Wednesday’s Mini-Report, 7.12.17

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* Look for more on this story on tonight’s show: “U.S. intelligence agencies starting in the spring of 2015 detected conversations in which Russian government officials discussed associates of Donald Trump, several months before he declared his candidacy for president, according to current and former U.S. officials.”

* This, too: “Investigators at the House and Senate Intelligence committees and the Justice Department are examining whether the Trump campaign’s digital operation – overseen by Jared Kushner – helped guide Russia’s sophisticated voter targeting and fake news attacks on Hillary Clinton in 2016.”

* As a matter of legislative procedure, this is very significant: “Senate Republicans have won an argument before the parliamentarian that will allow a House-passed health care reconciliation bill to be taken up and amended in the Senate next week without any obstacle, CQ Roll Call has learned.”

* Expect confirmation: “Christopher Wray, President Donald Trump’s nominee to lead the Federal Bureau of Investigations, said Wednesday that he did not consider the probe into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election to be a “witch hunt,” disagreeing with the president’s own assessment of the matter.”

* This story, involving Mohsen Dehnavi, demands some explanation: “An Iranian cancer researcher who traveled to the US with his family on a valid visa has been sent back to his home country two weeks after Donald Trump’s revised travel ban came into force.”

* Nearly the size of Delaware: “One of the largest icebergs ever recorded broke off from an ice shelf in Antarctica, British scientists announced Wednesday…. Project MIDAS said there is no evidence to directly link the calving of the iceberg to climate change. However, it is widely accepted that warming ocean and atmospheric temperatures have been a factor in earlier disintegrations of ice shelves elsewhere on the Antarctic Peninsula.”

* Worthy activism: “Major internet companies are preparing to launch online protests Wednesday over Republican efforts to roll back Obama-era net neutrality rules, employing a tactic that influenced policy in past years.”

* Worth watching: “More than half a dozen Republican and Democratic senators have discussed alternatives to the embattled GOP health-care bill, even as Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he plans a vote next week to muscle the Obamacare repeal measure through the Senate.”

* Remember David Wildstein? “A former ally to New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie who was the mastermind of the 2013 George Washington Bridge lane-closing scheme will not go to prison after pleading guilty and giving testimony that helped convict two former aides to the Republican governor.”

* The latest on Steve Scalise’s condition is encouraging: “House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.) is out of the intensive care unit at MedStar Washington Hospital Center but remains in serious condition, according to the Associated Press.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Wednesday's Mini-Report, 7.12.17