In our news wrap Wednesday, Minnesota's Democratic lieutenant governor has been named to fill Sen. Al Franken's seat after he resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Tina Smith plans to run for a permanent seat in next November's special election. Also, President Trump is facing new criticism after tweeting about Democratic Kirsten Gillibrand, including a scathing editorial from USA Today.
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In the day's other news, Minnesota will soon have its own new U.S. senator. The state's Democratic lieutenant governor, Tina Smith, has been tapped to fill Senator Al Franken's seat after he resigned amid allegations of sexual misconduct. Smith says she plans to run for a permanent Senate seat in next November's special election. In the meantime, she pledged to carry on Franken's fight for social and economic equality.
Though I never anticipated this moment, I am resolved to do everything that I can to move Minnesota forward. And I will be a fierce advocate in the United States Senate for economic opportunity and fairness. I can tell you, I shouldn't be underestimated. And if I weren't confident, I wouldn't be doing this.
Smith said she expects to be seated in early January, but no specific date has been set.
President Trump is facing new criticism after tweeting that Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand of New York — quote — "would do anything" in exchange for political contributions. USA Today published a scathing editorial today, saying, in part — quote — "A president who would all but call Senator Kirsten Gillibrand a whore is not fit to clean the toilets in the Barack Obama Presidential Library or to shine the shoes of George W. Bush" — end quote.
Gillibrand had demanded Mr. Trump resign over more than a dozen allegations of sexual misconduct against him.
The massive Thomas Fire raging in Southern California is now 25 percent contained. Nearly 8,000 firefighters are hard at work amid high winds and arid conditions. The fire has destroyed over 900 structures, including 700 homes, since it first broke out last week.
We will examine the impact that climate change has on wildfires a little later in the program.
Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas insisted today that the U.S. is no longer fit to mediate the Middle East peace process, a week after President Trump declared Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Abbas called Mr. Trump's decision a — quote — "crime" at a summit of leaders from Islamic nations being held in Turkey.
President Mahmoud Abbas (through interpreter):
The United States chose to lose its role and eligibility as an intermediary and not to have a role in the political process. We will not accept any American role in the political process from now on. The U.S. is biased to Israel. That is our position.
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also rebuked Mr. Trump's decision at today's summit, calling it a provocative red line for Muslims. And Iran's President Hassan Rouhani maintained that the only reason President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital was to head off moves by others in the region who were looking to establish ties with Israel.
Back in this country, the Federal Reserve raised its benchmark interest rate a quarter-of-a-point, as expected. It is the Fed's third rate hike this year. Janet Yellen made the highly anticipated announcement at her final news conference as chairman of the Central Bank. She acknowledged that tax reform factored into today's decision.
Overall, we continue to expect that the economy will expand at a moderate pace. While changes in tax policy will likely provide some lift to economic activity in coming years, the magnitude and timing of the macroeconomic effects of any tax package remain uncertain.
Fed policy-makers also said that they plan to make three additional incremental rate hikes next year.
Stocks were mostly higher on Wall Street, on word of today's rate increase and progress on tax reform. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 80 points to close at another record high, 24,585. The Nasdaq rose 13 points, while the S&P 500 slipped a point.