WILLIAM BRANGHAM: In the day’s other news: Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro is celebrating the election of a new legislative body that would give him sweeping new powers. But, today, the U.S. slapped Maduro with financial sanctions. In a statement, President Trump referred to Maduro’s — quote — “sham election” and said he is now — quote — “a dictator.”
Months of violent protests against the embattled leader turned deadlier yesterday, with at least 10 killed.
New York Times correspondent Nicholas Casey, who has been banned from Venezuela because of his reporting there, spoke with me from Colombia a short time ago, where he has been watching the developments closely.
NICHOLAS CASEY, The New York Times: Sanctioning individuals in Venezuela has got a long history going back to President Obama. They haven’t amounted to very much. Mainly, this government, when it sees sanctions, wipes them off.
They don’t go to the U.S. very much anyway. This doesn’t affect them on a day-to-day basis. And what we’re seeing is that the vice president was sanctioned. A number of other members of Mr. Maduro’s government have been sanctioned. And nothing has really happened so far, so I don’t expect that, if Maduro himself is sanctioned, he’s going to change his ways here.
It’s not even clear that Maduro owns many assets in the United States, and it’s not clear what those would be.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: You can learn more about the situation in Venezuela and hear my full conversation with Nick Casey on our website, pbs.org/newshour.
The White House said it’s reviewing all its options on Russia, a day after the Kremlin said it’s kicking out nearly 800 employees from U.S. diplomatic posts. In Moscow, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said the U.S. must recover from — quote — “political schizophrenia.” We will have more on the diplomatic fight later in the program.
In Afghanistan, the Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for an attack on the Iraqi Embassy. A suicide bomber blew himself up at the main gate of the complex in Kabul. Three gunmen then stormed inside, setting off an hours-long firefight with security forces. All of the attackers were killed, as were two embassy workers. Three police officers were also wounded.
Back in this country, Tropical Storm Emily churned across Florida today. Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for 31 counties, as waves of rain drenched the peninsula. About 18,000 homes and businesses lost power. Emily was expected to dump two to four inches of rain throughout the night, and bring winds of up to 45 miles an hour.
The storm did weaken to a tropical depression as it moved inland. Former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio has been convicted of criminal contempt. Arpaio was found guilty for defying a 2011 court order which barred his officers from stopping and detaining Latino motorists. The 85-year-old Arpaio faces up to six months in jail and a fine.
On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 61 points to close at 21891. The Nasdaq fell 26 points. And the S&P 500 dropped almost two.
President Trump presented a Medal of Honor for the first time today. The highest military combat honor went to James McCloughan, who served as an Army medic during the Vietnam War. The president hailed McCloughan’s bravery during a two-day battle in 1969. He entered a kill zone to rescue wounded comrades, despite his own serious injuries.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Today, in 320 million grateful American hearts, Private McCloughan carries one immortal title, and that title is hero.
Special 5 McCloughan, we honor you, we salute you, and with God as your witness, we thank you for what you did for all of us.
WILLIAM BRANGHAM: McCloughan, who is a Michigan native, left the Army in 1970, and spent decades as a coach and a teacher.
And two passings in the arts world today.
Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Sam Shepard has died at the age of 73. We will look at Shepard’s impact on theater, literature and cinema later in the program.
And outspoken French actress Jeanne Moreau has died. She became one of France’s most recognized performers over a decades-long acting career. She was best-known for starring in Francois Truffaut’s 1962 film “Jules and Jim.” Jeanne Moreau was 89 years old.