Friday’s Mini-Report, 7.28.17

Today’s much-earlier-than-usual edition of quick hits:

* The blowback: “Russia on Friday ordered the U.S. to cut the number of its diplomats posted to Russia and said it was seizing two properties used by American officials in retaliation for a new bill of sanctions that overwhelmingly passed both the House and the Senate this week.”

* In the Senate, the final vote was 98 to 2: “The Senate approved new sanctions to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 U.S. election on an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote Thursday, gaining tentative support from the White House before its passage.”

* A considerable improvement in GDP over the first quarter: “The U.S. economy rebounded strongly between April and June, government data showed Friday morning, as businesses invested more and consumers shelled out for furniture, washing machines and other goods.”

* This won’t end well: “The House passed a $788 billion spending bill Thursday that combines a $1.6 billion down payment for President Donald Trump’s controversial border wall with Mexico with a whopping budget increase for the Pentagon.”

* Pakistan: “[P]rime minister Nawaz Sharif was ousted by the country’s top court Friday amid a corruption investigation into his family wealth triggered by a data dump known as the Panama Papers. The third-term leader was ruled unfit for office by the Supreme Court in a unanimous decision by five judges.”

* An important angle: “Since Election Day, President Trump’s businesses have sold at least 30 luxury condos and oceanfront lots for about $33 million…. Now, details of some of those deals and other transactions by Trump’s family business could be unmasked as special counsel Robert Mueller expands his inquiry into election-meddling by Russia and whether Trump’s campaign colluded.”

* A principled stand: “A candidate for a senior position at the Department of Homeland Security withdrew from consideration on Wednesday, citing President Donald Trump’s decision to ban transgender people from serving in the military. John Fluharty, a former executive director of the Delaware Republican party, informed a DHS official in an email Wednesday morning that he was pulling out of contention to be the assistant secretary of partnership and engagement at the department.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Friday's Mini-Report, 7.28.17