Today in 5 Lines
President Trump signed an executive order expanding the use of certain types of health plans, which could undermine Obamacare. Trump implied on Twitter that he may pull back on federal aid to Puerto Rico. The State Department announced that the U.S. will withdraw from UNESCO, the UN cultural organization, citing “anti-Israel bias.” An American woman and her family were freed, after being held in captivity for five years by a Taliban-connected group in Pakistan. The death toll from the wildfires raging in Northern California rose to 26.
- The House voted 353 to 69 to pass a $36.5 billion disaster aid package that includes money for the Federal Emergency Management Agency, Puerto Rico and the National Flood Insurance Program, as well as funding to fight wildfires in the West. The legislation now heads to the Senate. (Los Angeles Times)
- President Donald Trump signed an executive order directing the federal government to allow the sale of cheaper health insurance plans that provide fewer benefits. The move, which is seen as an effort to weaken Obamacare, could lead to lawsuits against the administration, particularly from state attorneys general who support the 2010 Affordable Care Act. (Reuters)
- Trump formally named Kirstjen Nielsen as his pick to lead the Department of Homeland Security, which hasn’t had a full-time secretary since John Kelly left the agency in July to become White House chief of staff. The Senate would need to confirm Nielsen before she can be sworn in as head of DHS. (Politico)
- Leaders of the House Intelligence Committee said they will soon release the Facebook ads purchased by Kremlin-linked groups as part of Russia’s efforts to influence the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The announcement came after a closed-door meeting between lawmakers and Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg, and the public release of about 3,000 ads is likely after Nov 1. (USA Today)
- Trump’s lawyers are open to the president being interviewed by Robert Mueller, the special counsel in the Justice Department’s Russia investigation, according to an unnamed senior White House official. The White House believes the move could bring Mueller’s probe closer to an end, even though a sit-down meeting poses risks for Trump, who could be asked about potential obstruction of justice regarding his dismissal of former Federal Bureau of Investigation Director James Comey. (Politico)
- Federal prosecutors in New Jersey rested their case against Sen. Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), who is accused of taking gifts from Florida eye doctor Salomon Melgen in exchange for doing favors for him. Testimony over the past month came from former federal officials and congressional staffers, as well as former Sen. Tom Harkin (D-Iowa). (The Washington Post)