Friday morning news, February 14, 2020

Senate votes to limit Trump’s war powers » The Senate voted Thursday to limit President Trump’s authority to launch military strikes against Iran.

AUDIO: The yeas are 55, the nays are 45. The joint resolution as amended is passed. 

Eight Republicans crossed the aisle to approve the measure. 

It states that Trump must win approval from Congress before ordering any further military action against Iran. 

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said “the Senate just sent a clear shot across the bow.” 

SCHUMER: A bipartisan majority of senators don’t want the president waging war without congressional approval. 

But Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, who wrote the measure, said it’s not about President Trump or even the presidency, but instead was an important reassertion of Congress’s power to declare war.

The Democratic-controlled House passed a separate, non-binding war powers resolution last month. 

But the votes are ultimately symbolic—as it would take a two-thirds majority in the House and in the GOP-run Senate to override a Trump veto.

House moves to revive ERA » Democratic lawmakers want to void the expiration date of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The original deadline for states to ratify the women’s rights measure was in 1982, but the House voted on Thursday to reopen the approval process. Speaker Nancy Pelosi…

PELOSI: It’s not just about women. The ERA will strengthen America, unleashing the full power of women. 

But opponents say it won’t give women any more rights than they already have and that it could be used to, among other things, remove legal protections for the unborn. 

Virginia lawmakers ratified the amendment last month, bringing the number of states that have approved it up to the required 38.

The resolution is unlikely to pass in the Republican-controlled Senate.

Attorney General Barr: Trump’s tweets ‘make it impossible to do my job’ » Attorney General William Barr on Thursday suggested President Trump is causing problems at the Justice Department with his frequent public remarks about department business. He told ABC News… 

BARR: To have public statements and tweets made about the department, about people in the department or men and women here, about cases pending in the department, and about judges before whom we have cases make it impossible for me to do my job. 

Barr’s comments come amid a firestorm over this week’s reversal of the prosecutors’ recommended sentence in the Roger Stone case. Stone is a longtime associate of President Trump and after Trump’s public remarks about the case, Democrats accused Barr of doing the president’s bidding. Barr is scheduled to testify about the decision before the House Judiciary Committee on March 31st.

Trump fires back at former White House chief of staff John Kelly » Meantime, President Trump on Thursday lashed out against former White House chief of staff John Kelly. That after Kelly defended a former national security aide who offered key testimony in the impeachment inquiry. WORLD Radio’s Kristen Flavin reports. 

KRISTEN FLAVIN, REPORTER: The president tweeted Thursday that—quote—“Like so many X’s, he misses the action & just can’t keep his mouth shut, which he actually has a military and legal obligation to do.” 

Those comments came after Kelly defended Lt. Colonel Alexander Vindman. He was one of the officials who raised concerns about Trump’s July phone call with Ukraine’s president. 

Vindman was ousted last week from his position as a Ukraine specialist with the White House National Security Council.

John Kelly, a former Marine General, served as Trump’s chief of staff for 18 months until January of last year. 

He said Vindman was correct to raise concerns. According to a report by the Atlantic, he said “We teach them, ‘Don’t follow an illegal order,’” And if you’re ever given one, you’ll raise it to whoever gives it to you that this is an illegal order, and then tell your boss.’”  

He said Vindman did exactly as he was taught. 

Reporting for WORLD Radio, I’m Kristen Flavin. 

Evacuee from China tests positive for COVID-19 » U.S. officials on Thursday announced that an evacuee from China under quarantine in Texas has tested positive for the COVID-19 coronavirus. 

The patient, who had been flown to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio last week, is now in isolation at a hospital and was reported in stable condition. 

Globally, the virus has infected more than 60,000 people and it has killed more than 1,300.

Esper: U.S., Taliban have negotiated proposal for “7-day reduction in violence” » Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Thursday that “the United States and the Taliban have negotiated a proposal for a seven-day reduction in violence.” 

ESPER: I’m here today consulting with allies about this proposal, and we have had a series of productive bilateral and collective meetings about the path forward. 

Esper said he is hopeful that this will be the first step toward a larger peace deal.

He emphasized throughout their talks that the United States is committed to defeating ISIS and to ensuring no terrorist group again uses Afghanistan as a safe haven. 

U.S. officials say any eventual deal with the Taliban would include a pledge not to associate with terrorist groups like ISIS or al-Qaeda.

(AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite) Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., talks to reporters just before the House vote to remove the deadline for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Feb. 13, 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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