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News Wrap: Trump lawyer for Russia probe John Dowd resigns

In our news wrap Thursday, President Trump's lead lawyer in handling the Russia investigation has resigned. John Dowd gave no reason, but said in a statement, "I love the president, and wish him well." Also, there's word that special counsel Robert Mueller is also examining the Trump campaign's data operations, including connections to Cambridge Analytica, according to the Associated Press.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And William will be back with a deeper dive on all of this right after the news summary.

    Worries about a trade war sent Wall Street into a deep dive of its own. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged 724 points, almost 3 percent, to close below 23960. The Nasdaq fell 178 points, and the S&P 500 slumped 68.

    A massive spending bill to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year cleared the House of Representatives today. It totals $1.3 trillion and runs more than 2,200 pages. Leaders in both parties acknowledged it’s far from perfect, but defended it as a good compromise.

  • Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis.:

    It funds our war on opioids. It invests in infrastructure. It funds school safety and mental health. But what this bill is ultimately about, what we have fought for, for so long, is finally giving our military the tools and the resources it needs to do the job.

  • Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y.:

    This is a bill that puts the middle class and those struggling to get there first. For nearly a decade, our middle class has suffered from a needless and self-imposed austerity, limiting investments in jobs and education, infrastructure, scientific research and more.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The Senate now has 24 hours to act to avoid another federal government shutdown. We will look at the spending bill, and its politics later in the program.

    President Trump’s lead lawyer in handling the Russia investigation has resigned. John Dowd gave no reason, but said in a statement today — quote — “I love the president, and wish him well.”

    The New York Times reported that Mr. Trump was increasingly ignoring Dowd’s legal advice.

    Meanwhile, the House Intelligence Committee voted to make public Republican findings that there was no collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

    There’s word that the special counsel leading the Russia probe, Robert Mueller, is also examining the Trump campaign’s data operations. The Associated Press reports that that includes connections to the British firm Cambridge Analytica. A whistle-blower claims the firm stole personal data on 50 million Facebook users, and used it for political clients, including the Trump campaign.

    Outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson bid farewell to his staff today. Tillerson was fired by President Trump last week, who announced it with a tweet.

    Today, Tillerson didn’t mention the president at all as he told State Department employees that their work has never been more essential, and he urged them to respect each other.

  • Rex Tillerson:

    I would like to ask that you undertake to ensure one act of kindness each day towards another person. This can be a very mean-spirited town.

    (APPLAUSE)

  • Rex Tillerson:

    But you don’t have to choose to participate in that.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    The president’s nominee to succeed Tillerson, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, is set to have his Senate confirmation hearing next month.

    Investigators in Austin, Texas, are still trying to learn what drove a string of bombings left two people dead this month. The 23-year-old suspect died in an explosion he set off himself early yesterday as SWAT teams moved in.

    Later, police said they have found a 25-minute-long confession on his cell phone. It describes the bombs, but says nothing about a motive.

    The Northeastern United States started digging out today from its fourth major storm in three weeks. The storm dumped heavy snow, especially in Pennsylvania and New York. It knocked out power to thousands and disrupted air travel.

    Meanwhile, heavy rain pounded Southern and Central California today. Serious flooding was reported in the Fresno area.

    Worldwide carbon emissions hit a record high last year. The International Energy Agency, based in Paris, says that the increase came as global energy demand jumped sharply. But the United States recorded the largest decline in emissions, largely due to a surge in the use of renewable power.

    And President Trump traded fresh insults today with former Vice President Joe Biden over which one would win a fist-fight. On Tuesday, Mr. Biden cited Mr. Trump’s bragging back in 2005 about molesting women. He said — quote — “If we were in high school, I’d take him behind the gym and beat the hell out of him.”

    Mr. Trump shot back this morning in a tweet that said — quote — “He doesn’t know me, but he would down fast and hard, crying all the way.”

    The president is 71. Former Vice President Biden is 75.

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