In our news wrap Thursday, Greenland’s ice sheet lost a record 586 billion tons of ice last year -- more than double the annual average. A new satellite study reported the finding, which researchers blame on a combination of climate change and an occasional weather effect that sends warmer air over Greenland. Also, Dr. Anthony Fauci had outpatient surgery to remove a polyp on his vocal cord.
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The U.S. economy is giving new evidence of an uneven recovery. New unemployment claims ticked back over one million last week. They had fallen below that mark a week earlier, for the first time since March. But the virus has surged again, and confirmed infections have topped 5.5 million nationwide, with nearly 174,000 deaths.
The man spearheading the pandemic fight, Dr. Anthony Fauci, had outpatient surgery today to remove a polyp on his vocal cord. The problem started with a bout of flu last winter, and made his voice raspy. Fauci said it never healed because he's been giving nearly nonstop briefings and interviews on the coronavirus.
A federal judge has again dismissed President Trump's bid to block a subpoena for his personal and corporate tax records. He had claimed it was overly broad. The subpoena is part of an investigation in New York of alleged insurance and bank fraud at the Trump Organization.
After the ruling, Mr. Trump claimed again that he's being persecuted.
President Donald Trump:
We don't do things wrong.
But they'll say, let's go in and inspect every deal he's ever done. Let's get papers from 10 years, every paper, every deal he's ever signed. Maybe we can find where some lawyer made a mistake, where they didn't dot an I, where they didn't put a comma down someplace. And then we can do something.
This is a disgrace, and this should never, ever be allowed to happen again.
The president's lawyers immediately appealed the ruling, likely sending the case back to the U.S. Supreme Court. The high court already rejected Mr. Trump's initial claim of total immunity.
The United States formally demanded today that the United Nations snap back all sanctions on Iran. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo cited Iranian violations of the 2015 nuclear deal, which the U.S. already abandoned.
Foreign affairs correspondent Nick Schifrin is back to fill us in.
Two years ago, the Trump administration withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal. But, today, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo argued the U.S. still had the legal authority to use a Security Council resolution that endorsed the deal to punish Iran.
Secretary Mike Pompeo:
Iran will be back under sanctions for ongoing nuclear activity, such as the enrichment of nuclear material that could be applied to a nuclear weapons program.
Since the U.S. withdrew and reimposed unilateral sanctions, Iran has enriched uranium and stockpiled enriched uranium at higher levels than the deal allows, although still below levels required to make a nuclear bomb.
But the other signatories of the deal, the U.K., France, Germany, China, and Russia, say, because the U.S. withdrew, it does not have the legal authority to take today's step. Those countries cannot stop the U.S. from snapping back these sanctions, but some say they won't help enforce them.
And then there are political consequences. European officials say that today further strained relations with the U.S. And even former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who led the effort to pull out of the nuclear deal, argues today's step could degrade the power of the Security Council veto.
Today, Iran displayed ballistic missiles and a new cruise missile, all weapons not covered by the nuclear deal, and called today's U.N. move illegal. Administration officials insist they do have the legal authority and that they can overcome any political consequence.
And they also that believe Iran is likely to respond to today's move, and that could reduce the chances that a President Biden could resurrect the nuclear deal next year — Stephanie.
Nick Schifrin, thank you very much.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un acknowledged today that his country's economy is under severe strain, partly due to U.S. sanctions. Kim told leaders of the Workers' Party that the sanctions, along with COVID-19 and recent floods, have derailed plans for economic growth.
There is word that Greenland's ice sheet lost a record 586 billion tons of ice last year, more than double the annual average. The finding comes from a new satellite study, which shows the ice melt is enough to cover all of California in more than four feet of water. Researchers blame a combination of climate change and an occasional weather effect that sends warmer air over Greenland.
And on Wall Street, stocks managed modest gains. The Dow Jones industrial average was up 46 points to close at 27739. The Nasdaq rose 118 points, and the S&P 500 added 10.