In our news wrap Monday, activists staged scattered demonstrations outside the White House and from coast to coast to protest President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency. Meanwhile, Trump blasted former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe for saying in an interview with “60 Minutes” that the president's firing of FBI Director James Comey in May 2017 may have constituted a criminal offense.
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President Trump's declaration of a national emergency has generated new backlash on this President's Day.
Activists staged scattered protests today outside the White House and from coast to coast. They opposed taking executive action over the heads of Congress to find more money to build a border wall. Several groups and states say they plan to challenge the declaration in court.
The president today blasted Andrew McCabe. He's the former deputy FBI director. On Twitter, Mr. Trump said of McCabe: "He was fired for lying, and now his story gets even more deranged."
McCabe had told CBS' "60 Minutes" that firing FBI Director James Comey may have been a criminal act to block the Russia investigation. He also said again that current Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein talked of trying to remove the president from office in early 2017. Rosenstein has denied that.
President Trump today accused both men of treasonous acts.
The North Carolina state elections director testified today that a Republican political operative led an illegal ballot-collecting operation on behalf of a congressional candidate in 2018. That came during the first day of a hearing into whether Leslie McCrae Dowless Jr. tampered with absentee ballots in the state's 9th Congressional District.
Republican Mark Harris holds a slim lead over Democrat Dan McCready, but the race has not been certified.
President Trump today called on Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro to step down in a peaceful transition of power, but he acknowledged that all options are on the table. He also called for Maduro to allow blocked shipments of U.S. humanitarian aid into the country. Mr. Trump spoke in Miami, home to the largest Venezuelan community in the U.S., and gave this warning to Maduro's supporters:
I have a message for every official who is helping to keep Maduro in place. The eyes of the entire world are upon you today, every day and every day in the future. You cannot hide from the choice that now confronts you.
We will have an interview with Venezuela's opposition leader, Juan Guaido, after the news summary.
In Haiti, government offices and businesses began reopening after more than a week of violent anti-government protests. That comes as Haitian newspapers reported the overnight arrests of heavily armed foreign nationals, including some U.S. citizens. Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators have taken to the streets since February 7 to demand the resignation of the country's president, Jovenel Moise.
There is word of rising cyber-attacks against U.S. companies and agencies. The New York Times reports that Chinese and Iranian hackers are retaliating for the U.S. imposing tariffs and new sanctions. Meanwhile, Australia's prime minister today blamed what he called a sophisticated state actor for hacking Parliament's computing network. He didn't name the nation.
More than 300 Islamic State fighters are refusing to surrender in their last tiny bit of territory in Eastern Syria. Activists said today the militants are trying to negotiate safe passage to a rebel-held area in Northwestern Syria. The ISIS fighters are holding hundreds of civilians as shields against a final assault by U.S.-backed Kurdish forces.
In Yemen, warring parties have agreed to begin withdrawing forces from the vital port city of Hodeidah. Sitting on the Red Sea, it is the main entry point for humanitarian aid and a lifeline for millions of Yemenis who are facing starvation. The United Nations says the Saudi-backed government and the rebels, aligned with Iran, agreed Sunday on a mutual pullback.
And the sailor in an iconic image from the end of World War II has died. George Mendonsa passed away Sunday in Middletown, Rhode Island. The famous photo captured Mendonsa randomly grabbing and Greta Zimmer Friedman in New York's Times Square on the day Japan surrendered.
Upon his death, George Mendonsa, married to another woman for 70 years, was just two days short of turning 96 years old.
And, by the way, Greta Zimmer Friedman died in 2016 at the age of 92.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": a conversation with Venezuela's opposition leader, Juan Guaido; the effect of the latest government shutdown on the future of public service; a look at the historical trend of presidential powers; and much more.