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News Wrap: Sessions defends Rosenstein amid Freedom Caucus impeachment bid

In our news wrap Thursday, Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein after House Republicans launched a bid to impeach him. Sessions urged Congress to turn its attention to more important work. Also, Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan, one of the House Republicans leading the call for Rosenstein's impeachment, officially announced plans to run for speaker of the House.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    There are new signs of a detente on at least one front of the Trump administration's trade war. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross says his department will continue an investigation into whether new tariffs should be imposed on auto imports from Europe. But the president has asked Ross to wait until negotiations are finished before a final decision is made.

    We will dive deeper into what the president's trade strategy means for American farmers right after the news summary.

    Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is under fire today, after conservative Republicans in Congress launched a bid to impeach him. Last night, 11 House Freedom Caucus members accused him of high crimes and misdemeanors and insisted that he, "repeatedly failed to produce documents to Congress on the Russia probe and the Clinton e-mail investigation."

    Traveling in Boston, Attorney General Jeff Sessions defended Rosenstein, and urged Congress to turn its attention to more important work.

  • Jeff Sessions:

    What I would like Congress to do is to focus on some of the legal challenges that are out there. We need Congress to deal with the immigration question. There are loopholes in our laws that are being exploited. We need to get them focused, and we're pleading with them to do so.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    House Speaker Paul Ryan also says he's against the impeachment effort, and says he doesn't want it to be, "cavalier" with the process.

    But the number three Republican in the House, Steve Scalise, says he does endorse it. Any vote will have to wait until September, when the House returns from its summer recess.

    One of the House Republicans who are leading that call for Rosenstein's impeachment, Ohio Representative Jim Jordan, officially announced plans today to run for the speaker of the House, if Republicans keep their majority after the November elections. Jordan is a co-founder of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.

    Current House Speaker Paul Ryan has said that he's not running for reelection after this term ends.

    In Pakistan, ballots are still being counted after yesterday's election. But populist Imran Khan has declared victory to be the country's next prime minister, even as allegations of vote-rigging hang over the former cricket star.

    We will take stock of Pakistan's political climate later in the show.

    President Trump is threatening large sanctions on Turkey if it doesn't free a detained American pastor. Andrew Brunson has spent the past year-and-a-half in jail on terror and espionage charges. Today, the president tweeted that he should be released immediately.

    Vice President Mike Pence also demanded action at a Washington conference on religious freedom.

  • Mike Pence:

    Pray for Pastor Brunson. While he is out of jail, he is still not free. And to President Erdogan and the Turkish government, I have a message on behalf of the president of the United States of America: Release Pastor Andrew Brunson now, or be prepared to face the consequences.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Brunson was moved from prison to house arrest in Turkey yesterday due to health concerns. A spokesman for Turkey's foreign minister said that his country will never tolerate threats.

    In Greece, officials now say there are serious indications that arson is to blame for a deadly wildfire near its capital. That comes as authorities confirmed three more deaths from Monday's disaster, raising the toll to at least 82 people. Survivors in Mati worked to clear the debris left behind from the inferno. And, in Athens, relatives crowded the morgue to learn the fate of their missing loved ones.

    A man detonated a small homemade explosive device outside the U.S. Embassy in Beijing today, wounding only himself. The blast went off as people were lined up waiting to apply for visas. Police said the suspect was from China's Inner Mongolia region. They have yet to establish a motive. The attack comes amid an ongoing trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

    An experimental Alzheimer's drug is showing promising results in delaying the disease's progression. Results from an early trial found the drug attacked plaque buildup in the brain, and slowed dementia in patients with early-stage Alzheimer's. The U.S. and Japanese-based drugmakers said they plan larger trials in the future.

    And stocks were mixed on Wall Street today. After good news on trade, the Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 113 points to close at 25527. But a plunge in Facebook shares pushed the Nasdaq down 80 points, and also weighed on the S&P 500, which slipped eight.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour," Pakistan's contested vote to decide its next prime minister; the New Jersey attorney general speaks about becoming the target of discrimination; Facebook's financial jolt amid efforts to combat fake news; and much more.

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