Wednesday morning news: February 13, 2019


President Trump not tipping hand on border compromise » President Trump is not saying whether he’ll sign off on a compromise deal lawmakers reached Monday night to fund the government.

TRUMP: I would hope that there won’t be a shutdown. I am extremely unhappy with what the Democrats have given us. 

The agreement would provide just under one-and-a-half billion dollars for barriers along the southern border. Alabama Republican Senator Richard Shelby said while that’s a far cry from the $5.7 billion the White House wants for a wall…

SHELBY: This is a downpayment on where the president wants to go and where we want to go with him. That is to secure the borders. 

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he thinks the president did—quote—“just fine” in the border deal, and he hopes he’ll sign it.

Democrats won concessions focused on cutting funding for detention beds to curb what they see as overly harsh enforcement by ICE—Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The deadline to avoid another shutdown is midnight Friday.


Acting Defense Sec. reassures Iraqi leaders » Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan was in Baghdad Tuesday working to reassure some Iraqi leaders who were agitated by recent remarks by President Trump. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg has more.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: President Trump recently suggested that the U.S. may use its Iraqi positions to keep an eye on Iran and as a possible staging ground to target remaining ISIS elements within Syria. Those remarks ruffled feathers within the Iraqi government. Some officials were quick to note that neither of those objectives conform to the stated U.S. mission in Iraq and could violate the country’s constitution.  

Shanahan met with Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi and other leaders on Tuesday. He stressed U.S. respect for Iraqi sovereignty, and said the U.S. will stick to its limited military role in the country.

Shanahan said he did not raise the possibility of moving additional U.S. troops into Iraq to offset the coming withdrawal of American forces from Syria. The U.S. currently has about 5,200 troops in Iraq as trainers and advisers to Iraqi forces.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.


Jury finds “El Chapo” guilty » Mexican drug lord Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán is guilty on all counts.

That was a New York jury’s verdict Tuesday in U.S. District Court. The conviction comes after a three-month trial packed with Hollywood-style tales of murder, corruption, and greed.

Acting Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration Uttam Dhillon told reporters…

DHILLON: El Chapo is responsible for unthinkable amounts of death and destruction, both in the United States, and his own country of Mexico.

The jurors, whose identities remained secret, reached a verdict after deliberating six days.

The drug-trafficking and conspiracy convictions could put the 61-year-old Guzmán behind bars for decades in a maximum-security U.S. prison selected to thwart another one of the breakouts that embarrassed his native country. Guzman escaped twice from prison in Mexico.


Aid arrives in Venezuela » Venezuela National Assembly leader Juan Guaidó announced Monday evening the first round of humanitarian aid had arrived in the country. That despite the efforts of embattled President Nicolás Maduro to block aid from entering.

Guaidó posted photos of the supplies, saying the nutritional supplements would provide nearly 2 million rations for thousands of children and pregnant women.

The United States and many other Western nations recognize Guaidó as the rightful president. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Tuesday …

POMPEO: We hope that all nations will see it that way. We believe this is the right thing for freedom and democracy inside of Venezuela.

Guaidó invoked a clause in the Venezuelan Constitution to become interim president, but Maduro refuses to step down.

As for humanitarian aid, Maduro said Tuesday there is no shortage of food and no crisis.


British prime minister asks for more time to rework Brexit deal » British Prime Minister Theresa May told British lawmakers Tuesday that she’s still working to reach a deal with the European Union, and…

MAY: Having secured an agreement with the European Union for further talks, we now need some time to complete that process.

Her appeal came as a Thursday vote looms. Parliament will get another chance to vote on May’s proposal on February 27th if she does not clinch the amendments by this week’s vote.

MAY: The talks are at a crucial stage, and we now all need to hold our nerve to get the changes this house requires.

But Labor Party leader Jeremy Corbyn rejected May’s latest appeal for time.

CORBYN: The prime minister continues to recklessly run down the clock.

He said May hopes the later it gets, the more pressure lawmakers will feel to sign off on what he called a “a deeply flawed deal.”

Last month, Parliament gave May a two-week deadline to revisit the agreement’s “backstop” on the Irish border, the deal’s major sticking point. EU officials insist the agreement is non-negotiable.


(United States Drug Enforcement Administration via AP, File) In this Jan. 19, 2017 photo provided by the United States Drug Enforcement Administration, authorities escort Joaquin “El Chapo” Guzman, center, from a plane to a waiting caravan of SUVs at Long Island MacArthur Airport in Ronkonkoma, N.Y. 

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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