Monday morning news: February 4, 2019

Trump dismisses foreign policy criticisms » President Trump is brushing off Republican opposition to his foreign policy.

In a Sunday interview with CBS, Trump said that the intelligence community is wrong in their assessment of Iran and the nuclear deal, just as they were about Iraq:

TRUMP: I will say this, my intelligence people, if they said in fact that Iran is a wonderful kindergarten, I disagree with them 100 percent. President Bush had intel people that said Saddam Hussein in Iraq had nuclear weapons, had all sorts of weapons of mass destruction. Guess what, those intel people got us tied up in a war that we should have never have been in and we’ve spent $7 trillion in the Middle East.

Trump’s comments come on the heels of high-profile testimony last week before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill. During that hearing, Director of National Security Dan Coats said Iran is not seeking a nuclear weapon, but North Korea is.

President Trump is scheduled to hold another summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un later this month.

Meantime, concerns continue over the president’s planned pullout of 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria. The Senate advanced an amendment warning against a—quote—“precipitous withdrawal” while ISIS remains a threat.

Northam refuses to resign » Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is refusing a barrage of resignation calls in the wake of a racist photo on his medical school yearbook page.

The 1984 photo surfaced Friday and shows two people standing side-by-side—one in blackface and another in Ku Klux Klan robes. Northam—a Democrat—initially issued an apology, but then reversed course at a Saturday press conference.

NORTHAM: When I was confronted with the images yesterday, I was appalled that they appeared on my page, but I believe then and now that I am not either of the people in that photo.

Northam said he had not purchased the yearbook and could not explain the origin of the photo. He did acknowledge once using shoe polish on his face to dress up like Michael Jackson for a dance contest

Almost every major Democrat in Virginia has called on Northam to resign. Those names include the state’s attorney general, both U.S. senators, and the senior U.S. House member, along with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Northam’s term ends in 2021. On Saturday he said he plans to remain governor as long as he can lead. While Northam was still speaking, the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus issued a statement saying the scandal has—quote—“eviscerated” his ability to lead.

Cory Booker announces presidential campaign » New Jersey Senator Cory Booker has joined the growing Democratic field for president.

BOOKER: In America we have a common pain. But what we’re missing is a common purpose.

The 49-year-old Booker made his announcement on Friday, the first day of Black History Month. He’s the former mayor of Newark and joined the Senate in 2013.

Booker is already the 10th Democrat to launch a presidential campaign or exploratory committee. The party fielded on five major candidates in 2016.

Pope visits to Arabian peninsula » Pope Francis arrived in the United Arab Emirates Sunday evening, becoming the first pontiff to visit the Arabian peninsula.

Before leaving on the three-day trip, Francis used his Sunday address at St. Peter’s Square to call for immediate implementation of the December peace deal in Yemen.

FRANCIS: [Pope Francis speaking about Yemen]

Francis said: “The cry of these children and their parents rises up to God.”

The UAE is a leading force in the Saudi-led coalition fighting in Yemen. It isn’t clear if he will address the sensitive topic during his trip.

Nearly a million Catholics live in the UAE, mostly immigrants from India and the Philippines working largely in the service industry. More than 120,000 are expected to turn out for an unprecedented open-air mass on Tuesday.

Patriots win low-scoring Super Bowl » The New England Patriots have won their sixth Super Bowl title.

The Patriots defeated the Las Angeles Rams 13-to-3 in a surprisingly low scoring game on Sunday. The two teams were among the league’s highest-scoring offenses during the regular season.

Patriots receiver Julian Edelman took home MVP honors after catching 10 passes for 141 yards.

EDELMAN: We didn’t get to do too much—it was a hard fought game. But we got away with the win. That’s all that matters.  

The victory tied New England with the Pittsburgh Steelers for the most titles in NFL history. And quarterback Tom Brady became the first player in history to win six Super Bowls.

(AP Photo/Alex Brandon) President Donald Trump waves after stepping off Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Sunday, Feb. 3, 2019, 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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