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Eight people were found dead, 20 injured, some critically, and another 10 comparatively unharmed in the back compartment of a tractor-trailer outside a Walmart in San Antonio, Texas, early Sunday morning. Police were alerted after someone who had been inside the truck, which did not have working air conditioning or water supplies, approached a Walmart staff member to ask for water. A Walmart security guard then found the bodies and alerted authorities.

"We're looking at human trafficking crime here," said Police Chief William McManus, adding that the migrants will be investigated by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) after they receive medical care. Two of those who died were reportedly children.

The truck's origin is currently unknown; its driver is in custody. There may have been more people inside the truck than the 38 currently counted, as some are believed to have fled to nearby woods when law enforcement arrived. Bonnie Kristian

July 21, 2017
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Accused al Qaeda recruiter Ali Charaf Damache is scheduled to face a civilian trial Friday in Philadelphia, breaking with President Trump's campaign promise to fill Guantánamo Bay with "bad dudes." Hardliners, including Attorney General Jeff Sessions, have traditionally criticized the prosecution of suspected terrorists on American soil, with Sessions in particular claiming such suspects "do not deserve the same legal rights as common criminals and that such trials were too dangerous to hold on American soil," The New York Times writes. "With Mr. Damache's transfer, Mr. Sessions has adopted a strategy that he vehemently opposed when it was carried out under President Barack Obama."

An Algerian and Irish citizen, Damache was transferred to the U.S. from Spain and is suspected of plotting a failed attempt to kill a Swedish cartoonist who drew the Prophet Muhammad with a dog's body. Damache is also believed to have worked as a recruiter for al Qaeda.

"For years, Republicans portrayed civilian trials as a weakness in Mr. Obama's national security policy," the Times writes, adding: "Mr. Damache's transfer represents a collision of the Trump administration's tough rhetoric and the reality of fighting terrorism in 2017." Read more at The New York Times. Jeva Lange

July 21, 2017

White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer resigned Friday after telling President Trump that he "vehemently disagreed with the appointment" of Anthony Scaramucci as communications director, The New York Times writes. Scaramucci, a Wall Street financier and longtime Trump supporter, was named communications director earlier Friday.

Trump reportedly asked Spicer to stay on, although Spicer turned down the invitation, calling Scaramucci a mistake. Scaramucci has been working at the U.S. Export-Import Bank, and Trump has told aides he appreciates how he defends him in his appearances on Fox News. The communications director job has been open since Mike Dubke's short tenure ended in May. Read more at The New York Times. Jeva Lange

July 21, 2017
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Special Counsel Robert Mueller has requested the White House keep all documentation related to the meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a Kremlin-linked lawyer, a person familiar with the decision told CNN. "[T]he Special Counsel's office is investigating the Russian government's efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election, including any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of Donald Trump," Mueller's letter read. "Information concerning the June 2016 meeting between [Trump Jr.] and Natalia Veselnitskaya is relevant to the investigation."

The request covers text messages, emails, voicemail, and other communications.

Meanwhile, President Trump and some of his lawyers are actively looking at ways to undermine, discredit, or fire Mueller, including compiling a list of potential conflicts of interest that might be used to force him out, The New York Times and The Washington Post report. The effort has apparently ramped up as Mueller begins digging into Trump's financial history, and Trump is reportedly especially concerned that Mueller can access his tax returns. Jeva Lange

July 21, 2017
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The Kremlin-linked lawyer Donald Trump Jr. met with during his controversial Trump Tower rendezvous in June 2016 counts Russia's spy agency, FSB, among her past clients, Reuters reports.

Natalia Veselnitskaya represented the successor to the KGB in a Moscow property case between 2005 and 2013, documents show. Veselnitskaya has denied her connection to the Kremlin and there is no proof she was working for the government when she met with Trump Jr., although her past connection will likely raise questions.

Veselnitskaya has said she would be willing to testify before the Senate: "If the Senate wishes to hear the real story, I will be happy to speak up and share everything I wanted to tell Mr. Trump," she told RT. Jeva Lange

July 20, 2017
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Special Counsel Robert Mueller will investigate President Trump's business transactions as part of his probe into Russia's election interference, Bloomberg Politics reported Thursday, citing a person familiar with the matter.

Mueller is specifically interested in a few developments, Bloomberg said: "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump's involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump's sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008." The probe will also investigate deals involving the Bank of Cyprus, of which Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross previously served as vice chairman, and efforts undertaken by Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner to secure financing for certain real estate ventures.

Mueller's expanded probe reflects the investigation's absorption of an earlier probe by former Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara. Before being fired in March, Bharara was gathering information about former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort's financial dealings. "Altogether, the various financial examinations constitute one thread of Mueller's inquiry, which encompasses computer hacking and the dissemination of stolen campaign and voter information as well as the actions of former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn," Bloomberg wrote.

In an interview with The New York Times on Wednesday, Trump said that any probing by Mueller into his or his family's finances would be a "violation." For more on Mueller's expanded probe, head to Bloomberg Politics. Kimberly Alters

July 19, 2017
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The Senate Judiciary Committee announced Wednesday that Donald Trump Jr. and President Trump's onetime campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, are scheduled to testify before the committee next Wednesday during a public hearing.

Both men, as well as Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, attended a meeting in June 2016 with a Kremlin-linked attorney who offered to provide harmful information on Hillary Clinton. A lawyer for Kushner confirmed to NBC News that Kushner will speak to the Senate Intelligence Committee in a closed session on Monday. Trump Jr. and Manafort will appear in front of a panel about foreign influence in elections. Catherine Garcia

July 19, 2017
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The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office on Wednesday released a cost estimate of Senate Republicans' latest health-care plan: to repeal ObamaCare now, but replace it later. The CBO score revealed that under that proposal, an additional 32 million would be uninsured by 2026 compared to under ObamaCare. The plan would reduce the federal deficit by $473 billion over the next decade.

Under the Senate GOP's previous proposal — to repeal ObamaCare and replace it immediately, via the Better Care Reconciliation Act — the CBO estimated 22 million more people would be uninsured by 2026 compared to ObamaCare. That bill would have reduced the federal deficit by $321 billion.

The CBO also found that average premiums for the nongroup market would jump by an estimated 25 percent next year under the repeal-and-delay plan compared to under ObamaCare. On average, premiums would double by 2026. The CBO warned that repeal-and-delay "would destabilize the [individual insurance] market, and the effect would worsen over time."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) plans to hold a vote next week on repeal-and-delay, though three GOP senators — enough to kill the effort — have already indicated their opposition. Republicans are holding a last-minute health-care meeting for hesitant senators Wednesday evening. Becca Stanek

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