At least one GOP senator is pretty sure Trump doesn't understand the basics of the GOP health-care bill
When President Trump, a month after effusively praising a House Republican health-care bill, dismissed it as too "mean" last week, some people began to suspect that Trump was more interested in getting a legislative victory than in the policy details of the victorious legislation. "I don't know that he ever understood exactly what the provisions of ObamaCare were, or what we're trying to accomplish in our health system today for more affordable quality care," Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said on MSNBC Tuesday, after Nicole Wallace asked what specific ObamaCare policies Trump actually opposed.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 27, 2017
Before he delayed a vote on the Senate GOP plan to replace ObamaCare Tuesday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) asked Trump to invite all 52 Senate Republicans to the White House for a meeting on the legislation. When reporters asked McConnell outside the West Wing if he believed Trump had command of the details of the health-care negotiations, "McConnell ignored the question and smiled blandly," The New York Times reports. Trump has been pretty hands-off in the Senate health-care talks, at McConnell's request, so only a few senators had interacted with Trump on the legislation before Tuesday's meeting, the Times says, setting up this anecdote:
A senator who supports the bill left the meeting at the White House with a sense that the president did not have a grasp of some basic elements of the Senate plan — and seemed especially confused when a moderate Republican complained that opponents of the bill would cast it as a massive tax break for the wealthy, according to an aide who received a detailed readout of the exchange. Mr. Trump said he planned to tackle tax reform later. [The New York Times]
About 45 percent of the tax benefits from the Senate bill would go to the top 1 percent of U.S. households by income — those earning $875,000 a year and upwards would get a $45,500 annual tax cut, and the top 0.1 percent would pocket an average tax cut of $250,000 by 2026 — according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center. The middle class would get a 0.4 percent raise in after-tax income, the analysis found, versus a 2 percent bump for the top 1 percent. You can read how the Senate GOP bill stacks up to Trump's health-care promises at The Week. Peter Weber
On Monday, President Trump ordered the U.S. Trade Representative to find $200 billion worth of Chinese imports that could be subject to new tariffs.
"China apparently has no intention of changing its unfair practices related to the acquisition of American intellectual property and technology," Trump said in a statement. "Rather than altering those practices, it is now threatening United States companies, workers, and farmers who have done nothing wrong."
Trump has already ordered tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods in retaliation for intellectual property theft, which China matched on U.S. exports. Trump said the new tariffs will go into effect if "China refuses to change its practices, and also if it insists on going forward with the new tariffs that it has recently announced," and added he is willing to pursue "additional tariffs on another $200 billion of goods." Catherine Garcia
Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) is calling on the White House to "end the cruel, tragic separation of families" at the border, saying the policy is "not consistent with our values."
In a statement released Monday evening, Murkowski said that the "thousands of children taken from their parents and families must be reunited as quickly as possible and be treated humanely while immigration proceedings are pending." There is no need for a "policy designed to separate families, particularly mothers with young children, without a clear process and focus on the needs of the children," she added. "To blame previous administrations for a wrong committed today is not acceptable."
Murkowski is also "troubled that those seeking asylum are being turned away before they even have the opportunity to file their papers." If Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Secretary of Homeland Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen can't "fix this and fast," she said, "we in Congress must." Catherine Garcia
By passing the National Defense Authorization Act on Monday evening, the Senate voted to reimpose the ban on Chinese telecommunications giant ZTE.
The defense spending bill was passed by a vote of 85-10, and must still be reconciled with the House version. U.S. lawmakers consider ZTE a national security threat, and are concerned that its equipment could be used to spy on the U.S. and carry out cyberattacks. In April, the Commerce Department enacted a seven-year-ban on American companies doing business with ZTE, but President Trump in May tweeted that he was working to keep ZTE afloat because "too many jobs in China" were being lost.
A provision of the National Defense Authorization Act would prohibit the U.S. government from buying or subsidizing equipment from ZTE and another Chinese telecom company, Huawei, among other penalties. Catherine Garcia
Rapper XXXTentacion was shot and killed Monday afternoon outside of a motorcycle dealership in South Florida. He was 20.
The Broward County Sheriff's Office confirmed XXXTentacion's death. Witnesses said the rapper, whose real name was Jahseh Onfroy, was leaving the dealership when a gunman ran up to his vehicle and shot him.
XXXTentacion's second album, ?, was released in March and debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. He had been under house arrest while awaiting trial for domestic violence, but a judge let him out so he could go on tour, TMZ reports. Catherine Garcia
ProPublica obtained audio of migrant children being separated from their parents. It's horrifying and heartbreaking.
The horrors of the Trump administration's decision to separate immigrant families at the border can be hard to fathom, even as images and descriptions of the detention facilities circulate the web. On Monday, ProPublica published alarming audio from a facility where children had just been separated from their parents, illustrating the trauma and desperation inflicted by the practice.
In the excruciating recording, children sob and wail for their parents, begging to contact their family members and desperately trying to figure out what's going to happen to them. ProPublica reports that the children are between 4 and 10 years old, and were only separated from their parents for about 24 hours at the time of the audio, which was recorded last week. As many as 30,000 children could be detained by August if the Trump administration continues to separate families at its current pace, a senior administration official said.
The "zero tolerance" policy announced in April by Attorney General Jeff Sessions has led to hundreds of children being held in facilities where they spend most of the day in cages awaiting placement with temporary foster families or to be picked up by a family member who is legally authorized to live in the U.S.
It's a difficult listen, but the recording demonstrates just how painful these separations are for children and families fleeing violence and instability in their home countries. Listen to the devastating audio below, via ProPublica. Summer Meza
Big news for Waterloo fans.
No, the second Mamma Mia! movie was not leaked a month early. Napoleon's famous hat from his just-as-famous losing battle was sold at auction for the equivalent of $325,000 Monday, exactly 203 years after his crushing surrender, BBC reports.
It's a small price to pay to emulate the French style icon, whose bicorne hat elongated his actually-not-short stature and made sure he could be seen in battle. This hat is one of only 19 in existence, though Napoleon owned about 120 until he was exiled, per BBC. One from the Battle of Marengo sold for around $2.2 million in 2014, yet this Waterloo exclusive was only expected to fetch around $46,000.
The Los Angeles Times is locally owned for the first time in nearly 20 years, after Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong took ownership of the newspaper Monday, reports CNN Money.
Soon-Shiong acquired the Times, The San Diego Union-Tribune, and the rest of the California News Group from Tronc for $500 million, telling employees in a memo that he hopes to make the Times competitive with The New York Times and The Washington Post. "I've not gone into this transaction from a financial basis at all," he wrote. "There's an opportunity to make a major impact on the nation."
In his optimistic note, Soon-Shiong told Times employees that he considered "fake news" to be "a cancer of our times," and forecasted positive growth for the paper because of his dedication to "the essential role of journalism."
The Times was previously owned by Tronc, the Chicago-based newspaper group, but the company announced its intention to sell the Los Angeles paper back in February. Soon-Shiong is a surgeon and part-owner of the Los Angeles Lakers, and he has also expressed interest in buying other regional papers around the country like the Chicago Tribune, The Baltimore Sun, and the New York Daily News, reports NPR. Read more at CNN Money. Summer Meza