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Thursday, Aug 17th

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Congress advised it has authority to undo any transgender military ban

Congress can undo transgender banIf President Donald Trump follows through on his declaration to ban all transgender military personnel, Congress could delay or even undo it, according to a new analysis from the legislative branch's research arm.

Trump, in a series of three tweets earlier this week, said that transgender men and women would not be allowed to serve in the ranks "in any capacity."The snap announcement took Pentagon leaders and members of Congress by surprise and sparked an immediate bipartisan backlash. While some House Republicans were seeking to limit health care benefits for transgender troops, no lawmakers were calling for outright abolition.

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McCain, fighting cancer, turns on GOP and kills health bill

McCain kills the billSen. John McCain appeared poised to be the savior of the GOP health bill when he returned to the Capitol earlier this week despite brain cancer.

He turned out to be the bill's executioner.

In an astonishing development early Friday, the longtime Arizona senator turned on his party and his president, joining two other GOP senators in voting "no" on Republicans' final effort to repeal "Obamacare."

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Look who's back: Nunes accuses Obama aides of hundreds of unmasking requests

Nines comes up with new accusaions against Obama aidesThe chairman of the House Intelligence Committee is accusing top political aides of President Obama of making hundreds of requests during the 2016 presidential race to unmask the names of Americans in intelligence reports, including Trump transition officials.

Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), in a letter to Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, said the requests were made without specific justifications on why the information was needed.

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Top Interior Dem calls for probe into Zinke's "political blackmail" call to Murkowski

Calls for proble of blackmail call to Alalska SenatorThe top Democrat on the House Natural Resources Committee is calling for a probe into whether President Trump’s Interior secretary threatened to retaliate against an Alaska senator for opposing the GOP healthcare measure this week.

Both Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski (R) and Dan Sullivan (R) said they received a call from Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke on Wednesday, informing them that the Trump administration will not support key projects in Alaska after Murkowksi voted against the GOP healthcare bill in the Senate a day before.

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Senate rejects repeal-only ObamaCare plan

Senate rejects repeal-only health care bill
Senators on Wednesday rejected a key proposal that would repeal much of ObamaCare despite intense pressure from conservatives.

Senators voted 55-45 against an amendment from Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) that would repeal the Affordable Care Act and give lawmakers two years to come up with a replacement.

GOP Sens. Lamar Alexander (Tenn.) Shelley Moore Capito (W.Va.), Susan Collins (Maine), Dean Heller (Nev.), John McCain (Ariz.), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Rob Portman (Ohio) joined all Democrats in voting no.

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Senate Judiciary Committee panel drops Manafort subpoena

Paul ManafortThe Senate Judiciary Committee has dropped a subpoena against Paul Manafort and plans are underway for the former Trump campaign chairman to speak to investigators, a source familiar with the situation said on Tuesday.

Manafort separately provided information to the Senate Intelligence Committee Tuesday on a June 2016 meeting he participated in with a Kremlin-connected lawyer who had promised damaging information on Hillary Clinton.

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Senate advances health care bill as McCain makes dramatic return, Pence breaks tie

US SenateSenate Republicans voted to advance to floor debate on their efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Vice President Mike Pence cast the tiebreaking vote.

In a dramatic moment, Sen. John McCain returned from Arizona to applause from fellow senators. He case a necessary Republican vote for the motion after two GOP senators sided with all Democrats in opposition.

As the vote began, protesters in the Senate gallery shouted "kill the bill" and "shame, shame, shame!"

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