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In our Monday news wrap, Iraqi President Barham Salih slammed President Trump for suggesting U.S. troops might stay in Iraq to monitor Iran, saying Iraq had not been consulted about the possibility and that U.S. troops are in Salih’s country solely to fight extremist groups. Meanwhile, leaders from 10 European Union states backed opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's interim president.
The governor of Virginia is still in office tonight, but his capital is in chaos.
Democrat Ralph Northam has faced a firestorm of criticism since Friday, when his medical school yearbook surfaced showing one person in a KKK hood and another in blackface. Northam first apologized, then denied he's in the photo, but said he has appeared in blackface on another occasion. We will have a report on all of this after the news summary.
The president of Iraq, Barham Salih, slammed President Trump today for suggesting U.S. troops will stay in Iraq to monitor Iran. In a CBS interview, Mr. Trump said — quote — "I want to be looking a little bit at Iran because Iran is a real problem."
In Baghdad today, Salih said Iraq had not been consulted, and that U.S. troops are there only to fight extremist groups.
They are here for a specific mission for combating terrorism, Da'esh, ISIS. And they have no other definition or defined mission, beyond helping Iraqi forces in the fight against terrorism.
Salih also said Iraq's constitution forbids using the country as a base to threaten other nations.
Leaders from at least 10 European nations today recognized opposition leader Juan Guaido as interim president of Venezuela. They said Nicolas Maduro's election was fraudulent, and demanded he surrender his office. In Caracas, Guaido hailed the European countries' decision to join the U.S. and others in backing him.
February 4 from now on will be remembered as the day the world recognized the sacrifice and the struggle for liberty in Venezuela. Now February 4 is absolutely about civil-mindedness, nonviolence, and about recognizing every Venezuelan who never stopped believing.
Maduro rejected the European statements.
El Salvador, meanwhile, has elected a 37-year-old reformer and former mayor of San Salvador as its new president. Nayib Bukele ran as a third-party candidate and easily won on Sunday. He promised to clean up corruption and stamp out gang violence. Those problems have led thousands of Salvadorans to leave their country. About one million now live in the U.S.
Pope Francis today appealed to religious leaders of all faiths to reject violence. He spoke in Abu Dhabi, on the first ever papal visit to the Arabian Peninsula, the birthplace of Islam. Francis met with leaders of the United Arab Emirates, and visited the Grand Mosque. And he told an inter-faith gathering — quote — "God is with those who seek peace."
Together, brothers in the one human family desired by God, let us commit ourselves against the logic of armed power, against the monetization of relations, the armaments of borders, the raising of walls, the gagging of the poor.
Francis will finish his trip tomorrow with a papal mass that's expected to draw some 135,000 people.
Meanwhile, back in this country, blizzard and avalanche warnings are up across parts of California and Nevada. The Sierra Nevada range got eight feet of snow over the weekend, with more expected through Tuesday night. That weekend storm also triggered flash floods and mudslides across Southern California, from hillsides burned bare by wildfires.
President Trump has formally nominated David Bernhardt to be secretary of the interior. He's now the acting secretary. Bernhardt has lobbying ties to U.S. energy companies, and had been a deputy to Ryan Zinke, who resigned as interior secretary in December, amid ethics investigations.
And on Wall Street, stocks gained on a broad front, as several tech and industrial companies reported stronger earnings. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 175 points to close at 25239. The Nasdaq rose 83 points, and the S&P 500 added 18.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": the painful history of the racist behavior memorialized in Virginia Governor Ralph Northam's yearbook; a conversation with Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon about leaving the European Union; Amy Walter and Tamara Keith look ahead to the State of the Union; plus, much more.
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