In the our news wrap Thursday, Russia’s official news agency reported the U.S. and Russia are discussing the possibility of creating a cybersecurity working group. President Trump had raised a similar idea but backed off under heavy criticism. Also, the Congressional Budget Office says a revised Senate Republicans health care reform bill leaves as many people uninsured as a previous version.
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In the day's other news: Russia's official RIA news agency reported the U.S. and Russia are talking about creating a cyber-security working group. President Trump had raised a similar idea during the G20 summit, but backed off under heavy criticism. This latest report comes amid multiple U.S. investigations of Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
The Congressional Budget Office says that a revised Senate Republican health care bill leaves as many people uninsured as a previous version. The CBO reported today that, under the bill, another 22 million Americans would lose coverage by 2026. The measure would also reduce federal deficits by $420 billion over the coming decade. So far, GOP leaders still lack the votes to debate the bill.
The health of Senator John McCain dominated this day at the U.S. Capitol. The Arizona Republican has been diagnosed with brain cancer, and doctors removed a tumor, but McCain may need additional treatment. The news stunned lawmakers from both parties, who said they're hoping for the best for their longtime colleague.
SEN. PATRICK LEAHY, D-Vt.:
He's a good friend. We agree and we disagree. But he's one of the oldest — he keeps his word. And I know we will be praying for him at mass this weekend.
SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.:
He may outlive us all. I don't know what — God only knows how this thing ends. I just ask God for one thing, that he has a voice and he can use it as long as possible.
McCain is 80, having survived seven years in a North Vietnamese prison during the Vietnam War. He was a Republican presidential nominee in 2008 and is serving his sixth term in the Senate.
Today, he tweeted: "I greatly appreciate the outpouring of support. Unfortunately, for my sparring partners in Congress, I will be back soon, so stand by."
For the first time in the global AIDS epidemic, more than half of all those infected with HIV are on drugs to treat the virus. A United Nations report today also finds that overall AIDS deaths have fallen to about half the level of 2005. The disease has killed 35 million people over the past four decades.
O.J. Simpson was granted parole in Nevada today, after nearly nine years in prison, and could be freed in October. The one-time pro football star had been jailed for an armed robbery in 2007 involving his own sports mementos. Today, in a live-streamed hearing, Simpson, now 70 years old, pleaded his case to the state parole board.
I have done my time. You know, I have done it as well and as respectfully as I think anybody can. I think if you talk to the wardens there, they will tell you I have been — I gave them my word. I believe in the jury system. I have honored their verdict.
Simpson's defenders said that his 33-year sentence was overly harsh, and that he was really being punished for the murders of his ex-wife and her friend in 1994. He was acquitted of those killings in 1995.
The U.S. Senate today confirmed a federal appeals judge, despite a series of blog posts that Democrats condemned. Kentucky lawyer John Bush was approved 51-47. In one online posting, under a pseudonym, he called abortion and slavery — quote — "the two greatest tragedies in our country." He also linked to articles on a far-right conspiracy Web site.
ExxonMobil was fined $2 million today for violating U.S. sanctions on Russia in 2014. The oil giant said that it will challenge the fine in court. The U.S. Treasury Department says the company showed reckless disregard for sanctions by signing deals with the head of Russia's state-owned oil company. At the time, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was ExxonMobil's CEO.
And on Wall Street, the Dow Jones industrial average lost about 29 points to close at 21611. The Nasdaq rose about five, and the S&P 500 slipped a fraction.