“After meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) said he does not believe the House proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare has enough votes to pass,” CNN reports. That’s good news because a new Brookings Institution report suggests that at least 15 million people will lose their health care insurance under the House Republican plan currently being considered. Key takeaway: “Estimates could be higher, but it’s is unlikely they will be significantly lower.”
Axios: “The 15 million number is based on the repeal of the individual mandate, lost employer coverage due to the mandate and cuts to Medicaid. The unknown effects of new tax credits, repealing the Medicaid expansion and installing a system that caps federal Medicaid payments for every person could drive that uninsured figure higher.”
CNBC: “Exit polls showed that just 10 percent of Trump’s votes came from Americans earning $200,000 or more. Yet those voters would derive all benefits from the repeal of the two individual tax hikes targeting them: a 0.9 percent tax on their earnings, and a 3.8 percent tax on their investment income.”
“An even smaller group, the top 1 percent of earners, would receive an average tax cut of $33,000, according to the Tax Policy Center. The top 0.1 percent of earners would receive an average tax cut of $197,000.”
“But half of Trump’s votes came from white voters without college degrees. And those less-affluent voters stand to lose in multiple ways if Congress rolls back Obamacare in favor of the House GOP plan.”
“The C.I.A. scrambled on Wednesday to assess and contain the damage from the release by WikiLeaks of thousands of documents that cataloged the agency’s cyberspying capabilities, temporarily halting work on some projects while the F.B.I. turned to finding who was responsible for the leak,” the New York Times reports. “Investigators say that the leak was the work not of a hostile foreign power like Russia but of a disaffected insider… The F.B.I. was preparing to interview anyone who had access to the information, a group likely to include at least a few hundred people, and possibly more than a thousand.”
“Federal investigators and computer scientists continue to examine whether there was a computer server connection between the Trump Organization and a Russian bank,” CNN reports. “Questions about the possible connection were widely dismissed four months ago. But the FBI’s investigation remains open, the sources said, and is in the hands of the FBI’s counterintelligence team — the same one looking into Russia’s suspected interference in the 2016 election.”
“With questions still swirling over President Trump’s unsubstantiated claims that he was wiretapped on orders of President Barack Obama, the Justice Department on Thursday declined to confirm statements a day earlier from the White House that Mr. Trump was not the target of a counterintelligence investigation,” the New York Times reports.
“Officials also said the White House had not relied on any information from the Justice Department in offering a statement denying the existence of an investigation.”
A new Quinnipiac poll finds that 63% of Americans says the level of hatred and prejudice in the country has increased since Donald Trump was elected president. In addition, 77% of voters say prejudice against minority groups in the U.S. is a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem.
Matt Taibbi gives us all a reality check: “If there’s any truth to the notion that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian state to disrupt the electoral process, then yes, what we’re seeing now are the early outlines of a Watergate-style scandal that could topple a presidency.”
“But it could also be true that both the Democratic Party and many leading media outlets are making a dangerous gamble, betting their professional and political capital on the promise of future disclosures that may not come.”
“We have to remember that the unpopularity of the press was a key to Trump’s election. Journalists helped solve the billionaire’s accessibility problem by being a more hated group than the arrogant rich. Trump has people believing he shares a common enemy with them: the news media. When we do badly, he does well.”
“We can’t afford to bolster these accusations of establishment bias and overreach by using the techniques of conspiracy theorists to push this Russia story. Unfortunately, that is happening… Reporters should be scared to their marrow by this story. This is a high-wire act and it is a very long way down.”
EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told CNBC that he does not believe carbon dioxide is a primary contributor to global warming. Said Pruitt: “I think that measuring with precision human activity on the climate is something very challenging to do and there’s tremendous disagreement about the degree of impact, so no, I would not agree that it’s a primary contributor to the global warming that we see.” Pruitt’s view is at odds with the opinion of NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as well as all human knowledge.
That whole Jason Chaffetz healthcare iPhone gaffe was not a gaffe at all:
Chaffetz knows that the Republicans’ plan is going to make a lot of people — including a lot of Republican voters — worse off. He knows that some of them will actually understand this in advance. They’ll know precisely how the law will hurt them, and some of them will talk about this publicly. So he wants to tell everyone else that if they hear people complaining about RepubliCare, they shouldn’t pay attention, because everything the complainers are complaining about is their own damn fault. Chaffetz (and the other Republicans who pursue this line of attack) don’t have to persuade everyone that this is true — just a significant percentage of their voters.
Those voters are primed to believe this anyway. They’ve been told by the right-wing media for years that people who want government programs to work are “takers” — lazy people who won’t pull themselves up by the bootstraps. They now have no doubt that this is true, even when they see people needing government services who look like themselves.