News Wrap: Zelenskiy denies Trump tried to blackmail him

News Wrap: Zelenskiy denies Trump tried to blackmail him


In the day’s other news: Ukraine’s president
denied that President Trump sought to blackmail him by withholding military aid unless Kiev
investigated the president’s Democratic rival Joe Biden. Volodymyr Zelensky also vowed for the first
time that his country would investigate whether Ukraine interfered in the 2016 presidential
election. He said they’d also look into the Ukrainian
gas company Burisma that is linked to Biden’s son. VOLODYMYR ZELENSKY, Ukrainian President (through
translator): Indeed, we are ready to investigate the Burisma case and interference from the
Ukrainian side into U.S. elections in 2016, if it happened. We are ready — and I have talked about this
before — if it will be a joint investigative team of U.S. and Ukrainian general prosecutors. JUDY WOODRUFF: President Trump has claimed
that Ukraine involvement in a democratic plot to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. But there has been no evidence to support
this. Turkey’s ground and air assault against Kurdish
fighters in Northern Syria raged for a second day, as tens of thousands of civilians near
the border attempted to flee. Meanwhile, Kurdish fighters suspended their
operations against the Islamic State to focus instead on battling Turkish troops. We will get an inside look at the conflict
later in the program. Back in this country, more than 1.5 million
people in Northern and Central California were in the dark today, after the state’s
largest utility shut off their electricity. Beginning yesterday, Pacific Gas and Electric
deliberately cut off the power to avoid sparking wildfires, as strong winds moved through the
drier-than-usual region. We will explore the impact of this unprecedented
move right after the news summary. A powerful snowstorm is roaring through the
Great Plains and the Central Rockies today, threatening to dump up to two feet of snow
in some parts of the country. It was a slick morning commute for drivers
in cities like Billings, Montana, and Rapid City, South Dakota, which saw eight inches
of snow. And, in Denver, Colorado, temperatures plummeted
nearly 64 degrees since yesterday. Apple has removed a digital app that helped
Hong Kong protesters track police movements, amid a backlash from Chinese state media. Apple said the demonstrators had used the
real-time mapping app, HKmap.live, to ambush law enforcement. In Beijing, a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman
denounced any type of support for the ongoing protests. GENG SHUANG, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson
(through translator): I need to repeat again that the recent extreme and violent criminal
acts happening in Hong Kong have challenged Hong Kong’s rule of law and its social order. When it comes to these kinds of extreme and
violent criminal acts, it is reasonable to oppose and resist, rather than support and
connive. JUDY WOODRUFF: The app appeared to be still
working for users in Hong Kong who downloaded it before it was removed from Apple’s app
store. The Environmental Protection Agency in this
country is proposing an overhaul to how communities test their water for lead contamination. It’s the first time the rule has been revamped
in three decades, and includes stricter testing requirements at schools and day care centers,
among other things. That comes after tainted water crises in Flint,
Michigan, Newark, New Jersey, and other areas exposed tens of thousands of residents to
the toxic metal. The number of deaths linked to vaping has
climbed to 26, up from just 18 — or rather, 18, just last week. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
reported today almost 1,300 confirmed and probable cases of lung conditions tied to
vaping. Every state but Alaska has now reported vaping-related
illnesses. The Nobel Prize for Literature was awarded
today to Austrian author Peter Handke and Polish novelist Olga Tokarczuk. Two recipients were announced this year, since
no one won in 2018 following a sexual misconduct scandal involving the Swedish academy that
bestows the honor. Tokarczuk hailed the academy today for recognizing
literature from Central Europe. OLGA TOKARCZUK, Nobel Prize Winner: For me,
as a Polish, it shows that, despite all those problems with democracy in my country, we
still have something to say to the world, and we have very strong literature, very strong
culture. And I am part of this big, big power. JUDY WOODRUFF: Her fellow recipient, Peter
Handke, has long faced criticism for defending the Serbs during the Balkan Wars in the 1990s. Today, the nonprofit organization PEN America
issued a rare statement opposing his Nobel win. It cited that Handke has — quote — “persistently
called into question thoroughly documented war crimes.” The Federal Reserve today voted to loosen
restrictions imposed on banks following the 2008 financial crisis. The move was a follow-up to legislation Congress
passed last year to roll back parts of the 2010 Dodd-Frank act. The changes would relax capital requirements
and rules on so called living wills that big banks must develop if they fail. And stocks rallied today, as a new round of
high-level trade talks between the U.S. and China got under way in Washington. President Trump said the negotiations were
going — quote — “really, really well,” but he provided no specifics. On Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average
gained 150 points to close at 26496. The Nasdaq rose 47, and the S&P 500 added
more than 18. Still to come on the “NewsHour:: panic in
Northern Syria, as Turkish forces escalate the invasion; the lights go out in California
— what is driving a massive power outage?; a new book reexamines the Russia inquiry and
the president’s troubled relationship with the FBI; plus, much more.

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