Friday morning news: April 19, 2019

Reaction to Mueller report mixed in Washington » Washington is still buzzing over Thursday’s release of special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia report with reaction predictably split.

President Trump celebrated the release as he spoke at an event for the Wounded Warrior Project.

TRUMP: They are having a good day. I’m having a good day too. It’s called no collusion, no obstruction. 

And GOP Senator Roy Blunt said it’s time to close the book on the Russia probe.

BLUNT: I think generally people are ready to move on, and the public ability to look at the Mueller report helps us do that. 

But Democrats, including House Judiciary Chairman Jerrold Nadler, had a different take.

NADLER: It is clear that the special counsel’s office conducted an incredibly thorough investigation in order to preserve the evidence for future investigators.

Adam Schiff, who chairs the House Intelligence Committee, said lawmakers will continue to investigate possible obstruction of justice on the president’s part.  

SCHIFF: The report outlines multiple attempts by the president to mislead the country, to interfere with the investigation.

The Mueller report turned out to be nearly 450 pages. Attorney General William Barr said he made only the legally required redactions. And he added that a group of lawmakers will soon be allowed to view the report with most of those redactions lifted.  

U.S. confirms North Korean weapons test, Pyongyang wants Pompeo out of talks » The Pentagon has confirmed that North Korea test fired a new weapon this week. Leader Kim Jong Un oversaw the launch of what officials called a “tactical guided weapon.”

But Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said the U.S. isn’t worried about it.

SHANAHAN: The test or the launch, depending on how you want to characterize it was not a ballistic missile, so I think that’s a statement in and of itself. 

Also this week, Pyongyang told the White House that it no longer wants to deal with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and wants him removed from future negotiations.

And the North Korean Foreign Ministry accused Pompeo of playing down the significance of comments by Kim Jong Un. He said last week that Washington has until the end of the year to offer mutually acceptable terms for an agreement to salvage nuclear talks.

Meantime, Russia announced Thursday that Kim will visit Moscow later this month at the invitation of President Vladimir Putin.

More than 50 medical professionals charged in opioid bust » Federal authorities this week charged 60 people in a wide-ranging opioid bust.

GLASSMAN: We are here this morning to announce the largest prescription opioid law enforcement action ever. 

U.S. attorney Ben Glassman of Cincinnati heard there.

Prosecutors charged 31 doctors, calling them “white-coated drug dealers.” Of the 60 charged, 53 are medical professionals tied to nearly 400,000 prescriptions.

GLASSMAN: The opioid crisis here in Ohio, and throughout this region, is the public health and safety crisis of our lifetimes. 

Health officials have reported there were more than 70,000 drug overdose deaths in the U.S. in 2017. West Virginia and Ohio have regularly been among the hardest hit states as the opioid crisis has swelled in recent years.

Boeing close to seeking FAA approval of software fixes » Boeing has completed software updates to the anti-stall system linked to two deadly crashes involving 737 Max jetliners. And CEO Dennis Muilenburg said the company is close to asking U.S. regulators to sign off on the fixes.

MUILENBURG: We completed the final engineering flight test of the updated software with our technical and engineering leaders on board the airplane. That was the final test flight prior to the certification flight. 

Muilenburg heard there in a video message from a Boeing flight line near Seattle.

Boeing has completed more than a hundred successful test flights with the new software. But it could still be months before Max jets are cleared to carry commercial passengers again. And even when the Federal Aviation Administration certifies the fixes, other nations have said they won’t take the FAA’s word for it this time.

Man brings gas cans, lighters to New York cathedral » New York City Police said Thursday that they arrested a New Jersey man on Wednesday night who may have been plotting to burn down St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

NYPD Deputy Commissioner John Miller said an unidentified 37-year-old man drove up to the church in downtown Manhattan in a minivan. He got out and walked around the area, then returned to his vehicle to get two cans of gasoline and that’s not all.

MILLER: Two bottles of lighter fluid, the type of which you would use to light a charcoal grill or a barbecue; two extended lighters, butane lighters controlled by a trigger, and entered St. Patrick’s Cathedral. 

Miller said the suspect is known to police.

Officials say they can’t speak to his intent, but the circumstances certainly point to arson. The incident comes just days after a fire ravaged the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris.

North Carolina governor vetoes born-alive bill » As expected, North Carolina’s Democratic Governor Roy Cooper on Thursday vetoed protections for babies who survive abortions. WORLD Radio’s Sarah Schweinsberg reports.

SARAH SCHWEINSBERG, REPORTER: State lawmakers passed the “Born-Alive Abortion Survivors Protection Act” earlier this week. It would have required doctors to offer the same care to babies born alive after botched abortions as they would to other patients.

Governor Cooper said laws already protect newborns and the bill is—quote— “an unnecessary interference between doctors and their patients.”

The legislature, which has Republican majorities in both chambers, would need support from Democrats to override the veto.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Sarah Schweinsberg.

(AP Photo/Jon Elswick) Special counsel Robert Mueller’s redacted report on Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election as released on Thursday, April 18, 2019, is photographed 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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