In the our news wrap Thursday, the president of China called for restraint over how to handle North Korea's test of an intercontinental ballistic missile. Meanwhile, Russia reportedly blocked the U.N. Security Council's approval of a statement strongly condemning the launch. Also, the Trump administration has renewed its offer to cooperate with Russia over the Syria conflict.
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In the day's other news, world powers are jousting over how to handle North Korea's test of an intercontinental ballistic missile. The president of China, Pyongyang's closest ally, called for restraint. In Europe earlier today, President Trump says he still hopes that Beijing can help resolve the North Koreans' tensions, but said the U.S. has a range of options.
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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:
I don't like to talk about what I have planned. But I have some pretty severe things that we are thinking about. That does not mean we are going to do them. I don't draw red lines. It's a shame that they're behaving this way, but they are behaving in a very, very dangerous manner and something will have to be done about it.
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Meanwhile, there's word that it was Russia that blocked the U.N. Security Council's approval of a statement strongly condemning that launch.
The Trump administration has renewed its offer to cooperate with Russia over the Syria conflict. In a statement last night, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said the U.S. is open to coordinating on no fly-zones in Syria.
Later, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the broader American strategy remains the same.
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HEATHER NAUERT, State Department Spokeswoman:
If our two countries can establish stability on the ground, we believe that will lay a foundation for progress on the political settlement of Syria's future. The policy has not changed, some of the words and some of the phrasing may have changed at this point, but overall, it's just one of a series of options that the United States will now consider.
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For his part, Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, asked for more information on the proposal, but said cooperation is, quote, a step in the right direction.
A survey commissioned by the State Department shows diplomats are frustrated and confused by the Trump administration. "The Wall Street Journal" first reported on the document, which was released to State Department employees yesterday. It comes as the president seeks drastic cuts to diplomatic and development funding.
Separately, the State Department is saying the U.S. refugee admissions program won't be suspended until next week. After the Supreme Court upheld part of the Trump administration's travel ban, re-settlement agencies were told to schedule refugee arrivals only through today. But it's been announced that they can now continue until July 12th, when refugee admissions are expected to hit their cap of 50,000.
The government ethics director who has prodded the Trump administration over conflicts of interest is resigning. Walter Shaub is stepping down months before his term was set to expire. In a statement on Twitter, he said: It has become clear to me that we need improvements to the existing ethics program. This follows the resignation of a top Justice Department official over ethics concerns.
Democratic attorneys general in 18 states and the District of Columbia are suing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, over her delay of rules on for-profit colleges. The lawsuit demands the implementation of the rules created under the Obama administration. They're meant to cancel the student-loan debt of people defrauded by those schools.
The Illinois House of Representatives has voted to over-ride the governor's veto of a budget package. It means that Illinois will have its first annual spending plan since 2015. That is the longest state fiscal crisis since the Great Depression. Lawmakers voted 71 to 42 to approve the $36 billion budget plan, which is funded with a $5 billion income tax increase.
On Wall Street today, stocks had their biggest drop in more than six weeks, amid signs that hiring has slowed. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 158 points to close at 21320. The Nasdaq fell 61 points, and the S&P 500 dropped almost 23.