Friday morning news: April 27, 2018

Pompeo confirmed » 

AUDIO: They yeas are 57. The nays are 42. The nomination is confirmed.

The U.S. Senate officially confirming Mike Pompeo as the next secretary of state. Several Democrats joined every Republican voting yes, giving Pompeo easy approval.

Tennessee Republican Bob Corker was among those 57 “yes” votes.

CORKER: I don’t know of a person in the United States of America that could have more current knowledge about what is happening around the world in his current role.

Pompeo has served as CIA Director since January of last year. He is a former Republican Congressman, elected three times to the U.S.House from Kansas. He’s also a former Army officer, reaching the rank of Captain. He succeeds Rex Tillerson, who was fired back in March, as the nation’s top diplomat.

Jackson bows out as VA nominee » Meantime, another Trump nominee has withdrawn his name from consideration. Navy Rear Admiral and White House doctor Ronny Jackson, Trump’s choice to head Veterans Affairs Department bowed out on Thursday. He was facing tough questions from lawmakers about allegations that he drank on the job and recklessly prescribed medications.

Pruitt hearing » And speaking of tough questions, lawmakers grilled embattled EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on Thursday over allegations of ethics violations.

PRUITT: I have nothing to hide as it relates to how I’ve run the agency for the past 16 months. I’m not afraid to admit that there’s been a learning process.

Democrats on a House Energy and Commerce panel went hard at Pruitt, accusing him of wasteful, lavish spending. Florida’s Kathy Castor cited several examples:

CASTOR: Unnecessary security detail to places like Disneyland, Paris, Italy, football games.

Democrats also accused him of being overly secretive and of retaliating against Environmental Protection Agency employees who complained about his spending. Ranking member Frank Pallone called on him to resign.

Republicans came to Pruitt’s defense saying he’s been the victim of Washington politics. Pruitt called the accusations half-truths. He admitted his chief of staff signed off on raises for top aides, but said he wasn’t aware of the amounts—or that they came in defiance of the White House.

Senate panel okays bipartisan bill to protect Mueller » The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bill designed to shield special counsel Robert Mueller from being fired. It comes as President Trump continues to call the Russia probe illegitimate. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The bill would allow a special counsel fired by the Justice Department to challenge the action in federal court. It also protects documents relevant to the special counsel’s investigation while a legal challenge is heard.

Four Republicans joined all 10 Democrats to help the bill clear committee.

But many Republicans say the bill is unconstitutional, an example of Congress trying to encroach on powers reserved for the executive branch.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the bill will not get a vote on the floor.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

Cosby guilty » Prosecutors and victims say they were relieved by yesterday’s guilty verdict in the trial of comedian Bill Cosby. Dolores Troiani briefed reporters Thursday. She’s an attorney for Andrea Constand, who came forward to accuse Cosby of a 2004 sexual assault.

TROIANI: She came here 14 years ago for justice. I’m so happy that I can say today that although justice was delayed, it was not denied.

Cosby was convicted of three counts of aggravated indecent assault. He had been charged with assaulting Constand, a Temple University employee, at his home.

Montgomery County District Attorney Kevin Steele said Cosby spent decades preying on women.

STEELE: That he drugged and sexually assaulted, and a man who had evaded this moment here today for far too long. He used his celebrity, he used his wealth, he used his network of supporters, to help him conceal his crimes.

Cosby’s legal team plans to appeal the verdict.

Teachers in Arizona, Colorado walk out »

AUDIO: Denver teacher protests

Teachers in Colorado and Arizona are taking part in walkouts and rallies this week, calling on their state governments devote more money to education. Teacher Megan Reetz rallied in Denver Thursday.

REETZ: If we had more funding in our school, then we could have smaller class sizes and I could offer more opportunities for my students.

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey appealed to parents Thursday to help persuade state lawmakers to give teachers a raise. Lawmakers have so far rejected Ducey’s proposal, saying they don’t know how they can pay for it.

The walkout prompted more than 100 Arizona school schools to close. And in Colorado, more than half the state’s students will be out of class again today amid teacher walkouts.

NoKo nuclear test site collapse » When leader Kim Jong Un announced that North Korea would halt nuclear testing many took it as a show of good faith ahead of possible in-person talks with President Trump. But there may be more to the story. WORLD Radio’s Jim Henry explains.

JIM HENRY, REPORTER: A suspected collapse at the country’s nuclear testing site likely forced North Korea to halt further tests and triggered the risk of radiation leaks. That, according to Chinese geologists at the University of Science and Technology of China. The Kim regime has conducted all six of its nuclear tests on a mountain in the northeast part of the country.

The scientists announced Thursday that it is now necessary to monitor the collapsed test site for “leakage of radioactive materials.” Analysts said North Korea’s most powerful nuclear test in September of last year likely triggered four earthquakes.

Kim Jong Un is set to resume nuclear talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in today.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Jim Henry.

(AP Photo/David Zalubowski) Teachers and their supporters from Douglas and Jefferson counties in Colorado cheer during a teacher rally Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Denver. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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