In our Thursday news wrap, President Trump defended his oldest son, Donald Trump Jr., after reports he was subpoenaed by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which wants to question him about a meeting with a Russian lawyer in 2016. The president said his son had already been “exonerated.” Also, North Korea has reportedly fired short-range missiles for the second time in five days.
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President Trump defended his eldest son today, after reports that Donald Trump Jr. has been subpoenaed by the U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee. Senators want to ask him about a meeting with a Russian lawyer in 2016.
Special counsel Robert Mueller's report cited contradictions in Trump Jr.'s statements, but didn't bring charges. The president spoke today at a White House event.
President Donald Trump:
Frankly, for my son, after being exonerated, to now get a subpoena to go again and speak again, after close to 20 hours of telling everybody that would listen about a nothing meeting, yes, I'm pretty surprised.
The president also said that he will let Attorney General William Barr decide whether Mueller should testify before Congress. The White House already invoked executive privilege, blocking the release of Mueller's entire report.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi reacted to that today, blasting Mr. Trump for rejecting congressional oversight.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.:
The president is almost self-impeaching, because he is every day demonstrating more obstruction of justice and disrespect for Congress' legitimate role to subpoena.
We will talk with the chair of the House Judiciary Committee, Congressman Jerry Nadler, later in the program.
President Trump plans to nominate Patrick Shanahan to be U.S. secretary of defense. The White House announced it today. Shanahan became acting secretary in January, after James Mattis quit over Mr. Trump's call to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria.
The president said today that he is not happy with North Korea after it fired short-range missiles for the second time in five days. South Korea says that two weapons were launched today near Kusong, north of Pyongyang. They flew as far as 270 missiles out to sea.
Meanwhile, the U.S. formally seized a North Korean cargo ship that has been detained in Indonesia for a year. It allegedly was used to violate sanctions.
European Union leaders are urging Iran to adhere to its 2015 nuclear deal. But the E.U. said today that it will continue trading with Iran, despite U.S. sanctions. Tehran has threatened to abandon key parts of the agreement, unless the E.U. helps to for the sanctions. The U.S. withdrew from the nuclear deal last year.
Pope Francis today mandated that priests and nuns report sexual abuse and cover-ups to church authorities. The new law also includes procedures making it easier to investigate bishops. A senior Vatican prosecutor said that it shows no one is above the law, including bishops.
Experience shows us that either a closed-shop mentality or a misplaced interest in protecting the institution was hindering disclosure. I think the law is very important, because it makes disclosure as the main policy of the church.
Some abuse victims called the law a step forward. Others complained that it doesn't require reporting abuse to police.
Back in this country, lawmakers in Alabama delayed voting on a bill that bans abortions at any stage of pregnancy. That would have made it the toughest in the nation. Democrats and at least one Republican shouted objections when other Republicans stripped out exceptions for rape and incest. Debate resumes next week.
Federal prosecutors in San Diego have filed 109 hate crimes charges in last month's synagogue attack; 19-year-old John Earnest already faced state charges of murder and attempted murder. He allegedly killed one person and tried to kill dozens. The federal counts could carry the death penalty.
U.S.-China trade talks resumed this evening in Washington, hours before the Trump administration says that it will impose higher tariffs. They go to 25 percent on Friday, affecting $200 billion in imported goods from China.
The tensions with China kept Wall Street off balance. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 139 points to close at 25828. The Nasdaq fell 32 points, and the S&P 500 slipped eight.