Friday news: April 13, 2018

U.S. response to Syria » President Trump says he continues to meet with his advisors to determine if or how the U.S. will take military action against the Syrian government.

TRUMP: We’re looking very, very seriously, very closely at that situation. And, as I said this morning, we’ve done a great job with ISIS. We have just absolutely decimated ISIS, but now we have to make some further decisions, so they’ll be made fairly soon.

The potential air strikes follow the Assad regime’s apparent use of chemical weapons on civilians last Saturday.

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis attended a national security meeting at the White House on Thursday. He told reporters that the role of the U.S. military in Syria is to defeat ISIS, and the U.S. will not participate in the civil war itself. But…

MATTIS: Some things are simply inexcusable, beyond the pale and in the worst interest of not just the chemical weapons convention but of civilization itself.

He noted that last year’s U.S. missile strike on a Syrian base was also in response to use of chemical weapons and was not related to ISIS.  

Mattis said the administration would notify Congress before taking military action.

Syria retakes Douma » As the the United States considers its response, the Russian government declared Thursday that the Syrian government has regained control of the town of Douma, just outside of Damascus. That’s the area where Saturday’s chemical weapons attack occurred.

If confirmed, it would signal a big win for President Bashir al-Assad’s troops and their Russian allies in the region.

Trump on TPP » President Trump may be making a u-turn on the Trans-Pacific Partnership. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg reports.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: During a White House meeting with lawmakers and governors from farm states, the president said he’s asked his economic and trade advisers to negotiate a possible return to the TPP.  

The president pulled out of the 11-country trade pact last year, after calling it a “bad deal” for the U.S. But the president has since said he’d be open to rejoining the partnership if the terms were more favorable.

The growing threat of a trade war with China is widely seen as the primary reason for the president’s turnaround on the trade deal. Some analysts say the TPP with U.S. involvement forms a strong trade alliance to counter China’s Asia Pacific influence and could help the U.S. deal with unfair trade practices by China.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

Pompeo hearing » President Trump’s pick for the nation’s next top diplomat faced questions from lawmakers on Thursday. CIA Director Mike Pompeo would replace Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State. He told members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that critics who fear he may back military intervention over diplomacy are way off base.

POMPEO: I know some of you have read the stories — I’m a hawk. I’m a hardliner. I read that and — there’s no one like someone who’s served in uniform who understands the value of diplomacy and the terror and tragedy that is war. It’s the last resort. It must always be so.

Pompeo was a U.S. Army officer during the Gulf War.

Pompeo also promised that, if confirmed, he’ll raise morale at the State Department and fill what he called demoralizing vacancies in the department.  

He also confirmed his interview with special counsel Robert Mueller as part of the Russia probe. Pompeo declined to give any information about what he told Mueller, saying only that he “cooperated” with the investigation.

President Trump nominated Pompeo last month after firing Tillerson. Thursday’s hearing marked Pompeo’s second Senate confirmation grilling in the last 18 months. Lawmakers approved him as CIA director in January of last year.

Greitens report » Calls are growing for Missouri Governor Eric Greitens to resign amid a sex scandal that could lead to his impeachment. WORLD Radio’s Jim Henry has that story.

JIM HENRY, REPORTER: A report issued Wednesday by a Missouri legislative committee includes testimony from the woman Greitens admitted having an affair with before he became governor. He called the relationship consensual, but the woman claimed Greitens abused and intimidated her during their encounters.

The governor dismissed the legislative probe and its conclusion as “a political witch hunt” and likened it to attacks against President Trump. The Missouri House will now consider impeachment proceedings. That could begin in a special session slated for May 18th, the same week Greitens goes to trial to face felony invasion of privacy charges for allegedly transmitting a partially nude photo of the woman without her consent.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Jim Henry.

I’m Kent Covington. Straight ahead: John Stonestreet on the importance of free speech. This is The World and Everything in It.

(AP Photo/Evan Vucci, File) In this April 10, 2018, file photo, President Donald Trump listens as he meets in the Oval Office of the White House, in Washington.

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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