Daily briefing

10 things you need to know today: September 26, 2017

Collins' defection leaves GOP health bill near collapse, Trump continues feud with NFL players over anthem protests, and more


Senate GOP health bill in trouble as Collins joins opposition

Senate Republicans' latest effort to replace ObamaCare collapsed on Monday when moderate Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined conservative Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) in opposition to the bill, leaving the legislation all but dead. With three Republicans as solid "no" votes, the GOP can't muster the 50 votes it would need to pass the proposal, with the help of Vice President Mike Pence as a tie-breaking vote. Some Republicans continued to push for a vote. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who led a five-hour hearing on the bill that was disrupted by protesters Monday afternoon, said, "You don't have one Democrat vote for it. So it's going to fail."


Trump continues his feud with NFL players

President Trump kept his feud with NFL players going on Monday, tweeting that his criticism of those who kneel during the national anthem "has nothing to do with race. It is about respect for our Country, Flag, and National Anthem." NFL spokesman Joe Lockhart defended the players' rights to peacefully protest racial inequality and police brutality. "Everyone should know, including the president, this is what real locker room talk is," Lockhart said, in a thinly veiled reference Trump's defense of his boasting about sexually assaulting women that was captured on Access Hollywood tapes. On Monday night, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones joined players in kneeling and linking arms before the national anthem, then rose for the anthem itself, ahead of their game against the Arizona Cardinals, who also linked arms. [Editor's note: This item originally misstated the order of events before and during the national anthem at Monday's game. It has been corrected. We regret the error.]


North Korea says U.S. has 'declared war'

North Korea's foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, said Monday that the U.S. had effectively "declared war on our country," and maintained that Pyongyang had the right to shoot down U.S. planes if necessary to defend itself. "Since the United States declared war on our country, we will have every right to make countermeasures, including the right to shoot down United States strategic bombers even when they are not inside the airspace border of our country," Ri said. President Trump continued a series of warnings calling for North Korea to curb its missile and nuclear weapons programs, and avoid threatening the U.S. or face destruction. Trump tweeted over the weekend that if Ri "echoes thoughts of Little Rocket Man, they won't be around much longer!"


Supreme Court cancels argument on travel ban

The Supreme Court on Monday canceled oral arguments on the constitutionality of President Trump's previous travel ban, which expired Sunday, after Trump renewed and expanded his temporary restrictions. The new ban includes indefinite restrictions on travel specifically tailored for seven countries — Iran, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Chad, and North Korea — and bars some Venezuelan government officials from entering the U.S. The Supreme Court, which had been due to hear arguments in October, told the Trump administration and the challengers of the executive order on travel to file papers by Thursday on whether the new version of the ban makes two lawsuits over the travel ban moot.


Report: 6 Trump advisers have used private email accounts

At least six of President Trump's top advisers have used private email addresses to discuss White House matters on occasion, The New York Times reported Monday, citing current and former officials. A day after similar revelations about Jared Kushner, Trump's son-in-law and senior aide, officials said former chief White House strategist Stephen Bannon and former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus sometimes used private email addresses, and other advisers, including Gary Cohn and Stephen Miller, sent or received at least a small number of messages using private accounts. Ivanka Trump, the president's eldest daughter, used a private account while serving as an unpaid adviser. During the campaign, Trump repeatedly criticized his Democratic rival, Hillary Clinton, for using a private email server as secretary of state.


Palestinian gunman kills 3 at Israeli settlement

A Palestinian gunman killed an Israeli policeman and two private security guards early Tuesday at the entrance to a settlement outside Jerusalem. A fourth Israeli was critically wounded, Israeli police and medical services said. The attack was one of the deadliest in a flurry of violence over the last two years. It came as tensions are high in the Jewish high holy days, and threatened to hamper the efforts of U.S. peace envoy Jason Greenblatt, who just arrived in the region to meet with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. Police said the attacker approached the back gate entrance of the Har Adar settlement among dozens of Palestinian day laborers, and opened fire when suspicious police asked him to stop. The attacker was shot dead by security forces.


Puerto Rico's governor warns of 'humanitarian crisis'

Puerto Rico's governor, Ricardo Rossello, warned Monday that a "humanitarian crisis" was developing on the U.S. island territory, which was devastated last week by Hurricane Maria. The storm knocked out power to the island's 3.4 million people. Most lost water, too. Residents now wait in long lines for fuel. "Puerto Rico, which is part of the United States, can turn into a humanitarian crisis," he said. "To avoid that, recognize that we Puerto Ricans are American citizens; when we speak of a catastrophe, everyone must be treated equally." Republicans rejected the suggestion Puerto Rico was getting less help than hurricane-ravaged states, such as Florida and Texas. President Trump tweeted: "Puerto Rico, which was already suffering from broken infrastructure & massive debt, is in deep trouble."


Turnout high in Iraqi Kurds' independence referendum

Iraqi Kurds voted Monday in a landmark independence referendum. Turnout was high, about 72 percent, election officials said. An official result is expected in coming days, and a resounding "yes" is expected, though the referendum is not binding. Kurdish leaders say a "yes" vote will give them a mandate to push for secession, but Iraq's prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, says that would be "unconstitutional." The U.S. State Department said it was "disappointed" Kurdish leaders went ahead with the vote. "We believe this step will increase instability and hardships for the Kurdistan region and its people," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said. Neighboring Turkey and Iran, fearing the vote would stoke separatist unrest among their Kurdish minorities, threatened to close borders. Turkey also threatened to close Iraq's vital oil export pipeline.


First woman graduates from Marine Corps infantry officer course

The U.S. Marine Corps announced Monday that a female Marine had become the first woman to graduate from its infantry officer course, releasing a video showing her in training. "Well done. Proud of you," Commandant of the Marine Corps Gen. Robert Neller said in a video showing the lieutenant and the 87 other graduates training. The Marine Corps did not release the officer's name, at her request. The Marines opened the course to women in 2012 on an experimental basis. More than 30 women have started the course, but none completed it until Monday. The Obama administration announced in December 2015 that all combat jobs were being opened to women.


Anthony Weiner sentenced to 21 months in prison for sexting teen

Former Democratic Rep. Anthony Weiner was sentenced Monday to 21 months in federal prison after pleading guilty to a sexting scandal involving a 15-year-old girl. "I have a sickness, but I do not have an excuse," he told the court in tears this spring. Weiner, 53, is in the process of getting divorced from top Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who did not appear in court for the sentencing. Weiner had reportedly sought probation on the grounds that he needs therapy, saying he had been "a very sick man for a very long time."


Blaze kills 39 at migrant detention center in Mexico
 Rescuers work to take the injured and the corpses of the victims out of the premises after a fire at an immigration detention center in Northern Mexico
tragedy at the border

Blaze kills 39 at migrant detention center in Mexico

U.S. to crack down on guns going south, Mexico works to stop fentanyl heading north
A CBP agent at the U.S.-Mexico border in San Ysidro, California.
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U.S. to crack down on guns going south, Mexico works to stop fentanyl heading north

Lebanon to reverse daylight savings decision
Clock tower in Lebanon.
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An illustration of a tornado and wind-swept palm trees
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Florida principal forced to resign over Michelangelo's David display
The statue of 'David' by Michelangelo.
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