JUDY WOODRUFF: The first two weeks of the Trump presidency are now behind us, punctuated by a push to begin to deregulate the financial industry.
John Yang reports on this day’s events.
JOHN YANG: At the first meeting of this new economic advisory council, President Trump used touted his plans for progress.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We’re bringing back jobs. We’re bringing down your taxes. We’re getting rid of your regulations. And I think it’s going to be some really very exciting times ahead.
JOHN YANG: The group talked banking rules and tax reform. But some also raised concerns that Mr. Trump’s immigration order would hurt their foreign employees and the economy. Blackstone Group CEO Steve Schwarzman is the council’s chairman. He described the discussion on FOX Business Channel.
STEPHEN SCHWARZMAN, CEO, Blackstone Group: General Kelly, who runs Homeland Security, was there and brought people up to date on the changes that had been made. And there was obviously concern by different people and explanations. And that issue had to be covered and was covered.
JOHN YANG: Even before the first meeting, Uber chief executive Travis Kalanick quit the group over the issue. He had been pressed by both workers and customers.
He wrote to employees: “We will continue to advocate for just change on immigration, but staying on the council was going to get in the way of that.”
The same kind of pressure is driving a national boycott of Trump products. Retailer Nordstrom is dropping Ivanka Trump’s fashion line, citing poor sales. Today brought the number of Mr. Trump’s executive actions to 20.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: Today, we’re signing core principles for regulating the United States financial system. Doesn’t get much bigger than that, right?
JOHN YANG: That executive order directed the Treasury Department to look for ways to roll back the Dodd-Frank Act’s regulations. The 2010 legislation was in response to the financial crisis. It was intended rein in big banks and protect consumers.
The president also signed a memorandum aimed at blocking a retirement savings regulation called the fiduciary rule. Set to take effect in April, it’s aimed at making brokers put clients’ interests first when recommending investments for retirement planning. Administration officials call it a solution in search of a problem, and the financial industry has strongly opposed it.
Republican Representative Ann Wagner of Missouri championed efforts to stop the regulation.
REP. ANN WAGNER, R-Miss.: Taking the boot off the neck of the American people and this economy moving forward. People are crying out to cut the red tape. They are finished with the Washington knows best, top-down bureaucratic regulation that is absolutely suffocating American families.
JOHN YANG: Mr. Trump capped the second week of his presidency by heading to Florida for a weekend at his Mar-a-Lago resort.
On his way back to the White House on Monday, Mr. Trump will spend his first major event addressing troops. He will be at Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base on Tampa Bay — Judy.
JUDY WOODRUFF: So, John, a lot going on at the White House this week, right up until today.
The president’s senior adviser Kellyanne Conway in a situation where she had to retract a statement she made in an interview yesterday.
JOHN YANG: That’s right.
She talked to Chris Matthews on MSNBC last night. She was defending the president’s immigration order and she said that the media never reported the Bowling Green massacre. Well, one of the reasons the media never reported it is because it never happened.
Today, she acknowledged on Twitter that she had confused it with the arrest of two Iraqi — Iraqis who had been radicalized in Bowling Green, Kentucky. She apologized, but she also complained about being criticized for her slip.
JUDY WOODRUFF: And, John, you mentioned Twitter. The president has continued to be active on Twitter, this morning tweeting again about that phone conversation that he had, reportedly heated conversation, with the prime minister of Australia, and then another one about, of all people, Arnold Schwarzenegger.
JOHN YANG: That’s right. I will take them in order.
The prime minister of Australia said that the phone call was candid and frank, which, of course, is diplomatic language often for a shouting match. But he did say that, contrary to reports, that Mr. Trump didn’t hang up on him. So, Mr. Trump thanked him for straightening that out and called the original reports fake news.
And then on Arnold Schwarzenegger, there was a little back and forth yesterday from the Prayer Breakfast, when he talked about the ratings. Mr. Schwarzenegger replied that maybe they wanted to switch jobs, that Mr. Trump was better at ratings and that he was — Americans could sleep at night.
He said, yes, Arnold Schwarzenegger did a really bad job as governor of California and even worse on “The Apprentice,” but at least he tried hard.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, it sounds like that settles that.
JUDY WOODRUFF: John Yang, after another busy week at the White House, thank you.
And in the day’s other news: January’s job creation was the best since last September. The Labor Department reports that U.S. employers added 227,000 new jobs. The unemployment rate ticked up to 4.8 percent. Now, that is more Americans looking for work.
President Trump welcomed the report and said that it shows a — quote — “great spirit” in the country.
The jobs report and the president’s move to scale back financial regulations fueled a rally on Wall Street. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 186 points to close back above 20000. The Nasdaq rose 30, and the S&P 500 added 16.
The Trump administration imposed new economic sanctions today on 13 people and a dozen companies in Iran. It is a response to Iran’s test this month of a ballistic missile. Early this morning, the president tweeted:– quote — “Iran is playing with fire.”
And Press Secretary Sean Spicer said the president isn’t ruling out other responses, including military action.
SEAN SPICER, White House Press Secretary: These sanctions today I think are going to be very, very strong and impactful. And I hope that Iran realizes that, after the provocative measures that they have taken, that they understand that this president, this administration is not going to sit back and take it lightly.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Later in the day, when Mr. Trump was asked about Iran, he said — quote — “They’re not behaving.”
But Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, posted his own tweet, saying — quote — “Iran unmoved by threats. Will never initiate war.”
We will get into the details of these sanctions, and the implications, after the news summary.
In Paris, security fears surged again today when a man with a machete attacked guards outside the famed Louvre museum. The attacker, said to be an Egyptian national, shouted “God is great” in Arabic. He slightly injured one soldier before being shot and wounded himself. Museum-goers had to run away or shelter in place.
A senior Israeli official is welcoming a U.S. statement on settlements. In it, the Trump White House says they don’t impede peace, but that constructing new ones or expanding existing ones — quote — “may not be helpful.”
In response, Israel’s deputy foreign minister said today: “The conclusion is that more building is not the problem.” A spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas called for action to prevent settlement expansion.
U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis reassured South Korea and Japan today that the U.S. is still committed to defending them. His first trip abroad followed candidate Trump’s complaints that the allies should do more for their own defense.
In Seoul, Mattis met with his South Korean counterpart, and he underscored American support to deter North Korea.
JAMES MATTIS, U.S. Secretary of Defense: America’s commitments to defending our allies and to upholding our extended deterrence guarantees remain ironclad. Any attack on the United States or on our allies will be defeated and any use of nuclear weapons would be met with a response that would be effective and overwhelming.
JUDY WOODRUFF: Mattis later met with Japan’s prime minister in Tokyo. The U.S. has more than 28,000 troops in South Korea and about 50,000 in Japan.
The U.N. human rights commissioner is accusing security forces in Myanmar of mass killings and gang rapes against Rohingya Muslims. A report today charges that there’s a campaign to drive them out of the mostly Buddhist nation. Myanmar has denied previous allegations of abuses against its Muslim minority. It says it is battling insurgents.
Back in this country, a Justice Department lawyer told a federal court today that 100,000 entry visas have been revoked under President Trump’s immigration order. The State Department said later that the number is actually fewer than 60,000.
Meanwhile, federal judges in Boston, Seattle and Virginia held hearings on legal challenges to the order. So far, at this hour, there’s been a split in rulings. The Boston judge declined to extend the partial block on the Trump order, while, in Virginia, a judge allowed a lawsuit challenge to go forward.
The stage is set now for a Senate showdown on Betsy DeVos. She is President Trump’s nominee to be secretary of education. Senators voted early this morning to end debate, with Democrats and Republicans senators jousting over the nominee’s qualifications.
SEN. CHUCK SCHUMER, D-N.Y., Minority Leader: The nominee for the secretary of education is one of the worst nominees that has ever been brought before this body for a Cabinet position. On the grounds of competence, on the grounds of ideology and on the grounds of conflicts of interest, she scores very, very low.
SEN. LAMAR ALEXANDER, R-Tenn.: There will be no mandates for Common Core, no mandates for teacher evaluation, no mandates for vouchers, no mandates for anything else from the United States Department of Education headed by Betsy DeVos. We will be swapping a national school board for what she believes in, which is a local school board.
JUDY WOODRUFF: The confirmation vote on DeVos will come next week. It could end in a tie, leaving Vice President Pence to cast the deciding vote.
Congressional Republicans are also moving to rescind more Obama-era regulations. The House voted today to abolish a rule on cutting methane emissions from natural gas drilling. And the Senate gave final approval to dropping a mandate that energy firms disclose what they pay governments for drilling rights. We are going to look at the drive to roll back rules later in the program.
Enrollments on the national Obamacare Web site have fallen slightly. The government reported today that 9.2 million people signed up through the end of January. That’s about half-a-million fewer than at this point last year. There are no final numbers yet for the 11 states with their own health insurance markets.
Still to come on the NewsHour: new sanctions against Iran in response to a ballistic missile test; from Wall Street to the environment, rolling back Obama-era regulations; the next phase of the battle for Mosul; and much more.
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