In our Thursday news wrap, conservative commentator Stephen Moore withdrew as a potential nominee to the Federal Reserve Board after losing support from Senate Republicans over past writings disparaging women. Meanwhile, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro declared that he retains the military’s loyalty after commanders ignored opposition calls to revolt this week.
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A fight over Attorney General William Barr is heating up tonight. He boycotted a House Judiciary hearing today on the Russia report, in a dispute over the questioning.
Majority Democrats left a prop chicken in the witness chair. And they threatened to hold Barr in contempt. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi cited Barr's previous denial that he knew his summary of the report had bothered the special counsel's team.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif:
The attorney general of the United States is not telling the truth to the United States Congress of the United States. That's a crime. If anybody else did that, it would be considered a crime. Nobody is above the law, not the president of the United States, and not the attorney general.
In turn, the Department of Justice called Pelosi's allegation reckless, irresponsible, and false.
We will get into the details of all of this after the news summary.
Conservative commentator Stephen Moore withdrew today as a potential nominee to the Federal Reserve Board. President Trump announced it in a tweet. A short time earlier, Moore had told Bloomberg News that the president was — quote — "full speed ahead" with the nomination. Moore had lost Republican support in the Senate over past writings disparaging women.
The Senate today upheld President Trump's veto of a measure to end the U.S. military role in Yemen's civil war. The legislation would have halted logistical and intelligence assistance for a Saudi-led coalition. That force is fighting rebels aligned with Iran.
In Venezuela meanwhile, President Nicolas Maduro declared today that he has the military's loyalty, and he urged soldiers to stop those he called traitors. The country's military school hosted an early-morning ceremony for Maduro after commanders had ignored opposition calls to revolt this week.
Nicolas Maduro (through translator):
The troops were not afraid to say no to the traitors, no to the participants of an attempted coup. What path were the coup plotters attempting? A civil war. That is the alternative they propose to Venezuela, to assault the political power. That cannot be the path, military brothers.
Meanwhile, in Washington, President Trump accused Maduro of brutal repression and reiterated his support for the opposition led by Juan Guaido.
A huge crowd, perhaps hundreds of thousands, protested in Sudan today, demanding that the military hand over power to civilians. Marchers waved flags and chanted in Khartoum, adding to the pressure on military leaders. Their negotiations with civilian opposition figures have deadlocked. Sudan's armed forces ousted President Omar al-Bashir last month.
Israel briefly came to a standstill today for Holocaust Remembrance Day, mourning the six million Jews killed in the Nazi genocide. Nationwide, pedestrians stood silent and cars pulled over on major highways, as sirens blared for two minutes. Later, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu led a ceremony at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial.
Officials in Eastern India raced today to evacuate more than one million people as a tropical cyclone headed toward the coast. The storm swept across the Bay of Bengal, and is expected to make landfall Friday, with sustained winds of 124 miles an hour. Conditions onshore were worsening by the hour, with thousands of local people and tourists taking buses, trucks and trains to get out of harm's way.
Laxmi (through translator):
We are evacuating because of the cyclone. We were going to stay until Saturday, but now we are leaving. I came here with children, so it was a bit problematic. Now we are going.
Forecasters warn this could be the worst storm to strike Eastern India in 20 years, when a cyclone killed some 10,000 people.
Back in this country, the U.S. Interior Department is moving to relax oil drilling rules put in place after the worst offshore spill in U.S. history. They took effect after BP's Deepwater Horizon rig exploded in 2010. It killed 11 people, and spewed more than three million barrels of crude into the Gulf of Mexico.
The Trump administration says it wants to ease regulatory burdens. Environmental groups fiercely oppose the changes.
The administration has also issued a rule to protect health care workers if they refuse to provide abortions and other services on religious grounds. The Department of Health and Human Services says it reaffirms existing conscience protection laws. Most of those laws address procedures such as abortion, sterilization and assisted suicide.
The mayor of Baltimore, Catherine Pugh, resigned today amid investigations into sales of her children's books. At issue is whether the sales disguised kickbacks from companies doing business with the city. Pugh had been on leave for a month, citing ill health. Her lawyer read her resignation statement.
"I am sorry for the harm that I have caused to the image of the city of Baltimore and the credibility of the office of the mayor. Baltimore deserves a mayor who can move our great city forward."
The city's acting mayor will succeed Pugh.
Colorado Senator Michael Bennet announced today he is joining the crowded 2020 Democratic presidential field. The two-term senator is 54. He becomes the 21st Democrat in the race. He delayed his announcement while he was treated for prostate cancer.
Facebook today banned Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, far-right firebrand Alex Jones and several others deemed extremists. Their accounts are permanently barred from Facebook's main service and Instagram. The company says they violated its policy against promoting dangerous individuals and organizations.
And on Wall Street today, oil prices sagged, and helped push the broader market lower. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 122 points to close at 26307. The Nasdaq fell 12 points, and the S&P 500 slipped six.
And the World Video Game Hall of Fame has welcomed four new inductees. They include "Mortal Kombat," the arcade fighting game that triggered congressional hearings over its violence back in 1993. Also inducted today, "Super Mario Kart," "Colossal Cave Adventure," and "Microsoft Solitaire." The museum is in Rochester, New York, for those of you who want to visit.
Still to come on the "NewsHour": Attorney General William Barr refuses to testify to the House Judiciary Committee; a rise in the number of reported sexual assault cases in the U.S. military; Making Sense of how the ride-sharing service Uber uses data from its app; and much more.