American elections, has said stop to the wrong kind of populism.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Wilders’ party finished second, but the other Dutch parties have said they will not work with him or include him in a governing coalition.

Pirates in Somalia have released an oil tanker that they hijacked on Monday. They say they were not paid any ransom. The release came hours after a gunfight between the pirates and local security forces.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged North Korea today to abandon its nuclear and missile programs. Tillerson was in Japan, starting his first Asia trip. At a news conference with his Japanese counterpart, he called for a new strategy, but offered no specifics.

REX TILLERSON: I think it’s important to recognize that the diplomatic and other efforts of the past 20 years to bring North Korea to a point of denuclearization have failed. In the face of this ever-escalating threat, it is clear that a different approach is required.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Today was the first time Tillerson had publicly fielded questions since assuming his post in early February.

Back in this country, the head of USA Gymnastics, Steve Penny, resigned amid allegations that he ignored sexual abuse of girls training for the Olympics. The organization faces a brace of lawsuits charging that a former team doctor groped and fondled girls in training. They say Penny and other officials knew about it and did nothing.

And on Wall Street, stocks ended the day with little change. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 15 points to close at 20934. The Nasdaq rose a fraction of a point, and the S&P 500 slipped nearly four.

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