This brainfart from the Republican speaker of the house dates to 2013, not the aftermath of his failure to pass 2017's universally-loathed Obamacare replacement plan. Snopes:
WHAT'S TRUE House Speaker Ryan said he would not give up on destroying the United States' health care system.
WHAT'S FALSE The statement was a gaffe that was taken out of context, not an actual admission of intent. ...
Although Ryan did say “we’re not going to give up on destroying the healthcare system for the American people,” this was merely a gaffe, not a statement of intent. Ryan was referring to the Affordable Care Act and his efforts to not let that law destroy the health care system.
This is fair context, but "merely a gaffe" handwaves what makes gaffes interesting. Lack of intent is not intrinsic to gaffes. Indeed, the fact gaffes tend to reveal intent is embodied by a term a journalists use for political ones to distinguish them from lesser varieties: the Kinsley Gaffe.
The first appearance in print of “Kinsley’s Law of Gaffes” may have been on January 17, 2008, when Hendrik Hertzberg wrote in a post about a Democratic candidates’ debate in his New Yorker blog: No article or blog post of this kind can be complete without a reference to (Michael) Kinsley’s Law of Gaffes, which states that a gaffe occurs when a politician accidentally tells the truth. Perhaps this should be supplemented by the notion of a Deductive Slip, meaning something a politician says, however inadvertently, that can be shoehorned into a pre-existing “narrative.”
Trumpcare went down in flames yesterday, and the flames smelled faintly of burning Trumphair. But the president's personal humiliation was shared with adviser Steve Bannon, according to reports, whose behavior around conservative Republicans made a joke of Trump's ultimatum.
Mike Allen quotes him thus:
"Guys, look. This is not a discussion. This is not a debate. You have no choice but to vote for this bill."
Bannon's point was: This is the Republican platform. You're the conservative wing of the Republican Party. But people in the room were put off by the dictatorial mindset.
One of the members replied: "You know, the last time someone ordered me to something, I was 18 years old. And it was my daddy. And I didn't listen to him, either."
Bannon's already plotting his revenge, reports Asawin Suebsaeng.
The general consensus seems to be that the failure to replace Obamacare is unexpectedly bad for both president and GOP: he's exposed as a crêpe leopard, and them as a bunch of unprincipled bickering morons with nothing to show for 7 years' empty ranting about Obamacare. Read the rest
Republicans withdrew Trump's favored legislative plan to replace Obamacare on Friday, understanding that they lacked the votes to pass it in the House of Representatives. This despite the president's threat to leave Obamacare as law of the land if they did not give the American Health Care Act an up-or-down hearing today.
The GOP bill—a comically mangled "Obamacare Lite" stripped of everything people like about the original and little that they don't—held only a 17% public approval rating, according to a Quinnipiac poll. It attempted to please both conservatives, who want unfettered profitability for insurance companies, and GOP moderates, who are wary of killing quite so many poor people as this would entail.
Trump, however, made clear that he isn't blaming House Speaker Paul Ryan for its failure.
"I don't blame Paul," Trump tells me— Robert Costa (@costareports) March 24, 2017
Run, Paul. Run!
The GOP's health care bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Health Care Act was scheduled for a House vote today, but was withdrawn just before. In an address, Speaker Paul Ryan said "we were close, but not quite there" and said that the United States would be living with Obamacare "for the foreseeable future."Read the rest
Trump, his deal-making skills having failed him, simply ordered his party Thursday night to pass his unappetizing Obamacare replacement plan, or else. And the "else" is Obamacare, forever and ever and ever.
This seems like a big escalation in the Trump/Russia investigation story. Late Wednesday, the FBI said it has evidence that associates of Donald Trump communicated with Russia during the 2016 U.S. presidential campaign, possibly to coordinate the release of Hillary Clinton campaign info via Wikileaks.
The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee today leaked information to President Donald Trump about the ongoing investigation into whether Trump's campaign collaborated with Russia to swing the election to his favor.
At a hearing of the House Intelligence Committee, FBI Director James Comey confirmed Monday that the FBI had launched an investigation into Russian efforts to influence 2016's presidential election and into links and coordination between Donald Trump's presidential campaign and the Russian government.
"Because it is classified, I cannot say more about what we are doing and whose conduct we are investigating," he told the committee, admitting that this would only make the disclosure frustrating. "... we will follow the facts wherever they lead."
He also rebutted the suggestion, presented by Trump on Twitter and elsewhere, that former president Barack Obama wiretapped Trump tower during the election campaign.
"I have no information that supports those tweets, and we have looked carefully inside the FBI," said Comey.
"No individual in the United States can direct surveillance of another individual," he said in response to a question about whether the President had the statutory power to do so. "...No president could."
Asked whether he'd seen any evidence of British involvement in the alleged wiretapping, NSA director Michael Rogers, also attending the hearing, denied it unequivocally.
"That would be expressly against the construct of the Five Eyes agreement," he said, referring to the intelligence-sharing agreement between major western powers in which the US and UK are partners.
Prompted, he agreed with the British that that it was a "ridiculous" suggestion, adding that "it frustrates a key ally of ours."
The hearing is currently underway.
Read the rest
After a few weeks of Donald Trump's presidency, only 37 percent of Americans are happy with it. It's the worst in 72 years of polling for a fresh president, reports Mary Papenfuss.
Barack Obama’s rating at this point in his presidency was 60 percent.
HuffPost Pollster’s aggregate, which combines publicly available polling data, currently puts Trump’s approval rating slightly higher at 44 percent, with 53 percent disapproving.
It’s not clear which of several issues may have torpedoed the president’s numbers.
With so much to work with, how can any one thing be given credit? The appearance of being a loser ties it all together, though, like a nice rug in room furnished with junk. CNN reports that FBI director James Comey is today expected to publicly rebut Trump's claim that Barack Obama, in cahoots with British intelligence, "wire tapped" him during the election campaign.
It's a moment of political theater that could end in humiliation for Trump, with Comey expected to say that there was no wiretapping, debunking allegations that Trump has repeatedly refused to withdraw.
The hearing could also shed light on the state of FBI investigations into the extent of Russian meddling in the election campaign. Republicans hope Comey will state that there is no evidence of collusion between Trump aides and officials from Moscow, a move that could begin to break up a cloud of Russian intrigue that has stifled the early weeks of the administration.
It is Comey, though! Since everyone's happy to cast him as kingmaker whenever he asks them to, who knows where whim will take him today? Read the rest
The obvious cruelty throughout Trump's smash-the-state budget shocked and awed America this week, but right after the thief-in-chief proposed to destroy an array of relatively low-cost federal programs that feed poor rural school children and keep grandmothers from freezing to death, he did something really extraordinary.
Another day, another Trumpwreck.
The US has agreed not to repeat claims the UK's communications intelligence agency wiretapped Donald Trump during the presidential election campaign.
GCHQ rejected allegations made by White House press secretary Sean Spicer, that it spied on Mr Trump, as "nonsense".
No 10 has now been assured by Mr Spicer he would not repeat the accusation.
CNN on the apology:
The White House has apologized to the British government after alleging that a UK intelligence agency spied on President Donald Trump at the behest of former President Barack Obama.
National security adviser H.R. McMaster spoke with his British counterpart on Thursday about press secretary Sean Spicer's comment from the White House podium about a Fox News report that said British intelligence helped wiretap Trump Tower during the 2016 campaign, a White House official said Friday.
The official described the conversation as "cordial" where McMaster described Spicer's comment as "unintentional."
I have to admit, I didn't expect it to be Theresa May to be the first international leader to publicly humiliate the dumb orange bastard like this, but it's not like she had to do any work. He gave it to her on a silver platter—or rather a gold-painted plastic one that plays the James Bond tune with a little beeper.
UPDATE: According to Buzzfeed, Trump admin insiders insist they did not apologize, but won't go on the record.
Read the rest
But US officials have been disputed whether the Trump administration had gone as far as an apology.
Officials with the British government complained to the White House today after Donald Trump's spokesliar Sean Spicer cited a bogus Fox News report claiming that former President Barack Obama got help from U.K. intelligence agency GCHQ to spy on Donald Trump.
Bloomberg was first to report tonight that U.S. officials plan to indict various suspects in the hacking attacks against Yahoo, perhaps as soon as Wednesday.
The Constitutional Court in South Korea upheld the impeachment of President Park Geun-hye on Friday. She has now been formally removed from office over a bribery and big business corruption scandal that dragged on for months. Park is the first democratically elected leader in South Korea to be kicked out of office. The nation's constitution states that presidential election shall be held in 60 days.
And now the question is, will they “lock her up”?
NYU poli sci/econ professor Maria Guadalupe and educational theater prof Joe Salvatore collaborated to stage a recreation of the Trump/Clinton debates with the gender roles reversed, starring actors who played Brenda King, "a female version of Trump" and Jonathan Gordon, "a male version of Hillary Clinton." Read the rest