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News Wrap: Pelosi spars with progressive party members

In our news wrap Thursday, tensions simmered between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and four progressives. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., called Pelosi’s criticism of her and three other newly elected women “outright disrespectful.” Pelosi said she was rebuking an “offensive tweet" from one of them. Also, the British navy says Iran tried to interfere with a British tanker in the Persian Gulf.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: A verbal battle simmered between Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi and progressives in her Democratic Party ranks.

    On Wednesday, Pelosi warned freshmen members Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib against criticizing party moderates.

    But Ocasio-Cortez told The Washington Post that — quote — "It was just outright disrespectful, the explicit singling out of newly elected women of color."

    Today, Pelosi refused to address the claim directly, but also refused to back down.

  • Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:

    They took offense because I addressed, at the request of my members, an offensive tweet that came out of one of the member's offices that referenced our Blue Dogs and our New Dems, essentially as segregationists.

    Our members took offense at that. I addressed that. How they are interpreting and carrying it to another place is up to them.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Another progressive congresswoman, Pramila Jayapal of Washington state, also chided Pelosi. Jayapal said — quote — "I don't think the speaker is used to having a group of members with bigger Twitter followings than she has."

    There's been a new confrontation in the Persian Gulf, this time, involving Iran and Britain. The British navy says three Iranian vessels tried today to block a British tanker from leaving the Gulf.

    John Ray of Independent Television News reports.

  • John Ray:

    The oil tanker British Heritage intercepted by Iranian patrol boats, which tried to force her into Iranian waters.

    To the rescue, according to the same Ministry of Defense account, a Royal Navy frigate, HMS Montrose, escorting the tanker. She put herself between the two sides, trained her guns on the Iranians, and radioed a warning to back off.

  • Jeremy Hunt:

    Obviously very concerning developments, but, also, I'm very proud of the Royal Navy and the role they played in keeping British assets, British shipping safe. We are continuing to monitor the situation very, very carefully.

  • John Ray:

    It is the latest ratcheting up of tensions. Just last month, the Iranians shot down a U.S. drone over the same stretch of sea. The U.S. had blamed Tehran of attacking six oil tankers in May and June.

    And last week, British Royal Marines stormed an Iranian tanker near Gibraltar suspected of breaching Syrian sanctions, an act that, as this latest drama unfolded yesterday, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani warned Britain would pay for.

    From Washington tonight, where hostility to Tehran has seen Donald Trump threaten and then call off military action in recent weeks, the president tweeted: "It seems the Brits and French and the Germans are coming around to the idea that the Iranians are up to no good."

    The U.S. is now planning a multinational force to monitor the Gulf. Britain must decide what role it might play in an escalating crisis.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    That report from John Ray of independent Television News.

    Iran has denied the British allegations and says that it made no attempt to interfere with the British ship.

    The man chosen to lead the U.S. military argued today that leaving Afghanistan, as President Trump wants, would be a mistake. Army General Mark Milley had a Senate confirmation hearing on his nomination to chair the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff. He told senators that he and other military leaders will speak plainly to the president, even if that means telling him that he is wrong.

  • Mark Milley:

    Arlington is filled with our comrades. And we understand absolutely full well the hazards of our chosen profession. We know what this is about. And we're not going to be intimidated into making stupid decisions.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    If confirmed, Milley would succeed General Joseph Dunford as chair of the Joint Chiefs.

    The nominee for vice chair of the Joint Chiefs, Air Force General John Hyten, is facing allegations of sexual misconduct. The Associated Press reports that a senior female officer says that Hyten made unwanted sexual advances, and tried to derail her career when she refused him. The Air Force has found insufficient evidence to take any action. But it is not clear if the nomination will move forward.

    Tropical Storm Barry formed in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana today, and forced evacuations of up to 10,000 people. The slow-moving storm could hit land as a hurricane south of New Orleans on Saturday, dumping up to 15 inches of rain.

    Louisiana's Governor John Bel Edwards says he doesn't expect floodwaters to top levees.

    But New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell warned that the city's pumping system could be overwhelmed.

  • Latoya Cantrell:

    We cannot pump our way out of the water levels and the water falls that are expected to hit the city of New Orleans. We need you to understand this and again be prepared to shelter in place.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The storm could pose the biggest test yet to flood control measures that were made in New Orleans after the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005.

    The White House today abandoned a plan aimed at reducing prescription drug costs for people on Medicare. It would have lowered out-of-pocket costs by letting consumers have rebates that drug makers now give to insurers. The proposal foundered on fears that it would drive up Medicare premiums and end up costing nearly $180 billion over 10 years.

    On Wall Street, some turbulence among investors. The end of that White House drug price reduction plan helped health insurers, and the broader market racked up some new records. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 227 points to finish above 27000 for the first time. The Nasdaq fell six points, but the S&P 500 gained six, and also hit a new high.

    And a Japanese space probe successfully landed on an asteroid today for a second time and collected samples. Touchdown came on a space rock 180 million miles away. The probe settled on a crater that it helped to get at underground — and it helped get at underground debris. The Hayabusa2 already collected top soil from the asteroid. It is set to return to Earth next year.

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