What to Know
- The House intelligence committee said it's issuing subpoenas for Michael Flynn and President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen
- Taxpayers may have overpaid by as much as $1.27 billion for EpiPen anti-allergy devices over the course of a decade, a U.S. senator says
- A guitar that Jerry Garcia played everywhere from San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom to Egypt's Great Pyramids is headed to auction
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House Intelligence Committee Issues Subpoenas in Russia Probe
The House intelligence committee said it is issuing subpoenas for former national security adviser Michael Flynn and President Donald Trump's personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, as well as their businesses, as part of its investigation into Russian activities during last year's election. In addition to those four subpoenas, the committee has issued three others — to the National Security Agency, the FBI and the CIA — for information about requests that government officials made to "unmask" the identities of U.S. individuals named in classified intelligence reports, according to a congressional aide. The subpoenas were announced as the special counsel overseeing the government's investigation into possible Trump campaign ties to Russia has approved former FBI Director James Comey to testify before the Senate intelligence committee, according to a Comey associate. At a briefing, press secretary Sean Spicer said inquiries about the Russia investigation must be directed to Marc Kasowitz, another of Trump's personal attorneys. It marked the first time the White House had officially acknowledged that outside counsel had been retained.
Afghans Mourn a Day After Massive Truck Bombing Kills 90
Afghans are mourning the loss of family members, friends and colleagues a day after a massive truck bomb in the capital Kabul left at least 90 people dead and more than 450 others wounded. It was one of the worst extremist attacks since the drawdown of foreign forces from Afghanistan in 2014. Scores of people waited in hospitals to hear about the status of family members and friends wounded in Wednesday's attack. The bomber drove into Kabul's heavily guarded diplomatic quarter during the morning rush, leaving behind a bloody chaos and destruction. Most of the casualties were civilians, including women and children, but the dead also included Afghan security guards. There has been no claim of responsibility for the Kabul attack.
Leaked Birth Control Rule Would Broaden Religious Exemption
Women's groups are threatening to take the Trump administration to court after a leaked, draft regulation revealed a plan to let employers opt out of providing no-cost birth control to women for religious and moral reasons. The White House refused comment, calling the 125-page document posted online by the news site Vox an "alleged draft." A government website shows that a rule on preventive services under the Affordable Care Act — which includes birth control — is under final review by the White House Office of Management and Budget. The share of women employees paying their own money for birth control pills has plunged to under 4 percent, from 21 percent, since contraception became a covered preventive health benefit under the Obama-era health law, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Research has shown that contraception promotes maternal health by allowing women to space out their pregnancies, among other findings. The birth control requirement also applies to dependent coverage for wives and daughters.
Taxpayers May Have Overpaid by More Than $1 Billion for Mylan's EpiPen, Senator Says
American taxpayers may have overpaid by as much as $1.27 billion for EpiPen anti-allergy devices over the course of a decade, a U.S. senator said. That is nearly three times the $465 million that EpiPen’s owner, drugmaker Mylan, last October said it agreed to pay the federal government to settle claims it overcharged the government-run Medicaid system for the devices. As CNBC reports, Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, said it looks like Mylan overcharged taxpayers for years by knowingly classifying the brand-name EpiPen as a generic drug, resulting in the company paying a lower rebate rate to Medicaid. A spokeswoman for Mylan had no immediate comment.
Kathy Griffin Axed by CNN Over Trump Decapitation Pic
Donald Trump lost his head. She lost her job. Kathy Griffin's job as co-host of CNN's New Year's Eve broadcast just became the latest casualty of the comic's ill-conceived Trump decapitation photo shoot. The network announced they were axing Griffin from its airwaves. Anderson Cooper, who has co-hosted the special with Griffin for the past decade, was one of several personalities who publicly condemned Griffin's photo. Following the backlash Griffin removed the photo from her social media account and apologized. But it was too little, too late as Griffin found herself on the receiving end of an avalanche of condemnation, including from both Trump and his wife Melania.
Jerry Garcia's “Wolf” Guitar to Be Auctioned for Charity
A guitar that Jerry Garcia played everywhere from San Francisco's Winterland Ballroom to Egypt's Great Pyramids is headed to auction. The Grateful Dead frontman's guitar — named Wolf — will be offered in Brooklyn. The proceeds are earmarked for the Montgomery, Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center. The guitar is being sold by devoted Deadhead Daniel Pritzker. The philanthropist, musician and film director bought it in 2002 at Guernsey's for $790,000. It's predicted that the guitar could fetch over $1 million this time around. The auctioneer says Wolf first appeared in a 1973 New York performance the Grateful Dead gave for the Hells Angels. Garcia died in 1995.