In our Tuesday news wrap, the House voted to let committees sue agencies and witnesses who defy subpoenas, such as Attorney General William Barr and former White House counsel Don McGahn. Meanwhile, President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden exchanged insults, with Trump referring to Biden as "weak mentally" and Biden calling the president "a threat to our core values."
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Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives have struck the latest blow in their subpoena struggles with the Trump administration. The House voted today to let committees sue agencies and witnesses who defy subpoenas. That includes the attorney general, William Barr, and the former White House counsel, Don McGahn.
President Trump insisted again today that a key part of his deal with Mexico, to curb migration from Central America, has not yet been revealed. On the White House lawn, he repeatedly held up a single piece of paper, and said, that's the agreement that everybody says I don't have. A blown-up image of the document showed writing that said Mexico agreed to a regional asylum plan and possibly to new laws.
Mr. Trump and Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden fired new broadsides at each other today on a day when both men campaigned in Iowa. The former vice president currently leads the Democratic field. But, as he left the White House, Mr. Trump called him — quote — "a loser and a dummy."
President Donald Trump:
I would rather run against, I think Biden, than anybody. I think he's the weakest mentally. And I like running against people that are weak mentally. I think Joe is the weakest up here.
He looks different than he used to. He acts different than he used to. He's even slower than he used to be.
Biden answered in Ottumwa, Iowa, branding the president — quote — "an existential threat to this country."
This is a guy who does everything to separate and frighten people. It's about fear and loathing. It's about what he calls people, the names he calls them.
No president has done something like that, for God's sake. I mean, it's bizarre, and it's damaging. And so I think he's genuinely a threat to our core values.
The two men also traded jibes over trade policy and who has done more to help farmers.
The nation's largest Protestant religious denomination, the Southern Baptists, opened their annual meeting today focused on sexual abuse. Hundreds of church leaders and staffers have been accused of sexual misconduct over the last two decades. The agenda at the meeting in Birmingham, Alabama, includes making it easier to expel churches that mishandle abuse claims.
Meanwhile, U.S. Catholic bishops convened in Baltimore, under pressure to deal with their own long-running clergy abuse scandal. At issue is how to hold bishops accountable if they fail to address abuse cases. The head of the conference, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, is himself accused of improperly handling a case in Texas.
In Hong Kong, new protests geared up against extradition proposals that could extend China's control over the territory. Hundreds gathered as the city's legislature opened debate this evening. The crowds oppose extraditing Hong Kong residents to the mainland to face criminal charges. China defended the proposals. It also rejected U.S. criticism.
Geng Shuang (through translator):
I want to stress once again that Hong Kong's affairs are purely China's internal affairs. No country, organization or individual has the right to intervene. We express strong dissatisfaction and resolute opposition to the U.S.' irresponsible remarks on Hong Kong affairs.
Hong Kong lawmakers are due to vote on the extradition issue next week.
In South Korea, a human rights group says that it has identified hundreds of public execution sites in North Korea. It cites interviews with more than 600 North Korean defectors. They report that North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, is using executions as intimidation, with family members of the condemned often forced to watch.
Today, President Trump cited a beautiful, warm letter he received from leader Kim and said that, under Kim's leadership, North Korea has great potential.
We will have more on North Korea later in the program.
Back in this country, comedian Jon Stewart blasted Congress at a hearing on Capitol Hill this morning on helping 9/11 responders with health problems. Stewart is a longtime advocate of that cause, and he appeared before a House subcommittee. But most of the members were absent when his turn to speak came and he denounced them.
Behind me, a filled room of 9/11 first-responders, and, in front of me, a nearly empty Congress. Sick and dying, they brought themselves down here to speak to no one.
In fact, 12 of the subcommittee's 14 members did attend parts of the hearing, but many had left for other hearings when Stewart spoke.
Tomorrow, the full House is expected to approve paying health benefits for 9/11 responders for the next 70 years.
Flooding rain that occurred this spring may take a heavy toll in the Gulf of Mexico this summer. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reports the so-called Dead Zone in the Gulf could reach near-record levels, roughly the size of Massachusetts. Scientists say that runoff from all the rain is feeding algae that will rob marine life of oxygen.
On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 14 points to close at 26048. The Nasdaq fell a fraction, and the S&P 500 slipped one point.
And the U.S. women's soccer team began its World Cup title defense today in France with a record-breaking win over Thailand. The final was 13-0. Alex Morgan scored five times to lead the onslaught. Overall, the U.S. tallied the most goals ever in a single match in women's World Cup play. The Americans play Chile on Sunday.