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News Wrap: Trump appears to downplay chance of U.S. strike on Iran

In our news wrap Friday, President Trump appeared to downplay the chance of a military strike on Iran. U.S. and Saudi officials have pointed to Iran as the culprit in last weekend's attacks on Saudi oil facilities, but Trump said Friday that exercising restraint toward Iran “shows strength.” Also, the death toll from a Taliban suicide bombing in southern Afghanistan Thursday nearly doubled, to 39.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    President Trump faces fresh allegations tonight about his dealings with a foreign leader, amid his denials of wrongdoing. He dismissed an intelligence whistle-blower's complaint today as — quote — "just another political hack job."

    But The Wall Street Journal and others reported that he pressed Ukraine's leader to investigate a son of former Vice President Biden over business dealings in Ukraine. We will take a close look after the news summary.

    The president appeared today to play down chances of a military strike on Iran. U.S. and Saudi officials have pointed to Iran as the culprit in last weekend's attacks on oil facilities in Saudi Arabia, but Tehran denies it.

    In the Oval Office today, the president said he doesn't want the tensions to boil into war. Instead, he counseled restraint.

  • President Donald Trump:

    For all of those that say, oh, they should do it, it shows weakness, it shows — actually, in my opinion, it shows strength, because the easiest thing I could do, OK, go ahead, knock out 15 different major things in Iran. I could do that, and all set to go.

    It's all set to go. But I'm not looking to do that, if I can.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The U.S. Treasury Department did impose new sanctions today on Iran's Central Bank. Officials said they are aimed at cutting funding to Iran's military, including the elite Revolutionary Guard.

    By the millions, youthful activists around the world marched today, skipping school to demand that leaders tackle climate change. The so-called global climate strike kicked off across Australian cities, and the scene was repeated elsewhere.

    In Berlin, Germany, activists danced in the streets. And here in Washington, students rallied at the U.S. Capitol.

    It finally stopped raining around Houston overnight, but widespread flooding remained today. Remnants of Tropical Storm Imelda dumped more than 40 inches of rain over three days, and claimed four lives.

    Lisa Desjardins has our report.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    In parts of Southeastern Texas, only the roofs of buildings and cars are above water. Roads have become rivers, with drivers leaving wide wakes as they brave the depths.

    Rescue crews worked overnight through heavy rain to save people in stranded vehicles, all of this just two years since Hurricane Harvey inundated the region with 50 inches of rain.

    Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez said last night the Houston region was better prepared.

  • Ed Gonzalez:

    We had more rescue vehicles deployed all across the county. As we saw some of the areas that were harder-hit, we redeployed them a little bit closer.

  • Lisa Desjardins:

    The downpours finally stopped by daybreak.

    Still, the deluge put major highways underwater in Houston proper, and forced schools to close. In New Caney, about 30 miles northeast of Houston, an R.V. floated sideways today in muddy water, and cars and homes were nearly submerged.

    Along the San Jacinto River, a bridge was closed after rushing water tore barges off their moorings nearby. They crashed into the span, shutting down part of Interstate 10. And, overnight, in Beaumont, guests waded through dirty water in a local hotel.

    The community is taking the slim silver linings it can find. For this man, it was a large fish in what is usually a road. What's left of the storm is now moving northeast, threatening flash floods elsewhere.

    For the "PBS NewsHour," I'm Lisa Desjardins.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Also today, Pacific Hurricane Lorena buffeted Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, near the tip of the Baja California Peninsula. It could bring heavy rain and winds of 75 miles an hour through the night.

    In Afghanistan, the death toll has nearly doubled to 39 in a Taliban bombing at a hospital on Thursday. The suicide blast rocked the capital of Zabul province in the south. The attack destroyed the hospital, and left at least 140 people wounded. Local officials reported that most of the dead were civilians.

    A second confirmed case of polio raised alarms in the Philippines today. Officials declared the country's first outbreak in nearly two decades. They are now launching a mass vaccination campaign. Its goal is to immunize more than five million children under the age of 5.

    Back in this country, the Trump administration signed an agreement for El Salvador to take in migrants seeking asylum in the U.S. Details were sparse, and it was unclear how one of Central America's most violent places could qualify as a refuge.

    But the acting secretary of homeland security, Kevin McAleenan, called it a big step forward.

  • Kevin McAleenan:

    As we work together to target irregular migration flows through the region, that is one potential use of the agreement, that individuals crossing through El Salvador should be able to seek protections there. And we want to enforce the integrity of that process throughout the region.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The U.S. signed a similar agreement with Guatemala last month.

    Walmart, the nation's largest retailer, announced that it will stop selling e-cigarettes once current supplies are gone. That follows a wave of lung illnesses and eight deaths linked to vaping. In a statement, Walmart cited growing regulations and outright bans of vaping products.

    New York City's Mayor Bill de Blasio has announced the end of his 2020 presidential run. De Blasio joined the crowded Democratic race in May, but he struggled to gain traction among better-known progressives. His withdrawal leaves 19 Democrats still in the race.

    And on Wall Street, stocks slumped amid new doubts about U.S.-China trade talks. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 159 points to close at 26935. The Nasdaq fell 65 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 14.

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