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April 21, 2017
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When members of Congress return to Washington next week after their long spring recess, both parties plan to focus on passing a spending bill to keep the federal government running past April 28. When Congress returns next week, President Trump wants House Republicans to take up the American Health Care Act again, with a new amendment, so he will be able to point to a concrete accomplishment in his first 100 days in office; his 100th day is April 29.

"Congress usually cannot take on two big things at once," The New York Times says. Five days to pass a spending bill, The Washington Post adds, is "a tight timeline under the most generous of circumstance that would be nearly impossible to meet if House leaders also try to force a vote on the repeal legislation." In theory, Democrats and Republicans could pass a very short-term stopgap spending bill, but a new GOP push to pass the AHCA, which repeals large parts of the Affordable Care Act, would not put Democrats in a very cooperative mood.

The first attempt to pass the AHCA failed very publicly last month. But at a news conference on Thursday, Trump said "the plan gets better and better and better, and it's gotten really, really good, and a lot of people are liking it a lot," adding he thinks the House can pass that as well as a spending bill. "We have a good chance of getting it soon," Trump said of the AHCA. "I'd like to say next week, but it will be — I believe we will get it."

Hopes of passing the health-care bill rest on an amendment negotiated by relative moderate Rep. Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.) and Freedom Caucus chairman Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.). The draft plan would allow states to seek waivers to requirements that insurers offer essential health benefits and not charge more to people with pre-existing conditions, if the state maintained a high-risk pool. (Jeff Spross has more details at The Week.)

Even if House Republicans get the plan translated into legislative language and get it scored by the Congressional Budget Office, there's no guarantee it would pass. The amendment "really doesn't address the concerns that I had," Rep. Dan Donovan (R-N.Y.) told The New York Times. Fellow moderate Rep. Charlie Dent (R-Pa.) agreed it "does nothing to change my views," criticizing any focus "on an arbitrary 100-day deadline." Peter Weber

May 19, 2018
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The 10 people killed in Friday's mass shooting at Santa Fe High School near Houston, Texas, were identified by Galveston County authorities Saturday: Sabika Sheikh, Ann Perkins, Angelique Ramirez, Shana Fisher, Kim Vaughan, Chris Stone, Cynthia Tisdale, Christian "Riley" Garcia, Jared Conard Black, and Kyle McLeod.

Perkins and Tisdale were substitute teachers; the other eight victims were Santa Fe students. Houston Texans player J.J. Watt has announced he will cover the cost of all 10 funerals.

Sheikh was an exchange student from Pakistan, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Saturday sent his "deepest condolences" to her loved ones. "I don't blame the murder of my girl on American society but on that terrorism mindset that is there in all societies. We need to fight it all over the world," said her uncle, Ansar Sheikh. "I do ask the American government to make sure weapons will not be easily available in your country to anybody. Please make sure this doesn't happen again. It really hurts."

The suspect, Dimitrios Pagourtzis, has been arrested on multiple murder charges. He has given a statement "admitting to shooting multiple people" and reportedly told police he "did not shoot students he did like so he could have his story told." Bonnie Kristian

May 19, 2018
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First lady Melania Trump returned to the White House Saturday morning after being hospitalized for surgery Monday to treat a "benign kidney condition."

"She is resting comfortably and remains in high spirits," said a statement from her staff. "Our office has received thousands of calls and emails wishing Mrs. Trump well, and we thank everyone who has taken the time to reach out."

The embolization procedure, which is designed to block blood flow to a benign tumor or other abnormal tissue growth, was completed without complications. Bonnie Kristian

May 19, 2018

President Trump spent much of his first week in office making the demonstrably false claim that the crowd at his inauguration was the "biggest audience in the history of inaugural speeches" — and the BBC has not forgotten. BBC Three, which offers programming aimed at young adult audiences, seized the occasion of the royal wedding on Saturday to send out a snarky tweet:

All joking aside, though the London crowd may look larger in the photos included in the tweet, Reuters UK has estimated only 100,000 people turned out to watch the wedding in person. If that figure is correct, the wedding crowd is substantially smaller than Trump's inaugural audience, which federal agency estimates put at about 800,000.

In television viewership, however, the wedding has the inauguration beat: Early reports say the nuptials were watched by up to 2 billion people worldwide; domestic TV viewership of Trump's inauguration was 31 million. Bonnie Kristian

May 19, 2018
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European Commissioner for Energy and Climate Miguel Arias Canete announced in Tehran Friday that the European Union will protect from U.S. sanctions European companies that continue to do business with Iran despite President Trump's decision to withdraw the United States from the Iran nuclear deal.

This move comes at the behest of Iran deal signatories France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, which have sought to preserve the deal after America's exit. "We have sent a message to our Iranian friends that as long as they are sticking to the agreement the Europeans will ... fulfill their commitment," Canete said. "And they said the same thing on the other side."

"We hope [the EU's] efforts materialize," said Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi, because "America's actions ... show that it is not a trustworthy country in international dealings." Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said Tehran will stay in the deal as long as Iranian interests are "guaranteed by its non-American signatories ... In that case, getting rid of America's mischievous presence will be fine for Iran." Bonnie Kristian

May 19, 2018
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Sens. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), Mark Warner (D-Va.), and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) sent a letter to the inspectors general of the State Department, Treasury Department, and the intelligence community on Friday asking for an independent investigation into the Trump administration's failure to implement Russia sanctions passed by Congress last year.

"[I]t seems clear that several weeks ago the administration had identified specific Russian entities that had played a role in supplying or otherwise supporting the government of Syria's chemical weapons program, had prepared a list of such entities for sanctions designation, and Ambassador Nikki Haley publicly announced their imminent designation," the letter says, "but then did not designate them, reportedly at the direction of the president."

The White House has said the penalties imposed by the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) are unnecessary because the measure is already achieving its intended results. A State Department official said in January that the passage of CAATSA shows "significant transactions with listed Russian entities will result in sanctions. Sanctions on specific entities or individuals will not need to be imposed because the legislation is, in fact, serving as a deterrent."

The president has some executive discretion in enforcing the law, but its scope is the subject of legal debate. The senators' request is unlikely to be honored, The Washington Post reports, unless congressional Republicans support it as well. Bonnie Kristian

May 19, 2018

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were married in St. George's Chapel at Windsor on Saturday.

Markle wore a minimalist, structural silk gown with a bateau neckline, long sleeves, and a dramatic embroidered veil. The dress was created by British designer Clare Waight Keller, artistic director of Givenchy. Harry wore a bespoke cavalry uniform.

Though the vows were led by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the homily was delivered by Bishop Michael Curry, the first African American to lead the Episcopal Church. "There's power in love," Curry preached. "We were made by a power of love and our lives were meant to be lived with that love."

The ceremony will be followed by an evening reception at Frogmore House. Watch three key moments of the morning's events — Markle's arrival, the choral performance of "Stand by Me," and the proclamation of marriage — via Kensington Palace below. Bonnie Kristian

May 19, 2018
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President Trump alleged on Twitter Thursday that the FBI "spied" on his campaign with an "embedded informant," citing a National Review story. "If so, this is bigger than Watergate!" he wrote.

In reports published Friday night, The Washington Post and The New York Times partially confirmed his account. Both papers reported an unnamed American academic who is now based in the U.K. met with Trump campaign advisers including Carter Page and George Papadopoulos, as well as campaign co-chair Sam Clovis, in 2016.

Described by the Post as a "longtime U.S. intelligence source," the academic was working as a source for the FBI's then-nascent investigation into Russian election meddling. The Times reports there is no evidence "the informant acted improperly" or that the inquiry was "politically motivated," as Trump claims.

The informant's name has been withheld over security concerns for himself and other ongoing investigations. However, speculation as to his identity is already underway, mostly based on the detail that the academic's meetings were framed as foreign policy discussions. Bonnie Kristian

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