Tuesday, July 11, 2017

10 things you need to know today

Aides say President Trump didn't know about son's Russia meeting, Senate Republicans aim for health-care vote next week, and more

1. White House says President Trump didn't know about Russia meeting

President Trump did not know until "the last couple of days" that three of his top campaign aides — his son, Donald Trump Jr.; his son-in-law, Jared Kushner; and his then-campaign manager, Paul Manafort — met last year with a Russian lawyer who reportedly said she had damaging information about Trump's Democratic opponent, Hillary Clinton, according to White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders. The meeting with lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya was "very short" with "absolutely no follow up," Sanders said. "The only thing I see inappropriate about the meeting was the people who leaked the information on the meeting after it was voluntarily disclosed." The New York Times reported, citing three sources, that Trump Jr. received an email from a publicist who helped broker the meeting saying that the dirt on Clinton the Russian lawyer had was part of Moscow's effort to help his father win the election.

Source: CNN, The New York Times
2. GOP aims to introduce revised health bill Thursday, vote next week

Senate Republican leaders are aiming to release their revised health-care bill as soon as Thursday, senators and aides said Monday. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office's score estimating the cost of the legislation, and its effect on the number of Americans who will have health insurance would follow on Monday. Senate Republicans have expressed growing doubts that the bill's backers will be able to muster a majority to pass it, because too many moderates and conservatives oppose it, for different reasons. Still, GOP leaders say they want to push for a vote. "My gut assessment is we need to start voting. … We need to get started, and the goal continues to be to do that next week," said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas). More than 100 protesters shouted opposition to the GOP effort to replace ObamaCare outside top GOP senators' offices on Monday. Eighty protesters were arrested.

Source: Politico, ABC News
3. Trump voter-fraud commission halts call for state data as suits loom

President Trump's commission charged with investigating possible election fraud said Monday that it was freezing its controversial request for states to hand over sensitive voter data, which most states have at least party rejected. The panel's designated officer, Andrew Kossack, asked state election officials in an email to "hold on submitting any data," according to court documents. Earlier on Monday, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, accusing it of violating laws on government transparency.

Source: Reuters
4. Federal watchdog revives right to file class-action suits against banks

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau adopted a rule on Monday restoring the rights of Americans to pursue class-action lawsuits against banks and credit card companies. The move by the nation's consumer watchdog means financial firms can no longer force customers with complaints into arbitration, a potentially significant setback for Wall Street. The new rule promises to be controversial, setting up a potential clash with President Trump and House Republicans, who have sought to reduce the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's power under a broad push to reduce regulation of the industry.

Source: The New York Times
5. Army sergeant accused of trying to aid ISIS

Court documents unsealed Monday revealed that an FBI SWAT team arrested an active-duty Army sergeant at his Honolulu apartment on Saturday on charges that he tried to provide military secrets and training to the Islamic State. The Army referred the suspect, Ikaika Erik Kang, 34, to the FBI nearly a year ago, and he had been under surveillance ever since. Kang served as an air traffic control officer in the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks in Wahiawa, FBI spokesman Arnold Laanui said. In a statement, the Army said Kang had sworn allegiance to ISIS, and is believed to have been acting alone. Kang is expected to appear in federal court Monday afternoon.

Source: NBC News
6. At least 16 killed in military plane crash

A U.S. military plane crashed Monday afternoon in a soybean field in rural Mississippi, killing at least 16 people, local and military authorities said. "Most of them are gonna be Marines," Leflore County EMA director Frank Randle said. Marine Corps spokeswoman Lt. Kristine Rascicot confirmed the plane that crashed was a USMC KC-130, a refueling plane. Officials have not said where the plane originated or where it was headed, and Randle was unable to confirm if any civilians were onboard. Greenwood Fire Chief Marcus Bank said the debris field was roughly five miles in radius.

Source: The Clarion Ledger
7. Government cancels search for new FBI headquarters

The federal government is expected to announce Tuesday that it is canceling the decade-long search for a new FBI headquarters. FBI officials have said the deteriorating condition of the bureau's longtime base, the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C., poses security concerns. Federal officials have been urging Congress to replace the crumbling facility with a campus in the capital city's suburbs. The plan was to pay for the new facility with proceeds from the sale of the Hoover building to a developer, and $2 billion in taxpayer money. The announcement on the decision reportedly will come from the General Services Administration, which manages federal real estate.

Source: The Washington Post
8. Snap shares fall below IPO price for first time

Snap Inc. shares dropped below their initial public offering price of $17 per share for the first time on Monday. The stock slipped as low as $16.95 and closed at $16.99 as investors and analysts expressed concern that the company, the parent of popular messaging app Snapchat, might not be able to grow at the pace once expected. "The pace of growth in monetization may not be as fast as we originally modeled," Mark May, an analyst at Citigroup Inc., said last month in a note downgrading the stock. "We expect user growth will remain modest near-term." Many other tech stocks have lost ground in the last month due to questions about their high valuations.

Source: Bloomberg
9. Officer who fatally shot Philando Castile agrees to leave force

The Minnesota police officer who fatally shot black motorist Philando Castile during a July 2016 traffic stop reached an agreement with the city of St. Anthony to leave its police force, the city said in a statement on its website Monday. The Latino officer, Jeronimo Yanez, was acquitted of manslaughter in the case last month. Under the agreement, Yanez will receive a lump sum payment of $48,500, minus deductions and tax withholding, and he will be paid for up to 600 hours of accrued personal leave. "Since Officer Yanez was not convicted of a crime, as a public employee, he would have appeal and grievance rights if terminated," the city said in its statement. Yanez's salary was $72,612.80 a year at the time of the shooting.

Source: Star Tribune
10. Ex-USA Gymnastics doctor to plead guilty to child porn charges

Michigan sports doctor Larry Nassar, the former USA Gymnastics team physician accused of molesting more than 100 women and girls, is scheduled to plead guilty in federal court Tuesday to child pornography charges. Under the plea deal, the U.S. Attorney's Office in Grand Rapids agrees not to further prosecute Nassar over allegations that he molested two children in his swimming pool and, the agreement states, alleged sexual misconduct involving two other children during "interstate/international travel." Victim advocates criticized the deal, saying it denied justice to the alleged victims. Nassar still faces three trials in state court involving alleged sexual abuse charges involving numerous women, and he is being sued separately by dozens of current and former gymnasts who also have accused him of sexually abusing them.

Source: ESPN, The Detroit News
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