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News Wrap: Impeachment witness Vindman removed from NSC post

In our news wrap Friday, a key impeachment witness has lost his White House job. An attorney for Army Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman says the aide was fired from the National Security Council and escorted from the building. Vindman had testified that President Trump improperly pressured Ukraine’s president. Also, a federal appeals court killed a lawsuit alleging the president violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    The government of China is facing heavy criticism from its own people tonight linked to the coronavirus outbreak.

    A social media storm erupted after the death of a doctor who was punished for his warnings. In all, China has now reported nearly 720 deaths and well over 34,000 cases.

    Meanwhile, more Americans were flown from China to a military base outside San Antonio today. Another flight arrived at a base near San Diego. Federal officials again urged calm.

  • Robert Redfield:

    It's understandable that Americans are concerned. But again,, the immediate risk to the American public is low, and we are vigilant in our efforts to confront the challenges that this new virus presents.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    We will return to the situation in China after the news summary.

    New numbers on the U.S. economy showed job growth jumped in January. The Labor Department reports that employers added a net of 225,000 positions last month. Unemployment rate — the rate ticked up a 10th, to 3.6 percent, as more people entered the labor market.

    We will take a closer look at this report later in the program.

    Seven Democratic presidential candidates will debate tonight in New Hampshire, ahead of next Tuesday's primary. It comes as final Iowa caucus results show Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders finished in a virtual tie.

    The Iowa state Democratic Party asked candidates today for any evidence of mistakes in the results. They have until Monday to ask for a recanvass.

    Among Republicans, former Congressman Joe Walsh ended his long-shot campaign for president today.

    We will return to the campaign later with a live report from New Hampshire.

    A key impeachment witness against President Trump has been removed from his White House job. His lawyer says army Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman was fired today from the National Security Council staff, along with his twin brother. Both were escorted from the building.

    But Defense Secretary Mark Esper said the pair will be welcomed back to the Pentagon.

  • Mark Esper:

    We protect all of our persons, service members from retribution or anything, anything like that. So, we have already addressed that in policy and other means.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Vindman had testified that President Trump improperly pressed Ukraine's president to investigate potential Democratic opponent Joe Biden.

    A federal appeals court today killed a lawsuit alleging that the president violated the Constitution's Emoluments Clause; 200 Democratic lawmakers had charged that his businesses have illegally accepted benefits from foreign governments. The court said that the lawmakers lacked legal standing to sue.

    The president hailed the ruling as he left for a speech in North Carolina.

  • President Donald Trump:

    I will be reading it on the helicopter, but it was a total win. This was brought by 230 Democrats in Congress on emoluments. It was another phony case, and we won it 3-0. We won it unanimously.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Other lawsuits over the emoluments issue are still pending in the federal courts.

    New York state sued the Trump administration today, in an escalating fight over immigration. The suit targets a decision to bar New Yorkers from quick passage through airport security. Federal officials say they responded to a state law that blocks immigration agents from access to driver's license records.

    A deadly storm system has moved into the Northeastern U.S., with extreme winds, ice and snow. It already killed at least five people across the South, and knocked out power to more than 400,000 customers. Strong winds uprooted trees and tore though mobile homes from Florida to Mississippi. In South Carolina, downpours left people stranded by flooding.

    In the Pacific Northwest, heavy rain and melting snow are causing severe flooding and landslides. Roads are closed in parts of Western Washington state. Workers have been struggling to clear culverts and drain the rushing water.

    Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives voted for the passage of $20 billion in emergency aid for Puerto Rico today. It follows earthquakes that set back the recovery from Hurricane Maria. The bill has little chance in the Republican-controlled Senate, and the White House has promised a veto, citing mismanagement by the island's government.

    And on Wall Street, stocks pulled back after a four-day rally. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 277 points to close at 29102. The Nasdaq fell 51 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 18.

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