News Wrap: Congress returns from winter recess with renewed Dem push for voting rights

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: A major winter storm snowed in the nation's capital and much of the Mid-Atlantic. Up to 10 inches fell across the region, and winds gusted to 35 miles an hour.

    President Biden was stuck aboard Air Force One after returning to the D.C. area from Delaware until plows cleared a path for the stair lift. The storm closed schools, grounded flights, and knocked out power as far south as Alabama.

    Despite the weather, the U.S. Senate returned today, with Democrats demanding passage of voting rights legislation. Republicans have filibustered the package, forcing a 60-vote threshold for action.

    Majority Leader Chuck Schumer said that he will call for changing filibuster rules by January 17. That's the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. In a teleconference, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi echoed the appeal on voting rights.

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA):

    There is nothing more important that Congress has to do than to pass this legislation. Everything that we do is affected by how elections are — the sanctity of the vote is respected.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The voting rights legislation would be a response to election laws passed in Republican-led states since the 2020 presidential vote.

    The attorney general of New York state issued subpoenas today to former President Trump and two of his children. Along with their father, Donald Trump Jr. and Ivanka Trump are being asked for testimony and documents. The civil investigation is focused on the family's business practices.

    There's fresh evidence of rising gun violence across the country. New data shows that Chicago and surrounding Cook County, Illinois, had more gun-related killings in 2021. That was 121 more than the record that was set one year before. The great majority of the victims were black or Hispanic.

    Iran today marked two years since U.S. drones killed a top general, Qasem Soleimani, on President Trump's orders. At a rally in Tehran, President Ebrahim Raisi demanded that Mr. Trump be prosecuted for the attack.

  • Ebrahim Raisi, Iranian President (through translator):

    If a mechanism for a fair trial of Trump and the other criminals is prepared, and if they are punished for their shameful crimes, well, that's fine. If not, I'm telling all American leaders, don't doubt that the hand of revenge will come.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Meanwhile, rebels in Yemen seized a ship from the United Arab Emirates in the Red Sea. The UAE is part of a coalition fighting the rebels, who are allied with Iran.

    And, in Iraq, troops shot down two armed drones at Baghdad International Airport. The words "Soleimani's Revenge" were painted on one in Arabic.

    The U.S. urged Sudan's military today to restore civilian rule. That came a day after Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok stepped down. Protests have continued since a military coup last October, and troops killed two more demonstrators on Sunday. Nearly 60 have died overall.

    In South Africa, the fire that destroyed part of the historic parliament complex flared up again today. Flames appeared on the building's roof in the center of Cape Town. Officials are investigating the fire, but have arrested and charged one man with arson.

    Back in this country, search teams in Colorado are still looking for two people missing from last week's wildfire disaster. A wind-fueled inferno burned nearly 1,000 homes and other buildings between Denver and Boulder. The cause of the fire remains unknown.

    Jurors in the Elizabeth Holmes fraud trial reported today that they are deadlocked on three of 11 counts. The presiding federal judge urged them to try again. Holmes is the former CEO of Theranos, accused of falsely claiming that her company had a breakthrough blood-testing technology.

    And Wall Street started the new year on a high note. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 246 points to close at 36585, a record. The Nasdaq rose 187 points. The S&P 500 added 30 and also reached a record close.

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