Tuesday morning news, January 28, 2020

Trump defense team blasts House Democrats, shrugs off Bolton report » President Trump’s defense team stuck to the plan on Monday in the Senate chamber, ripping the arguments of House impeachment managers. One member of that team, Ken Starr, told senators…

STARR: Has the House of Representatives, with all due respect, in these two articles of impeachment charged a crime or a violation of established law or not? 

White House lawyers shrugged off a media report based on a leaked excerpt from a forthcoming book by former national security adviser John Bolton. According to the New York Times, Bolton claimed President Trump said he wanted military aid to Ukraine withheld until it agreed to announce corruption investigations involving Democrats. 

Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said the report changes nothing. 

SEKULOW: We deal with transcript evidence. We deal with publicly available information. We do not deal with speculation, allegations that are not based on evidentiary standards at all. 

President Trump on Monday refuted the report. He told reporters… 

TRUMP: Nothing was ever said to John Bolton, but I have not seen a manuscript. I guess he’s writing a book. I have not seen it. 

Trump set to announce Middle East peace proposal » The president heard there outside the White House alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The two leaders met on Monday to discuss a proposed Middle East peace plan. And President Trump said he plans to announce the details of the proposal today at 12 o’clock Eastern Time. 

TRUMP: It’s the closest it’s ever come, and we’ll see what happens. We have the support of the prime minister. We have the support of the other parties. And we think we’ll ultimately have the support of the Palestinians, but we’re going to see.

The president did concede that the Palestinians have already rejected the peace deal. But he said he expects that even as they publicly denounce the proposal, they’ll quietly be negotiating.  

The president will meet with Netanyahu again today. He’ll also discuss the peace plan today with the prime minister’s chief political rival, Benny Gantz. 

Supreme Court allows new green card rule » A divided Supreme Court on Monday allowed the Trump administration to put in place new rules that could affect permanent resident status for immigrants who use food stamps, Medicaid, and housing vouchers.

Under the new policy, immigration officials can deny green cards to legal immigrants over their use of public benefits.

The high court ruled 5-4 in the administration’s favor. The decision reversed a ruling from the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York.

Lawsuits against the rules will continue, but immigrants applying for permanent residency must now show they would not be a burden to the country.

U.S. military plane crashes in Afghanistan » An American military aircraft crashed in eastern Afghanistan on Monday. WORLD Radio’s Anna Johansen has more.

ANNA JOHANSEN, REPORTER:The Pentagon said the downed plane appeared to be a Bombardier E-11A. That’s a U.S. Air Force electronic surveillance plane. 

Military officials could not say what caused the crash, but there were no immediate indications that enemy fire brought it down. 

A journalist in the area said he saw the burning aircraft. He told the Associated Press that he saw two bodies at the front of the aircraft, and that the front of the aircraft was badly burned, but the tail section was largely intact. His information could not be independently verified.

He added that the crash site was roughly 6 miles from a U.S. military base. And he said Taliban militants were combing the nearby village for two people they suspect may have survived the crash. The Taliban have total control over the area where the plane went down.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Anna Johansen. 

Officials search for remains from helicopter crash that killed Kobe Bryant » Coroner’s officials scoured a hillside outside Los Angeles on Monday—working to recover victims of a Sunday helicopter crash. Initial reports suggested five people were on board the chopper. But officials later said nine people died in the crash, including former NBA superstar Kobe Bryant.

Investigators are still trying to determine the cause of the accident, but local police departments say the weather was so foggy that they grounded their own helicopters. 

Los Angeles County Sheriff Alex Villanueva…

VILLANUEVA: We do know there was an issue of visibility and a low ceiling. The actual conditions at the time of impact, that is still yet to be determined. 

About 20 investigators spent Monday combing through debris scattered over an area the size of a football field.

Among those killed in the crash were Bryant’s 13-year-old daughter, Giannia, girls basketball coach Christina Mauser, longtime college baseball coach John Altobelli; his wife, Keri; and daughter, Alyssa, who played on the same basketball team as Bryant’s daughter.

GM investing 2.2 billion in Detroit factory » General Motors is spending $2.2 billion to refurbish an underused Detroit factory—part of its plan to make more electric and self-driving vehicles. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: GM said in a statement Monday that the factory will start building the company’s first electric pickup truck late next year. It also plans to build a self-driving shuttle for GM’s Cruise autonomous vehicle unit. 

Eventually, the company expects to hire more than 2,000 employees at the factory. 

In November of 2018 GM announced plans to close the factory along with three others in the United States. But during recent negotiations with the United Auto Workers union, the company promised to reopen this one to build electric vehicles.

The plant is now operating with one shift of about 900 workers making Cadillacs and Chevy Impala sedans.

The factory will shut down at the end of February to refurbish and retool the facility. When it reopens, it will be GM’s first assembly plant to be fully dedicated to electric vehicles.

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

A quick correction from yesterday’s news. In our report on the Grammy Awards, I incorrectly referred to the winner of several awards as Billie English. Her name is, of course, Billie Eilish.

(AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes) A fellow National Transportation Safety Board officer listens to NTSB member Jennifer Homendy, as she briefs the media about the helicopter crash that killed former Los Angeles Lakers star Kobe Bryant and eight others, at the Lost Hills substation in Calabasas, Calif., Monday, Jan. 27, 2020. 

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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