July 28, 2017
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Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) joined Democrats in voting no early Friday morning for the Republicans' last-ditch effort to repeal ObamaCare, with the bill failing on a vote of 49 to 51.

The bill, dubbed the Health Care Freedom Act, would have repealed ObamaCare's individual and employer mandates, defunded Planned Parenthood for a year, and allowed states to request waivers from benefits mandated by ObamaCare. It was the third defeat for the GOP this week, with two earlier proposals to repeal ObamaCare failing, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said it's now "time to move on."

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said he is "relieved millions and millions of people who would have been so drastically hurt by the three proposals put forward will at least retain their health care, be able to deal with pre-existing conditions ... We are relieved, not for ourselves, but for the American people." Catherine Garcia

July 27, 2017
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On Thursday night, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) released the text of the GOP's "skinny repeal" health-care bill, which has been named the Health Care Freedom Act.

The amendment would repeal ObamaCare's individual and employer mandates for eight years, increase contribution limits to health savings accounts for three years, repeal a tax on medical devices for three years, defund Planned Parenthood for a year, and allow states to request waivers from benefits mandated by ObamaCare.

Although the proposal was just released, and several Republicans said they don't like the bill, a final vote is expected late Thursday or early Friday. Earlier in the evening, House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said his chamber is open to a conference committee to work on the bill. Catherine Garcia

July 19, 2017
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A week after undergoing a procedure to remove a blood clot from above his left eye, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has been diagnosed with a brain tumor.

McCain's office released a statement Wednesday from the Mayo Clinic, which says after the procedure, "subsequent tissue pathology revealed that a primary brain tumor known as a glioblastoma was associated with the blood clot. The senator and his family are reviewing further treatment options with his Mayo Clinic care team. Treatment options may include a combination of chemotherapy and radiation." McCain, 80, has represented Arizona since 1987, and battled melanoma in the past. Catherine Garcia

July 17, 2017
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Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.) and Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) announced Monday night they will not support the motion to proceed on the current version of the Republicans' health-care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act.

Moran released a statement saying "we should not put our stamp of approval on bad policy," while Lee said he won't back the BCRA because it does not repeal "all of the ObamaCare taxes, it doesn't go far enough in lowering premiums for middle class families, nor does it create enough free space from the most costly ObamaCare regulations." Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) have already come out as "no" votes.

The vote was postponed due to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) needing to recover from surgery, and now, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) does not have the votes to pass the bill. Catherine Garcia

July 14, 2017
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A federal judge in Hawaii ruled Thursday that the Trump administration cannot stop grandparents and other close relatives from entering the United States under the president's travel ban.

Last month, the Supreme Court ruled that Trump's 90-day travel ban on people from six Muslim-majority nations and 120-day refugee ban could go through, as long as it was not enforced against travelers who had a "bona fide relationship" with a person or entity in the United States. The Trump administration decided that only spouses, parents, children, siblings, and fiancés counted as close family members, and the state of Hawaii requested an injunction, arguing that this was too narrow of a list. U.S. District Judge Derrick Watson agreed, saying "common sense, for instance, dictates that close family members be defined to include grandparents. Indeed, grandparents are the epitome of close family members."

On Twitter, an attorney for the state of Hawaii, Neal Katyal, called the ruling a "sweeping victory," Reuters reports. Catherine Garcia

July 12, 2017

An ice shelf weighing more than a trillion metric tons, containing twice the volume of Lake Erie, and stretching nearly the size of Delaware separated from Antarctica on Wednesday after being monitored by scientists for months, The New York Times reports.

"The remaining shelf will be at its smallest ever known size," said British researcher Adrian Luckman, who is studying the peninsula for Project Midas. "This is a big change. Maps will need to be redrawn."

Scientists have followed the Antarctic Peninsula's warming for decades, and whether the ice shelf's divorce was expedited by human-caused climate change is disputed. "While it might not be caused by global warming, it's at least a natural laboratory to study how breakups will occur at other ice shelves to improve the theoretical basis for our projections of future sea level rise," said NASA's Thomas P. Wagner. Jeva Lange

June 28, 2017
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Cardinal George Pell, the third-ranking official in the Vatican, responsible for the Holy See's finances, is facing at least three sexual assault charges related to historic abuse allegations, Australian police said Thursday.

Pell's legal representatives in Melbourne were served the charges, and he will appear in court July 18. Police say there are "multiple complainants," but would not reveal the allegations; The Sydney Morning Herald reports he is being charged with at least one count of rape. Pell, 75, was made a cardinal in 2003, and has served as the archbishop of both Sydney and Melbourne. He is expected to return to Australia to face the charges, and when rumors of the allegations first surfaced, Pell told reporters he is innocent. Catherine Garcia

June 14, 2017
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Special Counsel Robert Mueller is investigating President Trump for possible obstruction of justice, five people with knowledge of the situation told The Washington Post.

As part of the expanded investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, senior intelligence officials — including Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, National Security Agency Director Adm. Mike Rogers, and Rogers' former deputy Richard Ledgett — have agreed to be interviewed by investigators, possibly as early as this week. Trump had wanted former FBI Director James Comey to publicly announce he was not personally being investigated, and after Comey didn't do so during a House Intelligence Committee hearing, Trump asked Coats and Rogers separately to issue public statements denying any collusion between his campaign and Russia, the Post previously reported. Coats also reportedly told associates that Trump asked him if he could get Comey to step back from the investigation into former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn; he later said he did not feel pressured by Trump to do this.

It's unclear how many other officials have already been questioned as part of the probe. The obstruction of justice investigation started a few days after the firing of Comey last month, the Post reports, and officials are also looking into possible financial crimes committed by Trump associates. A spokesman for Trump's personal lawyer, Marc Kasowitz, told the Post the "FBI leak of information regarding the president is outrageous, inexcusable, and illegal." Catherine Garcia

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