Wednesday morning news: February 27, 2019

House votes to block Trump’s emergency declaration » House Democrats on Tuesday passed a bill to block President Trump’s emergency declaration to build a border wall.

AUDIO: On this vote the yays are 245, the nays are 182. 

Democrats argue the president is overstepping his constitutional bounds, sidestepping Congress to access funds. And House Democratic Caucus Chairman Hakeem Jeffries added…

JEFFRIES: There is no crisis at our southern border.

The vote throws the political hot potato to the GOP-led Senate. South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham said the president’s on firm legal ground, adding that his declaration is “very specific and limited”…

GRAHAM: The only question is, is there really a crisis at our border. If you don’t believe the president, go down there and check it out for yourself, but ask the people in charge of securing the border. They will tell you we have a crisis. 

Most Senate Republicans agree with Graham — most, but not all.

There could be enough GOP defections in the Senate to send the bill to President Trump’s desk, though he has vowed to veto it.

President Trump in Vietnam for North Korea summit » Air Force One’s jet engines roared on a tarmac in Hanoi, Vietnam on Tuesday as President Trump arrived for his second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney traveled with the president.

Trump and Kim will hold a series of official meetings tomorrow. The White House says the mission remains getting North Korea to completely abandon its nuclear weapons program. Kim is expected to push for partial sanctions relief up front.

Michael Cohen testifies before several congressional panels » President Trump’s former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, met behind closed doors Tuesday with members of the Senate Intelligence Committee. That’s the same committee he admitted to lying to in 2017 about a proposed Trump Tower in Russia.

Tomorrow, he’ll testify privately to members of the House Intelligence Committee. Committee Chairman Adam Schiff told ABC This Week, he’ll have plenty of questions…

SCHIFF: Why the false statements before our committee when he first appeared? Did they go beyond what they told us about Moscow Trump Tower into other areas as well? Who would have been aware of the false testimony he was giving? 

But today, Cohen will testify publicly before the House Oversight Committee. Many on Capitol Hill expect him to accuse President Trump of immoral and illegal acts.

GOP candidate in disputed N.C. House race won’t run in new election » The GOP candidate in the nation’s last undecided House race will not run in the newly ordered do-over election.

After the November election, Republican Mark Harris held a slim lead over Democrat Dan McCready in North Carolina’s 9th District. But the state’s election board tossed out the results of that vote over suspicions of voter fraud.

Harris said he will need surgery next month and is bowing out over health concerns. No date has been set for the new election.

Judge rules men-only military draft is discriminatory » A federal judge in Texas ruled Friday that requiring only men to register for the military draft is unconstitutional. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin has more.

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: District Judge Gray Miller agreed with two male plaintiffs in a 2013 lawsuit. They argued that the men-only draft is a form of sex-based discrimination.

The Supreme Court ruled in 1981 that women didn’t have to register for the draft because they could not serve in combat. But Miller said that no longer applies since the Pentagon lifted the ban on women in combat in 2013.

But the judge’s decision does not require the government to immediately change its policy. The government had asked Miller to delay the lawsuit to give Congress time to consider whether women should have to register.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin.

British lawmakers will have the option to delay Brexit » British Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday promised lawmakers they will have the choice to delay the Brexit date rather than leave the European Union without a transition deal.

If the House of Commons rejects May’s revised Brexit deal in a March 12th vote, lawmakers will then have a choice: Vote to leave the EU without an agreement or extend the Brexit deadline by up to three months.

MAY: But let me be clear. I do not want to see Article 50 extended. Our absolute focus should be on working to get a deal and leaving on the 29th of March. 

May is still working to negotiate changes to her Brexit agreement with the EU to win over British lawmakers.

Australian cardinal convicted of molesting two choirboys » Demonstrators shouted at Australian Cardinal George Pell, as he left a courthouse in Melbourne Monday night.

DEMONSTRATORS: You’re a monster!

He is now the most senior Catholic cleric ever convicted of child sex abuse. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg has that story.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: George Pell was top financial adviser to Pope Francis and the Vatican’s economy minister. On Tuesday, the Vatican announced that Pell was convicted in December of molesting two choirboys.

The County Court of Victoria state demanded the verdict be kept secret while prosecutors pursued another abuse case against him. That case was recently dropped.

A sentencing hearing begins today for Pell, who faces up to 50 years in prison. He lodged an appeal last week and maintains his innocence.

The announcement comes amid a global sexual abuse crisis engulfing the Roman Catholic Church. Officials at an Iowa Diocese on Monday published a list of 28 priests credibly accused of abusing more than 100 boys and girls.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

(AP Photo/ Evan Vucci) President Donald Trump meets North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Wednesday, Feb. 27, 2019, in Hanoi. 

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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