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News Wrap: Mueller’s Russia investigation may be complete

In our news wrap Wednesday, various news organizations report that the special counsel’s office may be ready to present its findings in the Russia investigation. A report would go first to Attorney General William Barr, who would submit a summary to Congress. Democrats want the report made public. Meanwhile, Russian President Vladimir Putin warned the U.S. against deploying new missiles in Europe.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    There's word that special counsel Robert Mueller may be ready to submit his findings in the Russia investigation. Various news organizations are reporting it could happen next week.

    Newly sworn in Attorney General William Barr will review Mueller's work and submit his own summary to Congress. Democrats want the findings made public, but President Trump deferred today to Barr.

  • Donald Trump:

    That'll be totally up to the new attorney general. He's a tremendous man, a tremendous person who really respects this country and respects the Justice Department, so that'll be totally up to him.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Mueller is investigating Russian efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. elections and allegations that the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow.

    The president's ongoing confrontation with California's Democratic leaders is heating up again. His administration now says that it will cancel 50 — or, rather, $3.5 billion for a high-speed rail project that California is scaling back. Mr. Trump tweeted today that the money has been wasted. Governor Gavin Newsom called it political retribution for a lawsuit challenging the president's national emergency declaration.

    Russia's President Vladimir Putin declared today he doesn't want confrontation, but he warned the U.S. against deploying new missiles in Europe. Putin delivered his state of the nation address in Moscow. He said Russia can respond with new weapons, and he warned U.S. officials to rethink their world view.

  • Vladimir Putin:

    Among the ruling class of the U.S., there are many of those who are obsessed with the idea of their exceptionalism and superiority over the rest of the world. But can they count? I'm sure they can. Let them count the speed and the range of the weapons systems we are developing.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Putin claimed again that Russia is ready to deploy a new hypersonic missile for its navy, plus, a nuclear-powered underwater drone. His warnings follow President Trump's decision to quit a Cold War era treaty that banned medium-range cruise and ballistic missiles.

    Microsoft reports that hackers linked to Russia have carried out a wave of cyber-attacks on European democratic institutions. The hacks, late last year, targeted think tanks and nonprofits, ahead of elections for the European Parliament in May. Microsoft says that many were the work of a group tied to Russia's military intelligence agency.

    In Eastern Syria, Kurdish-led forces evacuated hundreds of civilians today from the Islamic State group's last enclave there. The operation followed a week-long stand-off around Baghouz. That's a village near the Iraqi border. More than 20 trucks, loaded with people, drove past floral fields today, leaving the area. Other civilians remain with the ISIS fighters.

    A woman who joined ISIS, Hoda Muthana, will not be allowed back in the United States. She left Alabama for Syria in 2014. She is now 24 with a young child. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ruled today that she is not a U.S. citizen, but he gave no details. Meanwhile, Britain stripped 19-year-old Shamima Begum of her citizenship. She asked to return home, after joining ISIS four years ago.

    Pope Francis says the Roman Catholic Church must acknowledge what he calls its defects, but he also says that some who attack the church have evil intent. Francis spoke to worshipers today before a Vatican summit convenes tomorrow on sexual abuse by the clergy.

  • Pope Francis:

    Those who spend their lives accusing, accusing, accusing are not the devil's children, because the devil has no children, but they are friends, cousins and relatives of the devil, and this is wrong. Mistakes should be reported in order to be corrected, because, when mistakes are reported, when flaws are denounced, the church is loved.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Church officials met today with a dozen survivors of sexual abuse by Catholics. The survivors called again for releasing the names of abusive priests and the records of what was done about them.

    We will have a closer look after the news summary.

    Back in this country, a massive winter storm disrupted the day from the Midwest to the East Coast to the South. More than 5,400 commercial flights were canceled or delayed, and schools and government offices closed in a number of states. Police had to dig themselves out from Nebraska to New Jersey.

    And even birds had it tough. A bald eagle in Washington shielded its eggs as snow and sleet piled up around it. Across the south, the storm dumped heavy rain and caused flash floods.

    Chicago police are now accusing Jussie Smollett of filing a false police report. The black, openly gay actor had claimed that he was attacked by two men who shouted racist and homophobic slurs. His attorneys met with prosecutors today, and, afterward, police announced that they are asking a grand jury to indict Smollett.

    Teachers in West Virginia stayed on strike today. They walked out Tuesday over a bill authorizing charter schools and private tuition accounts for parents. The statehouse killed the bill, but teacher union leaders said they fear lawmakers may yet try to revive it.

    The family of a Kentucky teenager is suing The Washington Post for defamation, and asking $250 million. Nicholas Sandmann was involved in an incident with a Native American activist in Washington last month. Videos of the event sparked competing claims about who was at fault. The lawsuit alleges that The Post's reporting — quote — "targeted and bullied" Sandmann to embarrass President Trump.

    And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 63 points to close at 25954. The Nasdaq rose two points, and the S&P 500 added five.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour": the Vatican's landmark summit on sexual abuse; a unanimous Supreme Court limits the ability of states to seize property; the 2020 Democratic presidential candidates on expanding health care; and much more.

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