The week before Syria in the news


(CNN) Divisions remain when it comes to repealing Obamacare (4/3)

  • Trump claims that lawmakers are getting closer to making a breakthrough on health care despite calling out House Freedom Caucus members and threatening to work with Democrats if the Freedom Caucus won’t support a repeal and replace measure.
  • Trump tweeted, “Anybody (especially Fake News Media) who thinks that Repeal & Replace of Obamacare is dead does not know the love and strength in the R Party!”


(FOX) After golf with Trump, Paul says ‘very optimistic’ about ObamaCare repeal (4/2)

  • After a golf outing on Sunday, Sen. Rand Paul has announced that party members are “getting closer” on a compromise repeal plan and he is “very optimistic.”
  • Paul stated, “WE had a great day with the president. We did talk about some health care reform. I think the sides are getting closer and closer together. And I remain very optimistic that we will get an ObamaCare repeal.
  • Recently, Trump has called out specific Freedom Caucus members who have not been supportive of a repeal and replace plan.



(CNN) Russia challenges Trump to say what he would do about Syria (4/6)

  • Trump had previously argued against removing Assad from power but declared Wednesday’s attack “heinous” and that it “crossed a lot of lines for me [Trump].”
  • Trump avoided offering details of how the US strategy in Syria may change.
  • Russia has stood by Assad’s side. In response to the attack, Trump’s Secretary of State said, there was “no doubt” that Assad was responsible for the attack and Russia should “really think carefully” about its continued support for the regime.
  • Trump has continued to claim that the bloodshed in Syria is the result of weak policy under Obama’s administration.
  • So far, 86 people have been killed, including 26 children.


(ABC) US will take action on Syrian chemical attacks if UN doesn’t (4/5)

  • US Ambassador Nikki Haley urged the UN Security Council, at an emergency meeting, to approve a resolution drafted by the U.S., Britain and France that condemns and threatens consequences for the use of chemical weapons.
  • She said, “There are times at the United Nations when we are compelled to take collective action. When the United Nations consistently fails in its duty to act collectively, there are times in the life of states that we are compelled to take our own action.”
  • Haley also accused Russia of blocking action and closing its eyes to the “barbarity” of three previous chemical attacks that the Syrian government has been accused of carrying out.


(FOX) Trump says ‘heinous’ chemical weapons strike in Syria ‘cannot be tolerated (4/5)

  • President Trump at a joint press conference in the Rose Garden w/ Jordan’s visiting King Abdulla II, called the attack “horrific.”
  • He continued by condemning the strike against “innocent people including women, small children and even beautiful little babies” and said “their deaths was an affront to humanity.”
  • Trump also said, “The United State stands with our allies across the globe to condemn this horrific attack.” He continued, “My attitude toward Syria and Assad has changed very much,” and the attack “had a big impact on me.”
  • The White House is blaming Assad’s government, while Russia is saying anti-Assad rebels are the root of the attack.



(CNN) Frustrated Republicans prepare for nuclear option (4/4)

  • Republicans are preparing to vote for the “nuclear option” now that Democrats have the votes they need to filibuster Gorsuch’s confirmation.
  • Sen. Susan Collins of Maine said that both parties “will rue the day” that the nuclear option is invoked. She continue saying, “If it’s necessary in order to get him confirmed, I may have to vote that way, but I certainly don’t want to.”


(FOX) Gorsuch wins Senate panel endorsement, setting up floor shutdown (4/3)


(CNN) Senate Dems close to reaching filibuster threshold on Gorsuch (4/3)

  • Three more Senate Democrats have announced that they are opposed to Neil Gorsuch. This brings them close to the 41 votes needs to filibuster. The Democrats are currently at 40 votes towards a filibuster.
  • Republicans need 60 votes to end the filibuster, and they currently have 55 votes as of Monday. (three Democrats are voting with them.)
  • There are four senators, 3 democrats and one independent, who are undecided.


(ABC) 3rd Senate Democrat pledges to support Trump’s Supreme Court nominee (4/2)

  • A third Senate Dem has announced that he will vote for Judge Neil Gorsuch.
  • Indiana Sen. Joe Donnelly said, “After meeting with Judge Gorsuch, conducting a thorough review of his record, and closely following his hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee, I believe that he is a qualified jurist who will based his decisions on his understanding of the law and is well-respected among his peers.”
  • Sen. Joe Manchin of WV and Sen. Heidi Heitkamp of ND are the two other Democratic Senators who pledged to vote to confirm Gorsuch.


(FOX) McConnell vows Gorsuch will be confirmed this week, Schumer predicts he won’t get 60 votes (4/2)

  • There is a scheduled vote in the Senate this with to potentially confirm Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell claimed, “we’re going to get Judge Gorsuch confirmed this week.”
  • It may be simple to receive enough votes in the Judiciary Committee but it may be more difficult to achieve the 60 votes needed for final confirmation Friday.
  • If Democrats attempt to filibuster, McConnell is expected to change the Senate rules to allow for a simple majority.
  • Schumer suggested that Gorsuch won’t receive enough votes and Trump should “try to come up with a mainstream nominee.” He stated that “you shouldn’t change the rules, you should change the nominee.”



(CNN) House intel chairman stepping aside from House Russia investigation (4/6)

  • Nunes, after citing a series of ethics complaints against him, stepped down temporarily Thursday from his lead role in the investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.
  • Nunes said, “I believe it is in the best interests of the House Intelligence Committee and the Congress for me to have Representative Mike Conaway, with assistance from Representatives Trey Gowdy and Tom Rooney, temporarily take charge of the Committee’s Russia investigation while the House Ethics Committee looks into this matter.
  • Paul Ryan released a statement supporting the decision of Nunes to step down.


(FOX) Nunes steps down from Russia-Trump investigation (4/6)

  • Nunes temporarily stepped down from his role leading the probe of Russian interference in the presidential campaign. This happened after Nunes claimed due to “several leftwing activist groups” lodging “entirely false and politically motivated” accusations against him with the Office of Congressional Ethics.
  • Nunes intends to continue carrying out his other responsibilities as Committee Chairman. He had requested to speak with the Ethics office “in order to expedite the dismissal of these false claims.”


(FOX) Schiff: Still no ‘definitive’ link between Russia, Trump campaign (4/2)

  • Top democrats on the House committee investigating whether the Trump campaign was working with Moscow to defeat Clinton still does not have “definitive” evidence.
  • Rep. Adam Schiff said, “I don’t think we can say anything definitively at this point. We are still at the very early stage of the investigation. The only thing I can say is that it would irresponsible for us not to get to the bottom of this.”
  • The FBI and House and Senate intelligence committees have been investigating any links between the Trump campaign and Moscow.




(FOX) Arrests at Mexico border reach lowest level since 2000 (4/4)

  • In March, the number of arrests of people crossing the Mexican border illegally dropped to a figure that is the lowest in 17 years, according to the head of Department of Homeland Security.
  • Secretary John Kelly is claimed that this decline is “no accident” and is crediting Trump for his approach to illegal immigration.
  • Trump has yet to make changing to how the border is patrolled.
  • Typically, border crossings increase as the weather warms.


(CNN) In a Trump-defying move, California’s Senate passes sanctuary state bill (4/3)

  • A bill (SB 54) was passed in the California Senate limiting state and local police cooperation with federal immigration authorities.
  • The “sanctuary state” bill prevents state and local law enforcement agencies from using resources, such as money, facility, property, equipment or personnel, to assist immigration enforcement agencies. The bill passed the Senate in a 27-12 vote along party lines; Democrats in support and Republicans in opposition.


(CNN) 9TH Circuit will hear travel ban suit in May (4/3)

  • The 9th circuit Court of Appeals will look at the legality of Trump’s travel ban. The ban was indefinitely halted by a federal judge in Hawaii because it violates the Establishment Clause of the Constitution by disfavoring Muslims.
  • A request by the parties’ for a speedy appeal was granted by the courts and therefore, the oral arguments will be heard in May.



(Yahoo) Bannon removed for key National Security Council post (4/5)

  • Bannon is leaving his position on the Principals Committee of the National Security Council. The White House referred to this as part of a planned “realignment” of the NSC.
  • Bannon took the positions after Trump’s inauguration and was criticized by Democrats, including Nancy Pelosi, who called Bannon a “white supremacist.” According to an official, Steve was placed on the NSC as “a check on Mike Flynn.” (but then clarified that he wasn’t serving as a “check” for lack of trust.


(CNN) Electronics ban at foreign airports could expand (4/5)


(CNN) US cute women’s health funding to UN (4/4)

  • Late Monday the Trump administration announced it was pulling $32.5 million from United Nations Population Fund because it works w/ the Chinese government. Critics say that this move could lead to greater instability in the Middle East and hurt women around the world. The Fund works to help women in 155 countries around the world.
  • The impact will be felt by refugees and women in crisis. In Syria alone, UNPFA is said to have helped an estimated 48,000 women with safe childbirth and 74,700 individuals w/ gender-based violence outreach. It has also created 64 women’s centers and safe spaces.
  • UNPFA has also created primary health centers, women’s centers that provide support for survivors of gender-based violence and a dedicated center where more than 700 Yazidi survivors of sexual violence receive mental health in Iraq.


(Yahoo) McCain slams Trump’s Syria policy as a ‘disgraceful chapter in American history’ (4/4)

  • Following a gas attack that killed dozens in Syria, Sen. John McCain came forward calling the United States’ failure to intervene a “disgraceful chapter in American history.”
  • McCain has been a longtime advocate of arming Syrian rebels and removing Assad from power. He said, “Syrian people cannot decide the fate of Assad or the future of their country when they are being slaughtered by Assad’s barrel bombs, Putin’s aircraft and Iran’s terrorist proxies. U.S. policy must reflect such basic facts.”
  • McCain has referred to Assad as “one of the great brutal dictators in history.”


(FOX) Trump donates first 3 months of salary to Park Service:


(YAHOO) EPA chief admits climate change is real – but ‘the real issue is how much we contribute to it” (4/2)

  • Scott Pruitt, in a statement to Fox News Sunday, said, “There’s a warming trend – the climate is changing. And human activity contributes to that change in some measure. The real issue is how much we contribute to it.”
  • According to a recent United Nations “State of the Climate” report led by the National oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 2015 was the warmest year on record since the mid-to-late 19th century. TI was reported that it is 95% likely that more than half of the global temperature increase over the last 75 years is due to human activity.
  • Trump has previously referred to climate change as a hoax perpetrated by China and claimed that “nobody really knows” if it’s real.



(Yahoo from Associated Press) Deal in Dunkin’ Donuts case could mean free buttered treats (4/5)

  • Jan Polanik sued a cluster of Dunkin’ Donuts of Canton, MA after he said he received a butter substitute on his bagels when he requested butter.
  • The proposed settlement, filed in a state court, is awaiting approval by a judge. If ruled in his favor, Polanik could receive $500 while about 1,400 other customers with similar complaints would get free butter baked goods. The law firms will get $90,000.
  • Though the attorney, Shapiro, claims that after the hours spent working on the case, the out-of-pocket expenses exceed $90,000. He said, “We felt that the principle involved was important enough and something should be done to correct the practice.”


(Yahoo from Associated Press) New Jersey cat missing 2.5 years reunited with family (4/5)



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