In our news wrap Friday, two House committees are considering delaying the planned testimony of former special counsel Robert Mueller on July 17, saying they want a longer hearing to give lawmakers more time for questioning. Also, the House approved a defense policy bill that includes limits on President Trump’s authority to take military action against Iran. Trump has vowed to veto the measure.
In the day's other news: Congressional Republicans and Democrats clashed over poor conditions at detention sites along the U.S.-Mexico border.
They spoke at a hearing of the U.S. House of Representatives' Oversight Committee. And they traded arguments over reports of crowded, unsanitary facilities.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich.:
We do have a crisis at our border. It is one of morality, as we have seen this current strategy unfold, intentional and cruelly created by the Trump administration, dead-set on sending a hate-filled message that those seeking refuge are not welcome in America.
Rep. Chip Roy, R-Tex.:
Our agents are just completely overwhelmed. They are exhausted. Not only are they exhausted out in the field, exhausted inside the stations processing. They are exhausted with all the rhetoric that is coming down through the media and this Congress.
Our own congressional leaders are vilifying our agents. These are the people holding America's front line.
Border crossings from Mexico were down in June, but still exceeded 100,000 for the fourth straight month.
Meanwhile, there is word that two House committees may postpone hearing from former special counsel Robert Mueller on the Russia investigation. He is scheduled to appear before the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees on July 17. Reports today said that majority Democrats are considering a one-week delay to allow for a longer hearing and to give lawmakers more time for questioning.
The House today approved a defense policy bill, including limits on President Trump's authority to take military action against Iran. It also bars using Pentagon funds to pay for a southern border wall. Progressive Democrats tacked on other provisions, and the overall bill passed without a single Republican vote.
The president has promised to veto the measure, but first it has to be reconciled with the Senate version.
The first components of Russian missile defense systems have arrived in Turkey, over U.S. objections. The Turks said that Russian military planes flew in parts for the S-400 systems today. They were unloaded at an air base outside Ankara.
Turkey's foreign minister defended the move.
Mevlut Cavusoglu (through translator):
As we have always said, S-400s are a done deal, and the process continues in its course. Our Defense Ministry has made the necessary statement. There is no problem, and the delivery will continue in a healthy way.
The U.S. has threatened NATO ally Turkey with economic sanctions, and says that it will cancel plans to sell F-35 stealth fighters to the Turks. But Turkey says that its defense minister told acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper today that Ankara is not tilting toward Moscow.
In Chicago, R&B singer R. Kelly had his initial court appearance today on federal charges of sex crimes and racketeering. Indictments in Chicago and New York say that he used his entourage to lure women and underage girls into illegal sexual activity. They also allege that he paid out thousands of dollars in hush money. Kelly was already facing state sex abuse charges in Illinois.
President Trump fired back today at Paul Ryan, the former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. Ryan, a Republican, retired from Congress in 2018. A new book, "American Carnage," quotes him as saying that he could not stand to work with Mr. Trump any longer.
In a separate quote, Ryan says: "I'm telling you he didn't know anything about government" — end quote.
The president today called Ryan — quote — "a terrible speaker" and — quote — "a baby," and blamed him for losing the GOP's House majority.
The Federal Trade Commission has approved a $5 billion fine for Facebook for mishandling users' personal information. The Wall Street Journal first reported the action. It said Facebook would still be allowed to collect and share data with third parties, but under stricter oversight. The deal still needs Justice Department approval.
And on Wall Street, stocks hit new highs, led by tech and industrial shares. The Dow Jones industrial average gained nearly 244 points to close at 27332. That's a record. The Nasdaq rose 48 points, also reaching a record, and the S&P 500 added finished above 3000 for the first time.
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