President Trump visits U.S.-Mexico border » President Trump visited the the US-Mexico border in McAllen, Texas on Thursday. That’s the busiest sector anywhere on the border for arrests and interdictions of illegal drugs.
Joined by Texas Senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, the president shook hands with Border Patrol agents and other law enforcement officers.
AUDIO: Thank you very much.
One Border Patrol agent briefed the president on camera. He said the McAllen sector has about 55 miles of fencing and told the president “we need to finish that job.”
AGENT: Part of our area is covered some fencing on the east side. That accounts for about six percent of our traffic. Where we have no fencing, over 90 percent of our traffic occurs in those areas. TRUMP: Okay folks? I mean, you don’t have to say anymore. That’s it. That’s it. And we never even spoke before this right? No one told you to say that. AGENT: No sir. No sir.
He added that within the previous 24 hours, agents in the McAllen sector apprehend more than 400 migrants, including more than 100 people from places other than Mexico and Central America, including China and Pakistan.
Responding to reporters, President Trump stated once again that if Democrats won’t negotiate funding for a wall…
TRUMP: Then you will see what happens with national emergency, and there’s no question it holds up.
The president said he clearly has legal authority to declare an emergency and begin building the wall without funds from Congress.
But at least in Texas, there might be another option. Texas Lt. Governor Dan Patrick suggested providing the state with—“a relatively small amount of money” and they’ll build the wall themselves.
The president said “I like that idea,” and said he would look into it.
Shutdown set to enter week four » Meantime, no further meetings are planned between President Trump and Democrats to resolve the partial government shutdown, about to enter its fourth week.
President Trump said once again Thursday that Democrats don’t care about border security and crime, and they’re to blame for the shutdown. And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said the president doesn’t care about the families hurt by the shutdown.
PELOSI: 800-thousand innocent families. What did they do to deserve this? Of course, the president doesn’t believe in governance, so he doesn’t care if governance, so he doesn’t care if governance doesn’t take place.
As of tomorrow the shutdown will be the longest in American history.
Pompeo seeks to reassure allies amid plans to withdraw troops from Syria » Speaking in Cairo on Thursday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo once again sought to reassure allies in the Middle East, as President Trump looks to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria. He said while it’s time to bring the troops home…
POMPEO: This isn’t a change of mission. We remain committed to the complete dismantling of the ISIS threat and the ongoing threat against radical Islamism in all of its forms.
Pompeo said even after American ground forces are gone, U.S. “airstrikes in the region will continue as targets arise.”
POMPEO: We will keep working with our partners in the coalition to defeat ISIS. We will continue to hunt down terrorists who seek safehavens in Libya and Yemen.
He also took a dig at the Middle East policies of the Obama administration, saying those policies made matters worse in the region and emboldened Iran.
Iran holding U.S. Navy veteran » Pompeo’s remarks came as Iran’s government confirmed this week that it is holding a U.S. Navy veteran from California. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg has more.
SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: A Foreign Ministry spokesman said “An American citizen was arrested in the city of Mashhad some time ago, and his case was conveyed to the U.S. administration on the first days [of his incarceration].” He is identified as 46-year-old Michael White.
The circumstances of his arrest in July remain unclear. His mother, Joanne White, told The New York Times her son went to visit his Iranian girlfriend and never returned. Joanne White said she filed a missing persons report and found out about his arrest three weeks ago from the U.S. State Department.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.
European court rules against German homeschooling family » The European Court of Human Rights has sided with the German government, ruling against a couple who wished to homeschool their children, despite Germany’s ban on homeschooling.
In 2013, dozens of police officers and social workers stormed the house of Petra and Dirk Wunderlich and forcibly removed their children from the home. The government later returned the children to their parents, but their legal status remained unclear.
After German courts sided with the government, the European Court of Human Rights agreed to take up the case. But with that court’s ruling this week, the Wunderlich family is left with only one remaining option. They are considering taking the case to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights, the highest level of the Court.
Election officials in Congo announce winner of presidential election » The electoral commission in the Democratic Republic of Congo on Thursday announced that opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi won the December 30th presidential election in a surprise victory. WORLD Africa reporter Onize Ohikere has that story.
ONIZE OHIKERE, REPORTER: The electoral commission said Thursday that Tshisekedi received nearly 39 percent of the more than 18 million votes cast.
The vote could mark the country’s first peaceful democratic transfer of power, but authorities are still bracing for protests. Opposition candidate Martin Fayulu rejected the results as “rigged, fabricated, and invented” and accused President Joseph Kabila of conspiring with Tshisekedi to sway the results.
Fayulu got 34 percent of the vote, while ruling party candidate Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary grabbed 23 percent.
The Congolese Catholic Church, which had closely observed the election, said the official results do not agree with its own tally.
Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Onize Ohikere.