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Alex Brandon / AP

President Trump kicked off his joint news conference with Prime Minister Saad Hariri of Lebanon Tuesday by applauding Senate Republicans for voting to take up the health bill and congratulating the American people, "because we're going give you great health care." He later added, "This is the beginning of the end of Obamacare."

Trump also addressed the two no-votes on the motion to proceed, from Sens. Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, calling it "very sad." Other highlights from the joint presser:

President Trump

  • On Sessions criticism: "I am disappointed in the Attorney General. He should not have recused himself immediately after taking office... I think it's unfair to the presidency."
  • What can Sessions be doing better? "I want the Attorney General to be much tougher on the leaks from intelligence agencies... I think that's one of the very important things that they have to get on with."
  • On Sessions' fate: "We will see what happens. Time will tell, time will tell."
  • Fact check: "Lebanon is on the front lines of the fight against Hezbollah." (Hezbollah is a Shi'a Islamist militant group and political party based in Lebanon.) Trump later declined to answer two more questions about Hezbollah, saying he plans to talk to military experts about the issue soon.
  • ISIS: "We have made more progress in the last four or five months than really I could say the previous administration made in eight years."

Prime Minister Hariri

  • Refugee Crisis: Hariri said he and Trump discussed the refugee crisis, and the challenge of hosting 1.5 million Syrian refugees.

Go deeper

Pompeo, wife misused State Dept. resources, federal watchdog finds

Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The State Department's independent watchdog found that former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo violated federal ethics rules when he and his wife asked department employees to perform personal tasks on more than 100 occasions, including picking up their dog and making private dinner reservations.

Why it matters: The report comes as Pompeo pours money into a new political group amid speculation about a possible 2024 presidential run.

Dead malls get new life

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Malls are becoming ghosts of retail past. But the left-behind real estate is being reimagined for a post-pandemic world.

Why it matters: As many as 17% of malls in the U.S. "may no longer be viable as shopping centers and need to be redeveloped into other uses," per Barclays.