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News Wrap: Trump aide John McEntee ousted from White House

In our news wrap Tuesday, President Trump’s personal aide John McEntee was reportedly escorted off the White House grounds on Monday for security reasons. The Trump 2020 re-election campaign announced McEntee will now work as a senior adviser. Also, the president flew to California today to inspect prototypes for a wall along the Mexican border.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    In the day’s other news, another departure from the White House staff, and this one from the White House, and that is, news accounts say the president’s personal aide, John McEntee, was escorted off the White House grounds on Monday for security reasons. He will now work as a senior adviser for the Trump 2020 reelection campaign. He joined the first Trump campaign in 2015.

    The president is in California tonight, in his first official visit to the state since taking office. He checked out eight possible border wall prototypes erected outside San Diego today, and made his case for why they’re needed.

  • President Donald Trump:

    It’ll save thousands and thousands of lives, save taxpayers hundreds of billions of dollars by reducing crime, drug flow, welfare fraud and burdens on schools and hospitals.

    The wall will save hundreds of billions of dollars, many, many times what it’s going to cost.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The president again criticized California’s sanctuary city policy that protects undocumented immigrants.

    A federal immigration spokesman in California says he’s resigned over misleading statements by the Trump administration. James Schwab cites claims that 800 immigrants escaped arrest when the mayor of Oakland warned of raids. Schwab says agents were never going to find that many people.

    In an interview with The San Francisco Chronicle, he says, “I told them that the information was wrong. They asked me to deflect, and I didn’t agree with that.”

    President Trump today hailed a report from Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee that found no collusion between his campaign and Russia. He called it — quote — “a powerful decision that left no doubt.”

    Democrats said Republicans cut the probe short to protect Mr. Trump.

    We are going to be hearing from a top Democrat later in the program.

    The clock ticked down tonight on a British ultimatum to Russia. Prime Minister Theresa May is demanding answers on how a former Russian spy was poisoned in Southern England.

    Paul McNamara of Independent Television News reports.

  • Paul McNamara:

    Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia remain in critical but stable condition, victims of an attack with a Russian nerve agent, Novichok. The U.K.’s midnight deadline for an explanation of how that Novichok came to be used here tonight looking unlikely to be met my Russia, who say they won’t cooperate unless they get access to the substance.

  • Sergei Lavrov:

    (Through interpreter) The country being questioned has the right to access the substance in question to carry out its own analysis. This is what we asked for as soon as the rumors first started being spread by practically every member of the British government.

  • Paul McNamara:

    With Russia denying any involvement in this attempted double murder, all eyes tomorrow will be on Theresa May’s response. Her options include expelling diplomats, visa restrictions, freezing financial assets, and even boycotting the World Cup.

    But here in Salisbury, the massive police investigation into this attack continues apace. Officers issuing an appeal today for anyone who saw the Skripals in their red BMW before it ended up in this supermarket car park.

    Still, though, no detail about how precisely they came to fall ill later that Sunday afternoon.

  • Neil Basu:

     We’re of course getting many questions regarding how and where the nerve agent was actually administered. I can’t comment on that at this time.

  • Paul McNamara:

    Police also said they so far have no suspects or persons of interest. But there is a nation of interest, of course, Russia.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    That report from Paul McNamara of Independent Television News.

    Also today, police investigated the unexplained death of a Russian businessman at his London home. Nikolai Glushkov once worked for Boris Berezovsky. He’s a Kremlin critic who died in London in 2013.

    In China, the National Congress moved today to give the Communist Party sweeping new controls over the government and economy. The rubber-stamp legislature is creating an anti-corruption agency that answers to the party and operates outside the courts. It’s also establishing a veterans affairs ministry and an agency to regulate banking and insurance. Lawmakers already agreed to let President Xi Jinping rule indefinitely.

    This reorganization will greatly extend his power.

    U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis has made a surprise visit to Afghanistan. During a flight to Kabul today, he said he’s still holding out hope for a victory in Afghanistan, but not on the battlefield.

  • James Mattis:

    It’s all working to achieve a reconciliation, a political reconciliation, not a military victory. There is interest that we have picked up from the Taliban side, even going before the Kabul conference.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Later, Mattis met with Afghanistan’s President Ashraf Ghani, who’s invited the Taliban to join negotiations. The secretary also spoke to U.S. troops.

    The U.S. military does little to protect children from being sexually assaulted by other children on military bases. The Associated Press is reporting finding nearly 600 such incidents since 2007, but it says the Pentagon doesn’t analyze the cases. The children are not covered by military law, and the Association Press says that federal prosecutors pursued only about one in seven of these cases in civilian courts.

    Blizzard conditions battered New England today in the region’s third late-winter storm in less than two weeks. The nor’easter was dumping up to two feet of snow in some places, and snowplows were out in force. Waves driven by winds of 70 miles an hour pounded the Massachusetts coastline. The storm also knocked out power to thousands, it canceled 1,500 flights, and halted Amtrak service between Boston and New York.

    In economic news, shares of U.S. chipmaker Qualcomm slumped 5 percent, after President Trump blocked a takeover by Broadcom, which is based in Singapore. He cited national security concerns. Overall, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 171 points to close at 25007. The Nasdaq fell 77 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 17.

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