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News Wrap: Pence blasts European allies over Iran nuclear deal

In our news wrap Thursday, Vice President Pence criticized European allies for staying in the Iran nuclear deal, saying they were intending to break U.S. sanctions against Iran. His remarks came at a conference discussing peace and stability in the Middle East. Also, the Senate confirmed William Barr as attorney general. He previously served in the role under former President George H.W. Bush.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news: Somber remembrances across the state of Florida marked the school massacre in Parkland one year ago. Moments of silence, vigils and services honored the 14 students and three staff members killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School.

    We will have an extensive look back at the shooting and what's happened since later in the program.

    The U.S. Senate has confirmed President Trump's pick for attorney general, William Barr. Today's final vote was 54-45, with all but one Republican voting yes, and all but three Democrats voting no. Barr previously served as attorney general under former President George H.W. Bush. He now replaces acting Attorney General Matt Whitaker.

    The Trump administration lashed out at European allies today for staying in the nuclear deal with Iran. Vice President Pence addressed a Middle East conference in Poland and accused Britain, France and Germany of subverting U.S. sanctions on Iran.

  • Mike Pence:

    Sadly, some of our leading European partners have not been nearly as cooperative. In fact, they have led the effort to create mechanisms to break up our sanctions. They call this scheme a special purpose vehicle. We call it an effort to break American sanctions against Iran's murderous revolutionary regime.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Separately, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned there can be no peace in the Middle East without confronting Iran. From Warsaw, Pompeo moved on to Brussels to meet with European Union officials.

    President Trump is under new pressure on the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last year. A top Trump ally, Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair James Risch, who is a Republican, today demanded a report on who in the Saudi government was behind the killing. Other Republicans on the committee joined him.

    So far, the administration has refused to submit a report on the killing.

    In Syria, a Kurdish-led force moved close today to clearing Islamic State fighters from the last villages they controlled. The U.S.-backed force focused on the Baghouz region near the Iraqi border, where scores of ISIS militants surrendered overnight.

    Meanwhile, in Sochi, Russia, President Vladimir Putin met with the leaders of Turkey and Iran. They called for Syria's military to take over any areas where U.S. forces withdraw.

    Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May has suffered another defeat in her bid for a Brexit deal. She wanted more time to work out changes in her agreement with the European Union. But pro-Brexit hard-liners in May's ruling Conservative Party opposed any extension today. That leaves Brexit just eight weeks away, with no deal in place.

    Back in this country, heavy rain pounded California, touching off mudslides, floods and evacuations. North of San Francisco, a wave of mud buried several homes in Sausalito after five inches of rain. One woman had to be rescued from the wreckage. To the south, more than nine inches of rain fell in the last 48 hours in the San Bernardino Mountains.

    Washington said farewell today to John Dingell, the man who served longer in the United States Congress than anyone in history. The Michigan Democrat retired in 2015, after 59 years in the House. Today, hundreds of mourners paid their respects, including many of Dingell's congressional colleagues, and former President Bill Clinton.

  • Bill Clinton:

    John Dingell was just about the best doer in the history of American public life. Since 1955 — that's a long time ago — until he left, he had a hand in just about every important contribution to follow — that followed our founders' admonition to form a more perfect union.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Dingell died Sunday at the age of 92. An Army veteran, he will be laid to rest tomorrow at Arlington National Cemetery outside Washington.

    Meanwhile, the funeral for Congressman Walter Jones was held this afternoon in Greenville, North Carolina. The longtime Republican lawmaker was first elected in 1995. He died Sunday on his 76th birthday, after suffering complications from a fall.

    In Denver, a teachers strike is ended after three days. Educators went back to work today after negotiators reached a tentative deal overnight. It raises pay by up to 11 percent, with built-in cost-of-living adjustments. The deal still must be ratified by the teacher union's rank and file.

    A federal watchdog is reporting extensive problems with college student loan accounts. The U.S. Education Department's inspector general says that companies and groups that service the loans are not giving borrowers the help they need. It also says that the offenders mostly get off with only a slap on the wrist. Student loan debt in the U.S. totals $1.5 trillion.

    On Wall Street, stocks struggled after news that retail sales slipped in December. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 104 points to close at 25439. The Nasdaq rose six points, but the S&P 500 fell seven.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour": the implications of former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort lying to the special counsel investigation; how the community in Parkland, Florida, is coping one year later; and much more.

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