Gunman Opens Fire on Republican Baseball Practice
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Gunman Opens Fire on Republican Baseball Practice

Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.)

Majority Whip Steve Scalise, Law Enforcement Officers and Others Injured  

Gun violence. House Majority Whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana was shot Wednesday at a congressional baseball practice in Alexandria, Va. His wounds were not believed to be life-threatening, the Associated Press reported. Federal law enforcement sources identified the shooter as James Hodgkinson, 66, of Belleville, Ill., who died from injuries at the scene. Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) said several other people also were hit, including two law enforcement officers. Brooks said that Scalise, a strong pro-gun advocate with an A+ rating from the National Rifle Association, was down on the ground with what Brooks described as “a hip wound.” Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who was at the practice, told CNN: “Nobody would have survived without the Capitol Hill police. It would have been a massacre without them.” Witnesses reported at least 50 shots were fired. The Republican team was practicing for the annual Congressional Baseball Game, scheduled for tomorrow.

Photo by Robin Bell.

Another day, another lawsuit. Trump’s legal troubles keep mounting. Nearly 200 Democratic members of Congress are expected to file a federal lawsuit today accusing Trump of violating the Constitution by profiting from business dealings with foreign governments. The plaintiffs—believed to be the most members of Congress to ever sue a sitting president—contend that Trump has ignored a constitutional clause that prohibits federal officials from accepting gifts, or emoluments, from foreign powers without congressional approval. It is the third such lawsuit against Trump on the issue since he became president. On Monday, the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia filed suit in federal court in Maryland, accusing Trump of putting hotels, resorts and convention centers owned or operated by their governments at a competitive disadvantage.

Playing the war card. Trump has given Defense Secretary Jim Mattis the authority to determine troop levels in Afghanistan, opening the door for sending more American forces to a war that the Pentagon chief acknowledged the United States was “not winning.” An estimated 9,800 American troops are deployed to Afghanistan, most of them assigned to an international force of about 13,000 troops that are training and advising the Afghan military. About 2,000 of the American troops are assigned to fight Al Qaeda and other militant groups.

The man who wasn’t there.  Attorney General Jeff Sessions, evaded questions from the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. Sessions repeatedly suggested he needed to get permission from Trump before answering some of the senators’ questions. Sessions sidestepped a question about whether Trump is planning to fire Robert Mueller, the special counsel. Sessions also wouldn’t say if he and Trump talked about how then-FBI Director James Comey was handling the Russia investigation.

Bears Ears. The 1.35-million-acre Bears Ears National Historic Monument could shrink after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke recommended that Trump revise its boundaries. Zinke’s preliminary recommendation on Utah’s Bears Ears is the first of 27 national monuments and ocean preserves that are being reviewed in a possible land grab of our federal lands to enrich oil, gas and coal companies.

Drain the sagebrush sea. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is reviewing a 2015 agreement that protects the greater sage grouse and the land that it lives on. Sage grouse is an indicator species reflecting the health of where it lives and hundreds of other species such as elk, mule deer and golden eagles. The bird can’t live in areas without sagebrush. Zinke’s review will include looking at whether breeding the ground-dwelling bird in captivity could replace other conservation measures. Wyoming has more than 26 percent of the world’s sage grouse habitat.

Healthcare expansion. Centene Corp. plans to expand its offerings under the Affordable Care Act. The Missouri company plans to enter the market in Kansas, Missouri and Nevada in 2018 and will expand in six other states: Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Texas and Washington. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City announced in May that it was pulling out of the health care exchanges, leaving 25 northwest Missouri counties without an insurer. Aetna Inc., Humana Inc., and UnitedHealth Group Inc. have largely quit the market. Centene, which offers Medicaid plans in 18 states, is known for having narrow networks of healthcare providers with limited choices for consumers.

Happy birthday? Today, June 14, is Trump’s 71st birthday.

 

June 14, 2017