News Wrap: Sandoval withdraws from SCOTUS consideration

In our news wrap Thursday, Gov. Brian Sandoval (R-Nev.) officially withdrew his name from consideration for the late Antonin Scalia’s seat on the Supreme Court. Also, battered communities across southeastern Virginia began cleanup in the aftermath of Wednesday evening’s tornadoes, which killed four and injured dozens more.

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    Good evening. I'm Hari Sreenivasan.

    On the "NewsHour" tonight: Republicans square off on the debate stage, the final face-to-face before Super Tuesday, while Democrats look to South Carolina and beyond to break the tie.

  • Also ahead:

    looking at the U.S.'s role in the possible Syrian cease-fire, and if the agreement will hold amidst looming unrest and political distrust.

    Plus, we sit down with the mother of one of the Columbine shooters to talk about her new memoir on living in the aftermath of tragedy.

    SUE KLEBOLD, Author, "A Mother's Reckoning": I stood up and thought I was going to be sick. I — it was such a shock to me, because it didn't make sense that a child that I loved could actually be doing those things or could have planned to do those things.


    All that and more on tonight's "PBS NewsHour."



    The political drama over the U.S. Supreme Court vacancy took a new twist today. The Republican governor of Nevada, Brian Sandoval, withdrew his name from consideration.

    Sandoval said in a statement: "The notion of being considered for a seat on the highest court in the land is beyond humbling." But he gave no reason for his decision. Senate Republicans say they will not consider any nominee from President Obama. Nevertheless, the White House says the president will meet with Senate leaders next week.

    Battered communities across Southeastern Virginia began cleaning up today, after tornadoes struck Wednesday evening. The storms killed four people and injured dozens more. Three of the dead were in the small town of Waverly, about 40 miles southeast of Richmond.

    Governor Terry McAuliffe declared a state of emergency and toured the area today.

    GOV. TERRY MCAULIFFE (D), Virginia: I was just amazed at the length and the width of this tornado that struck here. But as you go along and then you will see structures totally gone, but you will see just gigantic areas of trees just snapped in half, gigantic trees just laying on the ground.


    Farther north, in Pennsylvania, the storm system roared through Lancaster County, peeling off roofs and damaging businesses. Two 600-foot chicken sheds and several barns were destroyed.

    The number of migrants stranded in northern Greece built today as Macedonia allowed only a trickle to head north. Some 3,500 people braved bitter cold at a camp on the Greek side this morning as they waited to cross. To the south, thousands more set up camp at a port terminal outside Athens after police barred them from moving on.

  • WOMAN:

    Some people say a lot of things, make us worried, and like the border is closing. And I don't — I don't know. A lot of things make us more and more and more tired. And we only need to — these things to be solved, and to know what should we do. We can't, like, only sleep in the streets.


    Greece also recalled its ambassador to Austria to protest border restrictions by the Austrians and Balkan states. And Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras insisted his country cannot become a warehouse for refugees.

    In Italy, the national senate voted to allow civil unions for gay couples after a battle that lasted for years. The bill passed easily and now goes to the Lower House of Parliament for final approval. Prime Minister Matteo Renzi called the vote historic. Italy would be the last country in Western Europe to take that step. But gay and lesbian groups denounced the measure because it doesn't allow gay adoption.

    Back in this country, Apple asked a federal magistrate to reverse her order on helping the FBI hack a locked iPhone. It was used by one of the killers in the San Bernardino mass shootings in California. The company's court filing accused the government of seeking dangerous power over digital privacy.

    And Wall Street stayed in the win column for a second day. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 212 points to close near 16700. The Nasdaq rose nearly 40 points, and the S&P 500 added almost 22.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour": how Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders fare among minority voters; the tricky diplomacy surrounding the Syrian cease-fire; when economic anxiety meets politics; and much more.

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