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News Wrap: Trump defends rally supporters, doubles down on Omar attacks

In our news wrap Friday, President Trump defended supporters at his North Carolina rally who chanted “Send her back!” about Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., an American citizen who was born in Somalia whom he attacked on Twitter earlier this week. Also, three white supremacists were sentenced to prison for attacking counter-protesters at a 2017 white supremacist rally in Virginia.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    Tensions in the Persian Gulf have escalated sharply today, with reports of Iran seizing two oil tankers. Britain says one was British-flagged. The other was a Liberian-flagged ship, operated by a British concern.

    The vessels were stopped in the Strait of Hormuz and diverted to Iranian waters. Tehran confirmed the first seizure, but denied the second. Earlier, Iranian officials also denied that the U.S. warship Boxer destroyed an Iranian drone yesterday.

    We will hear from Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, right after the news summary.

    President Trump is now defending his supporters who targeted Democratic Congresswoman Ilhan Omar this week. They chanted "Send her back" at a Trump campaign rally in North Carolina. Omar came to the U.S. from Somalia as a child, and is now a U.S. citizen.

    Yesterday, Mr. Trump sad he wasn't happy with the chants. Today, at an Apollo 11 anniversary event in the Oval Office, he went after Omar again, and rejected criticism of the crowd.

  • President Donald Trump:

    Those are incredible people. Those are incredible patriots. But I'm unhappy when a congresswoman goes and says, I'm going to be the president's nightmare. She's going to be the president's nightmare.

    She's lucky to be where she is, let me tell you. And the things that she has said are a disgrace to our country.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Yesterday, Omar said she believes the president is a fascist and that the confrontation has become a fight over — quote — "what this country truly should be."

    Three more white supremacists were sentenced today for attacking counterprotesters at a 2017 rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. The sentences ran from two to three years. The men pleaded guilty to riot charges for punching and choking their opponents. All were members of the Rise Above movement. It's a group known for training in martial arts and inciting violence at rallies in California.

    In Chicago, a police oversight board has fired four officers in connection with the murder of a black teenager, Laquan McDonald. The board found they made or approved false statements about the killing. A white officer, Jason Van Dyke, shot the 17-year-old McDonald 16 times in 2014. Van Dyke was convicted of second-degree murder and is now in prison.

    The U.S. Justice Department today announced the early release of more than 3,000 federal prisoners. It is part of a new criminal justice law that eases mandatory sentences imposed for drug crimes and other offenses.

  • Toni Bacon:

    In terms of the range of people who have been released, the largest number are drug offenders, the second group are weapons and explosives, and the third are sex offenders. But there's a very wide range of people who are being released.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    There are currently 180,000 inmates in the federal prison system.

    A heat wave spread misery across more of the country today, pushing temperatures to near 100 degrees in Washington, New York, and other cities. The blanket of heat and humidity now extends from Kansas to the East Coast, and forecasters say temperatures will climb even higher over the weekend.

    We will look at what's driving this warm-up later in the program.

    In Germany, thousands of young people protested in Berlin, demanding action to stop Earth's climate from overheating; 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg spoke to the crowd, and urged older generations to take responsibility.

  • Greta Thunberg:

    We young people are not the ones who are going to save the world. There is simply not enough time to wait for us to grow up and become the ones in charge, because this needs to happen now. It has gone so far that young people feel like they must sacrifice their own education in order to protest against the destruction of their future.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Separately, Germany's Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her government's efforts and pledged decisive action. Germany aims by 2030 to cut greenhouse gas emissions 55 percent from 1990 levels.

    Back in this country, President Trump says that he will nominate corporate lawyer Eugene Scalia to be U.S. secretary of labor. He is the son of the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. Today was Alexander Acosta's last day as labor secretary. He resigned over a plea deal he once arranged with Jeffrey Epstein on allegations of sexually abusing teenage girls.

    And Wall Street finished the week on a down note. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 68 points to close at 27154. The Nasdaq fell 60 points and the S&P 500 slipped 18.

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