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May 8, 2017: What to Know


  • Bingo Barnes
  • According to Washington insiders, members of the Trump White House will be nervously watching as former-U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates appears this today before a Senate subcommittee. Yates will be testifying on what she told administration officials regarding ties between Russia and former-National Security Adviser Michael Flynn. The Washington Post reports Yates was fired by President Donald Trump shortly after high level conversations regarding Flynn's Russia connection. She also earned Trump's ire after telling lawyers in the government not to defend the president's travel ban against seven Muslim-majority nations. Nearly three weeks later, Flynn resigned following media reports that he had lied about his personal ties to Russia. Trump tweeted out this morning that he was more interested in how the information made its way to the media than Yates' comments on Trump administration ties to Russia.
  • In the wake of controversial remarks regarding health care at a central Idaho town hall over the weekend, Idaho Republican Rep. Raul Labrador now says his comment "wasn't very elegant." Responding to criticism of his vote in favor of repealing and replacing large portions of Obamacare, Labrador said, "Nobody dies because they don't have access to health care." Video of Labrador making the statement swept the media landscape, appearing on every major national TV network. Now, Labrador posted on his Facebook page that the media was focusing on his controversial sentence instead of what he said was a lengthy exchange with a constituent. "During 10 hours of town halls, one of my answers about health care wasn’t very elegant," wrote Labrador. "I was responding to a false notion that the Republican health care plan will cause people to die in the streets, which I completely reject." Labrador's follow-up response has also triggered significant pushback on the congressman's Facebook page.
  • The new Environmental Protection Agency administrator, Scott Pruitt, has dismissed half of its advisers on what The New York Times calls a major scientific review board. EPA spokesman J.P. Freire wrote in an email that Pruitt wanted to bring a "fresh"perspective to the board, adding, "We're not going to rubber-stamp the last administration's appointees." Pruitt has already indicated he is not convinced global warming is caused by humans, telling a panel before taking the EPA's top post, "No, I would not agree that it's a primary contributor to the global warming that we see. We don't know that yet." One of the fired board members, Michigan State University ecological economist Robert Richardson, tweeted: "Today, I was Trumped."
  • A huge tree, which came uprooted and blocks the flow of the Boise River, continues to cause flooding in and around a Garden City business park. While Garden City crews pile sandbags near the Riverview Business Park, the Ada County Highway District has shut down traffic on portions of 46th, 47th and 48th streets. Meanwhile, Garden City Mayor John Evans said the river banks are too unstable to move heavy machinery into the area to haul the tree out of the water. Garden City residents can pick up sandbags at the Garden City Library this week, with a limit of 25 per resident.
  • According to The Hill, HBO Last Week Tonight  host John Oliver crashed the Federal Communications Commission's website Sunday night while skewering the agency's plans to shorten the leash on net neutrality. On his Last Week Tonight broadcast, Oliver urged viewers to visit, which redirects to an FCC site where comments can be submitted on the proposed rewrite of net neutrality rules. As of this morning, the FCC site was still operating more slowly than usual.
  • The revamped MTV Movie & TV Awards were handed out Sunday night, including—for the first time—winners from the small screen. Beauty and the Beast won best film while Stranger Things won best TV show. Emma Watson (Beauty and the Beast) won the best film actor prize, which was established this year to honor artists regardless of gender. Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things) won best television actor. Best movie or TV duo went to Hugh Jackman and Dafne Keen (Logan), and the film Hidden Figures won the best "fight against the system."

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