Top News Stories for Today – July 25, 2017
Tillerson may make early exit from Trump administration
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is expressing growing frustration with the Trump administration and may be considering resigning from his role, according to a report from CNN Monday morning. Though the former CEO of ExxonMobil Corp. has said that he would stay on as the top U.S. diplomat until the end of the year at least, several anonymous sources told CNN over the weekend that he might leave earlier than that.
Sources “familiar with Tillerson conversations with friends outside Washington” admit the secretary of State may just be venting, but they sense his doubts about President Trump are growing. Tillerson reportedly agreed with Trump critics who thought it was unprofessional when the president lashed out last week at Attorney General Jeff Sessions because he recused himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. Trump referred to Sessions as “beleaguered” in a Monday morning tweet and has reportedly floated the idea of replacing him with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R). The Hill
Putin told Trump that Russian hackers were too good to get caught
Russian President Vladimir Putin told President Trump that Russian hackers wouldn’t have gotten caught if they did hack Democratic groups because they’re too skilled at spying, The New York Times reported Monday. Trump has since repeated the claim, according to White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci.
Scaramucci told CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday that someone told him that if Moscow hacked the Democratic National Committee, “you would have never seen it. You would have never had any evidence of them, meaning that they’re super-confident in their deception skills and hacking.” Pressed by host Jake Tapper on who told him that, Scaramucci said it was Trump himself. The Hill
McCain to return to Washington to vote on health bill
Late Monday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) announced he will return to Washington Tuesday to vote to advance the Republican health-care legislation, whatever that turns out to be. Senate Republicans will vote Tuesday afternoon on a motion to proceed on some health-care plan, and they will likely need the vote of McCain, who is battling aggressive brain cancer.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has requested a procedural vote on a House-passed repeal bill, and Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) offered the vague assurance that “everybody’s gonna get a chance to vote on everything.” On Monday, President Trump urged Republicans to “fulfill that solemn promise to the voters to repeal and replace” ObamaCare, pushing for a plan that replaces the health law immediately. The New York Times, HuffPost, The Week
Trump talking with advisers replacing Sessions
President Trump has privately been talking with advisers about the possibility of replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, people familiar with the discussions told The Washington Post. They are contemplating several scenarios, including what to do if he were to resign or be fired, the Post reports.
Trump has been very vocal about his frustration with Sessions, telling The New York Times that had he known that Sessions was going to recuse himself from the investigation into the Trump campaign possibly working with Russian officials before the presidential election, he never would have picked him as his attorney general. Two people possibly under consideration to replace Sessions are Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani. The Washington Post, The Week
Israel removing metal detectors from sacred site
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet voted on Monday to remove metal detectors installed at the al-Aqsa Mosque in East Jerusalem, but Sheikh Najeh Bakirat, the mosque’s director, said that’s not enough to please Muslim worshippers who also want security cameras to come down, Al Jazeera reports.
The metal detectors were installed at entry points to the mosque compound, Islam’s third holiest site, after two police officers were shot and killed there on July 14. The new security measures sparked protests and clashes between Palestinians and security forces, with at least five Palestinians killed and hundreds more injured. Al Jazeera, The Week
Trump son-in-law denies collusion with Moscow
Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, faces questions Tuesday from the House Intelligence Committee as part of its probe into Russian meddling in last year’s election. He spoke Monday to the Senate Intelligence Committee in a similar closed-door session, while also publicly denying that he or anyone else with the Trump campaign had any improper contacts with Russia leading up to or after the November 2016 vote.
“I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so,” Kushner said at the White House in a brief statement after the meeting with the Senate committee investigators. As Kushner left Capitol Hill after Monday’s testimony, he was approached by a protester who tried to give Kushner a Russian flag. VOA
Sea level fears as Greenland darkens
Scientists are “very worried” that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet could accelerate and raise sea levels more than expected. They say warmer conditions are encouraging algae to grow and darken the surface. Dark ice absorbs more solar radiation than clean white ice so warms up and melts more rapidly. Currently the Greenland ice sheet is adding up to 1mm a year to the rise in the global average level of the oceans.
It is the largest mass of ice in the northern hemisphere covering an area about seven times the size of the United Kingdom and reaching up to 3km (2 miles) in thickness. This means that the average sea level would rise around the world by about seven metres, more than 20ft, if it all melted. That is why Greenland, though remote, is a focus of research which has direct relevance to major coastal cities as far apart as Miami, London and Shanghai and low-lying areas in Bangladesh and parts of Britain.
Algae were first observed on the Greenland ice sheet more than a century ago but until recently its potential impact was ignored. Only in the last few years have researchers started to explore how the microscopically small plants could affect future melting. BBC
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