Sam's Top 5 Things to Know for Friday

1. The White House says, “the time for talk has passed” when it comes to the health care bill vote

Abandoning negotiations, President Donald Trump demanded a make-or-break vote on health care legislation in the House, threatening to leave "Obamacare" in place and move on to other issues if Friday's vote fails.

The risky move, part gamble and part threat, was presented to GOP lawmakers behind closed doors last night after a long and intense day that saw a planned vote on the health care bill scrapped as the legislation remained short of votes amid cascading negotiations among conservative lawmakers, moderates and others.

At the end of it the president had had enough and was ready to vote and move on, whatever the result, Trump's budget director Mick Mulvaney told lawmakers.

2. Senate Democrats vowed yesterday to impede Judge Neil Gorsuch's path to the Supreme Court.

Still irate that Republicans blocked President Barack Obama's nominee, Democrats consider Gorsuch a threat to a wide range of civil rights and think he was too evasive during 20 hours of questioning. Whatever the objections, Republicans who control the Senate are expected to ensure that President Donald Trump's pick reaches the bench, perhaps before the middle of April.

The Democratic leader in the Senate, Chuck Schumer of New York, was among five senators to declare their opposition to Gorsuch yesterday, even before the Judiciary Committee hearing on the nomination had ended.

Schumer said he would lead a filibuster against Gorsuch, criticizing him as a judge who "almost instinctively favors the powerful over the weak." Schumer said the 49-year-old Coloradan would not serve as a check on Trump or be a mainstream justice.

3. Senior U.S. officials say that The Trump administration will approve the Keystone XL pipeline today

This brings an end to years of delay for a project that has served as a flashpoint in the national debate about climate change.

The State Department will recommend the pipeline is in U.S. interests, clearing the way for the White House to grant a presidential permit to TransCanada to build the $8 billion pipeline, two officials said. It's a sharp reversal from the Obama administration, which rejected the pipeline after deeming it contrary to national interests.

4. Trump basks in Nunes surveillance news: 'So that means I'm right'

Yesterday’s announcement by House Intelligence Chairman Representative Devin Nunes that intelligence agencies disseminated surveillance on the Trump transition team is fueling President Trump’s push to root out those who allegedly spread the classified information throughout government and to news organizations.

Nunes said yesterday a source within the intelligence community had shown him “dozens” of reports that were produced from “incidentally collected” communications between members of the Trump transition team and foreign targets.

Several individuals on the Trump team were eventually “unmasked” and had their identities “widely disseminated,” despite the information being of limited intelligence value, Nunes said. The bombshell news conference appeared to partially back up Trump’s assertion earlier this month that former President Barack Obama had “wiretapped” him.

Trump told Time magazine, “Wow … so that means I’m right.”

5. New research says more cancer-causing mutations are due to random chance rather than heredity or poor lifestyle choices.

Lifestyle and heredity get the most blame when people are diagnosed with cancer, but new research suggests random chance plays a bigger role than people realize: Healthy cells naturally make mistakes when they multiply, unavoidable typos in DNA that can leave new cells carrying cancer-prone genetic mutations.

Researchers at Johns Hopkins University reported yesterday that about two-thirds of the mutations that occur in various forms of cancer are due to those random copying errors.

That doesn't mean most cases of cancer are due solely to "bad luck." It takes multiple mutations to turn cells into tumors — and a lot of cancer is preventable, the Hopkins team stressed, if people take proven protective steps.

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