In our Friday news wrap, Somali forces battled al-Shabab militants in Mogadishu, killing the attackers to end a siege that left 29 civilians dead. Also, Otto Warmbier's parents rebuked President Trump for not holding North Korean leader Kim Jong Un responsible in their son's death. Otto Warmbier was detained in North Korea in 2016 and died after returning to the U.S. in a coma the following year.
President Trump is facing new criticism today amid revelations he demanded his former Chief of Staff John Kelly give his son-in-law, Jared Kushner, a top-secret security clearance. It was first reported by The New York Times. Mr. Trump has previously insisted he played no role.
Top House Democrats have vowed to continue investigating the White House security clearance process. We will take a closer look at what is at stake after the news summary.
The parents of Otto Warmbier rebuked President Trump today for not holding North Korea's leader, Kim Jong-un, responsible for their son's death. The detained student returned to the U.S. in a coma before passing away in 2017. This week, President Trump said he took Kim — quote — "at his word" for not knowing about Warmbier's mistreatment.
Today, Fred and Cindy Warmbier issued a statement, saying — quote — "Kim and his evil regime are responsible for the death of our son Otto. No excuses or lavish praise can change that."
Later, President Trump tweeted — quote — "Of course I hold North Korea responsible."
Pakistan released a captured Indian pilot today. The move was billed as a peace gesture, after tensions flared between the two countries over the disputed Kashmir region. Armed escorts walked the pilot across the Pakistani border back into India before he was whisked away for a medical examination. Crowds of people celebrated his return.
The U.S. Treasury Department has announced a new round of sanctions against the Maduro regime in Venezuela. They target six top members of the Venezuelan security forces responsible for blocking humanitarian aid deliveries. The U.S. recognizes opposition leader Juan Guaido as Venezuela's rightful president.
At the State Department, U.S. special envoy Elliott Abrams responded to concerns that Guaido's support might be fading.
I'm not concerned about loss of momentum that some people allege. What underlies all of this is not anything the United States is doing. What underlies it is the desire of the Venezuelan people to escape from the condition of dictatorship and economic misery they are suffering, and that has not diminished.
During a visit to Paraguay today, Guaido announced that 600 members of the Venezuelan military have now abandoned Maduro's government.
The U.S. Department of State is offering a $1 million bounty for information leading to the capture of Osama bin Laden's son Hamza. He is believed to be the new leader of al-Qaida. Hamza bin Laden has threatened attacks against the U.S. and its allies in retaliation for his father's death in 2011. The government of Saudi Arabia has also announced that it has stripped bin Laden's citizenship.
A deadly siege by Al-Shabaab militants in Somalia's capital has ended with all of the attackers killed; 29 civilians also died. Somali forces battled the extremists overnight to dislodge them from a building in Mogadishu, after the militants bombed a nearby hotel. Meanwhile, the U.S. military announced its latest airstrike on Central Somalia killed 26 Al-Shabaab fighters.
Washington State Governor Jay Inslee announced today he is running for president, joining a growing Democratic field. The former congressman led the Democratic Governors Association in 2018, when the party flipped seven gubernatorial seats. Inslee told supporters in Seattle that combating climate change will be the centerpiece of his campaign.
Gov. Jay Inslee D-Wash.:
Because I believe in our ability to rise to any challenge. This, we know. We are the first generation to feel the sting of climate change, and we are the last generation who can do something about it.
Inslee is the 13th Democrat to launch a presidential bid.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today pledged to defend Philippine forces should they come under attack in the South China Sea. It was the first such public assurance from the U.S. Pompeo met with President Rodrigo Duterte in Manila, and reaffirmed the allies' 1951 mutual defense code. Tensions are high in the international waters, which China claims as its territory. The U.S. insists that it has freedom of navigation.
The Canadian government today formally gave the green light to start extradition hearings for Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou. Meng faces fraud charges in the U.S. She was arrested in Vancouver in December. The Chinese telecom company is accused of stealing trade secrets and violating U.S. sanctions on Iran. Meng has maintained her innocence.
And stocks closed higher on Wall Street today, amid optimism that the U.S. could reach a trade deal with China. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 110 points to close at 26026. The Nasdaq rose nearly 63 points, and the S&P 500 added 19.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": reports that President Trump rejected concerns from intelligence officials and his own legal counsel to grant his son-in-law top-secret security clearance; an alarming look at the future of climate change in a new book, "The Uninhabitable Earth"; Mark Shields and David Brooks examine Michael Cohen's testimony the failed nuclear summit; and much more.
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