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News Wrap: Trump defends Jackson after VA withdrawal

In our news wrap Thursday, White House physician Navy Vice Admiral Ronny Jackson withdrew as a nominee to be the next secretary of veterans affairs. He denied that he over-prescribed drugs or crashed a vehicle when he was drunk. Also, outgoing CIA director Mike Pompeo won Senate confirmation to be secretary of state. After a quick swearing in, he headed to Brussels for a NATO meeting.

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  • John Yang:

    In the day's other news, the White House physician, Navy Vice Admiral Ronny Jackson, withdrew as nominee to be secretary for veterans affairs. He denied that he over- prescribed drugs or crashed a vehicle when he was drunk, but he said the accusations had become a distraction. As he marked "take our daughters and sons to work day" in the Rose Garden, President Trump defended Jackson.

    (BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

  • President Donald Trump:

    He's a great man, and he got treated very, very unfairly. He got treated really unfairly. He's a hell of a man.

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

  • John Yang:

    The president blamed Montana Senator Jon Tester, the ranking Democrat on the Veterans Affairs Committee. He'd publicly detailed the allegations against Jackson. Tester is up for re-election, and the president warned that he has a big price to pay.

    The embattled head of the Environmental Protection Agency today rejected questions about his ethics, calling them half- truths and twisted claims. At a pair of House hearings, Scott Pruitt said critics of his security spending, condo lease and luxury travel are just trying to undermine the Trump agenda. We'll have a full report, later in the program.

    Outgoing CIA Director Mike Pompeo won Senate confirmation today to be secretary of state. The 57 to 42 vote was largely along party lines, with six Democrats and independent Angus King joining all the Republicans voting. After a quick swearing-in, he headed to Brussels, for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers, and then on to the Middle East. Pompeo succeeds Rex Tillerson, who was fired by President Trump last month.

    President Trump will travel to Britain in July, and meet with Prime Minister Theresa May. The White House said it will be a working visit. There've been concerns that a full-blown state visit would draw huge protests. Mr. Trump cancelled a trip to London earlier this year.

    A so-called caravan of asylum-seeking Central Americans has arrived at the U.S.-Mexican border. Nearly 200 people, mostly women and children, are now waiting in shelters in Tijuana, with more expected in the annual mass migration. At a House hearing today, Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen warned against any illegal entry.

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  • Kirstjen Nielsen:

    Participating in a caravan does not give you any additional legal rights. If you illegally enter our country, you will be referred for prosecution. If you file a false asylum claim, you will be referred for prosecution. If you aid and abet or coach someone on how to break our laws, you also will be referred for prosecution.

    (END VIDEO CLIP)

  • John Yang:

    Some of the migrants say they plan to try to enter the United States on Sunday, at the border crossing at San Diego.

    Another group of immigrants in the United States has lost temporary protected status. Today, the Trump administration terminated protections for some 9,000 Nepalese. They've been allowed to stay in the U.S. since a 2015 earthquake devastated their country. Now, they have one year to leave.

    Similar protections have already ended for thousands of Nicaraguans, Sudanese, Haitians and Salvadorans.

    Tens of thousands of teachers in Arizona staged a statewide strike today, for better pay and education funding. In Phoenix, teachers and supporters lined street corners, then marched to the state capitol. The scene was similar in Denver, where teachers rallied on the steps of the Colorado Capitol, in the first of a two-day protest.

    And the U.S. Senate Ethics Committee today severely admonished New Jersey Democrat Senator Bob Menendez. The panel said he violated federal law and Senate rules by taking gifts from a Florida doctor, failing to report them, and using his Senate office to assist the doctor's interests. Menendez's federal corruption trial last year ended in a mistrial, and the charges were later dropped.

    In Boston, they're changing the name of Yawkey Way, outside Fenway Park, because it honors a man accused of being racist. Tom Yawkey owned the Boston Red Sox for more than 40 years. But his club was the last in the major leagues to field a black player. Today, the city's public improvement commission voted to return Yawkey Way to its original name, Jersey Street.

    And on Wall Street, the market mostly advanced as tech stocks rallied and interest rates eased. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 238 points to close at 24,322. The Nasdaq rose 115 points, and the S&P 500 added 27.

    Still to come on the NEWSHOUR: lawmakers grill embattled EPA Chief Scott Pruitt, what to expect ahead of the historic summit between North and South Korea, and much more.

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