News Wrap: Veteran of Reagan administration tapped for trade representative

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U.S. President-elect Donald Trump delivered brief remarks to reporters at the Mar-a-lago Club in Palm Beach, Florida, U.S. December 28, 2016.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst - RTX2WSA8

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ALISON STEWART: In the day’s other news: President-elect Trump criticized General Motors for building compact cars in Mexico, on the same day Ford announced plans of its own to invest in a plant in the U.S.

In a tweet aimed at GM, Mr. Trump warned — quote — “Make in USA or pay big border tax.”

The company responded with a statement that only a tiny fraction of its Chevy Cruze compacts are made in Mexico.

In the past, Mr. Trump had criticized Ford’s plans to build its Focus small car in Mexico. Today, Ford shifted gears, with its CEO pointing to the new administration.

MARK FIELDS, CEO, Ford Motor Company: We’re also encouraged by the pro-growth policies that President-elect Trump and the new Congress have indicated that they will pursue. And we believe these tax and regulatory reforms are critically important to boost U.S. competitiveness and of course drive a resurgence in American manufacturing and high-tech innovation.

ALISON STEWART: Ford now plans to invest $700 million in an existing Michigan plant that has been making the Focus. We will take a closer look at all of this later in the program.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Meanwhile, the president-elect tapped
Robert Lighthizer as his nominee for U.S. trade representative. Lighthizer served as a deputy in that office during the Reagan administration and has called for a heavy tariff on imported goods from China.

In a statement, the president-elect said Lighthizer will fight for — quote — “good trade deals that put the American worker first.”

ALISON STEWART: In Turkey, police spent another day hunting for the suspect in that deadly new years attack on an Istanbul club.

Jonathan Rugman of Independent Television News has the latest.

JONATHAN RUGMAN: It was a new year countdown to a massacre; 75 minutes later, a gunman opened fire here, killing 39 people and injuring 69 others.

Turkish media claimed this is the chief suspect filming himself in the center of Istanbul — we don’t know when — although most reporting, including this, is based on government leaks, and some of it has turned out to be false.

Two foreign nationals have been arrested at Istanbul’s main airport in connection with the attack. Sixteen people have been detained in all. The authorities said yesterday they’re close to identifying the gunman. Today, officials were silent on that.

There was only one policeman on duty outside one of Istanbul’s most famous nightclubs, even though tens of thousands of extra police were supposedly deployed in the city on New Year’s Eve.

This evening, hundreds joined a protest against the violence, and Turkey’s main opposition leader called on the government to resign. People are frightened of criticizing President Erdogan’s increasingly repressive administration, though some Turks now are.

MAN (through translator): The only way to get over this kind of situation is to bring more democracy and freedom and peace and more secular institutions.

JONATHAN RUGMAN: And after the latest terrorist attack, this is an even more febrile, volatile, and divided country, in the thrall of a government promising security, but failing to deliver it.

ALISON STEWART: The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for the nightclub attack.

JUDY WOODRUFF: Doubts are rising about the cease-fire in Syria, as government forces press an offensive outside Damascus. The rebel-held Barada Valley controls the water supply for millions of people in and around the capital. The government says it’s targeting members of an al-Qaida affiliate who are not part of the cease-fire.

ALISON STEWART: Here in this country, cleanup crews are working across the Deep South after a night of killer storms. Four people died when a possible tornado knocked a tree onto their mobile home in Rehobeth, Alabama. And, in Florida, a man drowned in floodwater.

The line of severe thunderstorms brought heavy flooding rains and multiple reports of tornado sightings. Alabama, Georgia and the Florida Panhandle were the worst hit.

JUDY WOODRUFF: It turns out investigators have found no evidence that Russian hackers attacked an electrical utility in Vermont. The Washington Post reports that malware found on a laptop doesn’t appear connected to the Russian hacking operation known as Grizzly Steppe. Initial reports last week raised fears the Russians could be trying to penetrate the country’s electric grid.

ALISON STEWART: And the new year got off to a good start on Wall Street, with a boost from tech and health care stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average gained 119 points to close at 19881. The Nasdaq rose nearly 46 points, and the S&P 500 added 19.

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