News Wrap: Defense rests in Ahmaud Arbery murder trial

In our news wrap Thursday, the defense has rested in the trial of three men accused of chasing down and murdering Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. New COVID infections in the U.S. are still accelerating, with average daily cases up nearly 25% in the last two weeks. The jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial deliberated for a third day in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and went home without reaching a verdict.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: The U.S. Army issued a memo to all soldiers effectively warning they will have no future in the service if they refuse COVID-19 vaccinations. It says they will be barred from reassignment, reenlistment, promotion and awards.

    So far, 92 percent of active-duty soldiers are fully vaccinated. The Army policy could serve as a model for the other services.

    A judge in New York City today exonerated two men in the assassination of Malcolm X. The iconic civil rights figure was gunned down in Manhattan in 1965. Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam were convicted and imprisoned until the 1980s. But a new investigation found that there was no evidence that they were involved. We will get the details later in the program.

    The defense has rested in the trial of three whites accused of chasing down and murdering Ahmaud Arbery in Georgia. That came after one of the three, Travis McMichael, acknowledged today there was no overt threat before he shot Arbery.

    On cross-examination, a prosecutor walked McMichael through video of the confrontation.

  • Linda Dunikoski, Georgia, Assistant District Attorney:

    At this point right here, hasn't said anything to you.

  • Travis McMichael, Defendant:

    No, he has not said anything yet, no, ma'am.

  • Linda Dunikoski:

    And hasn't — hasn't shown you a weapon this entire time

  • Travis McMichael:

    He has not.

  • Linda Dunikoski:

    Hasn't said a word the entire time.

  • Travis McMichael:

    Not one time.

  • Linda Dunikoski:

    All he has done is run away from you.

  • Travis McMichael:

    Run past me, yes, ma'am,

  • Linda Dunikoski:

    And you pulled out a shotgun and pointed it at him.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    McMichael said that Arbery struck him and grabbed the gun and that he had to make a split-second decision to shoot. On the video, McMichael's truck blocked any view of that moment.

    The jury in the Kyle Rittenhouse murder trial deliberated for a third day in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and went home without reaching a verdict. Rittenhouse killed two men and wounded a third during racial justice protests last year, but he says he acted in self-defense.

    The leaders of Canada, Mexico, and the United States held a trilateral summit today for the first time since 2016. At the White House, President Biden met separately with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

    Later, all three met, discussing everything from migration to climate to trade. The summits had lapsed during the Trump administration.

    Vice President Kamala Harris is brushing aside talk of tensions between her office and the president's. There've been news stories that Biden aides are questioning her job performance and that she feels sidelined.

    But, today, the vice president told ABC's George Stephanopoulos that it's not true.

  • George Stephanopoulos, ABC News:

    So you don't feel misused or underused?

    Kamla Harris, Vice President of the United States: No, I don't. I am very, very excited about the work that we have accomplished, but I am also absolutely, absolutely clear-eyed that there is a lot more to do, and we're going to going to get it done.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The White House has also denied any tensions.

    Two suspected computer hackers from Iran are now charged with trying to intimidate U.S. voters before last year's presidential election. A federal indictment unsealed in New York today says that they sent threatening e-mails and spread disinformation. It's believed that the two are still in Iran.

    There are signs the migrant crisis centered in Belarus may be easing. Hundreds of Iraqis were flown home today from Minsk. They and thousands of others had camped out for weeks along the Belarusian frontier with Poland. The European Union says that Belarus used the migrants to retaliate for E.U. sanctions.

    The flood danger in Canada and the U.S. Pacific Northwest has begun to ease. Most flood warnings had ended today in Washington state. In British Columbia, crews were still trying to reach thousands of people stranded by water and mudslides, after record rains on Sunday and Monday.

    Congressman G.K. Butterfield of North Carolina announced today that he will not seek reelection next year. That makes 15 Democrats who've said they will retire from the U.S. House of Representatives. Butterfield is Black. He says Republican state lawmakers redrew his district to make it harder for a Black candidate to win.

    And on Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 60 points to close below 35871. The Nasdaq rose 72 points. The S&P 500 added 15.

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