10 things you need to know today: June 30, 2017
Trump's scaled back travel ban takes effect, Republicans slam Trump for Twitter rant against Morning Joe hosts, and more
Trump's watered down travel ban takes effect
Parts of President Trump's travel ban took effect Thursday evening, tightening already strict visa policies toward travelers from six Muslim-majority nations. The restrictions, slated to last three months, started at 8 p.m. The administration promised an orderly transition, unlike the chaos that erupted at airports when the full policy briefly took effect earlier this year before court challenges blocked it. Customs and Border Protection spokesman Daniel Hetlage predicted "business as usual at our ports of entry." People with valid visas can still travel from the targeted countries — Syria, Sudan, Somalia, Libya, Iran, and Yemen. Those seeking new visas will have to be able to document that they have a close relative or an existing relationship with a school, business, or other entity in the U.S. Hawaii immediately filed a challenge, asking a court to clarify that relatives not specifically listed by the administration could not be denied entry.
Lawmakers criticize Trump for Twitter rant against Morning Joe hosts
Leading Republican lawmakers denounced President Trump on Thursday for unleashing a harsh personal attack against Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski, tweeting that she had been "bleeding badly from a face-lift" in a recent visit to his Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach. "Obviously, I don't see that as an appropriate comment," House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said. "What we're trying to do around here is improve the tone and the civility of the debate, and this obviously doesn't help do that." Trump also slammed Brzezinski's co-host and fiance Joe Scarborough, referring to the former Republican congressman as "Psycho Joe" and Brzezinski as "low I.Q. Crazy Mika." White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended Trump's remarks, noting that when someone criticizes Trump he "fights fire with fire." Brzezinski and Scarborough responded in a Friday Washington Post op-ed, saying that Trump is "not well."
CBO: GOP health bill would cut Medicaid spending by 35 percent over 20 years
Senate Republicans' proposal to replace ObamaCare would slash Medicaid spending by 35 percent over the next two decades, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office said Thursday. The report, requested by Democrats, provided a longer-term forecast of the effects of the bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is working on a revised proposal, hoping to win over some of the at least nine Republicans who opposed the original plan — the GOP can't pass the bill if it loses more than two of the party's 52 senators. The current proposal caps per-person Medicaid spending and phases out ObamaCare's expansion of the program, which provides health coverage for low-income people. As a result, the CBO said, the plan would reduce Medicaid spending from 2 percent of gross domestic product to 1.6 percent in 2036.
State officials refuse to give voter data to Trump commission
Officials in several states on Thursday refused to turn over voter rolls requested in a letter from the vice chairman of President Trump's commission on election integrity, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach. In the letter, which was sent to all 50 states Wednesday, Kobach requested information on voters including names, birthdays, and a decade of their voting history. The letter asked for data "publicly available under the laws of your state." Officials from Virginia, California, and Kentucky said they would not comply. "At best this commission was set up as a pretext to validate Donald Trump's alternative election facts, and at worst is a tool to commit large-scale voter suppression," Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) said.
Iraq declares an end to ISIS's 'caliphate'
Iraq declared the end of the Islamic State's self-declared caliphate on Thursday, after government forces captured the remains of the historic Al-nuri Mosque in the heart of Mosul, ISIS's de facto capital. The capture of the destroyed 850-year-old mosque and its iconic minaret marked a significant symbolic victory, because that is where the ISIS (also known by its Arabic acronym Daesh) leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared himself ruler of all Muslims. "The return of al-Nuri Mosque and al-Hadba minaret to the fold of the nation marks the end of the Daesh state of falsehood," Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said in a statement. Col. Ryan Dillon, a spokesman of the U.S.-led coalition supporting Iraqi forces, said Mosul's liberation was days away, although the remaining fight would be difficult.
House passes two bills to crack down on undocumented immigrants
The House of Representatives on Thursday passed two bills that would support President Trump's crackdown on undocumented immigrants. One of the measures, the "No Sanctuary for Criminals Act," seeks to punish so-called sanctuary cities that refuse to help federal authorities deport undocumented immigrants. The other, dubbed "Kate's Law," aims to penalize people who commit crimes after entering the country illegally. The legislation was named for Kathryn Steinle, who was fatally shot in San Francisco two years ago by a repeated felon and undocumented immigrant who had been deported several times. The GOP majority passed the bills largely along party lines. Many Democrats criticized the bills as anti-immigrant. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) called the second bill "callous and irrational."
China demands U.S. cancel arms sale to Taiwan
The Trump administration on Thursday announced that it was selling $1.42 billion worth of arms to Taiwan. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the sale shows "support for Taiwan's ability to maintain a sufficient self-defense capability," but does not mean there will be any change in the "one China" policy. The U.S. supports Taiwan, which China still claims as a province, but only officially recognizes China. The package includes technical support for early warning radar, as well as anti-radiation missiles, torpedoes, and missile components. China reacted angrily on Friday, demanding that the U.S. cancel the sale, which it said would pose a threat to China's security and harm Sino-U.S. relations.
German lawmakers approve gay marriage in a snap vote
German lawmakers voted Friday to legalize gay marriage, bringing the country in line with other leading Western nations. "It's a joyous turning-point," said Volker Beck, who served as a spokesman for the Lesbian and Gay Federation in Germany before entering parliament as a member of the Green Party. "Equality and civil rights have been achieved." Chancellor Angela Merkel paved the way for the snap vote, telling lawmakers in her conservative coalition on Monday that they could vote their conscience. She herself voted no on Friday. The measure, which also allows same-sex couples to adopt, passed 393 to 226 with 4 abstentions. It is expected to face legal challenges. Germany has allowed same-sex civil unions since 2001.
GOP operative sought Clinton emails from hackers, claiming Flynn ties
A Republican opposition researcher, Peter W. Smith, told The Wall Street Journal last year that he tried to get copies of emails from Hillary Clinton's server from hackers, including Russians, and he made associates believe he was working with Michael Flynn, who would later briefly serve as President Trump's national security adviser. "He said, 'I'm talking to Michael Flynn about this — if you find anything, can you let me know?'" Eric York, an Atlanta computer-security expert, told the paper. Smith, who was 81, died shortly after talking to the paper. The Journal said it was unclear whether Flynn played any role in the search, and Smith told the paper that he knew Flynn, but did not say Flynn was involved in his work.
MSNBC ends Greta Van Susteren's run after just 6 months
Greta Van Susteren is leaving MSNBC just six months after joining the network. "We're kind of in shock," said Van Susteren's agent and husband, John Coale. In a statement, MSNBC said it was "grateful" to have had Van Susteren on air "and we wish her the best." Van Susteren left Fox News, where she'd been for 14 years, last September amid the turbulence that followed the ousting of CEO Roger Ailes; she made her debut on MSNBC in January. Vanity Fair reports Van Susteren's 6 p.m. show, For the Record, "struggled to gain traction." She will be replaced by Ari Melber. Megyn Kelly, who also departed Fox to join MSNBC, has likewise charted rocky ratings since making the switch.