10 things you need to know today: May 3, 2017
Hillary Clinton says Comey cost her the election, Trump says the Senate might need to end the filibuster, and more
Hillary Clinton says she made mistakes but Comey cost her the election
Hillary Clinton on Tuesday made her strongest statements against President Trump since the November election, declaring herself "part of the resistance." Clinton took personal responsibility for her defeat, saying she made some big mistakes in her campaign, but said she would have beaten Trump had it not been for Russian interference and FBI Director James Comey's letter to Congress, just days before the vote, reviving questions over her use of a private email server while she was serving as then-President Barack Obama's secretary of state. "If the election had been on October 27, I would be your president," she told CNN's Christiane Amanpour at a Women for Women event in New York. Trump later tweeted that "Comey was the best thing that ever happened to Hillary Clinton in that he gave her a free pass for many bad deeds!" Trump also said: "The phony … Trump/Russia story was an excuse used by the Democrats as justification for losing the election. Perhaps Trump just ran a great campaign?"
Trump says ending filibuster and a 'good shutdown' might be what the country needs
President Trump said Tuesday that the Senate might need to end the use of the filibuster, expressing frustration that Democrats and scattered Republican opponents have been able to block central components of his legislative agenda. Trump also tweeted that, although Congress averted a government shutdown with a deal to keep federal agencies funded for the rest of the fiscal year, "Our country needs a good 'shutdown' in September to fix mess!" Trump's call for a shutdown as leverage for a better federal budget deal came as stiff opposition from Democrats and division among Republicans has kept him from passing legislation he promised, even though his fellow Republicans control both the House and the Senate. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said getting rid of the filibuster "will not happen," because eliminating the 60-vote threshold required to end debate on legislation would "fundamentally change" the way the Senate has worked "for a very long time."
Michael Slager pleads guilty to civil rights charges in Walter Scott's death
Michael Slager, a white former South Carolina police officer, pleaded guilty Tuesday to violating the civil rights of Walter Scott, an unarmed black motorist he fatally shot after a 2015 traffic stop. Slager was fired after cellphone video footage of the shooting went viral and fueled nationwide criticism of police treatment of minority citizens. Slager was charged with murder, but his trial ended in a hung jury in December. Under the plea deal, the state murder charges will be dropped, and Slager, who shot Scott several times as he ran away, admitted to using deadly force "even though it was objectively unreasonable under the circumstances." Scott's brother, Anthony Scott, said, "For me and my family, the healing starts today."
Trump and Putin have 'very good' talk on North Korea and Syria
President Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had what the White House called a "very good" phone conversation on Tuesday, in which they talked about everything from North Korea's recent provocations to Syria to terrorism in the Middle East. The leaders had not spoken since Trump launched missiles at an air base of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, a Russian ally, an action Moscow sharply criticized. Trump and Putin also agreed to meet in person at the G20 summit in Hamburg in July. "President Trump and President Putin agreed that the suffering in Syria has gone on for far too long and that all parties must do all they can to end the violence," the White House said.
House GOP continue scrambling for health-care votes
House Republicans struggled on Tuesday to rally support for a revised bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, but still lacked enough votes to pass it. President Trump continued to call for a vote, saying "it's time now" to push through the legislation. The head of the hardline conservative Freedom Caucus, Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), said the GOP remained "a handful of votes away." His group got behind the bill thanks to revisions giving states the right to opt out of some of the overhaul's requirements on insurers, such as charging the same rates for sick and healthy customers. Moderates, however, remain reluctant because they want to protect people with pre-existing conditions from losing coverage or being penalized by insurers.
Report: DOJ won't charge Baton Rouge officers over fatal shooting of Alton Sterling
The Justice Department will not file federal civil rights charges against the white police officers involved in the videotaped fatal shooting of a black man, Alton Sterling, in Baton Rouge last year, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. The death of Sterling sparked unrest in the Louisiana city. Sterling's family members said officials had not notified them yet. "We have not received word, nor has the family been given any notice of upcoming updates regarding this case," said Ryan Julison, a spokesman for the Sterling family's attorneys. If the federal case has been closed, it will be the first inquiry into a high-profile police shooting to be completed under the Trump administration.
Texas officer fired over fatal shooting of black teen
Balch Springs, Texas, police chief Jonathan Haber said Tuesday that his department had fired the officer who shot and killed black teen Jordan Edwards as he rode in a vehicle leaving a loud house party. Haber said the officer, identified as Roy Oliver, was fired for violating department policies. The shooting of Edwards, a 15-year-old high school freshman, prompted protests linking the case to other fatal police shootings of African-Americans around the country. Edwards, his two brothers, and two friends were leaving the party after somebody called the police to complain about underage drinking. At first, the police department said the officer fired as the vehicle's driver headed toward him in "an aggressive manner," but Haber later said body-cam video showed that the vehicle was really driving away.
Heritage Foundation board fires president Jim DeMint
The 22-member board of the Heritage Foundation on Tuesday unanimously voted to fire the influential conservative think tank's president, Jim DeMint, blaming him for what board Chairman Thomas A. Saunders III called "significant and worsening management issues that led to a breakdown of internal communications and cooperation." DeMint, a former South Carolina senator, said the assessment was "puzzling" because the board had praised his work over four years on the job and approved annual performance bonuses for his whole management team. DeMint also said he was proud of the foundation's accomplishments during his tenure, including its work on President Trump's transition team.
Auto sales decline in longest slump since 2009
U.S. automakers reported Tuesday that their sales declined for the fourth straight month in April. That makes the slump their longest since 2009 during the financial crisis. "The market is tapped out," said Adam Silverleib, vice president of Silko Honda, a Massachusetts dealership. He added that recent consumer optimism "hasn't translated into what's happening in dealerships where we're trying to sell cars." The top six automakers in the U.S. market all posted retreating sales that were worse than expected, sending Ford and Fiat Chrysler stock falling by more than 4 percent, and General Motors by nearly 3 percent. Manufacturers already were getting ready to cut production, which could spell job losses just as President Trump is counting on the car industry to help add U.S. jobs.
Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 leads 2017 Tony nominations
The nominations for the 71st annual Tony Awards were announced live Tuesday morning, with the musical Natasha, Pierre, & The Great Comet of 1812 and the revival of Hello, Dolly! leading the way. Great Comet, a take on Leo Tolstoy's War and Peace, led with 12 nominations, including Best Musical, Best Original Score, and Best Performance for lead actor Josh Groban in his Broadway debut. Hello, Dolly! landed 10 nominations, including a nod for Lead Actress Bette Midler. Other contenders for Best New Musical include the heart-wrenching Dear Evan Hansen, the 9/11-based Come From Away, and Groundhog Day, adapted from the 1993 Bill Murray movie. The 2017 Tony Awards will be hosted by Kevin Spacey and held June 11 at New York's Radio City Music Hall.