Monday morning news: April 16, 2018

Syria attack reaction » U.S.-Russia relations are at a low point after missile attacks on Syrian chemical weapons sites.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley on Fox News Sunday:

HALEY: Very strained right now but our hope is always to make sure we can get a better relationship with Russia. It’s in our best national interest to do that but we’re not going to put up bad behavior to get it.

Friday night the U.S., France, and Britain retaliated with more than 100 missile strikes in response to Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad’s suspected chemical attack against Syrian civilians a week ago.

Russia, which is propping up the Assad regime, called an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council Saturday and introduced a resolution condemning the strikes. The Security Council rejected it.

AUDIO: Gaza protesters audio

And in Gaza, protesters burned American flags in solidarity with Syrian dictator Assad.

Some Democratic lawmakers questioned the president’s authority to order the strike. Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia called the strike— without Congress’s approval— illegal and reckless.

DOJ report » Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe lied to federal investigators. That, according to a new report by the Justice Department inspector general. WORLD Radio’s Kent Covington reports.

KENT COVINGTON, REPORTER: The report, released over weekend, followed a months-long probe into the leaking of information to The Wall Street Journal about the FBI’s investigation of the Clinton Foundation.

In that report, Inspector General Michael Horowitz says Andrew McCabe leaked a story to the press and then misled investigators about it three times under oath.

President Trump responded to the report, tweeting that McCabe was “totally controlled by [former FBI Director James] Comey.”

The Justice Department fired McCabe last month, just days before his scheduled retirement, jeopardizing his pension benefits. McCabe’s lawyer said the firing was driven by politics—and President Trump was behind it.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kent Covington.

Broidy payoff »Another sex scandal is rocking Washington— this time at the Republican National Committee. 

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that President Trump’s personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, arranged a $1.6 million hush payment to a former Playboy model for RNC Deputy Finance Chairman Elliot Broidy in late 2017.

In a statement, Broidy admitted to the affair with model Shera Bechard and said he paid for her subsequent abortion. Broidy resigned his RNC post after the story broke Friday. 

The lawyer who reportedly made the payment, Michael Cohen, is now the subject of an FBI probe for alleged banking and other violations. He’ll appear in federal court later today.

Venezuelan refugee aid » Vice President Mike Pence has announced a $16 million humanitarian aid package for Venezuelan refugees who have fled largely to Columbia and Brazil as Venezuela’s economy collapses. 

Pence blamed Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro for the country’s woes— citing socialist policies that have resulted in corruption, crime and misery.

PENCE: Nearly nine in ten Venezuelans today live in poverty. Stores are empty. Food is hard to find. Major hospitals have only five percent of basic supplies. The Venezuelan people are literally in many cases starving.

Pence spoke at the Summit of the Americas in Lima, Peru, Friday and said the aid would provide safe drinking water, shelter and educational opportunities for Venezuelan refugees.

An estimated 1 million Venezuelans have fled their country in the past two years.

Backpage update » A notorious advertising website has engaged in human trafficking. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg has details.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: The chief executive of, Carl Ferrer, pleaded guilty to state and federal charges of conspiracy, money laundering, and human trafficking.

Ferrer acknowledged he had “long been aware that the great majority” of ads on Backpage for “adult” and “escort” services were actually for prostitution. Many of those advertisements included trafficked women and children.

Ferror also admitted he and other Backpage officials used shell bank accounts and cryptocurrency to hide that 99 percent of their revenue came from the illegal ads.

The guilty plea came one day after President Trump signed the Allow States and Victims to Fight Online Sex Trafficking Act, a law that makes websites legally liable for illegal content.

The two founders of, Michael Lacey and James Larkin, pleaded not guilty to the charges.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

Barbara Bush » Barbara Bush is in failing health and will not seek additional medical treatment. That, according to family spokesman Jim McGrath.

He announced on Sunday that after “a recent series of hospitalizations, and after consulting her family and doctors” the 92-year-old former first lady will instead focus on comfort care.McGrath said Bush is “surrounded by a family she adores, and appreciates the many kind messages and especially the prayers she’s receiving.”

I’m Jim Henry. Up next, Mary Reichard takes us to the Supreme Court. And Paul Butler opens the WORLD Radio History Book. This is The World and Everything in It.

(AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)A Syrian soldier films the damage of the Syrian Scientific Research Center which was attacked by U.S., British and French military strikes to punish President Bashar Assad for suspected chemical attack against civilians, in Barzeh, near Damascus, Syria, Saturday, April 14, 2018.

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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