5 things for Friday, April 7: Syria strikes, Supreme Court, Russia investigation

US warships launch cruise missiles at Syria
US warships launch cruise missiles at Syria


    US warships launch cruise missiles at Syria


US warships launch cruise missiles at Syria 00:33

(CNN)President Trump and his Chinese counterpart continue their meetings today in Florida. As you plan your day, here are the 5 things you need to know to Get Up to Speed and Out the Door.

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1. Syria

The US launched a military strike against Syria, just a few days after a deadly chemical attack on civilians. It's the first direct military action the US has taken against Syria during its six-year civil war. Here's what we know right now:
    What happened: President Trump ordered the strike. US warships launched 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles at the Syrian airbase where the planes that carried out the chemical attack were based. Six people were killed in the airstrike, Syria's military said.
    Why: Trump said it was vital that the US stop the spread and use of chemical weapons. He said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad had "choked out the lives" of innocent men, women and children.
    The reaction: Russia, a key Syrian ally, is not happy. Vladimir Putin blasted the strike as "aggression against a sovereign state" and said it deals a big blow to US-Russian relations. There were Russians on the air base that was hit, but the US gave Russia a heads-up before launching missiles. Russia said it was also suspending an agreement between coalition and Russian air forces to avoid midair incidents. Stateside, most US lawmakers were supportive of Trump's action but warned him to consult with Congress if further action is planned.
    What's next: So was this a one-off, or the start of a larger US campaign against the Syrian regime? We just don't know yet. In his speech, Trump offered little clarity on the future. Just a few days ago, the President said he'd be comfortable leaving the Assad regime alone. Now the world waits to see just how involved the US will get in this deadly conflict.

    2. Supreme Court nomination

    The man who could replace Justice Scalia
    The man who could replace Justice Scalia


      The man who could replace Justice Scalia


    The man who could replace Justice Scalia 00:48
    In the US Senate, the proverbial nuclear button has been pushed. Now let's see what the fallout will be. The Senate voted -- along party lines -- to change its rules and allow Supreme Court picks to be confirmed with a simple majority, instead of 60 votes. So the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch is all but assured when the Senate votes later this morning on his nomination. It's also assured that the nature of the Senate has probably been changed forever.

    3. Russia investigation

    Devin Nunes is stepping aside -- for a little while -- from running the House investigation into Russia's meddling in the 2016 elections. He's the Intelligence Committee chairman, and he caused a huge stink a couple of weeks ago when he secretly visited the White House to look at intel, then held a news conference to say Trump associates had popped up in surveillance reports of foreign officials. But those reports are classified, and ethics complaints have been filed against him for publicly talking about what was in them. The committee will continue its work, and Nunes says he wants to address the ethics complaints quickly.

    4. Baltimore police

    A lot of people in Baltimore want a judge to sign off on a federal consent decree that would put into action sweeping reforms of the city's troubled police department. But the Justice Department might put the brakes on it. At a court hearing where many people spoke out in favor of the decree, a Justice Department official said Attorney General Jeff Sessions has "grave concerns" that it might interfere with Trump administration goals for "public safety." Justice wants 30 days to reassess the decree. Earlier this week, Sessions ordered a review of all police reform plans, including consent decrees.

    5. Obamacare

    More insurers across the nation are leaving Obamacare. The latest defection comes in Iowa, where Aetna says it's pulling out of the Obamacare exchange. This comes right after Wellmark Blue Cross Blue Shield said it was also leaving. That leaves just a pair of insurers in the state's exchange for 2018. Other states face similar situations. Insurers say Obamacare patients are sicker and more costly than they thought. The chaos surrounding the GOP's repeal-and-replace effort doesn't help either, but Republican leaders have been in talks about reviving their health care bill.


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