News Wrap: Illegal border crossing arrests fell in February

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HARI SREENIVASAN: In the day’s other news, President Trump’s revised travel ban faced its first challenge in federal court.

Hawaii filed suit last night, saying the order will harm its Muslim population, tourism and foreign students. Hawaii Attorney General Doug Chin Spoke in Honolulu today.

DOUG CHIN, Attorney General of Hawaii: Replaced it with a lot of neutral language, but that’s not going to be enough, in our arguments or in our opinions, to be able to erase a lot of the past statements that were made where it was just referred to, in their words, in President Trump’s words, as a Muslim ban.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Washington State led the legal push to block the president’s first travel ban order. Today, the state attorney general, Bob Ferguson, said he will ask a federal judge to apply the same restraining order to the revised version.

Arrests for illegal crossings at the Mexican border are down 44 percent since President Trump took office. The Homeland Security Department reports that, in February, about 23,500 people were arrested trying to cross the border illegally. That was down from 42,500 arrested at the border in January. Secretary John Kelly says it’s due to the president’s moves to crack down on illegal immigration.

The U.S. military has reviewed a January raid in Yemen that killed a Navy SEAL and found no failings of judgment or decision-making. That word today from Army General Joseph Votel, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East. He also told a Senate hearing that investigators believe four to 12 civilians died in the raid. At that same Senate hearing, General Votel warned it will take more American troops to win the 15-year war in Afghanistan. He said Afghan units need more training and support.

Just yesterday, Islamic State attackers killed at least 31 people at a hospital in Kabul. Today, survivors told of facing terror.

MAN (through interpreter): It was a nightmare situation. We couldn’t believe it was this kind of situation, because those who were attacking us had doctor’s uniforms on. We were shocked when we saw AK-47s in their hands being fired. They killed our patients in their beds and they killed our doctors.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Funerals were held today for some of the victims.

The Senate Foreign Relations Committee narrowly endorsed David Friedman today as ambassador to Israel. He’s a staunch supporter of Jewish settlements, with a history of inflammatory attacks on liberal Jewish groups and other opponents. The full Senate will now vote on the nomination.

It’s widely reported that Jon Huntsman has been offered the post of ambassador to Russia. He served as ambassador to China under President Obama.

Russia has rejected U.S. claims that a new missile violates a landmark nuclear arms treaty. A top U.S. general charged Wednesday that the land-based cruise missile is meant to threaten U.S. and NATO interests in Europe. In response, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin said: “Russia has adhered to and will adhere to all its international obligations.”

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says his organization will help tech firms defend against CIA hacking tools. WikiLeaks released a trove of documents this week about the CIA’s ability to breach smartphone and TV encryption. Today, in an online news conference, Assange accused the spy agency of devastating incompetence for letting the tools leak.

JULIAN ASSANGE, Founder, WikiLeaks: The CIA developed a giant arsenal, what appears to be the largest arsenal of Trojans and viruses in the world, and didn’t secure it, lost control of it, and then appears to have covered up that fact.

HARI SREENIVASAN: Assange spoke from Ecuador’s embassy in London. He sought refuge there in 2012 after being charged with rape in Sweden. Meanwhile, President Trump met this afternoon with CIA Director Mike Pompeo. The White House said Mr. Trump thinks the agency’s systems need updating.

A blast of gale-force winds left utility crews scrambling today across parts of the Great Lakes region. A million homes and other buildings lost power in Michigan overnight, the most in the state’s history. Gusts of more than 60 miles an hour took down power lines across the state. The damage sparked a fire that killed five people in a Detroit apartment building. The storm also left more than 200,000 customers in the dark in Western New York.

The state of Utah is ready to put the nation’s toughest drunken driving law on the books. Lawmakers voted last night to lower the legal blood alcohol limit to 0.05 percent. The limit in most states is 0.08 percent.

And on Wall Street, stocks managed very slight gains today. The Dow Jones industrial average was up two points to close at 20858. The Nasdaq rose a point, and the S&P 500 added nearly two.

Still to come on the NewsHour: more U.S. troops land in Syria to help take back the city of Raqqa; how the GOP’s health care plan could seriously impact Medicaid; and much more.

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