In the our news wrap Wednesday, President Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort has retroactively registered as a foreign agent. Manafort filed papers Tuesday that show his firm was paid more than $17 million by a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. Also, the Venezuelan government says a police helicopter opened fire on the nation’s Supreme Court and Interior Ministry.
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Senate Republican leaders have spent this day behind closed doors trying to win over more of their own members in the health care reform fight.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has delayed any action until after the Fourth of July recess, but a spokesman says he hopes to have a revised bill as soon as Friday.
At the White House, President Trump suggested the effort is working along very well, despite the obstacles.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP:
It’s very tough. Every state is different. Every senator is different. But I have to tell you, the Republican senators had a really impressive meeting yesterday at the White House. I think we’re going to get at least very close, and I think we’re going to get it over the line.
Later, the president told reporters — quote — “We’re going to have a big surprise on health care.” He didn’t say what that meant.
We will hear about all of this from Republican Senator John Thune after the news summary.
The president’s former campaign chairman has registered, retroactively, as a foreign agent. Paul Manafort filed papers Tuesday that show his firm was paid more than $17 million by a pro-Russian political party in Ukraine. He resigned from the Trump campaign last August, when word of his consulting work leaked. In March of this year, Michael Flynn, who had been fired as the president’s national security adviser, also registered as a foreign agent.
Businesses and governments around the globe spent a second day battling a cyber-attack. The so-called ransomware assault eased some today, but in the U.S., a subsidiary of FedEx was disrupted, and a Cadbury chocolate factory in Australia had to shut down.
In London, British Defense Secretary Michael Fallon said it is verging on an act of war.
MICHAEL FALLON, Defense Secretary, United Kingdom:
State or nonstate entities, lurking behind a veil of encryption, targeting our national infrastructure, as we saw with the recent cyber-strike on Parliament itself, that isn’t a cold war. That’s a gray war, permanently teetering on the edge of outright hostility.
The outbreak began in Ukraine, where it has done the most damage so far. We will take a closer look later in the program.
The months-long unrest in Venezuela took a dramatic turn overnight. The government says that a police helicopter opened fire on the nation’s Supreme Court and Interior Ministry. Amateur video captured images of the helicopter, before it disappeared. Officials charged the mastermind of the plot was a rogue police pilot and actor. Opponents of socialist President Nicolas Maduro suggested that the raid could be a government ploy to justify increased repression.
Former members of Colombia’s largest rebel group now face the challenge of reintegrating into society. The one-time fighters of the FARC surrendered their weapons at a disarmament camp on Tuesday. U.N. inspectors supervised the ceremony. The rebels staged a peace agreement last year, after decades of fighting.
In Liverpool, England, six people, most of them police officials, were charged today in a 1989 soccer stadium disaster. They are accused of offenses ranging from negligence to manslaughter in the deaths of 96 people. The victims were crushed when thousands of people rushed into a crowded section of a stadium. Police blamed rowdy fans, but the families finally won a new investigation.
TREVOR HICKS, Father of Victims:
I mean, there are no winners in this. It doesn’t bring anybody back from the disaster. But what it does do, it sends a message out of accountability, as we keep saying, that nobody, but nobody is above the law, be it the police or anybody else.
The accused include the man who was leading police operations at the stadium that day.
Back in this country, the Homeland Security Department announced that it’s stepping up security measures for flights coming into the U.S. They include enhanced screening of electronic devices and passengers. Airlines that comply could be exempt from an earlier ban on carry-on laptops. Those that don’t comply may face a total ban on electronic devices.
Wall Street rallied today behind financial and tech stocks. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 144 points to close at 21454. The Nasdaq rose 87, and the S&P 500 added 21.
And Michael Bond, creator of the beloved children’s literary character Paddington Bear, has died in Britain. Bond first introduced the marmalade-loving teddy in “A Bear Called Paddington” in 1958. That led ultimately to more than 20 books, several TV shows and a 2014 movie. Michael Bond was 91 years old.