News Wrap: Esper criticizes Turkey for purchase of Russian-made air defenses


JUDY WOODRUFF: And in the day’s other news:
A white police officer in New York who put a black man, Eric Garner, in a fatal choke
hold in 2014 will not face federal charges. Garner could be heard gasping “I can’t breathe”
as officer Daniel Pantaleo gripped him during an arrest. A state grand jury already declined to indict
Pantaleo, and, today, federal prosecutors said they could not prove that he willfully
violated Garner’s civil rights. Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr, called the finding
an outrage, and demanded that Pantaleo be fired. GWEN CARR, Mother of Eric Garner: Five years
ago, my son said “I can’t breathe” 11 times. And, today, we can’t breathe, because they
have let us down. Officer Pantaleo and all the officers who
was involved in my son’s death that day need to be off the force. The streets of New York City is not safe with
them walking around. JUDY WOODRUFF: A senior U.S. Justice Department
official said that Attorney General William Barr himself made the decision, overruling
officials who wanted to charge Pantaleo. We will delve into the decision-making after
the news summary. As of today, federally funded family planning
clinics had to stop referring women for abortions. Federal courts allowed the Trump administration
to begin enforcing the referral ban until legal challenges are decided. The move is seen as a blow to Planned Parenthood,
but the group said it would forgo the funds for now and continue making abortion referrals. The nominee for U.S. secretary of defense
today criticized Turkey’s purchase of Russian-made air defenses. The U.S. strongly opposed the move by the
NATO ally. Mark Esper, who is currently the secretary
of the Army, told his Senate confirmation hearing that Turkey’s decision was the wrong
one. MARK ESPER, U.S. Defense Secretary Nominee:
Very disappointing. Turkey has been a longstanding NATO ally,
a very capable one, I think they were one of the original allies, if I think back to
when the alliance formed. And so it is very disheartening to see how
they have drifted over the past several years. JUDY WOODRUFF: Later, President Trump confirmed
that Turkey’s purchase from Russia means that the U.S. will not sell advanced fighter jets
to the Turks. He claimed the Obama administration created
the problem by failing to sell an American missile defense system to Turkey in the first
place. North Korea suggested today that it may lift
a 20-month moratorium on nuclear and missile tests. That came as talks have stalled on ending
the North’s nuclear program. But President Trump said again there is no
hurry about reaching an agreement. For the first time, the European Commission
will have a woman as president. The outgoing German defense minister, Ursula
von der Leyen, was confirmed today. She won a bare majority of votes in the European
Parliament, in an outcome that was met with applause after weeks of deadlock. The new leader promised to focus on climate
change and gender equality. Back in this country, the head of Facebook’s
new digital currency, Libra, faced criticism from senators in both parties. They branded the social media giant dangerous
for failing to protect users’ personal data. In turn, Facebook’s David Marcus said the
company is working to earn back people’s trust, and he insisted digital transactions will
safeguard consumers. DAVID MARCUS, Facebook Executive: We will
take the time to get this right. We expect the review of Libra to be among
the most extensive ever. We are fully committed to working with regulators,
here and around the world. And let me be clear and unambiguous. Facebook will not offer the Libra digital
currency until we have fully addressed regulators’ concerns and received appropriate approvals. JUDY WOODRUFF: Facebook says it hopes to launch
its Libra cryptocurrency in 2020. On Wall Street today, the Dow Jones industrial
average lost 23 points to close at 27335. The Nasdaq fell 35 points, and the S&P 500
slipped 10. And NASA kicked off celebrations today for
the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11, when men first landed on the moon. Crew member Michael Collins, who is now 88,
was on hand this morning at Cape Canaveral for the exact moment when he, Buzz Aldrin
and Neil Armstrong blasted off on July 16, 1969. Five days later, Armstrong became the first
human to walk on the moon. He passed away in 2012. Still to come on the “NewsHour”: what is behind
the Department of Justice decision to not charge police in the killing of Eric Garner;
on the ground in Brazil, where refugees from Venezuela search for a safer life; Colombia’s
foreign minister on how his country is grappling with Venezuela refugees and a fragile peace;
plus, much more.

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