McCain: I ‘Cannot in Good Conscience’ Vote for Graham-Cassidy

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) announced his opposition to the Graham-Cassidy legislation on Friday, likely killing the health-care bill’s chances of passing the Senate. “I cannot in good conscience vote for the Graham-Cassidy proposal,” McCain said in a statement. “I believe we could do better working together, Republicans and Democrats, and have not yet really tried. Nor could I support it without knowing how much it will cost, how it will effect [sic] insurance premiums, and how many people will be helped or hurt by it. Without a full CBO score, which won’t be available by the end of the month, we won’t have reliable answers to any of those questions.” McCain acknowledged that it was a tough decision for him given his personal relationship with Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC), one of the bill’s co-authors. “I take no pleasure in announcing my opposition,” the senator wrote. “Far from it. The bill’s authors are my dear friends, and I think the world of them. I know they are acting consistently with their beliefs and sense of what is best for the country. So am I.”


Report: Trump Travel Ban to Be Replaced by Tailored Restrictions

The president’s travel ban, controversially targeting six majority-Muslim countries, may soon be replaced with tailored restrictions for each specific nation, according to a Friday report in The New York Times. The new restrictions could be in place as soon as Sunday and are meant to prevent security threats from getting into the United States. Those who live in the targeted countries could be prevented from traveling to the U.S. or, at minimum, face greater scrutiny in looking to obtain a visa.


Inspector General Probes HHS Sec. Tom Price’s Charter Travel

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ inspector general will investigate Sec. Tom Price’s taxpayer-funded use of private jet travel for official business. “We take this matter very seriously, and when questions arose about potentially inappropriate travel, we immediately began assessing the issue,” an inspector general’s office spokesperson said in a statement to Politico. “I can confirm that work is underway and will be completed as soon as possible.” Earlier this week, Politico reported that Price had “taken at least 24 flights on private charter planes at taxpayers’ expense since early May, including a flight on a private jet to Oklahoma this week.”

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‘Comey, You’re Not Our Homie’: Protesters Disrupt Ex-FBI Chief’s Speech

James Comey was heckled throughout his planned speech at Howard University on Friday. “Get out James Comey, you’re not our homey,’’ protesters chanted during the former FBI chief’s first public speech since he testified in June before Congress. According to the Washington Post, protesters successfully kept the 1,000-person crowd from hearing much of what he said, despite counter-chants to the tune of “Let him speak!” Comey was fired by President Trump earlier this year amid an FBI probe of Trump associates’ connections to Russia.


New Bill Clinton Novel to Be Made Into Showtime Series

Showtime is set to turn an upcoming novel written by Bill Clinton and James Patterson into a TV series, the network has announced. The novel, titled The President Is Missing, is due for publication in June 2018 and the network has beat out other film studios and networks to acquire the rights. Described by Showtime as the “startling story” of a sitting U.S. president’s disappearance, the book marks the first time a former U.S. president has co-authored a thriller. The series will be Clinton’s first book-to-screen adaptation after writing three books since his departure from the White House in 2001. Details on the plot are scarce, but a statement announcing the joint effort back in May promised “insider details that only a president can know.” “Though fictional, the story brings to life the pressures and realities of the most important position in the world,” Showtime said in a statement released Friday. 


Trump: Facebook’s Russia Ads Story Is a ‘Hoax’

In his latest early-morning tweetstorm, President Trump called the reports of Russian ads on Facebook during the 2016 presidential election a “hoax” and pointed the finger, once again, at former challenger Hillary Clinton: “What about the totally biased and dishonest Media coverage in favor of Crooked Hillary?” The Daily Beast first reported Russian efforts to mobilize Trump voters during the 2016 election via the social-media site, including the use of its events tool to organize rallies and protests. Facebook has agreed to turn over Russian advertisements to congressional investigators. Trump’s tweets on Friday also called Kim Jong Un of North Korea a “madman who doesn’t mind starving or killing his people.”


Pope Francis: Church Was Too Slow to Respond to Sex Abuse

Pope Francis has acknowledged that the Catholic Church’s record on child sex abuse was not only flawed but “the consciousness of the church arrived a bit late.” Speaking to an advisory panel on child protection Thursday, the pope continued, “When the consciousness arrives late, the means to resolve the problem arrive late. Perhaps the old practice of moving people around, and not confronting the problem, kept consciences asleep.” The Vatican is again facing scrutiny over a priest and diplomat who is suspected of breaking child-pornography laws in the U.S.


‘Sammy the Bull’ Gravano, former Mafia Hitman, Turncoat, Released From Prison

A notorious Mafia hitman and turncoat has been released from prison at the age of 72, after serving most of his 20-year sentence in Arizona. Salvatore “Sammy the Bull” Gravano served as an underboss in New York’s Gambino crime family, where he took some part in at least 19 killings. He was eventually sentenced for drug-related convictions. His lawyer declined to specify where Gravano served out his sentence or where he would be living next. He left prison Monday. “He’s in good health, in good spirits,” his lawyer added. “He’s just focused on re-acclimating with society.... A lot’s happened in 17 years.”


Sessions Warns of ‘Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing’ Among Unaccompanied Minors

Attorney General Jeff Sessions warned law-enforcement agencies that unaccompanied minors trying to get into the U.S. should be seen as “wolves in sheep’s clothing.” In a speech to local and national officers in Boston on Thursday afternoon, Sessions said major gangs like MS-13 use an unaccompanied-minors program that has been around since 1980 “as a means by which to recruit new members,” Politico reports. “This is America. We will not allow the likes of MS-13 or any other gang to prey upon our communities, to decapitate individuals with machetes, baseball bats and chains,” Sessions said.