On the first day of Trump’s 10th week in office, his promise to repeal Obamacare collapsed. One of the dramatic elements of Friday, which some of us followed by the minute on Twitter, was Trump’s demand that Paul Ryan force a vote that they will surely lose just so Trump can force members of Congress to go on record against him; at the last hour he backed off from a showdown.
Here is Washington Post’s account of the legislative defeat: The Closer.
Here is a transcript of Trump’s call to WaPo journalist Bob Costa immediately after Ryan pulled the bill. He launches the talking points that this bill failed because no Democrats supported it.
Politico has a great piece that explains how and why Trump and Ryan’s American Health Care Act was so deeply flawed that it had no chance of passage. And Nate Silver makes the case that Trump does not have a mandate from his voters to enact Paul Ryan’s legislative agenda.
Six days after defeat, Trump finally unloads a Twitter screed against the conservative Freedom Caucus, threatening to support primary challenges of them if they do not get on board with his agenda.
Finally, David Frum in The Atlantic reminiscing this week over how he was fired from a conservative think tank back in 2010 for predicting that Obamacare would never be repealed: The Republican Waterloo.
Devin Nunes had a rough week. Here is a good WaPa profile of his history in politics, and of his previous connections to Trump. These were published over the weekend, a few days after his bizarre White House press conference last Wednesday where he revealed he had seen intelligence that some people in the Trump campaign had been “unmasked” in surveillance reports. By Monday, House Democrats where asking him to recuse himself from the Russia investigation. Then on Thursday NYTimes named the two White House officials who called Nunes to the White House last Tuesday evening and gave him the intelligence reports. Then WaPo reported that it was actually three White House officials.
We learned that Trump Administration sought to block Obama era DOJ official Sally Yates from testifying before the House investigative committee. It looks like they got Nunes to cancel her hearing so that they did not have to publicly invoke executive privilege to block her.
The Senate Intelligence Committee started it’s hearings this week. Senators Burr and Warner are clearly trying to present themselves as the adults in Washington. The first hearing on Thursday was dedicated to experts describing Russia’s “Active Measures” tactics both today and throughout the 20th Century. Also, the Senate committee announced that they will be questioning Jared Kushner soon.
Wall Street Journal had another bizarre story about Michael Flynn. He participated in forming a plot to return a Turkish national back to Turkey (where he is wanted by Erdogan) in an illegal manner that circumvented around extradition laws. The plot was not carried out. On Thursday Flynn’s lawyers said that Flynn would testify before the House and Senate committees in exchange for immunity.
In other news, Trump signed executive orders designed to start rolling back Obama’s climate change program.