Top News Stories for Today – July 10, 2017
Trump Jr. met Russian lawyer in 2016
Donald Trump Jr. agreed in June 2016 to take a meeting with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer after being told he would receive compromising information about Hillary Clinton, multiple White House advisers told The New York Times. The meeting was also attended by Paul Manafort, Donald Trump’s campaign chairman at the time, and Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner. It took place June 9 at Trump Tower, and is the first known private meeting with Russians involving Trump Jr. It’s unclear if the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, gave any damaging information to Trump Jr., but he went to the meeting expecting that she would, the people who spoke with the Times said.
In a statement to the Times, Trump Jr. said he agreed to meet with Veselnitskaya at the request of an acquaintance, and Veselnitskaya “stated that she had information that individuals connected to Russia were funding the Democratic National Committee and supporting Ms. Clinton. Her statements were vague, ambiguous, and made no sense. No details or supporting information was provided or even offered. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.” A spokesman for Trump’s legal team said “the president was not aware of and did not attend the meeting.” The New York Times, The Week
Iraqi PM declares victory over ISIS in Mosul
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on Sunday the Islamic State is almost completely defeated in Mosul, after three years of occupying one of the largest cities in the country. In a statement from his office, al-Abadi said “the battle is settled and the remaining pockets of ISIS are encircled in the last inches of the city.
It is a matter of time before we declare to our people the great victory.” When ISIS took over the city in 2014, 2.5 million people lived there, but in the years following, an estimated 1 million fled. Several landmarks, including the al-Nuri mosque and minaret, have been destroyed, and thousands of residents have been killed. The battle to retake Mosul began last October, and in the last few weeks, fighting has been going on from street to street, house to house, with suicide bombers attacking Iraqi forces and ISIS setting up booby traps and barricades across the Old City. CNN, The Week
Southern California wildfire
Record heat and two fast-moving wildfires have prompted evacuations in Southern California as about 1,000 firefighters struggle to contain the blazes. The Whittier Fire in Los Padres National Forest, north of Los Angeles, destroyed a Boy Scouts camp and killed all of the animals in its nature center, authorities said Sunday.
It was started by a vehicle fire Saturday afternoon and has now grown to nearly 8,000 acres. The nearby Alamo Fire has grown to more than 24,000 acres and is 10 percent contained. “Low humidity, high heat, and the winds are right — and there’s just a lot of stuff to burn,” said a Santa Barbara County representative. KSBY, NBC News
Trump backtracks forming a cyber security unit
After tweeting on Sunday morning about “forming an impenetrable Cyber Security unit” with Russian President Vladimir Putin, President Trump on Sunday night declared that just because he “discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen.” Following his morning tweet, Trump was mocked by Democrats and Republicans alike, including Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who said on Meet the Press it was “not the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard — but it’s pretty close,” and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), who told CNN’s State of the Union he thought the US “might as well mail our ballot boxes to Moscow.”
After dealing with jokes at his expense all day, Trump broached the topic again on Sunday night, this time backtracking from what he said 13 hours earlier. “The fact that President Putin and I discussed a Cyber Security unit doesn’t mean I think it can happen,” he tweeted. “It can’t — but a ceasefire can, & did!” The Week, Twitter
Austria bars Turkish minister from entering the country
Austria has barred the Turkish Minister of Economic Affairs Nihat Zeybekci from entering the country to attend a rally marking the anniversary of the failed coup attempt in Turkey last year. A spokesman for the Austrian Foreign Ministry confirmed in statement Monday the decision of Foreign Minster Sebastian Kurz, saying the event was “very big” and that the public appearance of Turkey’s Nihat Zeybekci could “danger public order and security in Austria”.
Austria has strongly criticized Turkey’s security crackdown that followed the failed coup, and has repeatedly called for suspending Turkey’s EU accession talks. VOA
Opposition grows on US Health care overhaul
Republicans have campaigned for seven years to overturn the 2010 law, commonly known in the US as Obamacare. But even with Republicans controlling the White House and both houses of Congress, the party’s lawmakers have so far been unable to agree on how to change it, with some conservative senators calling for repealing major parts of the law and more moderate Republicans looking to keep popular provisions.
The White House is making a final push to overhaul the US health care law championed by former President Barack Obama, but opposition to the changes Senate Republicans are proposing has grown in recent days, leaving the repeal effort in doubt. One key lawmaker, Senator John McCain, told CBS on Sunday, “My view is that it’s probably going to be dead.” VOA
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