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News Wrap: Russian-backed separatist leader killed in Eastern Ukraine explosion

In our news wrap Friday, Russia accused Ukraine of assassinating Alexander Zakharchenko to destabilize the region. Kiev denied the charge. Also, there's word that Russian intelligence bragged in 2016 that it had then-candidate Donald Trump "over a barrel." The Associated Press reports Justice Department official Bruce Ohr related that to Congress this week.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the days other news, there is where that Russian intelligence bragged in 2016 that it had then candidate Donald Trump — quote — "over a barrel." The Associated Press reports that Justice Department official Bruce Ohr relayed that to Congress this week. Ohr said it came from the author of a dossier on Mr. Trump's ties to Russia.

    Also today, Washington lobbyist Samuel Patten pleaded guilty to illegal lobbying for a Ukrainian group. It included steering money to the Trump Inaugural Committee.

    In Eastern Ukraine, the leader of Russian-backed separatists died today in a cafe explosion. Russia accused Ukraine of assassinating Aleksandr Zakharchenko to destabilize the region. Kiev denied it. Zakharchenko became head of the so called Donetsk People's Republic in 2014 after rebels overthrew a regional government loyal to Ukraine.

    The United States is now formally ended support for the U.N. agency that helps Palestinian refugees. The State Department today called the program irredeemably flawed. U.S. contributions make up 30 percent of the U.N. agency's budget, nearly $300 million.

    Rebels in Northwestern Syria blew up bridges today, hoping to slow a government offensive that appears imminent. War monitors reported bridges in Idlib Province were destroyed after rebels spotted government troops moving.

    Meanwhile, Russia's foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said Moscow backs Russia's — or, rather, Syria's right to attack an al-Qaida-linked group that controls much of Idlib.

  • Sergei Lavrov (through translator):

    They have the full right to protect their sovereignty and to drive out, to liquidate the terrorist threat on their territory. This is the main problem about Idlib, is that there must be separation between armed opposition that is ready to hold dialogue with the government on the one hand and the terrorists on the other.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Meanwhile, Russia naval forces are building up in the Mediterranean to support a Syrian offensive, but Lavrov said negotiations are under way to let civilians leave first. In response, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned against what he called an escalation of an already dangerous conflict.

    Iran is said be sending ballistic missiles to Shiite allies in Iraq and looking to expand missile production there. Reuters reports the weapons have the range to strike key cities in Tehran's two major regional foes, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

    Nicaragua has ordered a United Nations human rights team to leave the country for criticizing a crackdown on protests. This week, the U.N. group charged that Nicaragua's government has illegally arrested and tortured dissidents.

    Back in this country, they won't be hunting grizzly bears after all tomorrow in Wyoming and Idaho. The hunts would have been the two states' first in more than 40 years. But a federal judge has blocked their season for two weeks to consider objections by conservation groups.

    And Wall Street had a quiet Friday heading into the Labor Day weekend. The Dow Jones industrial average last 22 points to close at 25964. The Nasdaq rose 21 points and the S&P 500 added just a fraction.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour", broken justice, helping former prisoners succeed once they're released; John McCain's biographer remembers the late senator; Mark Shields and David Brooks analyze the week's news; and much more.

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