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News Wrap: Amid escalating tensions, U.S. boosts military presence near Iran

In our news wrap Friday, the U.S. military confirmed that B-52 bombers have arrived in Qatar, and an aircraft carrier is nearing the Persian Gulf, after tensions with Iran escalated this week. Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan warned Iran not to attack Americans or their interests. Meanwhile, the House approved a $19 billion disaster relief bill over the objections of President Trump.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The U.S. China trade talks have ended, for now. The new tariffs have just begun. President Trump imposed the higher 25 percent levies overnight in a bid to bring Beijing to an agreement. And he promised they will help, not hurt the U.S. But the latest negotiations ended without resolving the standoff. And U.S. farmers, in particular, are bracing for further pain.

    We will have an extended report after the news summary.

    Wall Street managed a modest rally, despite the ongoing China tensions. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 114 points to close at 25942. The Nasdaq rose six, and the S&P 500 added 10.

    A top House Democrat issued subpoenas today for six years of President Trump's tax returns. Congressman Richard Neal chairs the Ways and Means Committee. He had already made a formal request for the returns, but the Treasury Department rejected it this week. This comes on the day the chair of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee says he is open to further talks on obtaining the full Mueller report.

    Chairman Democrat Jerry Nadler sent a letter today to Attorney General William Barr. The committee voted this week to hold Barr in contempt for not releasing the full report. Also today, Nadler announced that special counsel Robert Mueller will not testify before Congress next week, but the talks continue on another date.

    The U.S. and Iran kept up a war of words today. Tensions escalated this week over U.S. claims of unspecified threats by Tehran. Today, the U.S. military confirmed that B-52 bombers have arrived in Qatar, and the aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln is nearing the Persian Gulf. The Pentagon also announced that it will send a Patriot missile battery to the region.

    Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan warned Iran to tread carefully.

  • Patrick Shanahan:

    It's important that Iran understand that an attack on Americans or its interests would be met with an appropriate response. We will position ourselves, we will protect our interests, but we're there to build security.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Earlier, a top commander in Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard rejected any talks with the U.S. President Trump had said he would like for Iranian leaders to call him.

    The U.S. House of Representatives approved a disaster relief bill today, with $19 billion for flood victims, for farmers and hurricane survivors. More than 30 Republicans joined Democrats to pass it, over the president's objections. He had opposed additional funding in the bill for Puerto Rico's hurricane recovery. Negotiations remain before the issue is resolved.

    Forecasters are warning of severe storms and possible flash floods across the South this weekend. The weather system already dumped downpours from Missouri to Louisiana. In Houston, cars struggled to push through high waters early this morning, and rivers remained swollen into the afternoon.

    In the Mediterranean, U.N. migration officials say as many as 70 people drowned when their boat capsized today. The vessel had sailed from Libya for Europe when it sent a distress signal off the city of Sfax in Tunisia. It was the deadliest such incident since January.

    Facebook's founder, Mark Zuckerberg, met with French President Emmanuel Macron today under growing pressure over online hate speech. The meeting in Paris came as French regulators issued a new report. They urged fines for social networks that do not remove hateful content.

    Back in this country, Washington state has ended the right for parents to exempt their children from taking the measles vaccine for personal and philosophical grounds. A law signed today still allows exemptions for medical or religious reasons. More than 760 cases of measles are confirmed nationwide this year, including more than 70 in Washington state.

    And today marked 150 years since the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. The final golden spike was hammered into place in Utah on May 10, 1869. Today, thousands of visitors celebrated with a reenactment. The Transcontinental line cut cross-country travel time from six months to roughly 10 days.

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