July 26, 2017

From Washington, this is VOA news. Hello, I'm Steve Miller.

U.S. President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner, faced questions in a closed-door interview Tuesday with the House Intelligence Committee as part of its probe into Russian meddling into last year's election.

Andrew Palczewski has the story.

Kushner denied having improper contacts with the Russians and added he didn't rely on Russian funds for his businesses.

He spoke Monday to the Senate Intelligence Committee in a similar closed-door session while also publicly denying that he or anyone else with the Trump campaign had any improper contacts with Russia leading up to or after the November, 2016 vote.

As part of the Russia probe, Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort met Tuesday with bipartisan staff of the Senate Intelligence Committee.

Andrew Palczewski, VOA news.

New sanctions punishing Russia for its interference in last year's U.S. presidential election cleared a key step Tuesday as the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill expanding congressional checks on President Donald Trump's abilities to ease those penalties.

Former NATO Supreme Commander James Stavridis said the sanctions were needed.

"This president has not been sufficiently strong in his approach to Putin, to Russia, so I think it's appropriate for the Congress to levy sanctions."

The House-approved legislation, passed 419-3, includes sanctions against Iran and North Korea in addition to sanctions punishing Russia for a range of activities.

Muslim leaders urged the faithful Tuesday to keep up their prayer protests and avoid entering a contested Jerusalem shrine even after Israel dismantled metal detectors that initially triggered the tensions.

Israel said it would replace the metal detectors with new security arrangements based on "advanced technology" to be implemented within six months. This reportedly refers to cameras.

This is VOA news.

As Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell asked for the vote on a motion to proceed to begin debate the GOP health care plan, protesters in the Senate gallery started yelling.

"I ask the yeas and nays." "Kill the bill! Don't kill us! Kill the bill! Don't kill us!" "Sergeant-at-arms will restore order in the chamber."

The extremely rare vocal outburst in the Senate chamber took many of the senators by surprise.

The U.S. Senate did approve a motion to open debate on a Republican initiative to overhaul the health care system put in place under former President Barack Obama. It passed 51-50, the tie-breaking vote cast by Vice president Mike Pence.

President Donald Trump renewed criticisms of Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Tuesday. However, several of his former colleagues in the Senate came to Sessions' defense.

Republican Senator Lindsay Graham called Sessions "one of the most decent men" he has met in his political life, and Democratic Senator Chuck Schumer said the president's motives were clear.

"It's clear that President Trump is trying to bully his own attorney general out of office. How can anyone draw a different conclusion?"

After his victory, Trump tapped Sessions to lead the Department of Justice, making Sessions the nation's top law enforcement officer. But the two former allies grew distant after the attorney general recused himself from the federal investigation into Russian meddling into the election.

The fate of Charlie Gard, an infant at the center of an international, medical and legal battle, may be resolved this week. VOA's Robert Raffaele.

Charlie Gard's parents have one final wish to take him home, put him to bed and kiss him good-bye.

His mother returned to London's high court Tuesday asking a judge to let the family take Charlie home for a few days of tranquility before his ventilator is disconnected and he is allowed to slip away.

Judge Nicholas Francis said he felt a hospice rather than a family home would be best and would make his final ruling on Wednesday.

Robert Raffaele, VOA news.

Tests on deceased professional American football players showed nearly all of them had a chronic traumatic brain disease, according to scientific research published in the journal of American medicine.

The disease called chronic traumatic encephalopathy, or CTE, is believed to be caused by repeated head trauma and has been known to cause memory loss, disorientation, depression and impaired judgment among other symptoms.

National Football League players seem particularly prone to CTE, with 110 of 111 former NFL players examined in the study being diagnosed with CTE.

For additional coverage of these stories as well as in-depth reports, visit voanews.com. From Washington D.C., I'm Steve Miller.

That's the latest world news from VOA.