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News Wrap: North Korean diplomat arrives in U.S.

In our news wrap Wednesday, North Korea's top diplomat arrived in New York for talks on reviving summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un. He plans to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.. Also, a top Republican said there's no evidence for President Trump's claim that the FBI planted a spy in his 2016 campaign.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    North Korea's top diplomat arrived in New York this afternoon for talks on reviving a summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un.

    The official, Kim Yong-chol, was spotted overnight in Beijing, before boarding an Air China flight to New York. He arrived there this afternoon at JFK International Airport, and was to meet tonight with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

    The White House says that President Trump is still concerned about whether the FBI planted a spy in his 2016 campaign. That's after a top Republican congressman said today that there's no evidence for the claim. Representative Trey Gowdy of South Carolina chairs the House Oversight Committee, and he was briefed by the FBI last week.

  • Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.:

    Based on what I have seen, I don't know what the FBI could have done or should have done other than run out a lead that someone loosely connected with the campaign was making assertions about Russia. I would think you would want the FBI to find out whether or not there was any validity to what those people were saying.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Gowdy also said he understands the president's frustration with Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself in the Russia investigation.

    The New York Times reports that Mr. Trump asked Sessions to reverse his recusal in March of last year, which Sessions declined to do. Today, the president said on Twitter that — quote — "I wish I did" pick someone else as attorney general.

    China warned today the U.S. will regret its latest threat to impose tariffs. The two nations agreed this month to put new tariffs on hold. But the White House said yesterday that it's moving forward with levies on $50 billion worth of Chinese products.

    In Beijing today, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman argued the U.S. is only hurting itself.

  • Hua Chunying (through translator):

    A country harms and squanders its own national credibility every time it suddenly breaks its words and contradicts itself. If the United States insists on being capricious, China will resolutely take strong and solid measures to safeguard its own legitimate interests.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Meanwhile, U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross and Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer met with top European officials in Paris. Friday is the deadline for a U.S. decision on imposing tariffs on imported steel and aluminum from Europe.

    There's a break in the barrage of fire across the Israel-Gaza border. The militant group Hamas says that it has accepted a cease-fire brokered by Egypt. The Israelis say they expect a return of calm. Militants fired rockets into Southern Israel on Tuesday, and Israeli warplanes blasted dozens of sites across Gaza.

    India and Pakistan have agreed to stop trading artillery fire in the contested Kashmir region. Relative calm prevailed today after months of flare-ups that killed dozens of soldiers and civilians. Kashmir has ignited two wars between India and Pakistan since 1947.

    In Afghanistan, the U.S. military says that an artillery attack killed more than 50 Taliban leaders last week. It happened in Helmand Province in the south.

    The overall U.S. commander, Army General John Nicholson, says it struck at the Taliban's illegal drug revenues.

  • Gen. John Nicholson:

    This group in Helmand in particular are very involved in criminal activity. They seek to continue instability, so they can profit from the drug trade. Because of the money they derive from drugs, this has been one of the more well-equipped and well-paid Taliban networks. But by killing leaders, we will achieve a disruptive effect in Helmand.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Separately, Afghan security forces beat back an attack on the Interior Ministry in Kabul today. The ministry says that all 10 attackers died, along with one policeman.

    A bizarre tale of espionage and faked murder in Ukraine today. Police reported Tuesday that dissident Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko had been shot and killed in Kiev. But this morning, he showed up alive and well, and said it was all a sting to expose a Russian plot to assassinate him.

  • Arkady Babchenko (through translator):

    All these months we were in touch, and we worked on the details. As a result of this operation, one man is arrested. I would like to ask that you excuse me for all that happened in the past, because I have attended funerals for colleagues and friends many times and I know this feeling when you have to bury colleagues. I am sorry for this.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Ukrainian authorities said that they have arrested the alleged organizer of the plot. Russia dismissed the operation as — quote — "obviously calculated propaganda."

    Back in this country, the Republican governor of Texas, Greg Abbott, rolled out a 40-point plan on school shootings. It calls for armed marshals in schools, more mental health screening for students and a handful of gun safety measures. An attack this month in Santa Fe, Texas, left 10 students and teachers dead. President Trump will meet with the victims' families tomorrow in Houston.

    The Federal Reserve voted today to relax the Volcker rule that bars banks from risky financial trades. It's the latest move by the Trump administration to deregulate the industry. The change still needs the approval of four other agencies.

    And on Wall Street, stocks recovered as a political crisis in Italy appeared to ease. There'd been fears that the turmoil could undermine the euro currency. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 306 points to close at 24667. The Nasdaq rose nearly 66 points, and the S&P 500 added 34.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour," fact-checking the president's claims at a Tennessee campaign rally; broken justice, two innocent brothers and the consequence of a plea bargain; and much more.

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