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News Wrap: Deadly California mudslides block highways, destroy homes

In our news wrap Tuesday, mudslides swept through Southern California, ripping homes from foundations and killing eight people. Also, Steve Bannon has stepped down as executive chair of Breitbart News after drawing heavy fire from President Trump and allies for highly critical comments in a new book about the administration.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Now to the day's other news.

    Deadly mudslides swept through Southern California, ripping homes from foundations and killing at least eight people. Heavy rain triggered flash flooding in hills where a huge fire burned all the vegetation last month. Crews used heavy equipment to clear deep mud from blocked highways just north of Los Angeles. Rescuers reached a number of survivors who'd been trapped in mud and debris.

  • Jaime Moore:

    A lot of people believe that the mud and debris only flows when the rain is coming down. Well, that's not necessarily true. What happens is, once the ground get saturated in the soil, it starts giving. It's kind of like building a sandcastle on the beach. As soon as that sand gets saturated with water, it's just going to slough off.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The same storm also dumped more than three inches of rain on San Francisco last night. That broke a record set in 1872.

    A dossier about President Trump's former ties to Russia is back in the headlines. The co-founder of the investigative firm that commissioned the dossier had been interviewed at length by the Senate Judiciary Committee last August. Well, today, the senior Democrat on the panel, California's Dianne Feinstein, released the interview transcript, over Republican objections.

    We will discuss what happened and what we learned from it a little later in the program.

    President Trump's former chief strategist, Steve Bannon, has stepped down as executive chair of Breitbart News Network. The far-right news site announced it today. Bannon drew heavy fire from the president and from his allies for his highly critical comments in a new book about the Trump White House.

    The nominee for secretary of health and human services defended his record on drug pricing today. Alex Azar faced questions at his Senate confirmation hearing. Oregon Democrat Ron Wyden focused on his time at the pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly.

  • Sen. Ron Wyden:

    Did you ever lower the price, ever, of a Lilly drug sold in the United States?

  • Alex Azar:

    Drug prices are too high, Senator Wyden. I have said that. I said that when I was at Lilly.


  • Sen. Ron Wyden:

    That is not the question. Did you ever lower the price?

  • Alex Azar:

    I don't know that there is any drug price of a branded product that has ever gone down from any company on any drug in the United States, because every incentive in this system is toward higher prices, and that is where we can do things together, working as the government, to get at this.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Azar warned that allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices directly could restrict consumer choice.

    A panel of federal judges today threw out a congressional districting plan in North Carolina. The court ruled Republicans drew the plan to give themselves an unconstitutional advantage over Democrats. A previous plan was struck down after a finding of racial bias.

    The government of Syria is charging that Israel attacked inside Syrian territory again today. The Syrian military says missiles hit an army depot in a suburb northeast of Damascus early this morning. Israel wouldn't confirm or deny the claim. In the past, it has targeted weapons shipments from Iran passing through Syria to the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon.

    In Iran, there is word that security forces arrested 3,700 people during anti-government protests over the past two weeks. A reformist lawmaker offered the new figure today. It is far larger than authorities had previously reported.

    Meanwhile, in a Tehran speech, Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, charged again that the U.S. fomented the protests.

  • Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (through interpreter):

    Your excellencies, heads of the U.S. administration, you failed miserably this time. In case you repeat this, be aware that you will fail miserably again.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    At the same time, Khamenei said those with legitimate complaints about Iran's economy should be heard.

    And in the Philippines, hundreds of thousands of Catholics joined an annual procession today carrying a centuries-old figure of Jesus Christ through Manila. In the annual dawn-to-midnight event, devotees pulled the life-size wooden statue on a carriage. Many threw handkerchiefs, hoping to touch the statue and receive a miracle. More than 6,000 police and military personnel guarded the procession.

    And finally, on Wall Street, banks and health care stocks led the market higher. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 102 points to close at 25,385. The Nasdaq rose six points, and the S&P 500 added three.

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