In our news wrap Thursday, Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that "there's no way to explain the disrespect that” President Trump has shown NATO, and questioned whether Russia influenced his conduct at the summit in Brussels. Also, the Russia investigation also spilled into the debate over Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh, with questions about his views on executive powers.
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In the day’s other news, the Democratic leader in the U.S. House questioned whether Russia influenced President Trump’s conduct at the NATO summit. Nancy Pelosi spoke at her weekly briefing in Washington and said the president’s behavior raises a critical question.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:
What do the Russians have on Donald Trump politically, financially, and personally? Because this is — there’s no way to explain the disrespect that he’s demonstrating.
Pelosi wouldn’t say if Democrats will investigate the president if they win back the House in the midterm elections.
The Russia investigation also spilled into the debate over the new Supreme Court nominee, Brett Kavanaugh. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said today that Kavanaugh’s views on executive power suggest he might block attempts to charge President Trump. But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called that a far-left conspiracy theory.
Meanwhile, Kavanaugh’s financial forms show thousands of dollars in credit card debt that was paid off in 2017. The White House says friends reimbursed the judge for baseball tickets.
FBI agent Peter Strzok defiantly denied today that he let an anti-Trump bias affect his work in the Russia investigation. He faced off with angry House Republicans at an all-day hearing that lasted into this evening.
Things heated up in a hurry, with House Oversight Committee Chair Trey Gowdy pressing agent Peter Strzok about the start of the Russia investigation in 2016.
Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C.:
Between the beginning of it on July 31 and August the 8th, it’s an eight-day time period, we’re a week into an investigation, how many people had you interviewed?
As you know, the counsel of the FBI, based on the special counsel’s equities, have directed me not to answer any questions about the ongoing investigation into Russian attempts to interfere…
The gentleman — the gentleman will suspend and the clock will suspend.
Mr. Strzok, you are under subpoena.
Strzok was on the hot seat because of anti-Trump text messages he sent, while playing a lead role at the outset of the special counsel’s Trump-Russia probe.
He was ultimately removed from the investigation, but, today, he offered an impassioned defense.
I can assure you Mr. Chairman, at no time, in any of these texts did those personal beliefs ever enter into the realm of any action I took.
And the suggestion that I, in some dark chamber somewhere in the FBI, would somehow cast aside all of these procedures, all of these safeguards and somehow be able to do this, is astounding to me. It simply couldn’t happen.
And the proposition that that is going on, that it might occur anywhere in the FBI, deeply corrodes what the FBI is in American society, the effectiveness of their mission, and it is deeply destructive.
Democrats applauded the statement, but Republicans grilled Strzok for much of the day.
He testified that he knew of other FBI personnel who had pro-Trump biases, but he insisted he never saw bias either way in investigative decisions.
To immigration now. The Trump administration said today it has reunited 57 children under the age of 5 with their immigrant parents. It says 46 others were not eligible for a variety of reasons, despite the passage of a court-ordered deadline.
We will have a full report later in the program.
President Trump is talking up progress with North Korea. Today, he tweeted out an image of a letter from Kim Jong-un. In it, the North Korean leader writes of — quote — “epochal progress” in improving relations. The two sides were to meet today on returning the remains of Americans killed in the Korean War. That’s been postponed until Sunday.
In Southwest Syria, the first city to revolt against President Bashar Assad has fallen. State TV today showed the Syrian flag flying in Daraa amid destroyed buildings. It said rebels agreed to surrender, along with their heavy weapons. Parts of Northeastern and Northwestern Syria remain outside the control of the Assad government.
Officials in Japan now confirm at least 200 people have died in this week’s flood disaster around Hiroshima, with dozens still missing. Piles of waterlogged debris still dominate the landscape. More than 200,000 households have no water, as extreme heat lingers over the area.
Back in this country, the Trump administration’s Justice Department has appealed a federal judge’s ruling that allowed Time-Warner and AT&T to merge. In June, the judge rejected the government’s argument that the combination will hurt competition and hike prices.
The founder of one of the nation’s largest pizza chains has resigned as chairman after using a racial slur. John Schnatter of Papa John’s stepped down last night, and issued an apology. He had already resigned as CEO last year after criticizing NFL players for protesting during the national anthem.
And on Wall Street, stocks recovered yesterday’s lost ground, as tech shares came up big. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 224 points to close near 24925. The Nasdaq rose 107 points, more than 1 percent, and the S&P 500 added 24.
Still to come on the “NewsHour,” Ohio Governor John Kasich’s critique of U.S. foreign policy; the government reunites some immigrant families, but says others do not qualify; the infamous Emmett Till case reopened amid new evidence; and much more.