5 Things for Monday, July 17, 2017: Health Care Bill, Russia, Venezuela, Iran
CNN/Stylemagazine.com Newswire | 7/17/2017, 7:47 a.m.
By Doug Criss
(CNN) -- Today is World Emoji Day, so it's the perfect day to communicate without being bogged down by pesky words. Here's what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.
1. Health care bill
This was supposed to be a do-or-die week for the GOP Senate's health care bill, but instead, it's officially in limbo land. Why? Well, Sen. John McCain had surgery to remove a blood clot, which means he's going to be out for a little while. And since the GOP only has a two-seat majority AND since Rand Paul and Susan Collins both say they won't vote for the bill in its current vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell just doesn't have the votes to move this thing forward. So he's postponing a vote until McCain recovers. There also won't be a CBO score coming out today on the bill.
2. Russia investigation
The revelations just keep coming out of Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton. We've now learned there were eight people there. They include a Russian-American lobbyist and two others who are yet to be identified.
President Trump's lawyer went on all the Sunday talk shows saying that nothing questionable could have happened at the meeting because the Secret Service, which had started protecting Trump because he was the GOP nominee by then, had allowed the people in. But the Secret Service shot that idea down, noting that Trump Jr. wasn't under its protection, so it wouldn't have vetted the meeting's participants.
3. Venezuela referendum
Millions of Venezuelans have voiced their opinion on President Nicolas Maduro's plan to rewrite the country's constitution -- but their opinions won't count. More than seven million people voted in a non-binding referendum organized by the country's main opposition parties. The overwhelming majority (about 98%) of them voted against the plan. But Maduro's government called the referendum illegal and is still holding a vote on July 30 to pick a special assembly to rewrite the country's constitution. It's just the latest chapter in the social unrest that's rocked this country for months.
An American citizen has been given a lengthy prison sentence in Iran. Xiyue Wang, a grad student at Princeton, was sentenced to 10 years for spying. He was arrested there last summer while doing research, the school said. It's not clear when his trial was held. Wang's sentence comes just as the Trump administration is expected to re-certify that Iran is living up to the demands of the nuclear deal it made under the Obama administration. Trump had promised to rip up the deal during the 2016 campaign.
5. Arizona flooding deaths
An absolutely heartbreaking tragedy occurred over the weekend in Arizona. Several members of a family were swept away and killed during a sudden flash flood. Nine people died and one is missing after members of the family, enjoying a day at a swimming hole north of Phoenix, got caught up in flash flooding caused by heavy rains. Most of the victims were just children, ranging in ages from 2 to 13.
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