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News Wrap: Trump takes aim at the Freedom Caucus

March 30, 2017 at 6:50 PM EDT
In our news wrap Thursday, President Trump tweeted that some conservatives in the Freedom Caucus will hurt the Republican agenda if "they don't get on the team." A Caucus member later responded that "most people don't take well to being bullied." Also, a federal judge in Hawaii extended his orders blocking the president's revised travel ban.
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JUDY WOODRUFF: Russia’s election season meddling dominated the conversation on both ends of Pennsylvania Avenue today.

On Capitol Hill, the Senate Intelligence Committee held its first public hearing on the issue.

Meanwhile, the White House says it’s invited the heads of both congressional Intelligence panels to view new material from the National Security Council. That came after The New York Times reported that two White House officials helped to provide House Intelligence Chair Devin Nunes view surveillance reports.

That committee’s top Democrat, Adam Schiff of California, says the situation raises profound concerns.

REP. ADAM SCHIFF, D-Calif.: We look at these kind of issues all the time. This is not new for our committee, which is why it makes so unusual, irregular that it would be presented to us in this way.

This is within our ordinary wheelhouse. There is a proper way to put this before the committee. That certainly was not followed here. And the White House ought to explain why that wasn’t followed here.

JUDY WOODRUFF: We will hear more from the Senate Intelligence Committee hearing later in the program.

In the day’s other news: President Trump took public aim at some conservative Republicans who helped sink the GOP’s Obamacare replacement.

He tweeted that — quote — “The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team. We must fight them.”

Later, one of the members of that caucus, Michigan Representative Justin Amash said: “Most people don’t take well to being bullied.”

For his part, House Speaker Paul Ryan said he empathizes with the president.

REP. PAUL RYAN, R-Wis., Speaker of the House: I understand the president’s frustration. I share frustration. About 90 percent of our conference is for this bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, and about 10 percent are not. And that’s not enough to pass a bill. We’re close.

What I’m encouraging our members to do is to keep talking with each other until we get the consensus to pass this bill.

JUDY WOODRUFF: The president later called out three representatives by name. In another tweet, he called on Mark Meadows of North Carolina, Ohio’s Jim Jordan, and Idaho’s Raul Labrador to — quote — “get on board.”

Meanwhile, Kansas Governor Sam Brownback today vetoed a bill that would’ve expanded Medicaid in his state. He said it would burden Kansas with what he called unrestrainable entitlement costs.

A federal judge in Hawaii has extended his order blocking President Trump’s revised travel ban. The Department of Justice says it’s considering its next steps.

The Trump White House also today announced the departure of a top aide. Deputy Chief of Staff Katie Walsh was a close ally of the chief of staff, Reince Priebus. Officials said this does not signal that more departures are around the corner.

Congress narrowly passed a bill today that allows states to cut funds to Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers. Vice President Pence was called on to cast the tie-breaking vote in the Senate after two Republican women senators broke with their party and voted no, Maine’s Susan Collins and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski.

The U.S. and Turkey struggled today over the role of Kurdish forces in fighting the Islamic State group. Turkey wants the U.S. to partner with its military, but the Pentagon has backed Syrian Kurdish troops.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was in Ankara today, and said the countries see eye-to-eye on fighting ISIS, also known as Da’esh.

REX TILLERSON, U.S. Secretary of State: There is no space between Turkey and the United States in our commitment to defeat Da’esh. These are not easy decisions. There are difficult choices that have to be made.

So, this has been very good. The conversations today were very frank, very candid.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Tillerson is set to attend a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels tomorrow.

President Trump has given the military more authority to go after al-Qaida linked militants in Somalia. The move means that the Pentagon can conduct more aggressive airstrikes. It also allows U.S. special forces to accompany the Somalian army.

Israel’s Security Cabinet has approved that country’s first new housing settlements in the Palestinian territory in two decades. The White House has expressed concerns about settlement activity. But after today’s announcement, the White House said that Israel has made it clear that it will adopt a policy that takes President Trump’s concerns — quote — “into consideration.”

In South Korea, ousted President Park Geun-hye has been arrested on corruption charges. She faces allegations of colluding with a friend to extort money from businesses. Park was questioned for nearly nine hours before a court in Seoul granted her arrest warrant. They cited concerns that she may try to destroy evidence.

Stocks moved higher on Wall Street today, led by gains in the banking sector. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 69 points to close at 20728. The Nasdaq posted a record close, rising more than 16, and the S&P 500 added nearly seven.

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