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News Wrap: Trump ‘not backing down’ on tariffs plan

In our news wrap Monday, President Trump insisted that he is going ahead with plans to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. House Speaker Paul Ryan said through a spokeswoman that he’s “extremely worried” the tariffs could incite a trade war. Also, the president said he may visit Israel in May, when the American embassy is set to be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

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  • William Brangham:

    President Trump is holding firm on his plan to impose new tariffs on steel and aluminum imports. He insisted today he's going ahead, and he warned Canada and Mexico not to expect exemptions, unless they renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.

    The president spoke as he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in the Oval Office.

  • President Donald Trump:

    We're not backing down. We are renegotiating NAFTA, as I said I would. And if we don't make a deal, I will terminate NAFTA. But if I do make a deal which is fair to the workers and to the American people, that would be, I would imagine, one of the points that we will negotiate.

  • William Brangham:

    Meanwhile, House Speaker Paul Ryan said through a spokeswoman today that he's extremely worried the tariffs could incite a trade war. And Republican leaders of the House Ways and Means Committee circulated a letter also opposing the tariffs.

    The visit by Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was his first since President Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Today, Mr. Trump said he may travel to Jerusalem in May. That's when the American Embassy is to be moved from Tel Aviv and reopened.

    The decision has alienated Palestinian leaders, but the president insisted there's still a very good chance for a peace deal.

    A 10-member delegation from South Korea met tonight with the leader of North Korea in Pyongyang. North Korean state TV quoted Kim Jong-un as saying it's his firm will to advance relations and ease military tensions. In Washington, a Pentagon spokesperson said the U.S. is cautiously optimistic about the North-South talks.

    The first humanitarian aid in months entered the besieged suburbs outside of Syria's capital today. Government airstrikes continued on Eastern Ghouta, as a U.N. convoy made its way into the rebel-held area. U.N. officials decried the bombing and shelling and said they needed calm.

  • Ali Al-Za’Tari (through interpreter):

    We were hoping to enter without shelling sounds because there must be respect of the cease-fire, especially that this is a humanitarian convoy. We organized and negotiated 12 to 16 hours to deliver supplies. This convoy, to off-load it, it will take many hours, so we may be out well after nightfall.

  • William Brangham:

    Amid the heavy shelling, the aid convoy had to depart early, after off-loading only part of its supplies. And war monitors reported at least 50 people were killed in the ongoing assault today.

    A U.S. aircraft carrier arrived in Vietnam today, the first such visit since the end of Vietnam War in 1975. The U.S.S. Carl Vinson sailed into the Port of Da Nang carrying 5,000 crew members. The five-day visit is seen as a counter to China's increasing expansion in the South China Sea.

    The most senior Vatican official charged in the Catholic Church's sex abuse scandal appeared in court in Australia today. Australian Cardinal George Pell is a former Vatican finance minister who's been accused of sexually abusing multiple people going back decades. He attended a hearing in Melbourne on whether there's sufficient evidence to go to trial. The hearing could last two weeks. Pell has denied all the allegations.

    Back in this country, the race is on to restore power after hurricane-strength winds blasted the Northeast over the weekend. Nearly 440,000 homes and businesses were still in the dark today. Crews from Virginia to Massachusetts repaired downed lines and cleared debris. They're working against the clock, because another big storm is set to strike midweek.

    And on Wall Street, stocks shook off Friday's fears of a trade war. Major indexes all rose at least 1 percent. The Dow Jones industrial average gained back 336 points to close at 24,874. The Nasdaq rose 72 points, and the S&P 500 added 29.

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