National – October 16, 2017

  • A partisan fight over the future of the Affordable Care Act could lead to a government shutdown in December. Democrats are vowing to pin the blame on Republicans if premiums skyrocket next year after President Donald Trump took executive action to end some payments meant to subsidize health insurance exchanges [Washington Post].
  • President Donald Trump‘s legal bills topped $1 million during the last three months in response to the probe into Russia’s role in the 2016 election. Trump’s campaign and the Republican National Committee have paid out more than $2 million in legal bills this year because of the Russia probe [Politico].
  • Russian trolls who helped to boost President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign on social media platforms were required to watch the Netflix series “House of Cards” to help them craft their messages designed to whip up discord [Yahoo].
  • The U.S. military will begin drills to practice evacuating American service members and their families out of South Korea in the event conflict with North Korea breaks out [New York Times].
  • The effectiveness of North Korea’s cyber espionage program has grown exponentially, leaving American authorities unsure of how to counter the growing threat. Scary quote: “At a recent meeting of American strategists, … some participants expressed concerns that the escalating cyberwar could actually tempt the North to use its weapons — both nuclear and cyber — very quickly in any conflict, for fear that the United States has secret ways to shut the country down” [New York Times].
  • President Donald Trump reportedly enjoys mocking Vice President Mike Pence‘s religious beliefs. During a conversation on gay rights, Trump singled out Pence and joked, “Don’t ask that guy – he wants to hang them all!” [New Yorker].
  • Republicans are learning to ignore budget deficits in their desperation to pass a tax reform measure [Politico].
  • White House chief of staff John Kelly is pushing to fill vacant political appointments in the Trump administration, giving Cabinet secretaries more autonomy to make key appointments [Politico].
  • Facebook is seeking to hire people who hold national security clearances. They say those employees would be key to help prevent foreign powers from using the social network to manipulate future elections [Bloomberg].
  • A judge may throw out a key part in the bribery trial of Sen. Robert Menendez, which could torpedo the prosecution’s case against the New Jersey Democrat [Politico].
  • A woman who claims she was groped by President Donald Trump has subpoenaed his campaign seeking documents relating to any woman claiming Trump sexually assaulted her [BuzzFeed].

On this day in history:

  • 1793 – Marie Antoinette is guillotined at the height of the French Revolution.
  • 1859 – Abolitionist John Brown leads a raid on Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia.
  • 1875 – Brigham Young University is founded.
  • 1916 – Margaret Sanger opens the nation’s first family planning clinic in Brooklyn.
  • 1962 – President John F. Kennedy was informed that reconnaissance photographs revealed the presence of Soviet missile bases in Cuba, kicking off the Cuba Missile Crisis.
  • 1968 – U.S. athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos are kicked off the US team for participating in the Olympics Black Power salute.