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What you missed this week: Scaramucci out, new Russia sanctions and a KISS lookalike

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Trump Editing Scaramucci

In this Tuesday, July 25, 2017, photo, White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci speaks to members of the media at the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

Scaramucci out after just 11 days

Firmly taking charge in an unruly White House, former Gen. John Kelly moved in Monday as President Donald Trump’s new chief of staff and immediately made sure that Trump’s profanity-spouting new communications director, Anthony Scaramucci, was shown the door after just 11 days on the job.

Aiming to instill some discipline in the White House, Kelly pushed out Scaramucci just days after the new communications director had unleashed an expletive-laced tirade against senior staff members that included vulgar broadsides at then-chief of staff Reince Priebus.

Dow Jones tops 22,000 for first time

Apple made its biggest jump in six months Wednesday, helping send the Dow Jones industrial average above 22,000 points for the first time in history. Apple’s latest profit and revenue were better than analysts expected, and the company’s strong sales forecast suggests it’s confident the next iPhone will reach the market on time. Here, trader Peter Tuchman, center, wears a “Dow 22,000” hat as he works Wednesday on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange.

GOP plan to slash legal immigration wins Trump's support

President Donald Trump has embraced legislation that would dramatically reduce legal immigration and shift the nation toward a system that prioritizes merit and skills over family ties. The bill has gained little traction in the Senate.

"This legislation demonstrates our compassion for struggling American families who deserve an immigration system that puts their needs first and puts America first," Trump said during an event Wednesday in the White House's Roosevelt Room.

It was the latest example of the president championing an issue that animated the core voters of his 2016 campaign, following decisions to pull out of the Paris climate treaty and ban transgender people from the military.

Trump grudgingly signs Russia sanctions bill

Dealt a striking congressional rebuke, Donald Trump grudgingly signed what he called a "seriously flawed" package of sanctions against Russia, bowing for the moment to resistance from both parties to his push for warmer ties with Moscow.

Trump signed the most significant piece of legislation of his presidency Wednesday with no public event. And he coupled it with a written statement, resentful in tone, that accused Congress of overstepping its constitutional bounds, impeding his ability to negotiate with foreign countries and lacking any ability to strike deals.

"Congress could not even negotiate a health care bill after seven years of talking," he said scornfully of lawmakers' recent failure to repeal former President Barack Obama's health care law as he and other Republicans have promised for years. "As president, I can make far better deals with foreign countries than Congress."

The legislation is aimed at penalizing Moscow for that interference and for its military aggression in Ukraine and Syria, where the Kremlin has backed President Bashar Assad. It bars Trump from waiving the Russia sanctions without first securing approval from Congress, and also imposes new financial sanctions on Iran and North Korea.

In response, President Vladimir Putin ordered 755 U.S. embassy and consular staff members in Russia to be cut.

Vote tampering claims jolt Venezuela

On Wednesday, President Nicolas Maduro defiantly dismissed allegations that official turnout figures for the election of an all-powerful constituent assembly were manipulated, accusing the software firm behind the claim of bowing to U.S. pressure to cast doubt over a body that he hopes will entrench an even more staunchly socialist state.

Results recorded by Smartmatic's systems and those reported by Venezuela's National Electoral Council show "without any doubt" that the official turnout figure of more than 8 million voters was tampered with, company CEO Antonio Mugica told reporters in London. The international software company has provided voting technology in Venezuela since 2004.

Trump Russia Probe Mueller

FILE - In this June 21, 2017, file photo, Special Counsel Robert Mueller departs after a closed-door meeting with members of the Senate Judiciary Committee about Russian meddling in the election at the Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, File)

Grand jury called for Russia probe

Special Counsel Robert Mueller is using a grand jury in Washington as part of an investigation into potential coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, a person familiar with the probe said Thursday. The use of a grand jury, a standard prosecution tool in criminal investigations, suggests that Mueller and his team of investigators are likely to hear from witnesses and demand documents in the coming weeks.

Attorney General Sanctuary Cities

FILE - In this June 21, 2016 file photo, traffic make its way along historic Route 66 in downtown Albuquerque, N.M. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is cracking down on so-called sanctuary cities, threatening to keep federal crime-fighting resources from cities ravaged by violence if they don't cooperate with federal immigration authorities. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan, File)

‘Sanctuary cities’ baffled as Jeff Sessions targets them on immigration

Attorney General Jeff Sessions took new steps Thursday to punish cities he believes are not cooperating with federal immigration agents in a move that was met with bewilderment by local officials who said they did not know why they were being singled out.

The Justice Department sent letters to four cities — Baltimore, Albuquerque, and Stockton and San Bernardino in California — struggling with gun violence, telling them they would not be eligible for a program that provides money to combat drug trafficking and gang crime unless they give federal immigration authorities access to jails and notify agents before releasing inmates wanted on immigration violations.

None of the four has declared itself a "sanctuary city," a mostly symbolic term that nevertheless is strongly associated with ordinances aimed at shielding illegal immigrants.


White House Senior Adviser Jared Kushner walks away from Marine One on the South Lawn of the White House, Thursday, Aug. 3, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Kushner says Trump campaign was too dysfunctional to collude

President Donald Trump's son-in-law told a group of congressional interns that the Trump campaign couldn't have colluded with Russia because the team was too dysfunctional and disorganized to coordinate with a foreign government.

The remarks on Monday by Jared Kushner, a senior adviser to the president, came in response to a question about Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign worked with Moscow. first reported Kushner's remarks, which were intended to be off the record. "They thought we colluded, but we couldn't even collude with our local offices," Kushner said, according to the website.

US Tillerson

FILE - In this April 7, 2017, file photo Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, left, listens as President Donald Trump speaks during a bilateral meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Fla.  (AP Photo/Alex Brandon, File)

Tillerson to North Korea: 'We are not your enemy'

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has offered reassurance to North Korea that “we are not your enemy,” though he wants help from China to push for conditions that can lead to talks with the North. He said Tuesday the United States does “not seek a regime change. We do not seek a collapse of the regime. We do not seek an accelerated reunification of the peninsula.”

2028 Olympics

Los Angeles reached an agreement Monday with international Olympic leaders for the city to host the 2028 Summer Games, while ceding the 2024 Games to rival Paris. The arrangement would make L.A. a three-time Olympic city after hosting the 1932 and 1984 Games.


White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders speaks during the daily briefing at the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Phantom phone calls

The White House said Wednesday that compliments President Donald Trump described receiving from the Mexican president and the Boy Scouts of America happened — just not on the phone, as Trump had claimed. It was the latest episode in Trump’s rocky relationship with facts. A new Quinnipiac University National Poll found that only 34 percent of Americans say Trump is “honest.”

Celebrity death

Sam Shepard, the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright, Oscar-nominated actor and celebrated author whose plays chronicled the explosive fault lines of family and masculinity in the American West, has died. Family spokesman Chris Boneau said earlier this week that Shepard, 73, died July 27.

ODD Calf Gene Simmons

This July 28, 2017, photo at right, provided by Heather Taccetta in Kerrville, Texas, shows a newborn calf named Genie, with facial marking that resemble Gene Simmons, the bass player for the rock group KISS, shortly after its birth in Kerrville. (Heather Taccetta via AP, right), (AP Photo/Natacha Pisarenko, left)

Rock on, Genie

KISS frontman Gene Simmons is udderly thrilled by a newborn calf born with strikingly similar black-and-white markings to the face paint he wears on stage. The calf was born recently at a ranch near Kerrville, Texas. It is named Genie, in honor of Simmons.

Not-so-special election

Apparently it was a not-so-special election in the tiny town of McIntire, Iowa, where none of its 70 registered voters showed up Tuesday to cast ballots on two questions regarding term limits for mayor and council members.

A Mitchell County deputy auditor, Barbara Baldwin, told the Mason City Globe Gazette that the poll workers didn't even vote. None of them live in McIntire.


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