MILES O’BRIEN: In other news today: President Donald Trump made a surprise trip to honor the first U.S. serviceman killed in combat since he took office. Chief Special Warfare Officer William Ryan Owens, a Navy SEAL, died Sunday in a raid on al-Qaida installation in Yemen.
The president and his daughter, Ivanka, flew to Dover Air Force Base, Delaware, as the remains returned. The ceremony was kept private, at the family’s request.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The White House also issued a warning today to Iran. It follows the Islamic Republic’s test launch of a ballistic missile this week. The president’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, came to the White House Briefing Room this afternoon to address the issue.
MICHAEL FLYNN, National Security Adviser: President Trump has severely criticized the various agreements reached between Iran and the Obama administration, as well as the United Nations, as being weak and ineffective. Instead of being thankful to the United States for these agreements, Iran is now feeling emboldened. As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.
JUDY WOODRUFF: White House officials said later that they are reviewing how to respond.
Meanwhile, Iran’s defense minister confirmed the missile firing, but he said — quote — “We will not let any foreigner meddle with our defense issues.”
MILES O’BRIEN: A U.S. watchdog agency is warning that the government of Afghanistan now controls less than 60 percent of its territory. The special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction says that’s down 15 percent from 2015. Government forces have retreated in the face of Taliban and Islamic State militants.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Britain’s departure from the European Union, Brexit, is one step closer to becoming reality. The House of Commons voted today to authorize the beginning of formal talks with the E.U. The bill now goes to committee, before a final vote in the full Commons next week. It also requires approval by the House of Lords.
MILES O’BRIEN: President Trump’s immigration order will not apply to green card holders, so they don’t need waivers — that word from the White House today. Legal permanent residents were thrown into confusion when the order was issued. Officials later said they’d be granted waivers. Today, the president’s spokesman said that’s not necessary.
SEAN SPICER, White House Press Secretary: We have interpreted the guidance to all of these agencies to both the acting secretary of state, the acting attorney general, and the acting secretary of homeland security that the guidance is that all individuals responsible for the administration implementation of this order, that that doesn’t apply.
They no longer need a waiver, because, if they are a legal permanent resident, they won’t need it anymore.
MILES O’BRIEN: Meanwhile, the U.S. Customs and Border Patrol has a new boss. Career CBP official Ronald Vitiello got the nod. The border agents’ union backed President Trump in the election, and supported Vitiello.
JUDY WOODRUFF: House Republicans moved today to rescind regulations from President Obama’s final days in office. Their first vote overturned a December rule that barred dumping coal mining debris into nearby streams. The Congressional Review Act allows recisions of rules imposed since last June. It also bars similar regulations in the future.
MILES O’BRIEN: President Trump’s pick to lead the Veterans Department says letting vets see private doctors might help cut long wait times. David Shulkin is currently the VA’s top health official. He told his Senate confirmation hearing today that he supports partial, but not full, privatization.
DAVID SHULKIN, Secretary of Veterans Affairs Nominee: There will be far greater accountability, dramatically improved access, responsiveness and expanded care options, but the Department of Veteran Affairs will not be privatized under my watch. If confirmed, I intend to build a system that puts veterans first, and allows them to get the best possible health care and services wherever they may be, in the VA or in the community.
MILES O’BRIEN: Shulkin also cautioned that it could take years to fix the wait time problem for good.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The Army Corps of Engineers confirmed today that it has begun reviewing an easement for the Dakota Access Pipeline in part of North Dakota. A spokesman said that doesn’t mean that permission for use of the land has been granted. President Trump says he wants the pipeline completed. Protesters have vowed to fight any decisions with legal action.
MILES O’BRIEN: Volkswagen will pay $1.2 billion in its latest settlement over emissions cheating. The German automaker filed documents in federal court in San Francisco last night. It agrees to fix or buy back almost 80,000 cars with larger diesel engines. An earlier settlement provided $15 billion to owners of 500,000 cars with smaller diesel engines.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The Federal Reserve left its key interest rate unchanged today. It said it wants more time to monitor economic progress.
And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average gained almost 27 points to close near 19891. The Nasdaq rose nearly 28, and the S&P 500 added a fraction.
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