Thursday morning news: December 20, 2018

Trump declares ISIS defeated, wants U.S. troops out of Syrian » President Trump declared victory against ISIS in Syria on Wednesday. And he said he wants to bring U.S. troops in the country home.

The president said defeating ISIS was the only reason U.S. troops have been in Syria. And the White House is now reportedly talking with military leaders about a plan to withdraw the roughly 2,000 troops now on the ground in the country.

But some members of the president’s own party are blasting that idea. Tennessee Senator Bob Corker told reporters, this move is similar to President Obama’s decision to troops out of Iraq in 2011.  

CORKER: But in many ways it’s even worse, because here we’re in a situation where we’re very close in the Euphrates River Valley to finishing clearing out, and it’s a terrible thing for our nation. It’s a terrible thing for the allies that we’ve been working with. 

Corker and many other Republicans say withdrawing all U.S. troops now would open the door for a resurgence of ISIS and for Iran to step up its influence in the region.

And media reports Wednesday suggested some Pentagon officials may be trying to change the president’s mind.

Senate reaches agreement on stopgap funding bill » The U.S. Senate passed a stopgap funding bill last night on voice vote to avoid a partial government shutdown. Without a funding bill some parts of the government would shut down at midnight on Friday.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday…

MCCONNELL: The measure will provide the resources necessary to continue normal operations through February the 8th.  

The bill does not include the funds President Trump demanded for a border wall. The measure would delay a legislative fight over that until next year.  

The House plans to take up the bill today. If the it passes there it will go to President Trump’s desk for a signature.  

The president has not indicated whether he would sign the bill but the White House this week signaled a possible willingness to hold off on demanding additional funds for border security.

Administration changes review process for sponsors of migrant children » The federal government is changing the way it reviews sponsors who want to care for migrant children in government custody. WORLD Radio’s Paul Butler reports.

PAUL BUTLER, REPORTER: The Trump administration is backing off a requirement that all potential sponsors of a migrant child and anyone who lives in their household are fingerprinted.

That requirement began in June amid the zero-tolerance policy at the border that led to the separation of some 2,400 children from their parents. Those children were placed in shelters until a sponsor could be found and evaluated. Only then would children be released to that sponsor.

But fingerprinting has slowed the process and clogged the shelters. Some potential sponsors have said they couldn’t get people in their homes to submit fingerprint because they were afraid of being arrested for possible immigration violations.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Paul Butler.

Trump administration to ban bump stocks » The Trump administration has announced that it will officially ban bump stocks in the U.S. next year. WORLD Radio’s J.C. Derrick has that story.

J.C. DERRICK, MANAGING EDITOR: Beginning in late March, it will be illegal to possess bump stocks. The  devices increase the firing rate of semi-automatic firearms, effectively turning them into fully automatic weapons that continuously fire bullets.

The administration will ban the devices under the federal law that prohibits the possession of machine guns.

President Trump earlier this year directed the Justice Department to impose new regulations on bump stocks. That came after a gunman used one to kill 58 people at a Las Vegas concert last year.

Legislation banning bump stocks won bipartisan praise in Congress a few days after the shooting, but the effort soon stalled.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m J.C. Derrick.

Illinois investigation finds 500 more clergy abuse cases » Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan says her office has found 500 more Catholic clergy accused of sexually abusing children than the state’s six archdioceses have publicly identified.

Madigan says the archdioceses listed 185 clergy members as having been “credibly” accused of child sexual abuse. But the actual total is around 700.

Her office said the archdiocese did a  woefully inadequate job of investigating allegations and in some cases didn’t notify state child welfare workers of the allegations.

(AP Photo/Hussein Malla, File) In this April 4, 2018 file photo, a U.S-backed Syrian Manbij Military Council soldier passes a U.S. position near the tense front line with Turkish-backed fighters, in Manbij, north Syria. 

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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