Barack Obama called on members of Congress to exercise the “political courage” to not repeal Obamacare, Politico reports.
Said Obama: “It is my fervent hope, and the fervent hope of millions, that regardless of party, such courage is still possible. That today’s members of Congress are willing to look at the facts and speak the truth, even when it bucks party dogmas. I hope that current members of Congress recognize it takes little courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential—but it takes great courage to champion the vulnerable and the sick and the infirm.”
“On the eve of Sally Yates’ testimony before the Senate on her warnings about Mike Flynn, the President wants any of his staff who’ve been feeding negative lines about Flynn to the media to stop immediately,” Axios reports.
“White House officials have been eager to throw the former national security advisor under the bus, but a source familiar with the President’s thinking says he still thinks highly of Flynn and has never authorized any of his staff to undermine the general.”
“Having filled a Supreme Court vacancy, President Trump is turning his attention to the more than 120 openings on the lower federal courts. On Monday, he will announce a slate of 10 nominees to those courts, a senior White House official said, the first in what could be near monthly waves of nominations,” the New York Times reports.
“Emmanuel Macron, a youthful former investment banker with little political experience, was well ahead in France’s presidential election on Sunday, suggesting that his call for a new centrist approach to politics would handily defeat the staunch nationalism of his far-right opponent, Marine Le Pen, according to projections based on preliminary results,” the New York Times reports.
Exit polls showed Macron winning by as much as 30 percentage points over Le Pen.
Politico: “The stronger-than-expected victory of Macron is a stunning achievement for this novice to electoral politics, at 39 the youngest president in the history of France’s Fifth Republic. And it is the third consecutive setback for European populist parties who preached a mix of Trump-like nationalism and protectionism to voters fed up with conventional politics.”
“Jared Kushner’s sister offered wealthy investors in China a chance to score American visas if they invest in one of the family’s properties — a deal that watchdogs saw as blatant bribery,” the New York Daily News reports.
“Nicole Kushner Meyer took the stage at a Ritz-Carlton hotel in Beijing on Saturday with a pitch to a room with about 100 investors: They could get green cards if they poured money into One Journal Square, a $150 million luxury Jersey City development from her family.”
“MSNBC host Joy Reid said Saturday that her show invited the 217 House Republicans who voted in favor of the GOP’s bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare to come on her program, saying none accepted the offer,” The Hill reports.
Said Reid: “I offered each of them the lead spot on this show this morning, to the one-on-one with me, to explain why they voted for the bill. And not a single one agreed … all those names.”
Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price told CNN that the $880 billion in Medicaid cuts over 10 years in the House-passed health care bill would “absolutely not” cause anyone to lose health coverage.
Said Price: “We believe strongly that the Medicaid population will be cared for in a better way.”
By who? God?
Peter Suderman: “I have been a critic of Obamacare since it became law, but the Republican alternative is worse in nearly every way… It’s unclear what health policy problem this bill would solve. Even for an opponent of Obamacare, it is difficult to understand why House Republicans chose this path to revamping the nation’s health care system.”
“It’s difficult to understand, that is, if you think they were passing a health care bill. It makes more sense when you realize that isn’t what they were doing at all. They were passing a tax cut — one intended to pave the way for more tax cuts.”
“The flaws of the bill, then, can be understood as a symptom of the flaws of the Republican Party, which has for decades maintained a myopic focus on tax cuts at the expense of nearly all else. Too often, it is a party of people who seem to confuse governing with cutting taxes.”
Josh Marshall on why Trump is so scared of Flynn: “Let’s assume for the moment the Mr Magoo version of the Trump campaign and presidency (not at all implausible): ignorant, gullible, angry, reckless. These were months [Flynn as Trump’s only national security adviser to both the campaign and as President] when Flynn was carrying on conversations with the Russian Ambassador; he was acting as a paid foreign agent working on behalf of the Republic of Turkey; he was discussing plans to abduct a US permanent resident and deliver him back to Turkey; he was being paid by a Turkish-American businessman who also had ties back to Russia. On the most generous view, the mix of Flynn’s recklessness and corruption and Trump’s impulsiveness and gullibility leave a high, high probability that Flynn involved Trump in his nonsense.
[T]he better part of a year had already passed when Flynn was figuratively and often literally alone with Trump and operating entirely on his own. He was the one with Trump’s ear during the failed Turkish coup, Trump’s repeated attacks on NATO and comments about Putin, during the entirety of the hacking and Russian election interference campaign and Trump’s frequent statements of support of the same. They could start cleaning things up going forward. But a lot had already happened. They couldn’t do anything about that. They probably had little way of finding out even what had happened. That probably generated a lot of anxiety and rightly so. As I argued back in March, sometimes you cover up not because you know you’re guilty but because you actually don’t know whether you are or not.
Think about it. Trump was flying solo with Flynn for pretty much the entire campaign. If you were them, you’d be worried too.”
“The congressional investigations into President Trump’s ties to Russia are off to such a sluggish start that they could stretch into next year’s midterm election season. That’s a silver lining for Democrats who have grumbled that investigators aren’t moving fast enough — but who would be delighted to see the issue in the headlines as voters head to the polls,” Politico reports.
“Interviews with more than a dozen lawmakers involved in the House and Senate Intelligence Committee investigations show there is no consensus on how long they should take. The interviews also show just how politicized these investigations have already become, which threatens to undermine Congress’ chance at determining what did or didn’t happen in the 2016 campaign.”
Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI), one of the staunchest opponents of Republicans’ initial bill to repeal and replace Obamacare who nevertheless voted to pass it through the House, said Saturday that the current version is “not the bill” Republicans promised voters.
In a Facebook post, Amash called the American Health Care Act (AHCA) “an amendment to the ACA that deliberately maintains Obamacare’s framework.”
“This is not the bill we promised the American people. For the past seven years, Republicans have run for Congress on a commitment to repeal Obamacare,” Amash said. “But it is increasingly clear that a bill to repeal Obamacare will not come to the floor in this Congress or in the foreseeable future.”