In our news wrap Tuesday, Roger Stone, a longtime friend and adviser to President Trump, pleaded not guilty to charges of obstruction, lying to Congress and witness tampering. He was indicted as part of the special counsel’s Russia investigation. Also, the Senate Judiciary Committee postponed a planned vote on the nomination of William Barr to be U.S. attorney general, amid Democratic concerns.
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In the day's other news: President Trump's longtime friend and adviser Roger Stone pleaded not guilty to charges of obstruction, lying to Congress and witness tampering. He was indicted as part of the special counsel's Russia investigation. Supporters and opponents greeted Stone as he arrived for his arraignment at federal court in Washington. He made no public statements.
The Senate Judiciary Committee has put off a planned vote on the nomination of William Barr to be U.S. attorney general. Democrats raised concerns today that Barr might not make public the special counsel's report on the Russia investigation when it is finished. Barr had criticized Robert Mueller's probe before being nominated. The committee vote is now set for next Tuesday.
The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, says he supports efforts to cut down on government shutdowns. He spoke today about various proposals in the House and the Senate to block any future closures.
Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.:
I don't like shutdowns. I don't think they work for anybody. And I hope they will be avoided. I would be open to anything that we can agree on, on a bipartisan basis, that would make them pretty hard to occur again.
Congress now has less than three weeks to reach a deal on border security funding before the next shutdown deadline.
Meanwhile, Stacey Abrams will deliver the Democratic response to President Trump's State of the Union address next Tuesday. Abrams narrowly lost the Georgia gubernatorial race in November.
In Venezuela, the government's chief prosecutor called for a criminal investigation of opposition leader Juan Guaido. Last week, Guaido declared himself interim president of the country. So far, though, President Nicolas Maduro has refused to step down. Meanwhile the U.N. says at least 40 have died in recent violence. It says 26 were killed by pro-government forces, and more than 850 were detained.
China demanded today that the U.S. stop what it called the unreasonable crackdown on tech giant Huawei. The company was indicted Monday on federal charges that it stole trade secrets and violated sanctions on Iran. Beijing warned that it will defend Chinese companies, but it gave no details.
Back in this country, Chicago police are investigating a possible hate crime against actor Jussie Smollett. He's a star of the TV series "Empire." He says two men assaulted him on a street early today. They allegedly shouted racial and homophobic slurs, poured an unknown substance on him, and tied a rope around his neck. Smollett later went to a hospital. He's reported in good condition.
The nation's largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric, filed for bankruptcy protection today. The utility faces hundreds of lawsuits over wildfires, even though state investigators say that its equipment didn't cause a deadly 2017 fire in California. The bankruptcy filing could mean higher bills for customers and smaller payouts to fire victims.
And on Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 51 points to close near 24580. The Nasdaq fell 57 points, and the S&P 500 slipped three.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": the intelligence community gives its assessment of international threats to the U.S.; critical Brexit votes in the British Parliament; the challenges faced by students with special needs from military families; and much more.