In our news wrap Thursday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer insisted he had not threatened two Supreme Court justices on Wednesday, but he did voice regret. Schumer said he “shouldn’t have used the words” he had chosen when talking about the Court and abortion rights. Also, Sec. of State Mike Pompeo pressed the Taliban to call off attacks on Afghan forces so a peace process could move forward.
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In the day's other news: Progressive champion Elizabeth Warren has ended her bid for the Democratic presidential campaign.
The Massachusetts senator had led the race back in October, but she failed to win a single state, including her own on Super Tuesday.
Today, she addressed supporters outside her home in Cambridge, and acknowledged there was no way forward.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass.:
I will not be running for president in 2020. But I guarantee I will stay in the fight for the hardworking folks across this country who've gotten the short end of the stick over and over. That's been the fight of my life, and it will continue to be so.
Warren didn't endorse former Vice President Joe Biden or Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, saying she needs time to think about it.
Biden leads Sanders right now 626 to 550 in the Associated Press delegate count. It takes 1,991 to clinch the Democratic nomination.
We will return to the campaign after the news summary.
The U.S. Senate's top Democrat insisted today that he never threatened two Supreme Court justices, but he also voiced regret. On Wednesday, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer had said conservatives Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh would — quote — "pay the price" if they vote to curtail abortion rights.
Chief Justice John Roberts condemned the comment. And, today, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blasted Schumer's statements.
The New York Democrat responded on the Senate floor.
Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.:
I'm from Brooklyn. We speak in strong language.
I shouldn't have used the words I did, but in no way was I making a threat. I never, never would do such a thing. And Leader McConnell knows that, and Republicans who are busy manufacturing outrage over these comments know that too.
Schumer said he had meant the justices might face political, and not physical, consequences.
The leaders of Turkey and Russia agreed today on a cease-fire for Northwestern Syria. Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Vladimir Putin met in Moscow. It followed clashes in Idlib province between Turkish and Syrian forces, with two more Turkish troops killed today.
Turkey opposes a Syrian offensive, backed by Russia, that is driving new refugees to the Turkish border.
The United States today pressed the Taliban to call off attacks in Afghanistan. The militants have stepped up assaults on Afghan forces since signing a deal for the U.S. to withdraw troops.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said today it is time to stop all of the violence and get serious about moving forward.
Secretary Mike Pompeo:
In no uncertain terms, violence must be reduced immediately for the peace process to move forward. We also continue to press all sides to stop posturing, start a practical discussion about prisoner releases, knuckle down and prepare for the upcoming inter-Afghan negotiations.
Pompeo also rejected an investigation into U.S. actions in Afghanistan. The International Criminal Court at The Hague agreed today to allow the inquiry. It will probe allegations of war crimes against the Taliban, against the Afghan government and U.S. forces.
And the woman who first inspired the World War II character Rosie the Riveter has died.
Rosalind P. Walter passed away on Wednesday at her home in New York. Her wartime work on an aircraft assembly line led to a song about Rosie the Riveter. Several other women also served as models for the character. Later, Walter became a main benefactor of PBS.
She was 95 years old.