5 things you need to know now – Flynn told Mueller people linked to Trump and Congress tried to interfere with Russia probe

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5 things you need to know now

1. Trump unveils new immigration plan

On Thursday, President Trump revealed his new proposal to revamp parts of the country’s immigration system, seeking to offer more opportunities for immigrants with certain skills or job offers who are proficient in English and pass a civics test. Trump unveiled the plan, which was developed by his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner, at a ceremony in the Rose Garden. The proposal cuts back on family-based immigration and calls for construction on Trump’s long-promised southern border wall, but does not address the legal status of Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) recipients. Trump suggested he did not believe the plan could become law in the near future, and said “we will get it approved immediately after the election.”

Source: The New York Times

2. Flynn told Mueller people linked to Trump and Congress tried to interfere with Russia probe

During his interviews with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn told investigators that people with ties to the Trump administration and Congress contacted him in an attempt to interfere with the Russia probe, Mueller wrote in newly-unredacted court papers filed Thursday. The messages could have “affected both his willingness to cooperate and the completeness of that cooperation,” Mueller said, adding that “in some instances,” his office was “unaware of the outreach until being alerted to it by the defendant.” Flynn did provide a recording of one of the voicemails he received, the filing said. In December 2017, Flynn pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI about his conversations with former Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak before President Trump’s inauguration.

Source: NBC News

3. Trump looks to avoid Iran war as Bolton reportedly pressures him otherwise

President Trump is in disagreement with his top officials over how to handle escalating tensions with Iran. In a Wednesday morning Situation Room meeting, Trump told Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan that he does not want war with Iran, The New York Times reports. Then on Thursday, when asked if the U.S. is “going to war with Iran,” Trump said “I hope not.” That comes in contrast to implications from Trump’s hawkish National Security Adviser John Bolton, and it has Trump calling out to other advisers to complain about Bolton, CNN reports. The reported infighting follows reports of the administration reviewing a plan to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East amid what military officials characterize as “credible” threats to U.S. interests.

Source: The New York Times, CNN

4. Missouri Senate passes bill banning abortion at 8 weeks

The Missouri Senate on Thursday passed a bill banning abortion at eight weeks. The bill provides exceptions in cases of medical emergencies, but not in cases of rape or incest. The legislation was passed 24-10, and now needs approval in the Republican-majority House. Missouri Gov. Mike Parson (R) has indicated he will sign the bill into law. If passed, doctors who perform abortions after eight weeks would face between five and 15 years in prison. Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) on Wednesday signed into law a bill outlawing abortions except in cases of a “serious health risk.” Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) last week also signed a bill banning most abortions after doctors can detect a fetal heartbeat. These bills are expected to face legal challenges.

Source: The Associated Press

5. Famed architect I.M. Pei dies at 102

I.M. Pei, the world-renowned architect who designed the glass pyramid at the Louvre in Paris and the Museum of Islamic Art in Qatar, has died, his family announced Thursday. He was 102. Born in China, he came to the United States in 1935, and after graduating from Harvard, started designing high-rise buildings with William Zeckendorf’s New York City firm, Webb & Knapp. He launched his own firm, I.M. Pei & Associates, in 1955, and went on to have a storied international career, designing the John F. Kennedy Library, the East Building of the National Gallery of Art in Washington, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland.

Source: The New York Times

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