News Wrap: Trump says he’s not flip-flopping on immigration plan

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Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump speaks on stage during a campaign rally in Fredericksburg, Virginia, U.S., August 20, 2016.   REUTERS/Carlo Allegri - RTX2ME92

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JUDY WOODRUFF:  Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump insisted today he’s not flip-flopping on his plan to deport some 11 million people living in the U.S. illegally.

That came after his campaign appeared to signal a shift in his immigration policy over the weekend.  For his part, Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine said that Trump’s conflicting messages show he can’t be trusted.  We will take a closer look at the campaign right after this news summary.

A federal judge in Texas has temporarily blocked the Obama administration’s guidelines on transgender bathroom policies in public schools.  They permitted students to use restrooms that correspond to their chosen gender identity.  The district court judge granted the nationwide injunction late Sunday, a move that had been sought by 13 states.

Still, White House spokesman Josh Earnest defended the president’s directive today in Washington.

JOSH EARNEST, White House Press Secretary:  Our goal has been from the beginning to provide for the safety, and security, and dignity of students all across the country.  We certainly have the confidence in the legal basis for issuing that guidance.  But, obviously, we’re respectful of rulings that are put forward by federal judges.  And I will let my colleagues at the Department of Justice speak to the next step in the legal process.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  We will explore the implications of the Texas ruling later in the program.

Russia has stopped using an Iranian military base to launch airstrikes in Syria, for now.  The announcement came just hours after Iran’s foreign minister criticized Moscow for publicizing their actions.

Meanwhile, airstrikes continued across Syria today, that as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on a trip to Kenya said talks with Russia on stemming the violence are — quote — “reaching an end.”

JOHN KERRY, Secretary of State:  It is possible that something could be agreed at — upon before the end of the month, but I can’t tell you whether it’s likely.  I wouldn’t express optimism.  I would express hope.  I will say this.  This has to end, this Syrian travesty.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  Also today:  A Kurdish militia launched a major assault on the northeastern city of Hasakah to seize the last remaining government-held areas there.

The death toll from a weekend suicide attack at a wedding in Turkey has risen to 54 people.  At least 22 victims in Saturday’s bombing near the Syrian border were younger than 14.  Officials and residents cleaned up around the attack site today, as relatives buried their loved ones.

Turkey’s foreign minister vowed to battle the Islamic State group.

MEVLUT CAVUSOGLU, Foreign Minister, Turkey (through translator):  We will fight against the Islamic State and other terrorist organizations until the end.  And we will continue to support countries and forces who are also fighting it.

As you know, the Syrian opposition’s operations at our border were concluded successfully.  And, of course, our border needs to be completely cleansed of ISIS.

JUDY WOODRUFF:  ISIS has yet to officially claim responsibility for the wedding massacre.  But they have been blamed for similar attacks in the country in the past.

In the Philippines, there’s been a dramatic spike in the number of people killed as part of all crackdown on drugs.  It began after new President Rodrigo Duterte took office seven weeks ago.  Nearly 1,800 drug suspects have now been killed; 712 of them died in police clashes.  That’s up from 525 earlier this month.  And more than 1,000 other people were killed by vigilante groups.

Tokyo was battered by heavy rain and strong winds today after a powerful typhoon made landfall just south of the Japanese capital.  Some 500,000 residents were advised to evacuate, and at least one person died.  Winds gusted up to 112 miles an hour across the city, and swollen rivers sparked fears of flooding.

Elsewhere, a commuter train derailed, and hundreds of flights were grounded.  India is contending with its own deluge today.  At least 40 people have died in flooding that’s inundated central and eastern parts of the country.

Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced to flee.  Days of heavy rain caused the Ganges River to rise above its danger level.  It’s all part of India’s monsoon season, which runs from June through September.

Stocks were mostly lower on Wall Street today, as a drop in oil prices dragged down energy shares.  The Dow Jones industrial average lost 23 points to close at 18529.  The Nasdaq rose six points, and the S&P 500 dropped a point.

And Olympic medalist Ryan Lochte lost all four of his major sponsors today, Speedo, Ralph Lauren, skin care firm Syneron-Candela, and Airweave Mattress announced they’re ending their endorsements, after the swimmer’s drunken incident during the Rio Olympics.  Speedo plans to donate $50,000 of Lochte’s fee to Save the Children in order to help the needy in Brazil.  Lochte has apologized for making the claim he made about an armed robbery.

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