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News Wrap: Congress ends shutdown, sending federal employees back to work

In our news wrap Tuesday, as hundreds of thousands of federal employees got back to work, there were new questions about the prospects for an immigration bill as Minority Leader Chuck Schumer's office said he has withdrawn an offer to support border wall funding. Also, a 15-year-old boy killed two classmates with a handgun at a high school in Western Kentucky.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    For the first time, a member of President Trump's Cabinet has talked to the special counsel's office investigating Russia and the Trump campaign.

    The Justice Department confirms that Attorney General Jeff Sessions was interviewed last week for several hours. President Trump said today that he is — quote — "not at all concerned."

    We will explore this and related developments right after the news summary.

    Hundreds of thousands of federal employees went back to work today after Congress ended a three-day government shutdown. But there were new questions about what comes next. Under the deal, Senate Republicans agreed to debate protection for young immigrants brought here illegally.

    Party leaders Chuck Schumer and Mitch McConnell spoke about a potential deal today.

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer:

    The clock is ticking. Leader McConnell made a promise, not just to Democrats, but to Republicans as well. We expect him to keep his word to the body.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell:

    Well, we will see. You know, we're going to have a fair and open process that will give everybody an opportunity to participate, and we will see.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Schumer's office said today that he has withdrawn an offer to support funding for a border wall in negotiations over an immigration bill.

    And this morning, President Trump tweeted that — quote — "Nobody knows for sure if a deal is even possible."

    Later, the White House said that an earlier bipartisan immigration bill should be declared dead on arrival.

    The nation has had its first fatal school shooting of 2018. Police in Western Kentucky say a 15-year-boy killed two classmates, a boy and a girl, with a handgun today. It happened at Marshall County High School in the small town of Benton; 17 other students were hurt, most of them with bullet wounds.

  • Lt. Michael Webb:

    This is something that has struck in the heart of Kentucky, and it's not far away. It's here, and it hits home. I have a 15-year-old daughter, and I think about that. We have two 15-year-old high school students that have been killed just showing up to go to school, and how tragic that is. It doesn't get any worse than that.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The accused shooter was arrested, and will be charged with murder and attempted murder. There is no word yet on a motive.

    A powerful earthquake triggered tsunami alerts from Southern Alaska to California early today. There was no damage, and the alerts were lifted hours later. The quake measured 7.9 and struck 175 miles southwest of Alaska's Kodiak Island deep beneath the Pacific Ocean. Footage on social media showed the moment the tremor hit, and long lines of cars as people headed for higher ground.

    Meanwhile, another earthquake shook Indonesia, killing one person. It struck the island of Java, including the capital, Jakarta, and people rushed to leave high-rise buildings for the streets. Officials say hundreds of homes and other buildings were damaged.

    Two volcanoes are also causing chaos along the Pacific Rim. In the Philippines today, Mount Mayon fired jets of lava and huge ash plumes into the sky. More than 50,000 people have fled since eruptions began last week, and more left today.

  • Rachel Otano (through interpreter):

    I heard people screaming. That is why I went out of our house and looked at Mayon volcano. I saw thick smoke descending, and everyone was shouting and looking for their children to evacuate.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    And in Central Japan, an eruption rained volcanic rocks onto a military ski training exercise. One soldier was killed.

    The U.S. State Department confirmed today that multiple Americans were killed in Saturday's Taliban attack in Afghanistan. Gunmen stormed the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul, took hostages and shot it out with security forces. Officials say 22 people died, including 14 foreigners.

    Back in this country, President Trump formally imposed 30 to 50 percent tariffs on imported solar panels and washing machines. At a signing ceremony, he said that it will protect American jobs and benefit consumers, but some U.S. solar companies said just the opposite.

    The U.S. Senate this evening confirmed Jerome Powell to chair the board of the Federal Reserve. He will succeed Janet Yellen.

    And on Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost three points to close at 26,210. The Nasdaq rose 52 points, and the S&P 500 added six.

    This year's Oscar nominations are in. Leading the way, the monster romance "The Shape of Water" with 13 nominations. Best director nominees include Jordan Peele for "Get Out" and Greta Gerwig for "Lady Bird." He would be the first black to win. She would be only the second woman.

    And "Mudbound"'s Rachel Morrison is the first woman nominated for cinematography.

    U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth has announced today that she is pregnant with her second child. The Illinois Democrat is 49. She would be the first sitting senator to give birth. Duckworth lost both legs in the Iraq War as an Army helicopter pilot.

    And the acclaimed science fiction writer Ursula K. Le Guin died on Monday at her home in Portland, Oregon. Her works, including the "Earthsea" series and "The Left Hand of Darkness," have been translated into more than 40 languages and sold millions of copies. Ursula K. Le Guin was 88 years old.

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