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May 30, 2017

5-30-2017 Highlights from last week….

  • The investigation into suspected Russian meddling in the 2016 election is hitting closer to home for President Donald Trump: Federal investigators are said to be focusing on meetings son-in-law and White House senior adviser Jared Kushner held in December with Russia’s ambassador to the United States and a banker from Moscow. Trump retained an outside attorney to help navigate the Russia probes.
  • Former Sen. Joe Lieberman, who was considered the leading candidate to replace James Comey as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, withdrew his name from consideration.
  • A federal appeals court upheld an injunction against Trump’s executive order that seeks to temporarily prohibit immigration from six predominantly-Muslim countries. Attorney General Jeff Sessions said the Justice Department will seek a review of the decision by the Supreme Court.
  • Trump visited Israel, where he affirmed a U.S. commitment to regional peace. He later met with Pope Francis in Vatican City. After that he attended a meeting with other  North Atlantic Treaty Organization leaders and urged them to increase their military spending. He stopped short of pledging to support NATO’s core tenet of mutual security.
  • A majority of U.S. voters said Trump’s controversies make them nervous about the future of the country, and more than four in 10 said the controversies make them feel worried about their family’s well being, according to a recent poll.
  • The Trump administration released its fiscal year 2018 budget proposal, which calls for $3.6 trillion in spending cuts over the next decade. The plan takes aim at popular farm programs and student aid, and relies on clearing two major legislative hurdles – savings from the repeal of the 2010 Affordable Care Act and projected economic growth from overhauling the U.S. tax code for the first time in more than 30 years.

Congress

  • GOP lawmakers pushed back against Trump’s budget proposal. Texas Sen. John Cornyn, the No. 2 Republican in the chamber, said the budget “won’t pass as proposed.”
  • The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office projected that the House-passed American Health Care Act would leave 23 million more Americans uninsured. The CBO also estimated that the legislation would reduce the federal deficit by $119 billion over the next decade.
  • Voters in Montana elected Republican businessman Greg Gianforte to fill the House seat previously held by Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The special election came a day after Gianforte was charged with assaulting a journalist who was asking him about the CBO’s analysis of the American Health Care Act.
  • Former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn invoked his Fifth Amendment rights in response to a subpoena issued by the Senate Intelligence Committee, which in turn issued issued two new subpoenas for records from his businesses. The panel’s leaders now have “blanket authority” to issue other subpoenas.
  • The Senate Budget Committee began drafting its Obamacare repeal bill, even though decisions have yet to be made on key policy issues. Senate Republicans are uncertain about the future of negotiations, with the ball stuck in their court.

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