In our news wrap Friday, Kim Jong Un responded to President Trump’s threats to North Korea by warning the president that he would face consequences “beyond his expectations” and further escalating the war of words between the two leaders. Also, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani vowed to continue building Iran’s arsenal of weapons as the country unveiled a new missile capable of reaching Israel.
Read the Full Transcript
And in the day’s other news: Rescuers in and around Mexico City combed through mountains of debris, desperately searching for signs of life. The death toll from the 7.1-magnitude quake has now climbed to at least 293. More than half of those have been in the capital. We will take a closer look at the scope of the destruction later in the program.
North Korea’s leader ratcheted up his war of words with President Trump today, warning that he would face consequences “beyond his expectations.” Kim Jong-un’s statement came days after President Trump threatened to “totally destroy North Korea” in his United Nations address.
A newswoman read Kim’s response aloud on North Korean state TV.
WOMAN (through interpreter):
“Now that Trump has denied the existence of and insulted me and my country in front of the eyes of the world and made the most ferocious declaration of a war in history that he would destroy North Korea, we will consider with seriousness exercising of the corresponding highest level of hard-line countermeasure in history. I will surely and definitely tame the mentally deranged U.S. dotard with fire.”
Later, North Korea’s foreign minister suggested that they would next test a hydrogen bomb in the Pacific ocean. President Trump reacted on Twitter, saying — quote — “Kim Jong-un, obviously a madman, will be tested like never before.”
Iran’s president also had a defiant message for the West today, vowing to continue building up his country’s arsenal of weapons. At a military parade in Tehran, a new ballistic missile capable of reaching Israel was unveiled. President Hassan Rouhani spoke to the crowd, pushing back against President Trump, who had singled out Iran in his address at the U.N. Monday.
PRESIDENT HASSAN ROUHANI, Iran (through interpreter):
Whether you want it or not, we will increase our defensive and military capabilities as a deterrent, as much as we deem appropriate. We will not just strengthen our missile capabilities, but also our ground forces, air forces and naval forces. For the defense of our country and our land, we will not seek permission from anyone.
Today marked the first time Iran had showcased the medium-range ballistic missile in public. But its military test-fired the same type of weapon back in February.
There was word today that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security notified 21 states that Russia potentially targeted their election systems in the run-up to the 2016 election. But most were not successfully breached.
Meanwhile, President Trump and the Kremlin are both dismissing reports that Russia planted thousands of paid advertisements on Facebook in a bid to help candidate Trump with the election. Facebook said yesterday it’s turning over copies of the ads to Congress’ Russia investigation. This morning, the president tweeted — quote — “The Russia hoax continues. Now it’s ads on Facebook.”
The Trump administration is revoking Obama era guidelines on investigating sexual assaults on college campuses. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos had said that the previous policy was unfair to accused students. Now interim rules will permit universities themselves to choose how to handle assault complaints, until the Education Department drafts permanent rules.
Critics fear that victims will lose protections or feel pressured to stay silent.
Former FBI Director James Comey was heckled today while delivering a convocation address at Howard University in Washington. Protesters sang civil rights songs as he took the stage, delaying his speech. Calls of “No justice, no peace” continued as Comey began his remarks at the historically black university.
JAMES COMEY, Former FBI Director:
It’s hard sometimes to find people who will listen with an attitude that they might actually be convinced of something.
Instead, what happens in most of the real world and about four rows of this auditorium is that people don’t listen at all. They just try to figure out what rebuttal they’re going to offer when you’re done speaking.
It was Comey’s first public appearance since testifying before Congress about his dismissal by President Trump.
Federal officials are investigating reports that Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price used costly chartered jets for official business. The agency’s Office of the Inspector General said today that it’s looking into whether the flights complied with federal travel regulations that generally require officials to minimize travel expenses.
Price’s office said that he sometimes uses chartered planes when commercial flights aren’t feasible.
British Prime Minister Theresa May tried to revive stalled Brexit negotiations with the European Union today. She proposed a two-year transition period after Britain leaves the E.U. in March of 2019, to give both sides time to adjust to the changeover. She also indicated a willingness for Britain to pay a financial settlement, but she stopped short of specifying an amount.
May spoke today in Florence, Italy.
THERESA MAY, Prime Minister, United Kingdom:
Let us not seek merely to adopt a model already enjoyed by other countries. Instead, let us be creative, as well as practical, in designing an ambitious economic partnership which respects the freedoms and principles of the E.U. and the wishes of the British people.
Brexit talks are set to resume next week in Brussels. But several key sticking points remain, including how much the U.K. should pay to leave the bloc, and how to protect the rights of E.U. nationals who are living in Britain.
London’s transportation agency is stripping Uber of its license to operate in the city, over public safety and security concerns. The ride-sharing service’s license will expire at the end of the month. The regulator specifically took issue with Uber’s approach to reporting criminal offenses, and the way in which it conducts background checks for its drivers. Uber said it plans to appeal the decision.
On Wall Street today, stocks were searching for direction. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nine points to close at 22349. The Nasdaq rose four, and the S&P 500 added more than a point. For the week, both the Dow and the S&P 500 added a fraction of a percent. The Nasdaq fell a fraction.
And NASA has bestowed a new honor upon Katherine Johnson, the African-American mathematician whose life inspired the hit feature film “Hidden Figures.” A ribbon-cutting ceremony officially opened a new research facility bearing her name at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia. The 99-year-old who calculated the trajectories for America’s first spaceflights in the 1960s was on hand for the festivities.
What an inspiration.