In the news wrap Thursday, President Trump pivoted from words of praise to threats of military force against North Korea. The president suggested that if Kim Jong Un does not make a deal, he could meet a fate similar to former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, who was killed in a U.S.-backed rebellion. Also, Gina Haspel was confirmed as CIA director by the Senate in a 54-45 vote.
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President Trump had tough words for China today, as trade talks with a delegation from Beijing got under way. The president said China had been — quote — “spoiled” by lenient U.S. trade policies for too long, and vowed that the U.S. would no longer be — quote — “ripped off.”
We will talk with an expert on U.S.-China relations right after the news summary.
In the day’s other news, President Trump pivoted from words of praise to threats of military force against North Korea. Meeting with the head of NATO at the White House, the president said he hoped that next month’s summit with Kim Jong-un would go forward. Pyongyang has threatened to cancel the meeting if the U.S. insists that it give up its entire nuclear arsenal.
Mr. Trump suggested if Kim doesn’t make a deal, he could meet a fate similar to Libya’s leader Moammar Gadhafi. After giving up his nuclear program in 2003, Gadhafi was deposed and then killed in a rebellion backed by the U.S. in 2011.
President Donald Trump:
If you look at that model with Gadhafi, that was a total decimation. We went in there to beat him. Now, that model would take place in we don’t make a deal most, likely. But if we make a deal, I think Kim Jong-un is going to be very, very happy.
The North has suspended talks with South Korea for continuing military drills with the U.S. North Korea’s head negotiator blasted the South today as — quote — “ignorant and incompetent.”
The CIA has a new director, Gina Haspel. She was confirmed by the Senate today in a 54-45 vote. She faced opposition from Democrats for her role in harsh interrogations of detainees at so-called CIA black sites. But, today, six Democrats voted in her favor. And two Republicans, Rand Paul and Jeff Flake, opposed her. Haspel will be the first woman to lead the CIA.
Today marks one year since special counsel Robert Mueller began investigating ties between President Trump’s associates and the Russian government. In that time, Mueller’s team has indicted 19 people and secured five guilty pleas, some from former high-ranking Trump officials.
The president today used Twitter to rail against Mueller’s probe, repeating his charge that it’s — quote — “the greatest witch-hunt in American history.”
In the Democratic Republic of Congo, an Ebola outbreak has spread from rural areas to a city of over a million people. The country said it had confirmed the first case of the virus in the city of Mbandaka. The world Health Organization has rushed thousands of doses of an experimental vaccine to Congo; 23 people have died there since the outbreak began last week.
Dr. Peter Salama:
Urban Ebola is a very different phenomenon to rural Ebola, because we know that people in urban areas can have far more contacts. So that means that urban Ebola can result in an exponential increase in cases in a way that rural Ebola struggles to do.
Congo’s Health Ministry says that it will start administering the vaccine early next week.
Back in this country, a violent eruption of Hawaii’s Kilauea volcano shook the Big Island today. It’s been spewing ash and blocks of so-called ballistic rocks said to be the size of microwaves. Today, the plume reached 30,000 feet high. Officials warned of dangerous driving conditions, and urged residents to shelter in place.
On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial average lost 55 points to close at 24714. The Nasdaq fell 16 points, and the S&P 500 slipped two points.
Still to come on the “NewsHour,” what’s at stake in the trade talks between the U.S. and China; the American birth rate falls to a 30-year low; Inside Yemen, where war is tearing apart the country’s health care system; and much more.