5 things for Tuesday, August 1: Trump, Scaramucci, Venezuela, climate, health care

August 1, 2017

Steve Bartman was once vilified by Cubs fans. Now he’s got a World Series ring. Here’s what else you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door. (You can also get “5 Things You Need to Know Today” delivered to your inbox daily. Sign up here.)

1. President Trump

President Donald Trump dictated a misleading statement for his son in response to a news report that Donald Trump Jr. had met with a Russian lawyer during the campaign, the Washington Post reported. Team Trump’s original plan was to issue a truthful statement, but then Trump personally decided to have the statement say Trump Jr. had met with the lawyer, Natalia Veselnitskaya, to discuss the adoption of Russian children by Americans.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders referred CNN to Trump’s outside counsel for a response to the story. Attorney Jay Sekulow issued a statement, saying, “Apart from being of no consequence, the characterizations are misinformed, inaccurate and not pertinent.”

2. White House

The general is in -- and the Mooch is out. And so goes another zany day at the White House. Trump’s new chief of staff, John Kelly, was sworn in Monday, and the retired US Marine Corps general made it clear by tossing out Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci that he wants to run a tighter ship. Scaramucci blazed quite a trail during his 10 days on the job, engineering the ouster of former Chief of Staff Reince Priebus (whom he accused of leaking) and crudely taking on presidential advisor Steve Bannon in one of the most colorful interviews in White House history. Scaramucci leaves behind a small treasure trove of memorable lines ( late night talk show hosts are devastated ), but in the end, sources say, his profile was just getting too big for the Trump White House.

CNN’s Chris Cillizza says the way Kelly, who’d been Trump’s secretary of homeland security, handled Scaramucci may mean he’s more of a boss than we thought. The way the White House is now being restructured, everyone on staff will report to him, including Ivanka and Jared.

3. Venezuela

A pair of leading opposition leaders have been rounded up in Venezuela. Leopoldo Lopez and Antonio Ledezma were taken from their homes, their families said on Twitter. Their removal follows Sunday’s controversial election establishing a new legislative body made up entirely of President Nicolas Maduro ’s supporters. This new national assembly will have the power to rewrite the country’s constitution. The election has been denounced worldwide, and the US Treasury Department hit Maduro with sanctions after the vote.

4. Climate change

Two studies say the Earth is going to warm 2 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. If the studies’ grim predictions are correct, we might not even recognize this planet by 2100. Rising sea levels, super droughts, mass extinctions, extreme weather and the melting of the Arctic would mean life as we know it would change dramatically. Researchers say the best way to avoid all of that is for governments to enact changes in public policy that lead to a serious reduction in greenhouse gas emissions.

5. Health care

The GOP effort to kill Obamacare may be over, but there’s still a desire to make improvements to our health care system. So lawmakers are looking at possible fixes to the health care law, and this time it’s a bipartisan effort. About 40 House Republicans and Democrats -- who go by the very catchy name of the Problem Solvers Caucus -- have endorsed an outline of ideas aimed at making urgent fixes to Obamacare. Their ideas include mandatory funding for cost-sharing reduction payments, creating a stability fund, repealing the medical device tax and tweaking the employer mandate. None of this has been put into any bills yet, but it’s a start.


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