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Analysis, background reports and updates from the PBS NewsHour putting today's news in context.

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    File photo of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

    File photo of Secretary of State Rex Tillerson by Aaron P. Bernstein/Reuters

    ISTANBUL — U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Monday acknowledged severe strains in U.S.-Turkey relations, although he said he is hopeful of mending ties with the NATO ally and partner in the anti-Islamic State coalition. He also said he hoped that the U.S. and Turkey could replicate an agreement reached last week between the U.S., Russia and Jordan for a ceasefire in southwestern Syria in the north of the country.

    Speaking to Turkey-based American diplomats in Istanbul, Tillerson said he believed the two countries are beginning to restore mutual trust that had been lost over the course of the last several years. He said since becoming secretary of state, he had met three times with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan — including a lengthy session on Sunday night — and that each time the tone of the conversation had improved. While challenges remain, Tillerson said he believed the first steps to re-establishing relations “on the proper basis” have been taken.

    “I think our relationship here in Turkey which has been under some stress for some time, I hope we are beginning to put it on the mend,” he said. “I think we’re beginning to rebuild some of that trust that we lost in one another, they lost our trust to a certain extent, we lost theirs, so I think we are working very hard to rebuild that level of trust and that is the basis for any relationship.”

    “This is an extraordinarily important relationship to the United States for many, many reasons that you would well understand from a security standpoint to the future economic opportunities as well and the important geography just by luck of Mother Nature that the citizens of Turkey occupy at this crossroads of the world,” Tillerson said. “So it’s important for so many reasons which is why we must put the relationship on the mend, re-establish it on the proper basis and strengthen it going forward and I think we’re taking the first steps in that regard.”

    Tensions between Washington and Ankara have been high over U.S. support for Kurdish rebels in Syria, Turkey’s crackdown on dissent, particularly since last year’s failed coup, and Turkish allegations the U.S. was sympathetic to the coup-plotters — accusations that American officials have vehemently denied.

    Turkey believes the Kurds want to establish an independent Kurdish state that would threaten its sovereignty and has vocally protested their arming by the United States in their fight against Syrian President Bashar Assad. In the meantime, the U.S. has been critical of what it sees as Erdogan backsliding on democratic principles, including human rights, in the wake of the coup attempt.

    On the potential for a ceasefire in northern Syria, Tillerson noted the arrangement that was announced on Friday at the G-20 summit in Germany.

    “We’re making some progress down in Syria, we’re hopeful that we can replicate that with Turkey on some areas in the north part of Syria,” he said. “So we’re going to be working hard on all those issues and I think, I hope that will also form a basis for improving the trust as well.”

    U.S. officials were cautious about Tillerson’s optimism, noting Ankara’s hardline antipathy for the Kurdish groups that Washington sees as key to destroying the Islamic State group. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the sensitive matters, said talks with the Turks were in their very early stages.

    The post Tillerson hopes to mend strained U.S.-Turkey ties appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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  • 07/10/17--09:01: How we fail to humanize war
  • Destroyed buildings from clashes are seen in the Old City of Mosul, Iraq July 10, 2017. REUTERS/Thaier Al-Sudani

    About six years ago, poet and playwright Harry Newman sat down to a write a cautionary poem about war, and the culture around it, as military tensions seemed be rising between the U.S. and Iran, and as the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq dragged on.

    Fast forward to the present — as President Trump has inherited multiple conflicts from the Obama administration, as tensions with Iran are again a focus, and as the battle against ISIS in Syria and Iraq rages on — and Newman says he could have written the poem, which is called “Soon,” just last week.

    Newman’s 2016 collection “Led From a Distance,” where “Soon” was first published, is all about the distance of modern-day warfare. “We just know of war what is presented on our screens,” Newman said. “Even drone operators — we’re all operating from a distance now. But we’re all affected by it, even if we don’t see it.”

    Harry Newman. Credit: Eva Orzech

    Harry Newman. Credit: Eva Orzech

    It would be useful, Newman said, if we better understood how the countries we go to war with are often a lot like us. “Bombs falling missiles / skimming over suburbs / so much like our own,” he writes. “It could be our streets [at war], and it might well be,” he said. “I think those are connections we don’t make, or we’re not encouraged to make. And those are really humanizing connections.”

    Newman, who has been writing political poetry and theater for the last several decades, said his work comes out of being politically active.

    As a college student at MIT, he protested policies of the Reagan administration; later, he became more politically involved through the anti-war work of his first wife, a former political prisoner and torture survivor. His play “The Occupation,” which was put on in July 2001, just ahead of the 9/11 attacks, explored the human dynamics of military occupation, primarily from the perspective of the occupied. Two years later, the U.S. invaded Iraq, using 9/11 as its rationale.

    Back then, and in writing “Soon,” Newman said, he was less plugged into the daily news, and would write only after taking the time to read more deeply about a subject. But today, he said, it’s impossible not to also follow each incremental development of the news — even if feels like the spectre of war is raised almost daily.

    “It’s the nature of the era that we’re in that we’re compelled to constantly absorb this,” he said. “But you grow inured when you hear these constant announcements of war, some of it contrived and some of it real. To have a real emotional connection you have to let something in and sit with you.”

    Below, read Newman’s poem “Soon,” and listen to him read it aloud.


    Soon
    By Harry Newman

    soon the generals
    will have their way

    and killing will begin
    again the modern kind
    distant and televised

    how strange it is
    to think of movies
    instead of slaughter

    when the images come
    the ones we’ve seen
    now so many times

    bombs falling missiles
    skimming over suburbs
    so much like our own

    we have grown so fat
    with violence we need
    our murder super-sized
    before we can feel it

    when the smaller deaths
    the ones on the ground
    the cameras won’t see
    will never be counted


    There should be an embedded item here. Please visit the original post to view it.


    Harry Newman is a poet based in New York whose work has been published in numerous literary journals, including Rattle, Fugue, Asheville Poetry Review and The New Guard, as well as the online political magazines Counterpunch and Warscapes. His poems have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize in the UK. Also a playwright, his works include “The Occupation,” “Dry Time,” “The Dark,” and a translation of Patrick Süskind’s “The Double Bass,” which have been staged at theaters throughout the U.S. and in Germany. 

    The post How we fail to humanize war appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    File photo of FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    File photo of FBI Director nominee Christopher Wray by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The attorney selected to replace James Comey as FBI director is described by those close to him as admirably low-key, yet he’d be taking over the law enforcement agency at a moment that’s anything but tranquil.

    Christopher Wray would inherit an FBI that lost its popular leader in an unceremonious firing in May and that has spent the last year investigating whether the Trump campaign coordinated with Russia to win the presidency. During this most consequential probe in decades, he’d be serving under a president who is said to have demanded loyalty from Comey and has appeared insensitive to the traditionally bright boundary between the White House and the FBI.

    Wray’s confirmation hearing Wednesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee may dive into his legal background but will almost certainly focus on the political maelstrom surrounding the nomination, with Democrats and perhaps some Republicans seeking assurances of his independence from President Donald Trump.

    Lawyers and FBI agents who have worked with Wray don’t expect that to be a problem, describing him as calm, methodical and even-handed. He has deep experience in Washington, serving as the top criminal lawyer in the Bush administration and working closely not only with Comey but also Robert Mueller, the former FBI director who’s now serving as special counsel in charge of the Russia investigation.

    Wray’s confirmation would thrust him immediately into the ongoing Russia investigation, and though he’d likely receive updates on the probe’s progress and work to ensure that the special counsel has the resources he needs, prosecution decisions would be made by Mueller and his team.

    “The people in the bureau are particularly concerned about what’s going to walk through that door,” said Monique Roth, who worked under Wray in the criminal division. “He is a very steady hand at the helm.”

    WATCH LIVE: Christopher Wray to testify before Senate panel on July 12

    Wray, 50, was selected following a weeks-long search that began days after Trump abruptly fired Comey. Several current and former elected officials were interviewed for the job, and many contenders gradually withdrew from consideration. The pick was revealed in a tweet that came as Washington was focused on consecutive days of significant congressional hearings involving top intelligence officials and then Comey.

    Wray was a top Justice Department official under Attorney General John Ashcroft and was nominated by President George W. Bush to head the criminal division between 2003 and 2005. In that position, besides overseeing major criminal prosecutions — such as the special task force investigating the Enron collapse — Wray also helped shape the U.S. government’s legal response to terrorism and national security threats. A specialized national security division was created after Wray’s departure.

    Though there’s not much in his background likely to trip him up at his hearing, Democrats will probably press him on his involvement in national security matters in the Bush administration, a period when the government authorized harsh interrogation techniques and routinely shipped to Guantanamo Bay terrorism suspects captured on foreign battlefields. Redacted emails to and from him are included in an ACLU database of memos on the interrogation and detention of terror suspects.

    But Barry Sabin, chief of the criminal division’s counterterrorism section at the time, said Wray made clear he did not support torture. Sabin pointed to the prosecution under Wray of a CIA contract worker in the beating an Afghan detainee who later died and said that after the Sept. 11 attacks, Wray recognized the need to balance national security concerns with civil liberties protections.

    “He has an exceptionally strong foundation to guide the bureau through threats and through challenges known and unknown,” Sabin said.

    Wray was at the department in 2004 when Comey, then the deputy attorney general, threatened to resign during a dispute with the White House over the reauthorization of a domestic surveillance program. Wray stopped Comey in the hallway one night amid resignation rumors with a particular request, according to the 2011 book, “The Threat Matrix.”

    “Look, I don’t know what’s going on, but before you guys all pull the rip cords, please give me a heads-up so I can jump with you,” Wray said.

    Wray has spent the last decade in private practice at King & Spalding in Atlanta, where he’s defended large corporations and financial institutions in criminal and civil cases. Most notably, he was personal lawyer to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie in an investigation into the closing of the George Washington Bridge.

    Office of Government Ethics documents released Monday show he provided legal services to Johnson & Johnson, Wells Fargo, Credit Suisse and fantasy sports providers DraftKings and FanDuel, among other big-name clients. If confirmed, he’ll have to step aside for a year from matters involving those clients and the firm, from which he earned $9.2 million as part of his annual partnership share.

    Joe Robuck, a retired FBI agent who worked with Wray when he was a federal prosecutor in Atlanta, recalled him as a true partner. They investigated a complicated securities fraud and public corruption case that had them and others working together around the clock. He was dedicated, and commanded the respect of agents, said Robuck, who expects Wray would have the same approach as FBI director.

    “He has a sense for his place in history,” said Roth, of the criminal division, noting that Wray seemed unconcerned that he was a Republican and she was not, even in his politically appointed position.

    FBI directors are appointed to 10-year terms meant to insulate them from political influence. And the bureau has been through transitions before, with successive leaders sporting different management styles.

    Comey was exceedingly well-liked by subordinates for his approachable leadership, and his abrupt dismissal — and shifting explanations from the White House, and public denigration of their work — angered career agents.

    “At the end of the day, they’ve got a job to do — that’s to protect the national security of the country,” said retired FBI official Andrew Arena. “They’ll get over it quickly. Jim Comey would want them to.”

    Arena said the fact that Wray’s “not an excitable type of guy” may make him the right pick for the time.

    “I think it’s what you need right now, kind of calm everyone down and get everything on track.”

    Associated Press reporters Sadie Gurman and Eric Tucker wrote this report.

    The post Low-key FBI director pick would lead agency through tumult appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Artist's concept of the Juno spacecraft orbiting Jupiter. Image by NASA/JPL-Caltech

    Artist’s concept of the Juno spacecraft orbiting Jupiter. Image by NASA/JPL-Caltech

    On Monday, NASA’s Juno spacecraft will fly over one of Jupiter’s most distinguishable and intriguing features, its Great Red Spot.

    The Great Red Spot is actually a 10,000-mile-wide storm, meaning it could swallow Earth with 3,000 miles to spare. Scientists have been monitoring the storm for more than 100 years, and the swirling tempest may have started much earlier.

    “This monumental storm has raged on the solar system’s biggest planet for centuries,” said Scott Bolton, principal investigator of Juno from the Southwest Research Institute in San Antonio, in a press release. “Now, Juno and her cloud-penetrating science instruments will dive in to see how deep the roots of this storm go, and help us understand how this giant storm works and what makes it so special.”

    At the time of Monday night’s flyby, Juno will be about 5,600 miles above the churning mass of clouds. The spacecraft launched in August 2011, and has orbited the gas giant for more than a year.

    READ MORE: Juno meets Jupiter, survives radiation shower at north pole

    Scientists are hoping to learn more about how and where Jupiter formed and its composition, which in turn will help them better understand the hundreds of other giant exoplanets they’ve discovered circling other stars.

    You can view Juno’s first in-depth results released in May and learn more about its mission as a whole on NASA’s website.

    The post Juno spacecraft to fly over Jupiter’s Great Red Spot appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s eldest son says he’s willing to communicate with the Senate Intelligence committee.

    Donald Trump Jr. tweeted Monday that he’s “happy to work with the committee to pass on what I know” after a senior Republican on the panel said he should be interviewed. Maine Sen. Susan Collins said the committee should talk to Trump’s son about a meeting he and other Trump associates had last year with a Russian lawyer to hear information about Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton.

    Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort accompanied Donald Trump Jr. to the Trump Tower meeting with Kremlin-linked lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya.

    Trump Jr. said he was told the person he was to meet with might have information that would be “helpful” to the Trump campaign.

    READ MORE: Trump Jr: ‘Had to listen’ to Russian lawyer for Clinton info

    The post Trump Jr. ‘happy to work with’ Senate panel appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A Capitol Hill police officer watches people demonstrate against the Senate healthcare bill at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    A Capitol Hill police officer watches people demonstrate against the Senate healthcare bill at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Photo by Joshua Roberts/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — U.S. Capitol Police have investigated more threats to members of Congress in the first six months of the year than in all of 2016, says the chief law enforcement official for the House, as Majority Whip Steve Scalise remains hospitalized after a gunman opened fire at a baseball practice nearly a month ago.

    The numbers were revealed in a memo Monday on the Federal Election Commission website as lawmakers seek the panel’s guidance on using campaign funds to improve security at their residences. House Sergeant at Arms Paul Irving provided the numbers to the FEC, saying they constitute a “new daily threat environment faced by members of Congress.”

    In the first half of the year, U.S. Capitol Police investigated about 950 threatening communications to lawmakers. Last year, police investigated 902 such communications.

    “The increased use of social media has created a new avenue for individuals with ill intent to publish threatening communications directed toward members of the House of Representatives,” Irving wrote to FEC Chairman Steven T. Walther. “The anonymous nature of these postings makes it particularly challenging for the United States Capitol Police, and it is imperative that we do everything possible to protect our elected representatives.” In a politically polarized atmosphere, lawmakers have spoken about an increasing number of threats of physical violence or death. Several discussed it freely after the shooting last month grievously wounded Scalise. The Louisiana Republican remains in serious condition in the intensive care unit of a Washington hospital after several surgeries, including one for an infection.

    Scalise and four other people were injured June 14 when a gunman opened fire on a Republican baseball practice in nearby Alexandria, Virginia. U.S. Capitol Police and other officers returned fire and killed the gunman. The rifle-wielding attacker had nursed grievances against President Donald Trump and the GOP.

    The 51-year-old congressman was struck in the hip and the bullet tore into blood vessels, bones and internal organs. Irving mentioned the shooting, saying “this vitriol has culminated in the tragic events of June 14, 2017.”

    The FEC is weighing Irving’s request for guidance as to whether lawmakers can use campaign funds to pay for residential security systems. The commission will take the issue up at a meeting Thursday. In preparation, staff prepared two draft advisory opinions — one agreeing to Irving’s request and the other concluding that such spending absent a specific threat to a lawmaker is not allowed.

    In years past, the FEC has allowed use of campaign funds for residential security systems on a limited, case-by-case basis. In those three instances, the Capitol Police had recommended the security upgrades. The FEC concluded that the threats wouldn’t have happened had the lawmakers not been federal office holders or candidates.

    WATCH: Attack on congressman provokes somber reflection in Washington

    The post Threats to lawmakers spike in 2017, House memo says appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    WASHINGTON — The White House says sanctions related to Russian election meddling were discussed in the meeting between President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin last week.

    The statement from the White House on Monday is a direct contradiction to comments tweeted by Trump a day earlier.

    White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Monday that “sanctions specific to election meddling were discussed” in Friday’s meeting with Putin.

    Trump tweeted on Sunday: “Sanctions were not discussed at my meeting with President Putin. Nothing will be done until the Ukrainian & Syrian problems are solved!”

    The White House did not immediately respond to a request for clarity.

    READ MORE: Trump Jr: ‘Had to listen’ to Russian lawyer for Clinton info

    The post LISTEN: White House says Trump and Putin talked sanctions in meeting appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    FILE PHOTO: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to the media about plans to repeal and replace Obamacare on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 27, 2017. REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein/File Photo - RTS1903E

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell speaks to the media about plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on Capitol Hill on June 27, 2017. File photo by REUTERS/Aaron P. Bernstein

    Senate Republican leaders are planning to put out a new health care bill this week, with revisions aimed at winning over enough holdout GOP members to get the plan over the finish line. The 52-member GOP caucus can only afford to lose two votes. But when Congress returned from its July Fourth recess Monday, several policy disputes remained — leaving the bill’s chances of passage in serious jeopardy.

    As the Senate picks up the health care debate, here’s a guide to the make-or-break sticking points that stand between Republicans and their longtime goal of rolling back former President Barack Obama’s health care law.

    Full vs. partial repeal

    The years-long fight in Washington over the Affordable Care Act has always been about more than just health care. The law that Obama signed in 2010 was criticized by some on the left, but overall it reflected the Democratic Party’s preferred method of governing: it expanded the social safety net; introduced basic private sector regulations; and paid for the changes by boosting government spending and shifting resources from wealthy individuals and companies to the less fortunate. For conservatives, the law has always represented a costly federal overreach into Americans’ lives — the kind of government-driven, regulation-heavy solution that Ronald Reagan famously decried in his first inaugural address. At its core, the debate is as much about the size and role of government as it is about complex, nuts-and-bolts health care policy.

    That’s why Republicans have struggled this year over how far to go in repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act. Republicans promised to gut the law for four straight election cycles — going all the way back to the 2010 midterm election. But since President Donald Trump took office and the GOP began crafting its health care overhaul in earnest in January, the party has been pulled in opposite directions by its conservative and moderate wings.

    The intraparty debate over a full-versus-partial repeal nearly sank the House GOP’s bill. The same dynamic has played out in the Senate, where conservative Republicans like Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah have tried to push the bill as far to the right as possible. Moderate Republicans have insisted on a plan that would stop well short of a full repeal and replace, while maintaining popular parts of the law like protections for people with pre-existing conditions and the rule allowing young people to stay on their parents’ policies until age 26.

    The final decision will be driven as much by politics as anything else — and if there is a vote in the Senate, it’ll be one of the hardest votes for Republicans in years. Some Republicans have already concluded that they’re willing to oppose the bill and face the backlash from the party’s conservative base. Sen. Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., has said she would vote against the Senate’s current bill even if she was the deciding vote. “If I have to be that one person, I will be it,” Capito told Politico last weekend.

    On the other side, Cruz and Lee are pushing an amendment that would effectively undercut the Affordable Care Act’s insurance regulations by allowing insurers to sell bare-bones policies that don’t comply with the current law. The proposal is a concession from conservatives: even with the change, the law would still keep the basic framework of the Affordable Care Act intact. But the proposal also amounts to a red line that Cruz and Lee appear unwilling to cross.

    If in the end Republicans like Cruz and Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., are partially responsible for killing the bill — along with some moderates like Sen. Susan Collins of Maine — they’ll face questions from voters next year about why they failed to meet one of the party’s principal promises. They could also face anger from conservative voters if Republicans fail to pass a bill and are forced to negotiate changes to the existing law with Senate Democrats, led by Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., a hated figure on the right. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., has already dismissed a repeal-now, replace-later approach, and warned that GOP leaders would have to sit down with Schumer if this bill fails.

    Medicaid

    While the Senate health care bill would roll back some provisions of the Affordable Care Act, it would completely overhaul the Medicaid program. And over the week-long July Fourth recess, more Republicans came out against the bill’s proposed Medicaid cuts. Even some Republicans who consistently support the Senate GOP leadership’s policy agenda came out against the bill, among them Sen. John Hoeven of North Dakota. Hoeven said in a statement that he does not “support the Senate health care bill in its current form.”

    Although Hoeven focused on premiums and deductibles, he mentioned Medicaid while outlining steps to reform the health care system. In opposing the bill, Hoeven joined a growing number of Republican senators who have said they won’t vote for the bill since it was released last month. For most, Medicaid has been the main sticking point.

    The Senate bill would cap and reduce Medicaid funding. Beginning in 2020, states would have to decide between receiving a block grant or a set amount of funding for each person enrolled in the program, which serves low-income people and the disabled. Under the current system, there is no cap on Medicaid spending. Republicans have long called for cutting spending on Medicaid, arguing that spending on Medicaid, Medicare and Social Security are the biggest drivers of the nation’s long-term federal deficit.

    The resistance to the bill reflects a long-established truth in Washington: once Americans start receiving a new social service, it’s hard for lawmakers to take it away

    As part of the proposal, the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act would phase out by 2024. That change would cause 14 million people to lose their health insurance, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Some Republicans who came out against the bill last month, like Sen. Dean Heller of Nevada, represent states that expanded Medicaid under Obama’s health care reform, and covered hundreds of thousands more people. Nevada, for instance, had an 89 percent increase in monthly Medicaid enrollment after the Affordable Care Act took effect, the second fastest growth in the country after Kentucky, Kaiser found. Capito’s home state of West Virginia saw a 59 percent increase in monthly Medicaid enrollment after the law.

    The resistance to the bill from Republicans like Capito and Collins reflects a long-established truth in Washington: once Americans start receiving a new social service, it’s hard for lawmakers to take it away, even when the policy — or the politics behind the policy — goes against their deepest-held beliefs. For that reason, the Medicaid cuts were a non-starter when the bill came out last month, and they remain a non-starter now as McConnell and the rest of the Senate GOP leadership forge ahead with their health care plan.

    Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks to reporters after Senate Republicans unveiled their version of legislation that would replace Obamacare on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., June 22, 2017. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts - RTS189E3

    Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) speaks to reporters after Senate Republicans unveiled their version of legislation that would replace Obamacare on June 22, 2017. Photo by REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

    Tax credits

    The Senate broke from the House on the issue of tax credits, a feature under the Affordable Care Act that helps people cover health insurance costs. The House bill called for an age-based tax credit system, that would start at $2,000 for young people and go up to $4,000 for people in their sixties. The revised Senate bill would keep the current law’s tax credit system in place, by including subsidies based on income, not age.

    But the bill would change the eligibility standard so that people earning up to 350 percent of the federal poverty line — but no more — would qualify for credits to help pay for plans on the health care exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act. Currently anyone earning up to 400 percent of the poverty line is eligible. The Senate bill would also lower the subsidies as people grow older, helping make the credits less generous overall than they are under the current health care law.

    Democrats argue that the bill’s tax structure would lower premiums, but still keep them out of reach for many Americans. In its report on the bill, the Congressional Budget Office estimated that “despite being eligible for premium tax credits, few low-income people would purchase any plan.” While some Republicans have defended the proposal, others — like Sen. Mike Rounds of South Dakota — have called for more generous subsidies.

    The disagreement puts Senate GOP leaders in a difficult position. Raising subsidies, or taking other steps to move the bill to the left, would risk losing support from the caucus’ conservative wing.

    Tax cuts

    The Affordable Care Act raised taxes on high-income earners, drug companies, health insurers and medical device makers to help cover millions of low and middle-income Americans. The law included an 0.9 percent Medicare payroll tax and a 3.8 percent tax on investment income, both of which applied to individuals earning more than $200,000 per year and married couples who file joint tax returns and earn more than $250,000 annually.

    Nearly all of the law’s taxes would be eliminated under the Senate bill, including the so-called “Cadillac” tax on expensive employer-provided health care plans. To critics of Obamacare, the Cadillac tax came to symbolize the law’s excessive taxation and regulation. Republicans have argued for years that the law is a thinly-veiled redistribution of wealth from the top to the bottom.

    The politics are bad for Republicans, no matter how they try to spin the bill.

    That argument was popular on the right back in 2010. But now, the tax issue is coming back to bite Republicans as they try to push through their health care bill. Democrats have characterized the bill as a give back to the rich that would kick millions of poor people off their insurance, and so far Republicans have failed to come up with a solid response. According to the Tax Policy Center, 44.6 percent of the tax cuts would go to the nation’s wealthiest 1 percent of households, which earn $875,000 or more per year.

    Normally, Republicans could ignore or dismiss the criticism as run-of-the-mill liberal opposition. Senate GOP leaders have tried doing that. But the combination of a tax cut for wealthy people and the Medicaid overhaul has significantly weakened their position. The politics are bad for Republicans, no matter how they try to spin the bill. The bill’s fate isn’t riding on the tax cuts alone. But it makes a tough vote for Senate Republicans that much harder.

    Opioid funding

    The original Senate bill included $2 billion in funding to fight the nation’s opioid crisis. The new plan will reportedly increase the funding to $45 billion over the next decade. It’s a major jump, aimed at winning over senators in states with high rates of opioid addiction who remain on the fence on the bill. The higher funding level would also send a signal that the Senate is taking the issue more seriously, at a time when the opioid epidemic appears to be spiraling out of control, and after an election where the problem was a top priority for candidates on both sides of the aisle, including Mr. Trump.

    But the funding is likely not enough to get holdout GOP senators to flip their votes. If the revised Senate bill also scaled back the proposed Medicaid cuts, the increased opioid addiction funding would be a sweetener that might convince a skeptical Republican to get on board. But without significant protections for Medicaid, several senators have signaled that they won’t vote for the bill, regardless of other concessions that McConnell and his team might come up with.

    That isn’t to say that senators opposed to the health care bill aren’t invested in dealing with the opioid crisis. But with any major piece of legislation, lawmakers have to pick and choose their battles, and Republicans like Capito, Collins and Heller have decided that Medicaid is a priority. If the bill goes down in defeat, however, the opioid addiction provision could spur momentum for lawmakers to tackle the issue again in the future.

    The post The 5 sticking points holding up the GOP health care bill appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Donald Trump Jr. (R) makes remarks at a February press conference during the grand opening of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver. Photo by Nick Didlick/Reuters

    Donald Trump Jr. (R) makes remarks at a February press conference during the grand opening of the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Vancouver. Photo by Nick Didlick/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — The eldest son of President Donald Trump has retained a New York-based lawyer to represent him.

    Alan Futerfas confirmed in an email to The Associated Press on Monday that he’s the lawyer for Donald Trump Jr., who has acknowledged meeting during the presidential campaign with a Russian lawyer whom he thought might have negative information on Hillary Clinton.

    Congressional committees and Special Counsel Robert Mueller are investigating whether Russia coordinated with Trump campaign associates to sway the presidential election. Trump Jr. said Monday on Twitter that he was “happy to work with the committee to pass on what I know.”

    The president has his own legal team. His son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Vice President Mike Pence are also among those with lawyers.

    READ MORE: Trump Jr. ‘happy to work with’ Senate panel

    The post Donald Trump Jr. retains New York-based lawyer appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Watch Video | Listen to the Audio

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Professional baseball has reached the midpoint of its season, and it’s turning out to be a most compelling year.

    Many of the game’s best players are in Miami for the next couple of nights for the midsummer classic, the All-Star Game.

    Things kick off tonight with the Home Run Derby.

    Jeffrey Brown takes it from there.

    JEFFREY BROWN: Another at bat, another home run. Balls are flying out of the park this year at a record pace.

    And adding to the excitement, two of the biggest sluggers are rookies: Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees and Cody Bellinger of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

    Tom Verducci is an MLB Network analyst, a senior writer for Sports Illustrated, and, tomorrow, he will be the FOX MLB reporter for the All-Star Game in Miami. He joins us from Marlins Park, the site of the all-star festivities.

    Tom, welcome to you.

    So, first of all, all those home runs, I have seen different theories, the changes to the balls, changes to the swing. What’s going on?

    TOM VERDUCCI, Sports Illustrated: Well, a little bit of everything. It’s like baking a cake. It’s not just one ingredient. There are many ingredients.

    If you talk to the pitchers, they will definitely talk about the difference in the baseball, that the baseball actually is wound tighter and the seams on the baseball are smaller. So if you have lower seams, you have less drag.

    And you have less drag, of course, that means more carry, and more fly balls are carrying out of ballparks.

    So, you did bring up something. Hitters now know that to make money in the baseball, you have to do damage. You have to hit the ball in the air. So, this generation hitters is all about launching the ball in the air and not necessarily hitting it on the ground for batting average. It more about in the air or slugging.

    JEFFREY BROWN: So, speaking of this generation, we have these two new rookie stars, and they happen to be in very large markets, right, New York and L.A.

    So, what kind of impact are they having this year?

    TOM VERDUCCI: Yes, it’s the perfect storm for baseball, because it truly is the intersection of the two dominant trends in baseball, number one, the home runs we talked about, and, number two, the influx of young stars in the game.

    Now, baseball, traditionally, there has been a long learning curve. Even when they get to the Major Leagues, after their apprenticeship in the minor leagues, it takes a while for a player to establish himself.

    What we’re seeing now in recent years — and Judge and Bellinger are great examples of this — hitters becoming impact players almost immediately as soon as they get to the big leagues.

    Now, I think this has something to do with our society in general. We’re now specializing at early ages. So, these hitters now are specializing on the art of hitting, rather than playing multiple sports, locking in on their specific skills.

    So, Judge and Bellinger have hit the ground running. And one more thing. Bellinger, in A Ball a couple of years ago, specifically changed his swing to hit more balls in the air. In other words, he’s adapted to this revolution of fly ball hitters. And it’s paying off for him.

    JEFFREY BROWN: We have this sort of overperforming team in the Houston Astros and the underperforming, the reigning champions, the Cubs.

    But do want to ask you in our last minute about this continuing problem, the length of the games, something I notice and probably a lot of the fans. Why is it so hard to change that?

    TOM VERDUCCI: Sure.

    Well, first of all, it’s not so much about length of game as it is about the pace of the action, how quickly or not, as it is, is the ball put in play. It’s all the time between pitches. So, I think it is a priority for Major League Baseball going forward. The game is strong right now economically, but I think baseball is worried about a younger generation of fans who get turned off by the amount of downtime in the game.

    In soccer, football, basketball, the ball is generally in motion quite often. In baseball, it’s going in the opposite direction. So, baseball now is talking about some remedies, talking about, now, including perhaps a pitch clock, where a pitcher now would be literally under a clock to deliver his next pitch, say, within 20 seconds.

    They have tried that in the minor leagues. It definitely has worked in transportation of moving the game at a better place. Now baseball needs the Players Association to agree to that kind of change. As they say, negotiations are ongoing.

    JEFFREY BROWN: All right, Tom Verducci, enjoy tomorrow night’s game, and thanks so much for joining us.

    TOM VERDUCCI: Thank you.

    The post Baseball’s star rookies specialize in the art of the home run appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: And now it’s time for Politics Monday with Amy Walter of The Cook Political Report and Tamara Keith of NPR.

    So, Amy, Tam, you have just been hearing what Congresswoman Bustos has said. In fact, she’s still here at the table.

    But, Amy, what do you make of that? Are you hearing from the Democrats where they want to take this country?

    AMY WALTER, The Cook Political Report: Well, I will say this.

    Every party that’s the out party always struggles with this. Who are we now that we’re not in charge? And in this case, Democrats are not only the out party. They don’t control anything. It’s not just the White House. They don’t have the House or the Senate or the White House.

    It is — and every election is a referendum on the party in power. The Republicans are the party in power. The 2018 election is going to be a referendum on whether they were able to accomplish what they said they were going to do or not.

    It’s Democrats’ job getting, I think, as we get into 2020 and the battle is for who is going to occupy the White House to have that message that their standard bearer — you ask the question, who is the leader of your party?

    The leader of their party is going to be the person that they nominate in 2020 to be their nominee.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But that’s several years away.

    AMY WALTER: It’s very many years away.

    Remember, Republicans were successful in the midterm elections in 2010, Democrats were successful in the midterm elections in 2006 in taking control of Congress away from the opposite party, not because they were unified with a message about who they were or what they stood for.

    They stood against the party in power. It was a referendum on that party. Voters were not happy with the party in power. And the out party benefited.

    I think there is plenty of time for Democrats to figure out who they are, but they are, just like Republicans, very divided ideologically.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Tam, from your reporting on the Hill, your reporting from the White House, do the Democrats feel like a force that’s together, that’s found their voice right now?

    TAMARA KEITH, National Public Radio: They have certainly found a way to oppose the Republican legislation. They not splintered when it comes to votes.

    And part of that is credit to Nancy Pelosi’s ability to whip votes, which she has honed over many years in leadership, and also Chuck Schumer has kept them together. There haven’t been the defections that — particularly in the Senate, that President Trump had hoped he would get.

    He had brought some of these moderate Republicans in red states who were up for reelection over to the White House. He had sort of tried maybe to woo them. It didn’t work. They have not been in any way forced to have a wedge between them and the rest of the Democratic Party.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Which has been — so far, Amy, has contributed to the fact that Republicans are still struggling to get an answer on health care.

    AMY WALTER: Right.

    And this goes to the challenge, Judy, which is, when you’re a party that has been successful, as Republicans were successful in the last few years, by being basically the party of no, right, they were against everything that Democrats and President Obama stood for, that was successful to get them a governing — or a political majority, but not a governing majority.

    So now that they’re in power, they’re struggling with, what do you do? They have multiple factions in the Republican Party, just as Democrats have multiple factions. Trying to get them all together to agree on something like a health care bill, which is super complicated, is a lot harder than getting them all to agree that Obamacare is terrible.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And, Tam, you have been out on the road. You were following Bernie Sanders in the last couple of days, who has been holding rallies, trying to say what the Republicans are doing is all wrong.

    What are you seeing? What are you feeling?

    TAMARA KEITH: So, one interesting thing about that is that Bernie Sanders wants Medicare for all, single-payer health care.

    But he didn’t make a big thing out of it at this rally. Most of the focus at this rally that I went to in West — or in Kentucky was about the Republican bill and what it would mean for people.

    And Sanders’ message was really that the Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, needs to be fixed, which is actually standing for something. It’s like — it’s not just no. It’s yes. Now, it’s not clear that Democrats can agree on what the fix is.

    And there’s more people who are quietly saying, well, maybe single-payer, maybe Medicare for all. But that — and that is a longstanding divide among Democrats.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But it sounds Democrats can be unified, at least around that.

    AMY WALTER: At least around that.

    But I think Tam is exactly right. That’s going to be the bigger challenge in 2020, as the Democrats try to figure out their messaging on, do we go further to the left, talk about single-payer, Medicare for all, or do we just say, well, try to fix what isn’t working in health care? That, I think, is going to be a big dividing line in the Democratic primary.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, can’t let you go without a quick question about our lead tonight, Tam.

    That is the new revelations about the Trump campaign and Russia, Donald Trump Jr. meeting with the Russian lawyer and so on. And we have been doing a lot of reporting.

    Is this more of the same, or have we turned some kind of an important corner with this information?

    TAMARA KEITH: I think it’s hard to know where the corners are.

    This is a new person. This is Donald Trump Jr., who is now a person that is involved in this whose name is out there. And a remarkable thing about this is that he basically confirmed much of it on the record, which is a pretty remarkable thing.

    He confirmed that he arranged a meeting with top campaign officials with a Kremlin-linked lawyer because she was potentially offering damaging information about Hillary Clinton. That’s something.

    It’s not necessarily collusion. And collusion isn’t necessarily a violation of the law. But in this sort of ongoing drip, drip, drip, was a bigger drip.

    AMY WALTER: Yes.

    And it also goes back to something I feel like we talk about every time, Judy. Theoretically, what we should be talking about today is simply about health care. That was supposed to be how we were set up this week. This is a big week to get something through.

    The president should be focusing all of his energy and attention on doing that. Instead, now we’re talking once again about Russia. The other thing that is consistent, these are all self-inflicted.

    This is not something that the committees brought up or that Robert Mueller, the special prosecutor, has brought up. This is coming from the lack of transparency from people either during the campaign or during the transition about their connections to Russia.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Because they had filled out forms that didn’t include this latest information.

    AMY WALTER: Correct. Correct.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, when this information comes out …

    (CROSSTALK)

    AMY WALTER: Now it looks like they have to correct, and then it looks like they’re hiding something, whether they are or not.

    Just imagine, in another world, had they come from the very beginning and been completely transparent, even overtransparent, right? Anybody that I met that even has a Russian-sounding last name, I’m going to put their name on a piece of paper and I’m going to give it to you, so you can never say that I’m trying to hide anything.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: But that hasn’t happened.

    AMY WALTER: But that hasn’t happened.

    TAMARA KEITH: No, and it’s a direct contradiction of things that they have said publicly and on the record.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Tamara Keith, Amy Walter, Politics Monday, thank you both.

    AMY WALTER: You’re welcome, Judy.

    TAMARA KEITH: You’re welcome.

    The post The challenge for Democrats in search of a unified message appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Tonight, we begin the first in a series of conversations focusing on the future of the Democratic Party, now out of power in the House, in the Senate, and the White House.

    Joining us now, the co-chair of the House Democratic Policy and Communications Committee. She is Congresswoman Cheri Bustos of Illinois. She’s the only member of the House Democratic leadership team from the Midwest.

    Representative Bustos, welcome to the program.

    REP. CHERI BUSTOS, D-Ill.: Thank you, Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, before we talk about the party, the Democratic Party, let me just ask you, having watched and listened to that report from Virginia, such conflicting opinions about the Affordable Care Act.

    How can you know the Democratic Party’s position is right, when people are so conflicted over it?

    REP. CHERI BUSTOS: Well, I don’t know if we’re entirely right.

    I think the way we need to look at the Affordable Care Act is, while it’s made some tremendous improvement in people’s lives, there is a lot of work we need to do still. Prescription drug prices are too high and unaffordable for too many people. Co-pays, deductibles and premiums are too high for too many people.

    And the folks who were just talking on the show demonstrate that. Actually, what resonated the most with me was right at the end of the story, when you had people saying, come here, look us in the eye, talk to us, listen to us.

    And that is everything to do with what we need to do as Democrats going forward. If we ever want to win back the majority in 2018, that’s exactly what we need to do.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Well, let’s talk about that.

    You represent your district, the 17th District of Illinois, northwestern part of the state. You won by, what, 20 points last fall reelection. Donald Trump also won by, what, just a fraction of a point, but he won.

    What was it in his message that appealed to your voters?

    REP. CHERI BUSTOS: Well, we have communities all over the Central and Northwestern Illinois, the area that I represent, that have lost their jobs to outsourcing.

    Ag and manufacturing are the two economic drivers in my congressional district. And so when you have people who lost their jobs — one example was the Maytag plant in Galesburg, Illinois. It was 13 years ago this September when Maytag sent every one of their last jobs over to Mexico.

    And yet, all these years later, the people who had these jobs still haven’t recovered the wages to the same level they did before.

    I talked to the people who then took another job who then ended up being outsourced and now are working, for instance, as a clerk in a grocery store making half what they did a dozen years ago.

    So, that’s what resonated. When people can hearken back to making America great again, that resonated with people who have lost their jobs and who aren’t making what they did before.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, you have been saying it’s not enough for Democrats to be against Donald Trump. It’s clear Democrats disagree with him on health care, on the Russia story, and on and on.

    What is it that Democrats should be saying?

    REP. CHERI BUSTOS: I think we should be talking nonstop about jobs and the economy.

    We have the right policies. We have a whole make-it-in-America package that focuses on making products in America. We have job retraining programs. We have the right — we have the right programs, but we talk about things that are more divisive than they draw us together.

    I think if we talk about our values and what we stand for as Democrats, making sure that hardworking men and women have a chance to succeed — when I go home and listen to people, that’s what they want us to focus on, not things that divide people.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Is there a single message? Is it a combination of messages, a vision that the Democratic Party has that’s not being spoken?

    REP. CHERI BUSTOS: Well, what we’re doing, kind of a behind-the-scenes look at it, we are working with the Senate, the House.

    We’re also making sure that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is informed about what we’re doing, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

    I’m told that this is the first time where we have really all worked together on this. In my role in policy communications, we have met with more than 150 of our Democratic colleagues. We have met with all the major caucuses, from the Congressional Black Caucus, the Progressives, the Blue Dogs, the New Dems.

    And this is a very much bottoms-up report, our coalescence of ideas. But what we will do is, this will all be about jobs and the economy. We will roll this out this month. And then when all these members, congressional members, go back home for the August district work period, we they be talking about jobs and economy, and we will be united on that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, that’s a little bit about the process, but in terms of the vision, what is the vision of the party for the country?

    When you say jobs and the economy — and I want to bring in or mention something else you have been saying, is you have said to your fellow Democrats, don’t talk down to voters. Make sure they know you respect them.

    What is the message there?

    REP. CHERI BUSTOS: Well, the message is, is that we may be members of Congress. It just means that we have a different job. We’re no better, no worse than anybody else. It’s just a different job.

    I’m blessed by the fact that I was a newspaper reporter, and I have been in the homes in some of the worst neighborhoods, the toughest neighborhoods of my region, to, you know, the country club lot in life.

    And so I’m comfortable talking to any of those people. And I’m also — I know that I’m no better or no worse than any of them.

    But back to your question about what is it about jobs and the economy, that we’re going to make sure that Social Security is strong and will grow stronger. And we’re not going to cut benefits. That’s not something we stand for.

    I gave my mom a call today and she said, what are they doing to my health care? She’s 84 years old. We want to make sure that Medicare is strong and is not facing financial difficulty. We want to make sure that pensions people that they have paid into are not sacrificed. We have got all the right policies, but we have got to talk about that.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So is it a matter of not changing or cutting back on government programs? Is that the Democrats’ idea?

    REP. CHERI BUSTOS: I don’t think government is the entire answer, but people want to know that their member of Congress is going to Washington and fighting for them, that we don’t view that everybody through the lens that it’s all partisan and we can’t work with Republicans.

    I know the people of my congressional district send me to Washington and expect me to get a job done. They want me to work hard, because I make a pretty good wage, especially in comparison to a lot of families. They want me to fight for them if there’s a fight to be had. And they want me to get results.

    And I don’t think that’s so much different, whether you’re in San Francisco or New York City or Chicago. I think that’s what people want in their members of Congress. And that’s what, frankly, they deserve.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Just finally, who is the leader of the Democratic Party right now?

    REP. CHERI BUSTOS: Who is the leader?

    Well, I suppose it depends on how you look at it. On the House side, it’s Nancy Pelosi. On the Senate side, it’s Chuck Schumer. At the DCCC, at the DCCC …

    (CROSSTALK)

    JUDY WOODRUFF: The congressional committee.

    (CROSSTALK)

    REP. CHERI BUSTOS: Yes, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.

    And then it’s Tom Perez at the Democratic National Committee.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: So, it’s a group of people?

    REP. CHERI BUSTOS: Yes, it’s a group of people.

    But I think we also have a lot of young emerging leaders who, in time, will take different roles. I’m proud of the fact that I sit at the leadership table now.

    The fact that I’m the only Midwesterner, I would like a little more company sitting around the table. I think we’re practical in the Midwest, and I would like to see a little more of us sitting at the leadership table.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: In fact, you were just named by the Campaign Committee the Democratic — the chairwoman of the Heartland Engagement Committee.

    Congresswoman Cheri Bustos, thank you very much.

    REP. CHERI BUSTOS: Thank you, Judy.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: We appreciate it.

    REP. CHERI BUSTOS: Thank you.

    The post Americans want to hear Democrats talk about values, not divisions, says Rep. Bustos appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: But first: As Republicans on Capitol Hill try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, we’re going to spend the next couple of nights hearing what patients and health care providers think should be done.

    Our team visited West Virginia and Virginia, which made very different decisions about Medicaid. West Virginia did commit to expanding Medicaid through Obamacare. But Virginia is one of 19 states that didn’t. The state’s Republican-controlled legislature voted against expanding the program to 400,000 more citizens because of concerns over costs.

    Tonight, we visit a clinic providing free care in the western corner of Virginia, a region that strongly supported the election of President Trump.

    PAULA HILL, Clinical Director, The Health Wagon: My name is Dr. Paula Hill. I’m a family nurse practitioner and clinical director here at the Health Wagon. We are at the Smiddy Clinic in Wise, Virginia. We actually say that we’re the forgotten Virginia, because we’re down in the corner with Tennessee and Kentucky borders.

    And we’re very rural, very mountainous and very isolated from the rest of Virginia and a lot of ways the rest of the country. We have a high rate of heart disease, diabetes, and it’s because of the economics here.

    JOYCE CAMPBELL, Patient, The Health Wagon: All the mines and stuff have just about closed down. And there really isn’t any jobs around here.

    My name is Joyce Campbell. I’m from Wise, Virginia.

    You know, I get $800 a month. And I am fortunate I do have an income coming in, with my Social Security. And the time you pay your rent, your electric, your water, your gas, you either have a choice of whether you want to buy your medicine or whether you want to eat.

    PAULA HILL: The Affordable Care Act, when it was enacted, it did help a lot of Virginians. Down here in this part of the state, in far Southwestern Virginia, we didn’t benefit as much because there are such dire economic constraints here. Our patients couldn’t afford the Affordable Care Act. They couldn’t afford $400 a month for a family plan.

    And Virginia didn’t expand Medicaid. We actually didn’t benefit any. It would have helped if we had expanded Medicaid. It would have helped some of our residents anyway, because there’s a dire amount of poverty. There’s people dying every day, and dying senseless deaths, because they don’t have equal right to health care.

    TINA BEAN, Patient, The Health Wagon: My name is Tina Bean. I’m 59, and I’m from Haysi, Virginia.

    I had congestive heart failure twice. I didn’t have insurance. And that’s when I started coming to Paula, or coming to the Health Wagon. Without the medicines and stuff, I probably wouldn’t be here.

    When I heard about the Obamacare a few years ago and checked it and stuff, you could tell then that it wasn’t going to work. People can’t afford it.

    JOYCE CAMPBELL: They call it Affordable Care Act. But it’s not. And they said you could keep your doctors. You couldn’t because your doctors wouldn’t take the thing. And they said you could go to the same hospital, but a lot of it was built on lies. If you really want to know the truth, I think — and I think somebody one of these days is going to give an account for it.

    JEFF TILLER, Patient, The Health Wagon: My name is Jeff Tiller. And I’m 47 years old. And I have worked in the coal mines for 29 years. They diagnosed me for black lung. They done a chest X-ray. They also have found some nodules in my lung.

    PAULA HILL: We are overwhelmed here at the Health Wagon. We have went to over almost 9,000 patients, and we have a staff of less than 20. Every year, we have an outreach clinic event called Remote Area Medical.

    You will see them standing in line for dental care, for medical care, for vision. We have found people with dissecting aortic aneurysms that’s had to be flown out. We have had patients have stroke right there in front of us at these Remote Area Medical events. We have had brain tumors that have been discovered, lung cancers that have been discovered.

    And every year, it’s like this. We keep thinking, well, is it ever going to get better? Is anybody going to help these forgotten people? They’re like something you would see in a Third World country.

    JOYCE CAMPBELL: The Obamacare could have helped some people. I say it needs to be replaced.

    TINA BEAN: I hope that they can replace it. I know it’s not going to be something they can do overnight, because the mess didn’t come overnight.

    JEFF TILLER: When I first started hearing that Obama getting ready for health care, Obamacare, I thought that was great. We tried it. We got it. Does it have faults? Yes, it does. Is it working? Yes, it is.

    And I know right there in my hometown of people that’s got insurance through the Affordable Care Act. And you reverse it, they lose their insurance.

    WOMAN: If all of this goes through, I probably won’t have anything. I don’t know how I’m going to get covered.

    PAULA HILL: Because of the preexisting conditions?

    WOMAN: Yes, right. And I have had it for years.

    DR. PAULA HILL: If the Senate plan actually passes, there will be deep cuts to Medicaid. Even though Virginians didn’t expand, what they are paying out is going to be even — subjected to even more cuts.

    Then you have the preventive care that’s being discussed that they’re not going to be paying for anymore. Just because it wasn’t a perfect plan, it doesn’t mean do away with the whole thing. Why can’t we build on it and repair it, not take it away and then start over with another plan that’s not perfect and not ideal?

    JOYCE CAMPBELL: It helped the insurance company, because they made all kind of money off of it. But, as far as helping a lot of poor people, it didn’t, and it still isn’t.

    Now, we cannot afford the high cost like Obama had there. There’s no way that people in Southwest Virginia can handle it. Now, maybe up Washington, or way up where there’s money and jobs, you could. But there’s neither money nor jobs here.

    TINA BEAN: They need to do something to help it. And, hopefully, the administration now, maybe they will do something.

    JOYCE CAMPBELL: Washington, come to Southwest Virginia.

    DR. PAULA HILL: Come down here and look in their eyes. And don’t forget where you came from. Don’t forget who put you in the position that you’re in.

    JOYCE CAMPBELL: Check the people. Look at them. Go sit on the streets. Go bring your car and park it and look at the people that are hurting. And then, if you have got a heart, you will know what it needs.

    The post What Virginia’s poorest citizens want from health care reform appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: This week, we begin our weeklong series Inside Putin’s Russia.

    With support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, special correspondent Nick Schifrin and producer Zach Fannin traveled to more than a dozen cities, conducted 40 interviews, and were arrested twice. They will report later on Russian propaganda, Russia’s opposition, Russians who join ISIS, and the tense relationship with the U.S.

    But the first story explores a new Russian identity. It’s a combination of religion, old Russian traditions, and rediscovered patriotism.

    This new identity helps explain how people in today’s Russia think, how President Putin acts, and why he remains popular.

    We begin in the southern city of Krasnodar.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: It is Sunday morning in Russia’s conservative south. More than 70 percent of Russians are Orthodox Christian. And under President Vladimir Putin, the church has been revitalized.

    Archpriest Ivan Garmash is known as Father John. He tells parishioners there’s only one way to be a true Christian. And he says being a true Christian is the only way to be a true Russian.

    FATHER JOHN, Archpriest (through interpreter): The state and my faith are united. They can’t be separated. The values of the church and the state coincide.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: In Russia, faith is patriotic. The Orthodox Church criticizes liberal Western values as heresies, while Orthodox priests bless Russian weapons and endorse Putin politically and personally. The president’s faith increases his popularity.

    FATHER JOHN (through interpreter): He is a religious man, and he takes part in the divine worship with the people in churches. What the president is doing, what the government is doing, of course, we support it, because he acts conscientiously and truthfully.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Today’s reenergized Orthodox Church helps create pride in a shared religion.

    And historic Russian symbols, like Cossacks, help create pride in shared traditions; 500 years ago, Cossacks became the Russian tsars’ henchmen. They were famous and feared and helped police the Russian empire’s borders. The Soviets persecuted them.

    Today’s Russia restores them. Cossacks fills Krasnodar’s streets at an annual parade. They believe Russia should be governed by tradition, rather than the rule of law.

    VLADIMIR GROMOV, Retired Cossack Commander (through interpreter): Only the nation that has kept its traditions and honors them more than the law deserves respect. The strength of a nation is in its traditions.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: For 17 years, Vladimir Gromov led the regional Cossack army. He revitalized this event, and helped get the Cossacks state sponsorship. President Putin awarded him the Order of Friendship Medal. Gromov considers Putin the custodian of Russian pride and stability, preventing the chaos of the 1990s.

    VLADIMIR GROMOV (through interpreter): If it wasn’t for President Putin, Russia as a state would be struggling through the toughest times now, and possibly may have ceased to exist. Only Putin has saved the state from total collapse.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: And, in return, Cossacks do what they feel saves Putin.

    WOMAN (singing): Putin will teach you to love the motherland.

    Special correspondent Nick Schifrin discusses this series with the NewsHour’s P.J. Tobia.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: During the 2014 Olympics, the band Pussy Riot performed a song that disparages Putin. Cossacks unleashed their centuries-old tradition of vigilante violence.

    Last year, Cossacks doused the main opposition leader, Alexei Navalny, and attacked his staff. And in Kaliningrad, when a small group of demonstrators demanded the government change its foreign policy, a Cossack beat up 63-year-old protester Yevgeniy Greishen. He lost 80 percent of his eyesight.

    YEVGENIY GREISHEN, Protester (through interpreter): If the regime can’t suppress civil protest through legal means, they punish the people through affiliated associations, like the Cossacks. The regime acts through them.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Why have the authorities cracked down so much?

    YEVGENIY GREISHEN (through interpreter): In Russia, statehood comes first, and human rights come last. They use any means to prove the state is the most important, more important than a human.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: The idea that the state is more important than the people is actually not new. Russians have long had a collective identity.

    ALEXANDER DUGIN, International Eurasian Movement: For us, the man is collective concept. We consider ourselves to be the part of the whole. So, to be Russian means to share the same cultural and historic identity.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: For years, TV fixture and firebrand Alexander Dugin inspired the Kremlin’s ideology. He says Russia’s collective identity comes from patriotism, projection of power, and respect for the ruler. Putin’s tapped into all three, connecting today’s Russia to its imperial grandeur.

    ALEXANDER DUGIN: Patriotism is organic. It is not artificial. Empire, or state, is not something additional or artificial, because it is our breath, our skin, our organic way of life.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Today’s Kremlin uses that patriotism to try and unite the population and convince them only a powerful state can protect them from enemies. Enemy number one? The U.S.

    ALEXANDER DUGIN: America is on the brink of a revolution.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Dugin and the Kremlin accuse the U.S. of humiliating Russia by expanding NATO to Russia’s borders and supporting revolutions in former Soviet states and satellites. Dugin advocates fighting back by attacking the West with asymmetric war.

    You talk about introducing geopolitical disorder, actively supporting dissident movements, extremism, racist, sectarian groups. This seems much more than just…

    ALEXANDER DUGIN: It’s exactly as you do. It’s exactly what you do. You are supporting separatist group. You’re supporting any kind of nationalism, including Russian nationalism that is against Putin. My words are the mirror what you are doing. It is mirror, and you are frightened so much because you are doing the same thing against us.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: In Ukraine, that philosophy was weaponized. In Eastern Ukraine, Russia aids local separatists who fight against a Ukrainian government that’s pro-Western.

    And in 2014 in Crimea, Russia helped install separatist leaders who rushed through a referendum that led to Crimea’s annexation. The day of annexation, Putin gave a speech combining religion, patriotism, and imperial history. He said the West had been subjugating Russia, and Russia was finally demanding respect.

    PRESIDENT VLADIMIR PUTIN, Russia (through interpreter): If you compress the spring all the way to its limit, it will snap back hard. Russia is an independent, active participant in international affairs. Like other countries, it has its own national interests that need to be taken into account and respected.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: It’s impossible to overstate how transformative Eastern Ukraine and here, Crimea, have been to recent Russian memory.

    After the Crimea annexation, Putin’s popularity spiked to nearly 90 percent. Russians told pollsters that suddenly they felt like a superpower again. And Russians all over the country mobilized. That’s Denis Solomin in 2014 fighting in Eastern Ukraine. He’s a former soldier who was working a mid-management retail job when he quit and crossed the border.

    DENIS SOLOMIN, Returned Fighter (through interpreter): Now we hear that behind us. There’s an intense battle. Mortars and shells are raining in our direction.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Solomin went to war because of that collective Russian identity. He believed the Ukrainian government was attacking ethnic Russians.

    DENIS SOLOMIN (through interpreter): Those people who were under fire, I identified them as Russian people who need protection by those who can at least hold a weapon.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: What was it about them that you felt, I need to help them?

    DENIS SOLOMIN (through interpreter): Those are the people with the same culture as mine, the same language, the same world view.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: He was convinced of that by propaganda. In May 2014, dozens of pro-Russian separatists died in Odessa, Ukraine.

    DENIS SOLOMIN (through interpreter): It probably became the pivotal moment. There was a lot of information about how people were simply getting beaten and killed.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Russian media exaggerated the attack, even using an actress to play a victim. We know she was an actress because she appeared in unrelated pro-Russian stories as three entirely different people.

    And that disinformation campaign convinces the Kremlin’s critics the new Russian identity is manufactured and a product of deception and repression. Sometimes, that repression shows up in masks, guns and camouflage. Those are special forces surrounding 66-year-old Ilmi Umerov, in the jacket and jeans.

    Umerov is a leader of the Tatars, a Muslim minority in Crimea. He and other Tatars fight the Russian annexation. In response, many Tatars have been jailed on questionable charges, and Umerov was thrown into a local insane asylum.

    ILMI UMEROV, Tatar Leader (through interpreter): So, all this together, we call one big act of intimidation. The purpose is to silence some, and keep others ignorant to turn them into zombies so they think the same thing. These are the necessary conditions in order for the people to be loyal to their government.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: But do you acknowledge that that is the majority of the population who feels that way?

    ILMI UMEROV (through interpreter): Of course. Of course. We can’t say that this is a stupid population or stupid people. They are just living in a constellation of fear. And the propaganda machine rolls over them like a steamroller.

    NICK SCHIFRIN: Umerov may accuse Putin of manipulating the population, but under Putin, Russia has revitalized the majority religion, brought back historic traditions, and projects power.

    So, until there’s an alternative, he’s considered the creator and will remain the caretaker of the new Russian identity.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m Nick Schifrin in Krasnodar, Russia.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: And we continue our series Inside Putin’s Russia tomorrow, examining the use of propaganda by the state.

    And you can hear more from special correspondent Nick Schifrin on our Facebook page at facebook.com/newshour.

    The post Pride, patriotism and how Putin helped redefine what it means to be a ‘true Russian’ appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: Now, for a closer look at the meeting Donald Trump Jr. and other Trump campaign officials held with a Russian lawyer last summer, we go back to John Yang.

    JOHN YANG: For more on this, we’re joined by Mark Mazzetti. He’s the Washington investigations editor for The New York Times. And by John Sipher, he’s a 28-year veteran of the CIA who was based in Moscow in the 1990s. He’s now with the consulting firm CrossLead.

    John, Mark, thanks both for being with us.

    Mark, let me start with you.

    The defense from the White House, from Donald Trump Jr. is that nothing came out of this meeting, no useful information, as far as they’re concerned. But in the broad scope, in the context of what’s going on now, this investigation into Russian meddling into the election, what’s the significance that this meeting even took place?

    MARK MAZZETTI, The New York Times: I think the significance is that it shows that the Trump campaign was at least open to the idea that Russians might have had some damaging information about Hillary Clinton, and that they agreed to have this meeting because — kind of on the promise of that.

    And it was sort of a hastily arranged meeting in June of last year. And Donald Trump Jr., the president’s son, brought in the campaign chairman and also Jared Kushner, his son-in-law, and there was at least a belief there might be something quite interesting here.

    So, with all of the investigations going on and the swarming speculation about collusion with the Russian government, et cetera, I think it’s interesting that this is the first time that we have seen that the Trump campaign was at least amenable to this idea of getting something from Russians that might be damaging to President Trump’s opponent at the time.

    JOHN YANG: And the White House also said today, Mark, that they would meet with a lot of people to get opposition research.

    But meeting with someone like this, is this politics as usual?

    MARK MAZZETTI: Well, it’s certainly — there certainly is opposition research all the time in campaigns.

    I think one of the things here is the sort of evolving story that has been going on about this meeting. Several months ago, we had asked Donald Trump Jr. about any meetings with Russians he may have had during the campaign. He said absolutely none and certainly nothing of any sort of policy dimension.

    And then, on Saturday, we put the question to him about the meeting, and the answer was, well, it was primarily a meeting to discuss adoptions as it related to the Russian ban on adoptions after what’s called the Magnitsky Act, which was passed in the United States, which the Kremlin is very angry about.

    And then, of course, Sunday is the other story, which is the latest story, which is that, OK, they had damaging information about Hillary Clinton.

    So we’re still trying to get to the bottom of exactly what was proposed and why and what came out of it. But the story certainly has continued to change.

    JOHN YANG: And, Mark, what do we know about this attorney, Natalia Veselnitskaya, and how this meeting came about?

    MARK MAZZETTI: So, she is a well-connected lawyer in Russia who has been very active in the United States on the legal side, but also on the lobbying side to try to repeal the Magnitsky Act.

    And so people in Washington — she knows people in Washington because she’s been active. And her lobbying and legal interests are certainly in line with those of the Kremlin. She is well-connected, as I said, back in Russia with family connections.

    And we now understand that the meeting was brought up, brokered by an associate of Donald Trump Jr., a man named Rob Goldstone, who is a record producer. And it was brokered because Mr. Goldstone knows — works with someone in Russia named Emin Agalarov, who’s a pop star and whose father Donald Trump, President Trump worked with in 2013 during the Miss Universe Pageant.

    So there is a sort of complicated cast of characters here, but it involves an associate of Donald Trump Jr., Goldstone, arranging this meeting with the lawyer and also these connected people back in Russia.

    JOHN YANG: John Sipher, you know how these Russians work.

    A lawyer, a well-connected lawyer from Russia, and another connection that goes back, this pop star’s father is a real estate developer who has ties to the Kremlin. Are there warning signs? Or how does this work in terms of how the Russians work? How does this fit in with how the Russians work?

    JOHN SIPHER, Former CIA Officer: Well, I would look at it as part of a much larger mission that the Russians are involved in here.

    We realize now there was a cyber piece to this. There was a piece to try to make Hillary Clinton look bad. We have seen some reporting that suggested they tried to get into voting machines, a number of these things.

    But the thing the Russians that are focused on most of all here would be the human aspect. And so this lawyer was clearly tied to the Kremlin. This Magnitsky Act and this attack by Putin, Bill Browder, who involved with the death of Mr. Magnitsky, a big deal to Putin and the Kremlin.

    So, she certainly has connections to the intelligence services and to the Russians. So, what they would be doing here, the notion that she came there to ask about Hillary Clinton, the substance of that meeting, whether it was about adoptions or not, is less important than the fact that by putting out what they wanted to talk about, they were testing the Trump campaign.

    Are you willing to talk about things you shouldn’t talk about? When given the choice to make the right or wrong decision, are you willing to do that?

    As an intelligence officer, what I want to do with anybody I’m targeting and looking at is to see, can I put them into small compromising positions? Can I make them make choices that I think might be the wrong decision so that next time I might try something else, I might try a business opportunity for you or something to put you in a position so I can get more information from you?

    JOHN YANG: So, in other words, the very fact that they accepted this meeting, that Donald Trump Jr. accepted this meeting, the Russians achieved the goal there?

    JOHN SIPHER: Absolutely.

    This is exactly what they wanted to do is to see, were they willing to do this? Now, I wouldn’t be surprised if Mr. Trump or Jared Kushner were sort of ignorant of how the Russians work and stepped into this without realizing what they were getting into.

    But Mr. Manafort certainly knows. He spent a career working in Russia and with bad actors around the world. He would understand that taking this meeting would be a signal to Russians that, hey, we’re willing to play ball here.

    JOHN YANG: But, of course, Donald Trump Jr. says that he didn’t tell Manafort about the substance of the meeting, he invited him to come, but didn’t tell him the context.

    JOHN SIPHER: Well, then what will be interesting for FBI and through doing the investigations is to find out what happened subsequently, what further meetings and future meetings with the Russians took place and how they were orchestrated by the campaign.

    JOHN YANG: John Sipher, thank you very much.

    Mark Mazzetti from The New York Times, thank you both for talking to us about this.

    MARK MAZZETTI: Thank you.

    The post Why Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting to discuss damaging Clinton info matters appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: In the day’s other news: The head of NATO demanded that Russia withdraw its troops from Ukraine. Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg addressed the parliament in Kiev, and said Europe and the U.S. are united in support of Ukraine.

    JENS STOLTENBERG, Secretary General, NATO: Russia, and you know this better than anyone else, is trying to destabilize Ukraine through its support of the militants in the east, its cyber-attacks, disinformation and not least by the presence of Russian forces in Eastern Ukraine. This must end.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Officials also announced that talks will begin on a plan for Ukraine to join NATO by 2020.

    A new cease-fire in Southwestern Syria brokered by the U.S. and Russia appears to be holding for now. Opposition groups report relative calm across three provinces, despite some sporadic fighting in places.

    Meanwhile, a U.N. envoy opened the latest round of Syrian peace talks in Geneva today.

    Iraq’s government has declared final victory in the battle to recapture all of the city of Mosul from the Islamic State group. The U.S. coalition today welcomed the announcement and offered congratulations.

    P.J. Tobia has our report.

    P.J. TOBIA: The Iraqi national flag flies in Western Mosul tonight, after security forces began mopping up ISIS holdouts in the Old City.

    MAN (through interpreter): We are holding their flag upside down and our flags are fluttering on the riverbank.

    P.J. TOBIA: Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited Mosul yesterday, and he returned today, formally declaring victory over the militants known in Arabic as Da’esh.

    HAIDER AL-ABADI, Prime Minister, Iraq (through interpreter): Our victory today is a victory against darkness, brutality and terrorism, and from here we announce to the entire world the end, the failure and the collapse of the mythical state and the Da’esh state that was announced here in Mosul three years ago.

    P.J. TOBIA: But that victory has come at great cost. Five months of aerial bombardments and house-to-house fighting have left much of Western Mosul in ruins.

    According to the local government, thousands of civilians have been killed in the fighting, and nearly a million fled their homes. It’s estimated that around 1,000 Iraqi soldiers have died in the campaign.

    The New York Times’ Rukmini Callimachi was in Mosul this morning. She says, despite the claims of victory, there was still isolated fighting.

    RUKMINI CALLIMACHI, The New York Times: I think it’s accurate to say that most of the city is now under Iraqi control, but there is definitely a pocket of resistance here in Western Mosul.

    P.J. TOBIA: And ISIS is far from a spent force. It still controls areas across the Syria-Iraq border, key towns in Iraq and most of Syria’s Deir el-Zour province.

    Indeed, in the Syrian city of Raqqa, the Islamic State’s self- declared capital, the battle is just beginning, as U.S.-backed militia fighters ring the outskirts.

    Meanwhile, back in Mosul, grim work awaits.

    RUKMINI CALLIMACHI: Everywhere you go in the Old City, if you catch the wind in the wrong direction, you smell the horrible smell of decaying bodies.

    P.J. TOBIA: For those still living in Mosul, the immediate concern is digging out and piecing together their shattered city.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m P.J. Tobia.

    JUDY WOODRUFF: Back in this country, Congress returned to work today, and got a warning from President Trump. In a tweet, he said he can’t imagine lawmakers would dare to take August off without passing a health care bill. Senate Republicans remain at odds over replacing Obamacare, with no resolution in sight.

    The number of American adults without health insurance has increased by two million this year. The Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index reports the uninsured rate in the second quarter was 11.7 percent. That’s up from a record low of 10.9 reached at the end of last year.

    Thousands of people in the Western U.S. and Canada are awaiting word to go home after wildfires chased them away. One fire in Southern California has charred more than 45 square miles and burned down at least 20 buildings. To the north, in British Columbia, more than 200 fires burned over the weekend, and more than 2,000 firefighters mobilized.

    President Trump has again lit into the man he fired as FBI director. He accused James Comey of illegally leaking classified information, based on a report cited by FOX News. In fact, the report doesn’t make that charge. Comey has acknowledged letting a friend leak a memo about a conversation with the president, but he says it was not classified.

    And Wall Street had an up-and-down day today. The Dow Jones industrial average lost five points to close at 21408. The Nasdaq rose 23 points, and the S&P 500 added two.

    The post News Wrap: NATO chief demands Russian troops leave Ukraine appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    JUDY WOODRUFF: It’s the latest revelation in the story that’s consumed much of the Trump presidency so far: the Russian meddling in the 2016 election. And this time, it involves the president’s son.

    John Yang begins our coverage.

    JOHN YANG: White House officials said today that Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting last summer with a Kremlin-connected Russian lawyer was just business as usual.

    President Trump’s counselor Kellyanne Conway:

    KELLYANNE CONWAY, Trump Senior Adviser: This was standard operating procedure for the campaign. Let’s focus on what didn’t happen in that meeting. No information provided that was meaningful. No action taken. Nothing.

    JOHN YANG: The New York Times first reported the June 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr., then campaign chairman Paul Manafort, Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner, and Natalia Veselnitskaya.

    The president’s son said he had been told that Veselnitskaya had damaging information about Hillary Clinton, who had clinched the Democratic nomination just days before. The meeting came as some Republicans openly talked of trying to deny Mr. Trump their party’s nomination at the convention.

    On Saturday, Donald Trump Jr. described the session as a short introductory meeting in which U.S. adoptions of Russian children were discussed. But yesterday, faced with The New York Times’ reporting on the purpose of the meeting, he acknowledged he was told the lawyer might have information helpful to the campaign.

    He said: “The woman 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. It quickly became clear that she had no meaningful information.”

    In an off-camera White House briefing, principal Deputy Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders dismissed the controversy.

    SARAH HUCKABEE SANDERS, Deputy White House Press Secretary: Don Jr. took a very short meeting from which there was absolutely no follow-up. Don Jr. didn’t collude with anybody to influence the election.

    JOHN YANG: Today, Donald Trump Jr. said: “Obviously, I’m the first person on a campaign to ever take a meeting to hear info about an opponent Went nowhere, but had to listen.”

    He also said he’d cooperate with the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian meddling in the election.

    In Moscow, a spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin said the Kremlin knew nothing about the lawyer or the meeting.

    All this comes amid continued confusion over just what came out of the president’s meeting with Putin last week at the G20 summit. Administration officials had hailed the creation of a joint cyber-security unit to guard against election hacking.

    Republican Senator Lindsey Graham called it a dumb idea.

    SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: To forgive and forget when it comes to Putin regarding cyber-attacks is to empower Putin. And that’s exactly what he’s doing.

    JOHN YANG: Hours after Graham spoke, the president appeared to reverse course, saying that a U.S.- Russian cyber-security unit can’t happen.

    For the PBS NewsHour, I’m John Yang.

    The post White House downplays Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Kremlin-connected lawyer appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    Portrait of an attractive young man talking about himself during a job interview. Photo by AntonioDiaz/Adobe Stock

    Most employers are far more concerned about whether you’ll be a good employee for them than they are about whether your old place of work was a good employer for you, writes Nick Corcodilos in his weekly Ask the Headhunter column. Photo by AntonioDiaz/Adobe Stock

    Nick Corcodilos started headhunting in Silicon Valley in 1979 and has answered over 30,000 questions from the Ask The Headhunter community.

    In this special Making Sen$e edition of Ask The Headhunter, Nick shares insider advice and contrarian methods about winning and keeping the right job, on one condition: that you, dear Making Sense reader, send Nick your questions about your personal challenges with job hunting, interviewing, networking, resumes, job boards or salary negotiations. No guarantees — just a promise to do his best to offer useful advice.


    Question: I am a paralegal at a prestigious law firm. Our main office is on the East Coast, but I work in our West Coast office, which is in terrible turmoil. We have lost so many of our personnel that I worry about my own job. Even if I get to keep my job, I’m also worried about the piles of extra work I’m being given, as I cover for those who have left.

    “I don’t see bad-mouthing the firm or airing the firm’s dirty laundry as constructive. What can I say when asked why I am leaving this firm after only two years?”

    I think I am someone they want to keep, but they undervalue me. I am ready to leave, because I was referred to a better-run firm. I don’t know what to tell prospective employers when they interview me. I don’t see bad-mouthing the firm or airing the firm’s dirty laundry as constructive. What can I say when asked why I am leaving this firm after only two years?

    Nick Corcodilos: Don’t be surprised if other law firms already know what turmoil there is at your current firm. Word gets around, and that may lead those employers to welcome you. But you’re right — you should not air your employer’s dirty laundry in job interviews.

    I find that most employers are far more concerned about whether you’ll be a good employee for them than they are about whether your old place of work was a good employer for you.

    READ MORE: Ask the Headhunter: Should I tell very personal stories in job interviews?

    So try to shift the discussion to what really matters. Since you are being referred to the new firm, mention the person who made the recommendation. Here’s a good, honest answer to questions about why you’re leaving your old job.

    How to say it

    I’m looking for a good place to work that will take advantage of what I can do. So-and-so has told me your firm is one of the shining lights in this city. If you’d be kind enough to outline what problems or challenges you’d need a new hire to handle, I’ll show you how I’d go about doing the work in a profitable way for you.

    Try that. If an employer is smart, it will read between the lines, no matter how long you worked at your last firm. Detailed explanations about your old job aren’t useful — and besides, the new employer wants to talk about their firm. Help them do that. Ask about their business and their processes and work flow. Demonstrate that you’re here to address their needs.

    If they ask specifically why you’re leaving, leave it at this:

    How to say it

    I don’t like to criticize anyone I work for. But I also know I do my best work in a firm that is managed well. That’s why I’m here talking with you.

    I think any good employer will recognize your professionalism in that statement.

    Before you quit your old job, however, please prepare to do it right. See “Quit, Fired, Downsized: Leave on your own terms.”

    READ MORE: Ask the Headhunter: Will a company lowball me because I’m out of work?

    If you get fired before you find a better employer, please see “How much should I say about getting fired?”

    Dear Readers: What do you tell an employer about why you’re leaving your old job? Have you ever said something critical about an old boss that might have cost you a new job?


    Nick Corcodilos invites Making Sense readers to subscribe to his free weekly Ask The Headhunter© Newsletter. His in-depth “how to” PDF books are available on his website: “How to Work With Headhunters…and how to make headhunters work for you,” “Keep Your Salary Under Wraps,” “How Can I Change Careers?” and “Fearless Job Hunting.”

    Send your questions to Nick, and join him for discussion every week here on Making Sense. Thanks for participating!

    Copyright © 2016 Nick Corcodilos. All rights reserved in all media. Ask the Headhunter® is a registered trademark.

    The post Ask the Headhunter: What should I tell employers about why I quit my last job? appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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    A healthcare activist stands on crutches outside the office of Arkansas Republican Senator John Boozman to protest the healthcare bill at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    A healthcare activist stands on crutches outside the office of Arkansas Republican Senator John Boozman to protest the healthcare bill at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Photo by Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

    WASHINGTON — Republican leaders are hoping to stage a climactic vote on their health care bill next week, though internal rifts over divisive issues like coverage requirements and Medicaid cuts leave the timing and even the measure’s fate in question.

    “We need to start voting” on the GOP bill scuttling much of President Barack Obama’s health care law, No. 2 Senate GOP leader John Cornyn of Texas told reporters Monday. Some Republicans said a revised version of the bill could be introduced Thursday, and Cornyn said the “goal” was for a vote next week.

    Cornyn cited seven years of unresolved Republican debate over how to replace the 2010 statute during which “we gain a vote, we lose a vote.” That underscored a sense among top Republicans that they had little to gain by letting their disputes drag on much further.

    Consensus on a replacement seemed more remote than ever as senators returned to the Capitol from a Fourth of July recess. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., who crafted the bill largely in secret, postponed a vote last month in the face of certain defeat.

    Republicans were hearing divergent messages from the White House Monday. President Donald Trump pressured GOP senators to pass the measure quickly, while Vice President Mike Pence suggested they might have to revert to a straightforward “Obamacare” repeal if they can’t agree on an alternative.

    McConnell has little room for error as he tries to pass a bill with 50 GOP votes, and Pence as the tie-breaker, in a Senate Republicans control by 52-48. All Democrats are opposed.

    As Republicans on Capitol Hill try to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, we visit patients and health care providers at a free clinic in rural southwest Virginia — a region that strongly supported President Trump, in a state that did not expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act — to listen to the extreme health care challenges they face and what they think should be done.

    With at least a dozen Republicans opposing or challenging parts of McConnell’s bill, the leader has been working on revisions aimed at bringing more GOP senators on board. Final decisions remain to be made on how tightly to curb the growth of Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor; whether to let insurers sell low-cost policies with very limited coverage; and how much money to devote to making health care tax credits more generous, said No. 3 Senate Republican John Thune of South Dakota.

    Congress is beginning a three-week sprint toward its traditional five-week August recess, and GOP leaders want to finish work on the measure by then. Some lawmakers have suggested the break should be shortened or canceled if they can’t get health care done first, though that’s unlikely to happen.

    “I cannot imagine that Congress would dare to leave Washington without a beautiful new HealthCare bill fully approved and ready to go!” Trump tweeted early Monday.

    Hours later, Pence emphasized another approach Trump has at times suggested.

    “We believe if they can’t pass this carefully crafted repeal and replace bill, do those two things simultaneously, we ought to just repeal only,” and then turn to replacement legislation later on, Pence told conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh.

    Too many Republicans oppose repealing Obama’s law without also enacting an alternative to give that tactic much chance of succeeding.

    To succeed, the new legislation will have to address the concerns of conservatives like Mike Lee of Utah and Ted Cruz of Texas, who want a more full-blown repeal, and moderates like Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, who want essentially the opposite, a more generous bill.

    McConnell himself has acknowledged that if he can’t get the job done with Republicans alone, he’ll have to turn to Democrats to shore up the market for individual insurance buyers.

    The House managed to pass health care legislation in May after plentiful struggles of its own to reach agreement. Both the House and Senate bills eliminate Obamacare’s mandates for people to buy insurance and individuals to provide it, gradually undo an expansion of Medicaid and reduce the size of the federal-state health care program for the poor and disabled. The measures would cut taxes for the wealthy.

    Both bills would result in more than 20 million people kicked off insurance rolls over the next decade, numbers that have spooked lawmakers eyeing re-election.

    Around 80 demonstrators opposed to the legislation were arrested around the Capitol complex Monday, according to U.S. Capitol Police.

    Cruz has proposed letting insurers sell any policies they’d like, as long as they also sell one that covers a list of services like maternity care that Obama’s law requires. The Cruz amendment was alienating senators like Collins amid concerns it would lead to unaffordable prices for people with pre-existing medical conditions because younger, healthier customers wouldn’t be sharing their costs.

    Pence endorsed Cruz’s plan on Limbaugh’s show, saying: “Rush, that’s what freedom looks like, isn’t it?”

    Associated Press writer Andrew Taylor contributed to this report.

    READ MORE: The 5 sticking points holding up the GOP health care bill

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    The victory of communism is inevitable, says this 1969 propaganda poster by Konuhov. Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images

    The victory of communism is inevitable, says this 1969 propaganda poster by Konuhov. Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images

    Propaganda during Soviet times came in poster form. Some messages stirred patriotism in the fight against Adolf Hitler’s invading forces, while others slammed illiteracy and laziness.

    They also bashed the greed associated with capitalism:

    Soviet propaganda poster depicts capitalism in 1923. Photo by Photo12/UIG via Getty Images

    Soviet propaganda poster depicts capitalism in 1923. Photo by Photo12/UIG via Getty Images

    This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Russian Revolution in 1917, which overturned the tsars and led to the Soviet Union. Posters at the time showed positive images of workers and the promise of a new future.

    "Let us bring in a rich harvest of new territory!" says a Soviet propaganda poster by Oleg Mikhailovich Sawostjuk in 1927. Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images

    “Let us bring in a rich harvest of new territory!” says a Soviet propaganda poster by Oleg Mikhailovich Sawostjuk in 1927. Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images

    The posters also shamed the lazy worker:

    "We smite the lazy workers," says a 1931 propaganda poster that was found in the collection of the Russian State Library in Moscow. Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

    “We smite the lazy workers,” says a 1931 propaganda poster that was found in the collection of the Russian State Library in Moscow. Photo by Fine Art Images/Heritage Images/Getty Images

    And urged support for the Red Army and socialism:

    A Soviet recruitment poster from the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917 says, "You! Have you signed up with the volunteers?" Photo by Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images

    A Soviet recruitment poster from the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917 says, “You! Have you signed up with the volunteers?” Photo by Sovfoto/UIG via Getty Images

    After the Russian Revolution, the Bolsheviks instituted a literacy campaign:

    A propaganda poster from 1920 by A. Radakov says, "The illiterate is like a blind man." Photo by Photo12/UIG via Getty Images

    A propaganda poster from 1920 by A. Radakov says, “The illiterate is like a blind man.” Photo by Photo12/UIG via Getty Images

    Another poster promoted healthy exercise:

    Propaganda poster from 1930 by Alexandre Deineka says, "Kolkhosians, let's do some exercise!" Photo by Photo12/UIG via Getty Images

    Propaganda poster from 1930 by Alexandre Deineka says, “Kolkhosians, let’s do some exercise!” Photo by Photo12/UIG via Getty Images

    During World War II, as German forces battled to take control of Moscow, posters depicted Soviet forces putting the squeeze on Hitler:

    Propaganda poster by Koukrynisky says, "Napoleon was wiped out, Hitler will be wiped out" in 1941 during World War II. Photo by Photo12/UIG via Getty Images

    Propaganda poster by Koukrynisky says, “Napoleon was wiped out, Hitler will be wiped out” in 1941 during World War II. Photo by Photo12/UIG via Getty Images

    "The Motherland Is Calling," says a World War II Soviet military recruitment poster by Irakly Toidze featuring Mother Russia holding out the Red Army Oath of Allegiance in 1941. Photo by Laski Diffusion/Getty Images

    “The Motherland Is Calling,” says a World War II Soviet military recruitment poster by Irakly Toidze featuring Mother Russia holding out the Red Army Oath of Allegiance in 1941. Photo by Laski Diffusion/Getty Images

    As the Space Race raged between the USSR and United States in the 1950s and 1960s, images showed high-flying patriotism:

    The Space Race was a 20th century competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union and the United States. Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images

    The Space Race was a 20th century competition between two Cold War rivals, the Soviet Union and the United States. Photo by Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty images

    The Soviet Union was the first to launch a satellite, Sputnik 1, and a human into space, Yuri Gagarin. But with Apollo 11, the U.S. landed the first humans on the moon in 1969. The two countries now work together with crews aboard the International Space Station.

    On Tuesday, watch Part 2 of the PBS NewsHour’s series “Inside Putin’s Russia” about how propaganda is used in Russia today. You can view Part 1 here and the entire series here.

    The post These Soviet propaganda posters once evoked heroism, pride and anxiety appeared first on PBS NewsHour.


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