5 things you need to know now
5 things you need to know now
  • Trump denies tone-deaf comments about fallen Green Beret

  • Trump flip-flops on bipartisan Alexander-Murray health-care deal

  • Attorney General Jeff Sessions evades tough questions at oversight hearing

  • FDA approves first gene therapy for adults with blood cancer

  • Kohl's to start carrying Amazon products in stores

President Trump was accused Wednesday of making the widow of a fallen Green Beret cry when he told her that her late husband, Army Sgt. La David Johnson, "knew what he signed up for." Johnson was killed in Niger earlier this month. Trump's alleged comments were initially relayed to the press by Rep. Frederica Wilson (D-Fla.), who said she heard the conversation on speakerphone. Johnson's mother confirmed Wilson's account to The Washington Post. Trump denied the reports: "Didn't say what that congresswoman said," he told the press, while White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders called it a "disgrace of the media" to describe the phone call as anything other than "an act of kindness." Trump also tweeted that he has "proof" the conversation did not go as Wilson described.

Source: Miami Herald, Politico

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) reached a bipartisan deal Tuesday aiming to extend subsidy payments to health insurers to help low-income Americans pay out-of-pocket costs. The deal would extend the payments for two years and give states more leeway to change rules on insurance coverage. Trump initially said he could support the "short-term" deal, but on Wednesday he tweeted that while he is "supportive of Lamar and also of the process," he "can never support bailing out [insurance companies] who have made a fortune with [ObamaCare]." Democrats have expressed support for the deal, but some conservatives said they would oppose anything that would "prop up" ObamaCare.

Source: The New York Times, Reuters

Attorney General Jeff Sessions refused to discuss his conversations with President Trump at his Senate Judiciary Committee oversight hearing Wednesday, citing executive privilege and frustrating Democrats. "I can neither assert executive privilege nor can I disclose today the content of my confidential conversations with the president," Sessions said. Democrats have maintained that because Trump did not invoke the privilege himself, the attorney general is not required to adhere to it. Sessions faced intense pressure from senators including Vermont's Patrick Leahy (D), who forced Sessions to admit he has not yet been interviewed by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in the Russia investigation, and Minnesota's Al Franken (D), who challenged Sessions for "moving the goal posts" regarding his conversations with Russian agents.

Source: The New York Times, CNN

The Food and Drug Administration on Wednesday approved a one-time treatment for lymphoma in adults, only the second time a gene therapy for blood cancer has been given the OK in the United States. This is the first gene therapy approved for adults, and involves removing a patient's T cells, reprogramming them to find and kill cancer cells, then putting the cells back into the patient. The treatment uses the same technology as a gene therapy recently approved in the U.S. for childhood leukemia, and will cost $373,000 per patient, its manufacturer said.

Source: The Associated Press

Starting Wednesday, Kohl's department stores in 10 locations across Los Angeles and Chicago will sell Amazon smart home products. The brick-and-mortar stores will also accept returns for Amazon online purchases. Kohl's and Amazon have been working on this retail partnership since the spring, and more than 70 Kohl's locations will eventually accept Amazon returns. Kohl's joins Sears and Best Buy as prominent retailers who have entered into some type of partnership with Amazon. "I really do think it's an example of two companies that can leverage each other's strengths," said Michelle Gass, Kohl's chief merchandising and customer officer.

Source: CNBC, Business Insider
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