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News Wrap: White House ‘must do better’ on security clearance process, says John Kelly

In our news wrap Friday, White House chief of staff John Kelly ordered an overhaul of the security clearance process. Kelly has come under fire after reports that Rob Porter maintained interim clearance despite abuse allegations by his two ex-wives. Also, the blame game raged today over the Senate’s failure to advance an immigration bill.

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  • Judy Woodruff:

    And in the day's other news, White House Chief of Staff John Kelly has ordered an overhaul in the personnel security clearance process.

    He has taken a barrage of criticism over disclosures that former aide Rob Porter had access to classified material, despite allegations of domestic abuse against him and a failure to gain security clearance approval. The Washington Post reports that Kelly sent a five-page memo to top aides today, saying that the White House must do better.

    The blame game raged today over the Senate's failure to advance an immigration bill. President Trump started on the issue of young people who had been protected from deportation under DACA, a program he wants to end.

    In a morning tweet, the president said — quote — "Cannot believe how badly DACA recipients have been treated by the Democrats."

    Democratic senator Dick Durbin of Illinois shot back, saying: "Give me a break. You killed DACA."

    Former Republican Party presidential nominee Mitt Romney announced today that he is attempting a political comeback. The 70-year-old Romney said that he will run for a U.S. Senate seat in Utah in this year's midterm elections.

    He took Washington to task in an online video.

  • Mitt Romney:

    Utah welcomes legal immigrants from around the world. Washington sends immigrants a message of exclusion. And on Utah's Capitol Hill, people treat one another with respect. I have decided to run for the United States Senate because I believe I can help bring Utah's values and Utah's lessons to Washington.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Romney is also a former governor of Massachusetts and an organizer of the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He is running for the seat now held by Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, who is retiring.

    There is new fallout from a travel scandal involving Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin. It's widely reported that his chief of staff is retiring. The VA's inspector general accused her of altering documents so that Shulkin's wife could join him on a trip to Europe. Shulkin has said that he will repay her airfare.

    The U.S. and Turkey agreed today to work on mending relations, after recent tensions over the Syria conflict. Turkey has demanded that the U.S. drop its support for Kurdish fighters inside Syria.

    Today, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson met with his Turkish counterpart in Ankara, and insisted that the NATO allies share the same goals.

  • Rex Tillerson:

    There is no daylight between Turkey and the U.S. objectives, defeat ISIS, stabilize the country, create stabilization areas, so eventually the refugees and internally displaced persons can begin to return home, and support the political solution for Syria that will result in a whole, independent, democratic Syria.

  • Judy Woodruff:

    Turkey has lately attacked Kurdish fighters inside Northwest Syria, arguing that they are linked to Kurdish rebels inside Turkey.

    Hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico is facing a new setback to its recovery. The Federal Control Board for the U.S. territory asked today for an emergency $300 million loan. Otherwise, it warned that the island will have to cut electrical power after Tuesday. Some 400,000 customers still haven't gotten their electricity back since Hurricane Maria hit last September.

    On Wall Street, stocks have now regained more than half the losses they suffered earlier this month. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 19 points to close at 25219. The Nasdaq fell nearly 17 points, but the S&P 500 added a point.

    And this was day seven at the Winter Olympics in South Korea, but it wasn't a good one for some big-name American athletes. Skier Mikaela Shiffrin failed to medal in her signature event, the women's slalom. She won it four years ago.

    And U.S. champion figure skater Nathan Chen had a rocky short program. He fell on all of his jumps and barely qualified for the free skate.

    And, finally, millions around the world marked the lunar new year today. Celebrations across Asia featured parades, festivals and feasts, all of it to officially welcome the Year of the Dog.

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