Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 29, 2017

Trump replaces Priebus with Kelly as chief of staff, GOP leaders push party to 'move on' after health-care failure, and more


Trump replaces Priebus with Kelly as chief of staff

President Trump announced on Twitter Friday he has replaced his chief of staff, Reince Priebus, with Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, a retired general. Priebus, the former head of the Republican National Committee, has been embroiled in White House power struggles between Trump loyalists and more conventional members of the Republican establishment. Trump reportedly decided Priebus was too "weak" to remain in his post and selected Kelly to bring "military discipline" to a West Wing plagued by leaks and feuds. Because Kelly lacks legislative experience, policy direction may now fall more to Vice President Mike Pence.


GOP leaders push party to 'move on' after health-care failure

Just hours after the Senate failed early Friday to pass a "skinny repeal" of ObamaCare, a bipartisan group of House members sat down to ponder next steps and how to stabilize insurance markets. Meanwhile, House Freedom Caucus Chair Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) said the House and Senate will keep working to craft a plan that "can get to 51" votes in the Senate. House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), however, seem eager to proceed to the next item on the agenda: tax reform. "It is time to move on," McConnell said.


Trump pushes to nix the filibuster

President Trump on Saturday urged Senate Republicans to get rid of the upper chamber's filibuster rule. "Republican Senate must get rid of 60 vote NOW! It is killing the R Party, allows 8 Dems to control country. 200 Bills sit in Senate. A JOKE!" Trump tweeted. A few minutes later, he specifically directed his request to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and said Republicans "look like fools" without the rule change. McConnell has repeatedly indicated he wants to keep the filibuster, which was already tossed out for nominee confirmations, including for the Supreme Court.


Trump to sign Russia sanctions

The White House said Friday President Trump will sign legislation imposing new sanctions on Russia despite the administration's prior resistance to the proposal. Trump "negotiated regarding critical elements of" the bill, the statement said, so now he supports it "based on its responsiveness to his negotiations." Trump was between a rock and a hard place with the sanctions plan, which would have passed regardless of his decision: Vetoing would risk fostering allegations of collusion with Moscow; signing undermines Trump's Russia policy.


Trump says senators who opposed ObamaCare repeal 'let the American people down'

President Trump tweeted his dissatisfaction Friday with the three Republicans — Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and John McCain of Arizona — who voted with Democrats to defeat the final GOP bill to repeal ObamaCare, saying they "let the American people down." Trump, who let Vice President Mike Pence lead the way with attempting to get Republicans to vote yes, said he has stated "from the beginning, let ObamaCare implode, then deal." Trump's statements on insurance policy have varied considerably since 2015.


North Korea tests second intercontinental ballistic missile

North Korea tested what appears to be an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) Friday, the Pentagon said, firing the missile shortly before midnight local time and aiming for Japanese waters.This marks the 14th missile test North Korea has conducted this year and its second ICBM test. North Korean state media reported leader Kim Jong Un took "great satisfaction" in the test and claimed Pyongyang can now target the "entire" U.S. mainland with a "large-sized, heavy nuclear warhead." President Trump's response promised the U.S. "will take all necessary steps to ensure the security of the American homeland and protect our allies in the region."


Trump under fire for advocating 'rough' police treatment of suspects

President Trump spoke to a group of police officers on Long Island, New York, Friday, sparking controversy for his encouragement of physically aggressive policing tactics. "When you see these thugs being thrown into the back of a paddy wagon — you just see them thrown in, rough — I said, 'please don't be too nice,'" Trump said, suggesting officers bump suspects' heads while loading them into police cars. The comments earned laughter from Trump's audience, but quickly came under broad criticism for their apparent endorsement of police brutality. The International Association of Chiefs of Police issued a statement rejecting Trump's advice.


Iran says U.S. ships shot flares in 'unprofessional' encounter

Iran in a statement Saturday reported and decried a second encounter between its vessels and the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf this week. "The Americans made a provocative and unprofessional move by issuing a warning and shooting flares at vessels," the Iranian Revolutionary Guards said. The Pentagon has yet to respond. Earlier this week, a U.S. Navy patrol boat crew fired two rounds of warning shots into the water by an unidentified Iranian military boat after it moved toward the American vessel at an unexpectedly high speed.


Pakistan supreme court ousts prime minister

Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif resigned Friday after the Pakistani supreme court disqualified him for office in grounds of corruption stemming from revelations in the 2015 Panama Papers leak that Sharif concealed some of his family's assets. Sharif's party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), retains control of the legislature and is expected to pick a new prime minister Saturday. The situation has raised concerns that Pakistan's military might use this power vacuum to undermine democratic institutions, as has happened following past resignations.


Tesla delivers new economy model to select buyers

Tesla on Friday announced its delivery of 30 of its new Model 3 cars to employee buyers, the first stage of the electric vehicle manufacturer's roll-out of its debut economy model. The Model 3 has a base price of $35,000, which is close to the average new car price in the United States and about one third of the base price on previous, luxury Tesla models. "It's an amazing car, but we're going to go through at least six months of manufacturing hell," said Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who reported the company has more than half a million reservations for the new model already.


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