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News Wrap: Trump defends handling of wiretap claim

March 17, 2017 at 6:45 PM EDT
In our news wrap Friday, President Trump defended White House press secretary Sean Spicer's handling of the claim that Trump Tower was wiretapped by President Obama, connecting his own claim to allegations that the Obama administration monitored the German Chancellor Merkel’s phone. Also, the Secret Service confirmed that someone stole a laptop from an agent's car in New York.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, the Justice Department said today that it has complied with congressional requests for any information on surveillance during the campaign. It gave no details.

There’s new trouble tonight for the Secret Service. The agency has confirmed today that someone stole a laptop from an agent’s car in New York yesterday. It was parked near her Brooklyn home. The Secret Service says the laptop has multiple security layers and doesn’t contain classified information.

Agency officials also confirmed this evening that a man who jumped a White House fence a week ago was on the grounds or 16 minutes before being arrested. He didn’t enter the building, but he got close.

President Trump today ramped up his push for the Obamacare replacement bill. He met with conservative Republicans, and said he’s — quote — “100 percent” behind the measure. Later, he predicted it will pass pretty quickly. Other lawmakers said changes to the bill are in the works, and House Speaker Paul Ryan said the process is going well.

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-Wis., Speaker of the House: There are people from middle and from the right who have various concerns. And we’re trying to make sure that we address as many of these concerns as possible without destroying the bill and without losing votes, but adding votes. And we’re getting — we’re really doing well. We feel very good.

JUDY WOODRUFF: In the Senate, four Republicans have already come out against the bill, leaving it short there of a majority.

In Yemen, 42 Somali refugees were killed last night when they came under attack at sea. Survivors said they were trying to flee Yemen to Sudan, when a naval vessel and a helicopter gunship opened fire. Shiite rebels in Yemen blamed a Saudi-led coalition. The coalition had no immediate comment.

The Pentagon denied today that a U.S. airstrike targeted a mosque in Syria’s Aleppo province. Activists and a powerful rebel group said the attack killed nearly 50 people, mostly civilians who had gathered for prayers. But a U.S. military photograph showed the mosque still standing, while a building across the street was destroyed. A Pentagon spokesman said the strike killed dozens of al-Qaida fighters, not civilians.

The International Energy Agency reports that worldwide carbon emissions remained flat in 2016. Emissions fell in the United States and China, the two largest emitters, thanks to greater use of renewable, nuclear and gas power. Still, the agency says it’s not enough to prevent the continued rise of global temperatures.

And Wall Street finished the week on a so-so note. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 20 points to close at 20914. The Nasdaq rose a quarter-point, and the S&P 500 gave up three. For the week, all three indexes gained a fraction of a percent.

And Nobel-winning poet Derek Walcott died today at his home on the island of Saint Lucia. His work focused on the Caribbean and earned him renown as one of the greatest writers of the second half of the 20th century. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1992. Derek Walcott was 87 years old.

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