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News Wrap: ‘America is open for business,’ says Trump at Davos

In our news wrap Friday, President Trump lauded his tax cuts and promoted the U.S. as an ideal place to grow international business in a restrained speech to world leaders at Davos. Also, the president’s immigration plan that offers a path to citizenship for some 1.8 million immigrants drew fire from both sides.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    President Trump responded today to word that he demanded Robert Mueller’s ouster last June as special counsel in the Russia probe by saying it is all fake news.

    The New York Times initially, and now other news organizations, report that the president backed off when his White House lawyer threatened to quit. We will have a full report after the news summary.

    The president talked about the Mueller matter in Davos, Switzerland, where he spoke at the World Economic Forum, a gathering of mainly corporate and political leaders.

    He used the occasion to declare the United States as open for business.

    Special correspondent Ryan Chilcote reports from Davos.

  • Ryan Chilcote:

    The fanfare of a Swiss marching band heralded the president’s address to the global leaders and his sales pitch for America.

  • President Donald Trump:

    There has never been a better time to hire, to build, to invest, and to grow in the United States. America is open for business, and we are competitive once again.

  • Ryan Chilcote:

    Mr. Trump touted his tax cuts and regulatory overhaul.

  • President Donald Trump:

    We are freeing our businesses and workers so they can thrive and flourish as never before.

  • Ryan Chilcote:

    The president also sought to reassure his audience that his America first agenda is not bad for the rest of the world. But he said free trade must be fair.

  • President Donald Trump:

    The United States will no longer turn a blind eye to unfair economic practices, including massive intellectual property theft, industrial subsidies and pervasive state-led economic planning.

  • Ryan Chilcote:

    The remarks appeared to encourage many business leaders at the forum.

  • Marc Benioff:

    He well represented the American policies that he has put into place.

  • Ryan Chilcote:

    Others pushed back on President Trump’s claims of economic achievements.

  • Winnie Byanyima:

    Stocks hitting records means more wealth for the few at the top, but makes no difference at all for people at the bottom.

  • Ryan Chilcote:

    There were also boos and hisses when the president branded the news media nasty, mean, and vicious.

    The hall was so packed, I shared my chair with a Nobel-prize winning economist. A Japanese politician sat beside him. Both my neighbors were dumbstruck by the spectacular start to the event, even though they got little of the provocative Trump.

    The president was restrained, on message, and stuck to the teleprompter. Earlier in the day, Mr. Trump met with Rwanda’s president, the incoming head of the African Union, Paul Kagame. That meeting followed reports that Mr. Trump had made vulgar remarks about African nations.

    Kagame said he looks forward to working together, and Mr. Trump, in turn, called him a friend.

  • President Donald Trump:

     As I say often, I am the least racist person that anybody is going to meet.

  • Ryan Chilcote:

    On another issue, the president told Britain’s ITN that he had not known anything about the far-right group Britain First before he retweeted anti-Muslim videos from its leader last November.

  • President Donald Trump:

    If you’re telling me they’re horrible people, horrible, racist people, I would certainly apologize, if you would like me to do that.

  • Ryan Chilcote:

    After his address, the president departed for Washington.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Ryan Chilcote in Davos.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day’s other news- As President Trump plugged the U.S. economy at Davos, Wall Street turned in another record session, due mainly to strong corporate earnings and a weaker U.S. dollar.

    The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 224 points to close above 26,616. The Nasdaq rose 94 points, and the S&P 500 added 33. All three were the highest they have ever been.

    The president’s immigration proposal drew fire today, from the left and the right. It offers a path to citizenship for 1.8 million young immigrants living in the U.S. illegally. Some far-right groups warned of betrayal, but in an interview Thursday, Mr. Trump said he thinks immigration foes in Congress will come around.

  • President Donald Trump:

    Well, these are people that really have shifted a lot. They have really shifted a lot. And I think they’re willing to shift more, and so am I. Look, we’re going to try and make a deal on DACA. We have a good chance of making it.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Part of the deal would cut down on legal immigration and include $25 billion for border security. Those provisions have Democrats outraged.

    In a tweet today, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called it — quote — “the wish list that anti-immigration hard-liners have advocated for years.”

    The president shot back that Schumer is unable to act on immigration because he took a political beating in the government shutdown.

    Casino mogul Steve Wynn denied today that he has sexually harassed or assaulted multiple women. The Wall Street Journal detailed the allegations against Wynn, who is finance chair for the Republican National Committee.

    Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that an adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential bid was accused of repeatedly harassing a young staffer. Burns Strider was kept on staff, but ordered to get counseling.

    There is more fallout from Michigan State University’s handling of sexual abuse allegations against Larry Nassar. The former sports doctor was sentenced this week to up to 175 years in prison for molesting scores of young women and girls.

    Today, Michigan State’s athletic director, Mark Hollis, announced he is retiring.

  • Mark Hollis:

    As a campus community, we must do everything we can to ensure that this never happens again, to make sure that any sexual assault never occurs. But to do so, we must listen and learn lessons. Only then can we truly begin the process of healing.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Michigan State University’s president announced her resignation earlier this week. Nassar also worked for USA Gymnastics, and the U.S. Olympic committee demanded yesterday that the group’s entire board resign. Today, USA Gymnastics said that it will comply.

    In South Korea, at least 37 people died today when a fire tore through a small hospital that had no sprinkler system. More than 140 people were injured. Firefighters rushed in as smoke billowed out of the six-story building southeast of Seoul. Officials said the fire started in the emergency room, but the cause wasn’t clear.

    Thousands celebrated and protested in Australia today. They marked the day that the first British ship carrying convict colonists landed in 1788. In Sydney, boats bustled in the harbor as thousands lined the boardwalk to celebrate. But in Melbourne, more than 25,000 people rallied against white colonization and what it did to the aboriginal people.

    In economic news, Boeing lost a big trade case against the Canadian rival Bombardier. The U.S. International Trade Commission rejected claims that Bombardier sold passenger jets to Delta Air Lines at artificially low prices. That blocked the Trump administration from imposing nearly 300 percent tariffs.

    And in France, they are fighting to get their hands on Nutella spread literally. Frenzied buyers pushed and shoved to grab the chocolate hazelnut paste. On Thursday, a grocery chain had slashed the price 75 percent for a promotion.

    I guess they really like it.

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