News Wrap: Barr decries public criticism of Roger Stone case

News Wrap: Barr decries public criticism of Roger Stone case


JUDY WOODRUFF: U.S. Attorney General William
Barr is publicly upbraiding President Trump tonight over the Roger Stone case. The president this week attacked federal prosecutors
who wanted his longtime adviser to do up to nine years in prison for lying to Congress
and witness tampering. Barr overruled the prosecutors and did recommend a lesser sentence. But in an ABC News interview today, he called
out Mr. Trump’s actions. WILLIAM BARR, U.S. Attorney General: To have
public statements and tweets made about the department, about people in the department,
our men and women here, about cases pending in the department, and about judges before
whom we have cases make it impossible for me to do my job. JUDY WOODRUFF: Barr said the president never
asked him to intervene in the Stone case, and he insisted that — quote — “I’m not
going to be bullied or influenced by anybody.” Also today, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi charged
the president’s actions amount to interfering with justice. REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA): The president is
again trying to manipulate federal law enforcement to serve his political interests. And the
president is what he is. He thinks he’s above the law. He has no respect for the rule. But where are the Republicans to speak out
on this blatant violation? JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, Mr. Trump attacked
his former White House Chief of Staff John Kelly today, saying he wasn’t up to the job. On Tuesday, Kelly said the president’s phone
call to the president of Ukraine asking him to investigate Joe Biden and his son was illegal. The U.S. Senate voted today to curb the president’s
authority to attack Iran, unless Congress approves it. The resolution passed 55-45,
far short of the two-thirds majority needed to override a promised presidential veto.
The House of Representatives approved its own resolution last month. The U.S. Navy confirms it seized a large cache
of Iranian-made weapons on Sunday. A statement says that a guided missile cruiser stopped
a sailing vessel in the Arabian Sea and found the weapons. They included 150 anti-tank guided
missiles and three surface-to-air missiles. They may have been bound for Shiite rebels
in Yemen. President Trump and top lieutenants talked
up progress today toward making peace in Afghanistan. In a radio interview, Mr. Trump said that
a deal with the Taliban could be very close. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that there’s
been a — quote — “breakthrough.” And, in Brussels, Defense Secretary Mark Esper
suggested a temporary truce could be imminent. MARK ESPER, U.S. Defense Secretary: The United
States and the Taliban have negotiated a proposal for a seven-day reduction in violence. We
have said all along that the best, if not only solution in Afghanistan, is a political
agreement. Progress has been made on this front. JUDY WOODRUFF: Some 13,000 American troops
are stationed in Afghanistan. The World Health Organization reports that
the coronavirus outbreak is still spreading outside China, but slowly. That word comes
as officials in China have reported a large jump, nearly 60,000 cases and almost 1,370
deaths, after they changed the way they account for infections. Meanwhile, a 15th case has been confirmed
here in the United States. We will look at how the outbreak is rattling
Chinese leadership later in the program. Back in this country, the Trump administration
is transferring another $3.8 billion in military funding to build a southern border wall. The
Pentagon notified Congress today that the money will come from the National Guard and
funds to buy aircraft and to build ships. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority
Leader Chuck Schumer said that the transfer amounts to stealing. Congressional Democrats moved today to revive
the Equal Rights Amendment banning discrimination based on sex. They voted to remove the deadline
for ratification. It expired in 1982, but Virginia recently voted to ratify, the 38th
and final state needed. Lawmakers today debated whether it is already
too late. REP. JACKIE SPEIER (D-CA): The ERA is about
building the America we want. It’s about forming a more perfect union, because, simply put,
there is no expiration date on equality. REP. DOUG COLLINS (R-GA): House Democrats
are trying to retroactively revive the failed constitutional amendment. Congress doesn’t
have the power to do that. Congress set the deadline, and it was passed. It didn’t get
approved. And now there is an end-run to go around that. JUDY WOODRUFF: The Republican-controlled U.S.
Senate may not take up the resolution, but the issue is already in the federal courts. The state of Oklahoma plans to resume executions
of condemned inmates. The practice was halted in 2015, after a series of botched lethal
injections. Today, officials said they have secured a new supply of the necessary drugs.
There are 47 inmates on Oklahoma’s death row. The newspaper industry has suffered another
big blow. One of the nation’s largest publishers, McClatchy, filed today for federal bankruptcy
protection. The company owns 30 publications, including The Miami Herald, The Charlotte
Observer and The Kansas City Star. And, on Wall Street, worries about the coronavirus
outbreak in China turned investors cautious. The Dow Jones industrial average lost 128
points to close at 29423. The Nasdaq fell 14 points, and the S&P 500 slipped five. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: on to Nevada
— I sit down with Senator Bernie Sanders about the next political battleground; how
the coronavirus is exposing potential threats to China’s ruling Communist Party; why cases
of measles are skyrocketing around the world.; after impeachment, an inside look at an emboldened
President Trump; and much more.

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