In our News Wrap Thursday, the Pentagon will permanently mark the records of service members accused of sexual harassment or bullying on the job or online. Also, former President George W. Bush said it is “pretty clear” Russians meddled in the 2016 elections, but not whether it affected the outcome.
Read the Full Transcript
In the day’s other news- The White House says that it could — quote — “have done better” in handling allegations of domestic violence against former top staff member Rob Porter. The two ex-wives of the until-yesterday staff secretary say that he physically assaulted them.
And, yesterday, one released a photo of herself with a black eye. News reports today said some White House officials knew of the claims weeks ago.
But Deputy Press Secretary Raj Shah says Chief of Staff John Kelly only became fully aware of the facts yesterday.
The allegations against Rob Porter are serious and deeply troubling. He did deny them. The incidents took place long before he joined the White House.
Therefore, they were investigated as part of a background check, as this process is meant for such allegations. It wasn’t completed, and Rob Porter has since resigned.
Shah said President Trump didn’t know about the allegations until Tuesday.
The Pentagon will permanently mark the records of service members who sexually harass or bully others on the job or online. The new policy comes nearly a year after a scandal in the Marine Corps over an online nude photo. Pentagon officials say they’re also making it easier to report problems and hold abusers accountable.
In North Korea, intercontinental ballistic missiles rolled through Pyongyang in a huge military parade, this on the eve of the Winter Olympics opening in South Korea. Sporting a black fedora, the North’s leader, Kim Jong-un, presided over goose-stepping soldiers and missiles, marking the anniversary of the country’s military.
Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Pence arrived in Seoul, meeting with South Korean’s President Moon Jae-in and promising full support.
Vice President Mike Pence:
The United States of America will continue to stand shoulder to shoulder in our effort to bring maximum pressure to bear on North Korea until that time comes when they finally and permanently and irreversibly abandon their nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions.
Before arriving, Mr. Pence said the North’s participation in the Olympics amounts to — quote — “propaganda.” Moon took a more conciliatory tone, and said that he hopes the Games provide a diplomatic opening.
Former President George W. Bush said today that he believes Russia did interfere in the 2016 presidential election. He spoke in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates. During the talk, the 43rd president said — quote — “There is pretty clear evidence that the Russians meddled.”
But he went on to say — quote again — “Whether they affected the outcome is another question.”
President Trump is nominating a Beverly Hills tax attorney, Charles Rettig, to be commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service. The White House announced the choice today. Rettig has represented companies and individuals in tax disputes. He also defended Mr. Trump’s decision not to release his own tax returns during the 2016 campaign.
Twitter has turned a quarterly profit for the first time. The company made $91 million in the fourth quarter of 2017, despite long-term challenges. Those include a backlash over Twitter’s handling of Russian-linked accounts and hate speech.
And hundreds of thousands of ecstatic fans swarmed downtown Philadelphia today for the Eagles’ Super Bowl victory parade. With trophies in hand, players and fans decked out in Eagles green, or not, braved freezing temperatures to celebrate. Philadelphia beat New England last Sunday for its first Super Bowl win.