In our Thursday news wrap, President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faced off over funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Trump tweeted his frustration toward congressional Democrats, while Pelosi said determining border security policy requires a “cost-benefit analysis.” Also, at least 15 detained migrants are staging hunger strikes, with some being force-fed through nasal tubes.
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In the day's other news: President Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faced off in the funding fight over the president's demand for a southern border wall.
In a tweetstorm, Mr. Trump dismissed negotiations that are now under way in Congress, and he warned Republicans on the Homeland Security Committee are wasting their time.
Later, at a White House event, he vowed to reject any deal that fails to fund a border wall.
And if they don't have a wall, I don't even want to waste my time reading what they have, because it's a waste of time, because the only thing that works for security and safety for our country is a wall.
Speaker Pelosi was equally adamant against a border wall, but she didn't rule out other types of barriers.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:
There isn't going to be any wall money. Normandy fencing would work, but let them have that discussion, because it's all about two things: cost-benefit analysis, what's the best way? And what do you get for your dollar in order to protect the border?
Congressional negotiators have a February 15 deadline to reach an agreement before the next government shutdown deadline.
Federal officials confirmed today that at least 15 detained migrants are staging hunger strikes around the country, and some are being force-fed. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said six are being fed through nasal tubes in El Paso, Texas, under court order. The hunger strikers are mainly from India and Cuba. They say they face verbal abuse and threats by guards.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has announced its biggest ever bust involving fentanyl. Agents in Nogales, Arizona, today showed off 250 pounds of the deadly drug. They found it Saturday, hidden in a load of Mexican produce entering the U.S. The synthetic opioid has caused a surge in fatal overdoses.
In the U.S. Senate, Republicans and Democrats joined today in challenging President Trump's plans to withdraw troops from Syria and Afghanistan. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell offered a resolution that warns against any sudden pullouts.
Republican Marco Rubio said terror groups still pose serious threats in both Syria and Afghanistan.
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla.:
If the United States and the anti-ISIS coalition is not in Syria and operating until ISIS is completely wiped out, there will be no sustained pressure on ISIS or on al-Qaida. And they will both grow back stronger and they will be — have the capability to plot against the homeland and American interests around the world.
The procedural vote advanced the nonbinding McConnell measure with Republican and some Democratic support. That virtually assures final passage.
Separately, a federal court has ordered Syria to pay $302 million in the death of American journalist Marie Colvin in 2012. The court found that she was deliberately targeted by Syrian artillery.
The U.S. military says that an airstrike has killed 24 Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia. Wednesday's raid was the ninth already this year. Officials say that it targeted a camp used by the extremist group north of Mogadishu. Al-Shabaab was behind an assault on a hotel complex in Kenya this month that killed 21 people.
The U.S. and China wound up two days of trade talks today, aiming for agreement before March the 2nd, when a new round of U.S. tariffs kicks in. President Trump met with China's vice premier and presented a letter from President Xi Jinping saying he hopes China and the U.S. can meet halfway.
Mr. Trump said that he and Xi will likely have to meet before there's any final deal.
And stocks were mixed on Wall Street today. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 15 points to close at 24999. The Nasdaq rose 98 points, and the S&P 500 added 23.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": European countries try to rescue their business dealings with Iran; a conversation with Chris Christie about his new memoir; state-level Democrats making abortion more accessible; and much more.