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News Wrap: Pompeo seeks to reassure South Korea after Trump summit

In our news wrap Thursday, the Trump administration faced more fallout from President Trump's Singapore summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un. Also, Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended separating children and parents who cross the U.S.-Mexico border illegally. House Speaker Paul Ryan said he can't support it, and religious groups have also criticized it.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day's other news, the Trump administration faced more fallout from the president's Singapore summit with North Korea's Kim Jong-un. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to dispel doubts and answer questions in South Korea and China.

    With smiles and a handshake, Secretary Pompeo greeted South Korea's President Moon Jae-in. Part of the mission, to reassure Moon after President Trump announced in Singapore that he will end joint U.S.-South Korean military exercises.

    Today, South Korea's foreign minister insisted Seoul will have a say about that.

  • Kang Kyung-Wha (through translator):

    The joint South Korea-U.S. military exercise is a matter for the South Korea-United States alliance.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    But in an interview last night, Mr. Trump said again he means to end the joint exercises. At the same time, he said reducing U.S. troop levels in South Korea is not up for negotiation yet.

  • President Donald Trump:

    I would like to get them home. I would like to. But it is not on the table right now. At the appropriate time, it will be.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In Washington today, at his confirmation hearing to be ambassador to South Korea, retired Navy Admiral Harry Harris agreed with the president that military exercises should be delayed.

  • Harry Harris:

    We should give exercises, major exercises, a pause, to see if Kim Jong-un, in fact, is serious about his part of the negotiations.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Meanwhile, Secretary Pompeo moved on to Beijing, and meetings with President Xi Jinping and China's foreign minister.

    Pompeo said there it's too early to know for sure if North Korea is no longer a nuclear threat, despite President Trump's declaration yesterday that it is not. Pompeo also said President Trump is approaching North Korea with eyes wide open. Mr. Trump has raised eyebrows in Washington with his fulsome praise of Kim, a dictator accused of grave human rights abuses.

  • President Donald Trump:

    He's a very smart guy. He's a great negotiator. But I think we understand each other.

  • Question:

    But he's still done some really bad things.

  • President Donald Trump:

    Yes, but so have a lot of other people done some really bad things.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    All of this as North Korean state TV today released video of the president saluting a North Korean general at the summit, with Kim looking on.

    The White House played down the president's salute, and called it common courtesy.

    Attorney General Jeff Sessions today defended separating children and parents who enter the U.S. illegally. The policy is under growing criticism. House Speaker Paul Ryan said today that he can't support it, and religious groups have also criticized it.

    But in Fort Wayne, Indiana, Sessions pointed to the Bible in saying the criticism is unfair.

  • Jeff Sessions:

    If you violate the law, you subject yourself to prosecution. And I would cite you to the Apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    At a contentious White House briefing, Press Secretary Sarah Sanders echoed Sessions, saying — quote — "It is very biblical to enforce the law."

    Also today, House Republican leaders circulated a nearly 300-page immigration bill to members. A copy obtained by the "NewsHour" says migrant children must not be separated from parents or guardians. It also grants renewable legal status to those who are brought here illegally as children.

    In Yemen, troops loyal to the exiled government battled for a second day to retake the Red Sea port of Hodeidah. The government fighters, backed by Saudi Arabia, captured a key town to the south. Video from an Arab news channel showed the troops firing on rebels, backed by Iran, near Hodeidah's airport. The port is Yemen's main entry point for food and aid.

    Turkey's military says that it has a deal now with the U.S. to defuse tensions in Northern Syria. It involves the town of Manbij, near the Turkish border, where a Kurdish-led militia backed by the U.S. is in control. The Turks say that the Kurds are linked to rebels inside Turkey, and demand that they move. Under the deal, they are expected to withdraw to the east.

    China warned again today that it will scrap promises to buy more U.S. soybeans and other exports if the U.S. slaps 25 percent tariffs on Chinese goods. The Trump administration is due to issue a list of the targeted goods tomorrow.

    In Beijing, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs counseled caution.

  • Geng Shuang (through translator):

    China-U.S. trade and economic relations is a win-win. China always insists that both sides should resolve relevant issues through dialogue. If the United States takes any trade sanction measures, all the economic and trade achievements that have been made in the consultations will not come into effect.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    In Washington, President Trump met with his economic advisers today, ahead of tomorrow's tariff announcement.

    The U.S. Supreme Court has struck down a Minnesota law that bars political hats, T-shirts and pins at the polls. The decision today was 7-2. Justices said the law was too broad, and that it violates the First Amendment's protection of free speech. About 10 states have similar laws, but Minnesota's is the broadest.

    And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 26 points to close at 25175. The Nasdaq rose 65 points, and the S&P 500 added six.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour," a deeper look at the FBI inspector general report; The End of AIDS, the state that is home to one of every 10 HIV cases in the U.S.; New York state sues to shut down the Trump Foundation; and much more.

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