In our news wrap Wednesday, CNBC TV commentator Larry Kudlow will replace Gary Cohn as President Trump’s new chief economic advisor. Cohn resigned last week after opposing the president’s steel and aluminum tariffs. Also, Iran criticized Mike Pompeo, President Trump's nominee to replace outgoing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was fired on Tuesday.
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In the day’s other news: Democrats appear close to taking up a closely watched congressional seat in Western Pennsylvania away from Republicans.
Conor Lamb is about 600 votes ahead of Republican Rick Saccone after Tuesday’s special election, with only provisional and military ballots left to count. The two men addressed supporters last night.
It took a little longer than we thought, but we did it. Our issue in this campaign is common ground. We fought to find common ground, and we found it.
You know we’re still fighting the fight. It’s not over yet. We’re going to fight all the way to the end. You know I never give up.
President Trump carried that district by 20 points in 2016. A Democratic win there could be seen as a harbinger for congressional midterm elections this fall.
There’s a new face in the ongoing shakeup at the White House. Larry Kudlow will be the new chief economic adviser. The CNBC television commentator and conservative economic analyst is a longtime ally of President Trump. Kudlow replaces Gary Cohn, who resigned last week, after opposing the president’s steel and aluminum tariffs.
More fallout today from the firing of Rex Tillerson as the secretary of state. Iran criticized President Trump’s nominee to replace Tillerson, CIA Director Mike Pompeo. A hard-line Tehran newspaper said that his fierce opposition to the Iran nuclear deal ensures its demise.
Meanwhile, a spokesman said that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin believes the change won’t necessarily do much for strained U.S.-Russian ties.
The relationship between our countries can hardly go lower than the floor. So, in this regard, we probably shouldn’t be worried that the relationship will worsen further. But in any case, the hope for constructivism and a sober approach in joint relations remains. This hope will always remain.
Here in Washington, Republican Senator Rand Paul said he will oppose Pompeo over his support for interrogation methods widely viewed as torture. Rand Paul is also opposing Gina Haspel’s nomination for CIA director for the same reasons.
In Germany, Angela Merkel was sworn in to her fourth term as chancellor, ending six months of uncertainty in the wake of September’s elections. She took the oath of office after her selection by the German Parliament. It followed hard bargaining to renew her governing coalition.
Back in this country, the U.S. Senate moved this evening to roll back parts of a landmark law regulating banks. The Dodd-Frank Act was passed after the financial meltdown of 2008. The changes would relax regulations on smaller lenders. The toughest rules would apply to only the biggest banks. The bill still has to pass the House.
The Northeastern U.S. spent today recovering from its latest late-winter storm. Tuesday’s nor’easter was the third major storm in two weeks. Some towns got as much as two more feet of snow, and thousands lost power, again. In Boston, the mayor warned that all the snow may force cancellation of Sunday’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
Ford Motor Company says that it’s recalling nearly 1.4 million mid-size cars because the steering wheels can come off. The announcement follows a five-month investigation by federal regulators. The company says the steering wheel bolts can come loose over time. The affected vehicles are Ford Fusion and Lincoln MKZ models from 2014 to 2018.
The founder of the blood-testing start-up company Theranos will settle federal charges that she oversaw a major scam. Elizabeth Holmes is formally giving up control of the company. She will be fined $500,000 and surrender nearly 19 million shares of stock. Theranos claimed a revolutionary means of blood testing, but the Securities and Exchange Commission now says it was a massive fraud.
On Wall Street today, worries about tariffs and trade tensions with Europe and China undermined the market. The Dow Jones industrial average lost nearly 249 points to close at 24758. The Nasdaq fell 14 points, and the S&P 500 slipped 15.
And two passings of note.
Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking died today after battling the muscle-wasting disease ALS for more than 50 years. He was 76 years old. We will look at his life later in the program.
And the famed pediatrician Dr. T. Berry Brazelton died Tuesday. His parenting books had counseled generations of new parents. Berry Brazelton was 99.