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News Wrap: Senate fails to pass 4 immigration bills

In our news wrap Thursday, the Senate voted on a series of immigration measures but came up short. A bipartisan compromise came closest to the needed 60 votes, but President Trump threatened a veto. Also, Sen. Chuck Grassley leveled a rare rebuke at Attorney General Jeff Sessions, whom he accused of meddling in the legislative process over justice reform.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day’s other news, The U.S. Senate tried and failed to move on immigration. Four bills fell short of the 60 votes needed to advance, but a bipartisan compromise came closest. It offered eventual citizenship to 1.8 million young people who’d been protected under the DACA program, but it slowed the pace of funding for a border wall.

    President Trump threatened a veto, and Democrats, including Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, blamed him for the stalemate.

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.:

    There is only one reason why the Senate will be unable to reach a bipartisan solution to DACA, President Trump. President Trump created this problem by terminating the DACA program last August. Since that decision, President Trump has stood in the way of every single proposal that could become law.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The bill backed by Mr. Trump garnered the least support in the Republican-majority Senate. It, too, offered possible citizenship for DACA recipients, plus more immediate funding for a border wall and limits on legal immigration.

    Majority Leader Mitch McConnell blamed Democrats.

  • Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.:

    Once again, when the hour came to actually make law, instead of just making political points, our friends across the aisle were either unable or unwilling to get something done, after all the talk, all the talk.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Today’s failure puts the immigration issue on hold for the moment. Both the House and Senate are out all of next week.

    The Republican chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee has made a rare rebuke of Attorney General Jeff Sessions over criminal justice reform. Sessions had slammed a bipartisan bill to reduce jail terms for nonviolent offenders. Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley rejected the criticism, accused Sessions and the White House of meddling in the legislative process and said that Sessions should have resigned from his job.

    In South Africa, a new president took office today after the ruling African National Congress ousted Jacob Zuma over longstanding corruption scandals.

    Lindsey Hilsum of Independent Television News reports from Cape Town.

  • President Cyril Ramaphosa:

    I, Cyril Ramaphosa…

  • Man:

    Swear that I will be faithful to the republic of South Africa.

  • President Cyril Ramaphosa:

    Swear that I will be faithful.

  • Lindsey Hilsum:

    South Africa’s new president was sworn in after 24 hours of high political drama.

  • President Jacob Zuma:

    Ladies and gentlemen.

  • Lindsey Hilsum:

    Last night, former President Jacob Zuma seemed jovial as he addressed the nation.

  • President Jacob Zuma:

    Good evening, ladies and gentlemen. Why do you look serious? You can’t even say good evening.

    (LAUGHTER)

  • Lindsey Hilsum:

    There was no reason for him to resign, he said. But then he did anyway.

  • President Jacob Zuma:

    I have, therefore, come to the decision to resign as president of the republic, with immediate effect.

  • Lindsey Hilsum:

    In the South African Parliament this morning, they sang “Zuma has gone” as they prepared to elect Cyril Ramaphosa.

  • Woman:

    Can we have some order?

  • Lindsey Hilsum:

    The radical Economic Freedom Fighters staged a walkout, because they want general elections, not the coronation of a new ANC chief.

    But amongst the other opposition parties, there was tremendous good will toward Mr. Ramaphosa.

  • Man:

    We wholeheartedly support the nomination, Mr. President.

  • Lindsey Hilsum:

    He acknowledged the problem the country faces.

  • President Cyril Ramaphosa:

    Issues that have to do with corruption, issues of how to can straighten out our state-owned enterprises and how we deal with state capture are issues that are on our radar screen.

  • Lindsey Hilsum:

    Outside Parliament, ANC supporters were jubilant. After nearly a decade of corruption and mismanagement, President Ramaphosa, they hope, will restore their party’s pride and the country’s economic fortunes.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    That report from Lindsey Hilsum of Independent Television News.

    The president of Turkey and the U.S.’s top diplomat met today, amid tensions over the Syria conflict. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson arrived in Ankara for talks with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Turkey has demanded that the U.S. stop supporting Kurdish fighters in Syria.

    Last month, the Turks launched an air and ground offensive against Kurds in Northwest Syria.

    The United States and Britain publicly accused Russia today of carrying out a crippling cyber-attack last summer. It initially focused on Ukraine, but spread worldwide. The White House says that it did billions of dollars of damage. Moscow denied the accusation today, and said that it was part of a Russophobic campaign by Western nations.

    On Wall Street, stocks rallied for the fifth day in a row, led by tech stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 307 points to close at 25200. The Nasdaq rose 112 points, and the S&P 500 added 32.

    And, finally, highlights from day six at the Winter Olympics in South Korea.

    Twenty-two-year-Old American skier Mikaela Shiffrin won gold in the giant slalom. She’s going for as many as four gold medals at these Games.

    And Norwegian Aksel Lund Svindal won the men’s downhill. At 35, he’s the oldest gold medalist in alpine skiing ever.

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