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News Wrap: White House defends CIA pick Haspel

In our news wrap Monday, President Trump and the White House mounted a defense of Gina Haspel, the nominee for CIA director. Under fire over her role in the torturing of terror suspects, including waterboarding, Haspel reportedly offered to withdraw from consideration. Also, Vladimir Putin took the oath of office to begin his fourth term as Russian president, promising to boost living standards.

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  • Amna Nawaz:

    In the day's other news, President Trump put out the word that he will announce his decision on the Iran nuclear deal tomorrow afternoon. He tweeted the news today, ahead of his self-imposed May 12 deadline. Mr. Trump has threatened to withdraw the U.S. from the agreement, unless it is revised. European allies have urged against that step.

    The president and the White House mounted a defense today of Gina Haspel, the nominee for CIA director. She's under fire over her role in harsh interrogation of terror suspects, including water-boarding.

    White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Haspel is 100 percent committed to the nomination, despite reports that she'd offered to withdraw.

  • Sarah Sanders:

    She wants to do everything she can to make sure the integrity of the CIA remains intact, isn't unnecessarily attacked. And if she felt that her nomination would have been a problem for that and for the agency then she wanted to do everything she could to protect the agency.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    The president tweeted today that Democrats oppose Haspel because she was — quote — "tough too on terrorists."

    Her Senate confirmation hearing is set for Wednesday.

    In Russia today, Vladimir Putin took the oath of office to begin his fourth term as president, promising to boost living standards. The ceremony took place at an ornate Kremlin hall. On stage, Putin placed his hand on Russia's constitution, and swore to serve the people and country. On Sunday, hundreds in Moscow protested the inauguration, chanting, "Putin is not our czar."

    The city of New Orleans swore in a woman as mayor today, for the first time since its founding 300 years ago. LaToya Cantrell rose to prominence as an activist after Hurricane Katrina. She was elected to city council in 2012. After taking her oath of office, Cantrell and supporters strolled out of the Mahalia Jackson Theater in a traditional New Orleans Second Line parade.

    First lady Melania Trump unveiled what will be her signature initiative, the well-being of children. The Be Best campaign will focus on emotional and physical health, social media use and opioid abuse. The first lady made the announcement in the White House Rose Garden, with the president looking on.

  • Melania Trump:

    If we truly listen to what our kids have to say, whether it is be their concerns or ideas, adults can provide them the support and tools they need to grow up to be happy and productive adults who contribute positively to society and their global communities.

  • Amna Nawaz:

    The first lady says one of her concerns is cyber-bullying. The White House today rejected any suggestion that the president's own tweets might legitimize such attacks.

    It's been another unseasonably hot day in Phoenix, Arizona, with a forecast high of 102 degrees. Sunday's heat hit 106 and broke the record for May 6 that had stood for 70 years. Triple-digit heat is expected in Phoenix for the rest of the week.

    And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained 94 points to close at 24357. The Nasdaq rose 55 points. The S&P 500 added nine. and the price of oil closed above $70 a barrel for the first time since November of 2014.

    Still to come on the "NewsHour," an Israeli security firm tries to dig up dirt about Obama officials who negotiated the Iran deal; efforts to bring together ethnic factions in the Balkans suffers some setbacks; the science behind the erupting Hawaiian volcano that's destroyed dozens of homes; and much more.

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