Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: July 28, 2017

ObamaCare repeal fails by one vote in the Senate, Scaramucci unleashes profanity-laced tirade against Priebus, and more


Senate rejects 'skinny' ObamaCare repeal

Three Republican senators — Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, and John McCain of Arizona — joined Democrats to defeat the "skinny repeal" of ObamaCare by one vote early Friday, essentially ending the GOP's seven-year effort to undo the Affordable Care Act. McCain, who returned to Washington for the health-care debate this week after being diagnosed with brain cancer, explained his surprise vote via Twitter, saying the proposal "fell short of our promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare with meaningful reform." The bill would have ended the individual insurance mandate but otherwise left much of ObamaCare in place. President Trump said senators who voted no "let the American people down." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said "it is time to move on."


Senate approves new Russia sanctions, sparking Moscow to retaliate

The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly approved new sanctions against Russia, 98-2. The House passed the legislation 419-3 on Tuesday. It will now go to President Trump's desk. The measure targets Russia for its involvement in conflicts in Ukraine and Syria, but lawmakers have pushed for more sanctions partly in response to Moscow's 2016 election meddling. White House officials have lobbied against stepping up sanctions against Russia under Trump's effort to improve relations with Moscow. They have not said whether Trump plans to sign the bill, which also adds sanctions on Iran and North Korea over their weapons programs. Russia responded Friday by ordering the U.S. to cut its embassy staff in Moscow and vacate two properties.


Scaramucci unleashes profanity-laced tirade against Priebus

President Trump's new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, harshly criticized White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus in an interview published in The New Yorker on Thursday. Scaramucci called Priebus a "f--king paranoid schizophrenic, a paranoiac," and accused the former Republican National Committee chairman of leaking information to the media. He also said Priebus would "be asked to resign very shortly." The interview provided the most raw evidence yet of intensifying infighting within Trump's White House.


Joint Chiefs chairman says no change yet to transgender policy

The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Joseph Dunford, said Thursday that the Defense Department was making "no modifications" to its current policy allowing transgender people to serve in the military until President Trump officially orders a change. Trump this week tweeted that he was banning transgender troops. "I know there are questions about yesterday's announcement on the transgender policy by the president," Dunford said in a statement. "There will be no modifications to the current policy until the president's direction has been received by the Secretary of Defense and the secretary has issued implementation guidance." In the meantime, he said, the military "will continue to treat all of our personnel with respect," and "remain focused on accomplishing our assigned missions."


Pakistan court orders prime minister removed from office

Pakistan's high court on Friday ordered Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to be removed from office over corruption allegations. The decision came about a year before the end of Sharif's third term. The governing Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz party is expected to choose an interim replacement to serve through a general election scheduled for mid-2018. The five-member Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Sharif was not "honest," so he was "disqualified to be a member of Parliament." The case against Sharif and three of his children started with revelations last year in the Panama Papers that his children owned expensive London real estate through offshore companies. The Sharif family now faces criminal investigations; they say their holdings were legal.


House approves $68 billion military spending increase, border wall money

The House on Thursday approved a $68 billion increase in military spending next year, passing a bill that also included money to start building the wall President Trump has promised on the Mexican border. The legislation seeks to increase spending on defense against foreign missile attacks as concerns rise over North Korea's focus on developing the ability to strike the U.S. mainland with a nuclear missile. The bill would increase funding for the Defense Department by $68.1 billion to $658.1 billion, $18.4 billion more than Trump requested. Democrats have signaled they will try to kill the bill in the Senate, calling the border wall money a "poison pill."


Boy Scouts leader apologizes over Trump's partisan speech

A Boy Scouts of America leader, Michael Surbaugh, apologized Thursday for the highly partisan speech that President Trump gave to thousands of teenage Scouts this week. The organization faced a flood of calls complaining about the address, in which the president blasted his predecessor, Barack Obama, for not attending a Boy Scout Jamboree during his two terms in office, prompting boos from some in the audience. "I want to extend my sincere apologies to those in our Scouting family who were offended by the political rhetoric that was inserted into the Jamboree. That was never our intent," said Surbaugh, the chief Scout executive, in a statement. White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said she was at the event and said nothing about it was objectionable.


Spanish commuter train crashes, injuring 54

A Spanish commuter train crashed early Friday northeast of Barcelona, injuring 54 people. "When the train arrived at Francia station it applied the brakes but at the same time it made a noisy crash," said passenger Said Saharaui. "The passengers were thrown to the floor," he said. "Even though the train did brake, it wasn't until the crash when it reached a full stop." The RENFE rail company said it could not immediately provide details on the cause of the accident, which damaged the train's nose and first and second cars.


Apple kills the iPod Nano and iPod Shuffle

Apple announced Thursday that it has officially discontinued the iPod Nano and the iPod Shuffle. The music players were the last devices the company offered that were not programmed with iOS. The iPod Shuffle revolutionized the digital music industry in 2005 as the first iPod with faster flash storage and no screen; when the iPod Nano debuted later that year, it replaced the iPod Mini and paved the way for the creation of the iPhone. The devices, however, were never updated to support Bluetooth or Apple Music and thus were out of sync with the company's later innovations.


Bezos briefly takes world's richest person title from Gates

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos briefly overtook Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to become the wealthiest person in the world with a net worth over $90 billion early Thursday, due to Amazon's surging stock price. Bezos fell back behind Gates later in the day, however, when Amazon's stock dipped after the company reported quarterly profits falling short of expectations, leaving him worth $88.8 billion compared to $89.8 billion for Gates. Bezos owns 17 percent of Amazon's stock, accounting for $83 billion of his fortune. He has climbed up the list of the world's wealthiest people as his online retailer has extended its dominance, pushing its market capitalization above $500 billion. Gates has been No. 1 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index since 2013.


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