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Trump: 'Nobody Knew That Health Care Could Be So Complicated'

(TPM) President Donald Trump told a bipartisan group of governors at a White House reception Monday morning that GOP tax reform would have to wait for lawmakers to move on repealing Obamacare, cautioning that, "Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated."

"I have to tell you, it's an unbelievably complex subject," Trump said.

For health policy experts and Democrats who spent the last eight years overhauling the nation's health care system in the face of GOP intransigence, Trump's admission that health care is hard dripped with irony. Republicans, in the mean time, voted repeatedly to repeal the Affordable Care Act, but made little progress on settling on what their replacement would look like, a conundrum that is haunting them now.


George W. Bush opens up on Trump's war with the media, Russia and travel ban

(Today) In a wide-ranging interview that shied away from directly criticizing the current commander in chief, former President George W. Bush said it's critical for the media to hold accountable “people who abuse their power." He also rejected the current administration’s controversial immigration policy.

"I consider the media to be indispensable to democracy. We needed the media to hold people like me to account," Bush told TODAY in an exclusive interview. "Power can be very addictive and it can be corrosive, and it’s important for the media to call to account people who abuse their power."


Exclusive: Spicer arranged CIA, GOP intelligence push-back

(Axios) White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer personally picked up the phone and connected outside officials with reporters to try to discredit a New York Times article about Trump campaign aides' contact with Russia, then remained on the line for the brief conversations, Axios has learned. Ten key points:

Why it matters: The new details show how determined the West Wing was to rebut a front-page Times report on Feb. 15 that Trump campaign aides "had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election."

Who was involved: The officials reached by Spicer were CIA Director Mike Pompeo and Senate Select Intelligence Committee Chair Richard Burr (R-N.C), according to a senior administration official. The reporters were from The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, the official said. Spicer provided reporters' phone numbers to House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), who offered to make the calls himself, according to the official: "He was in and out of an event."


Senator: Russia investigation "may very well be the most important thing I do in my public life"

(Business Insider) After viewing classified materials as part of the Senate Intelligence Committee's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, Democratic Sen. Mark Warner told The New Yorker that he came away with a conclusion: The investigation "may very well be the most important thing I do in my public life.”

The Senate committee launched its inquiry after intelligence agencies determined that Russia was involved in hacking the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton's campaign in an effort to aid Trump's bid for the presidency.

Fearing the Trump administration would suppress information concerning the investigation, Warner — the ranking member on the committee — and six other of its members sent a public letter to President Barack Obama three weeks after the election requesting he declassify "additional information concerning the Russian Government and the US election."

"My increasing concern is that classification now is being used much more for political security than for national security. We wanted to get that out before a new administration took place," Sen. Ron Wyden, who also sits on the Intelligence Committee and signed on to the request for declassification, told The New Yorker. "I can’t remember seven senators joining a declassification request."


Most Who Voted Third Party Approve of Trump

(Political Wire) A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll finds that 44% of Americans approve of President Trump’s job performance, while 48% disapprove, “making him the first president of the post-World War II era with a net negative approval rating in his first gauge of public opinion.”

Very interesting: “Mr. Trump’s approval rating may have been worse were it not for support from a surprising corner of the electorate. His job performance won positive reviews from 55% of respondents who had voted for a third-party candidate in November, who didn’t vote at all or said they supported Mr. Trump mostly to oppose Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.”


"Trump Slump": Immigration Debacle May Cost US Tourism Industry $3 Billion

(Mother Jones) It’s known as the “Trump Slump.” And I know of no reputable travel publication to deny it.

Thus, the prestigious Travel Weekly magazine (as close to an “official” travel publication as they come) has set the decline in foreign tourism at 6.8%....On the web, flight searches for trips heading to the U.S. out of all international locations was recently down by 17%....According to the Global Business Travel Association, in only a single week following announcement of the ban against certain foreign tourists, the activity of business travel declined by nearly $185 million.

International tourism contributes about $100 billion to the US economy each year. If that declines 6.8 percent, that's $6.8 billion. If you figure the Trump Slump is a temporary thing, maybe it's more like $3 billion or so.


Chuck Todd: 'We Declined' WH's Offer to Send Deputy Press Sec. as Guest Instead of Senior Official

(Mediaite) During today’s broadcast of Meet the Press, host Chuck Todd addressed the audience and explained why there was nobody on today’s program representing the White House.

“As we always do, we asked the White House for any of a number of senior officials to join us the morning,” Todd noted. “Especially Cabinet secretaries; we always ask for them.”

He continued, “Ultimately, instead of suggesting a senior administration official or Cabinet secretary, the White House offered a deputy press secretary. And so we declined.”


Great op-ed from Kristof in the NYT's today. I particularly enjoyed this paragraph

"Trump howls at the news media, not just because it embarrasses him, but because it provides an institutional check on his lies, incompetence and conflicts of interest. But we can take his vitriol: When the time comes, we will write Trump’s obituary, not the other way around."


'Thats Not Acceptable': John Kasich on Republicans Who Want to Completely 'Get Rid' of Obamacare

(Mediaite) Speaking to host John Dickerson, Kasich explained that it is imperative that GOP members of Congress reach across the aisle to Democrats to get a health care plan that provides enough coverage for Americans.

“I mean there’s going to be a problem in the House of getting anything out of there that still provides coverage to people,” Kasich noted. “That’s why the Republicans have to reach out to some of the Democrats. I don’t know whether that’s going to happen.”

When Dickerson asked why that would be a problem and pressed Kasich to explain if further, the Ohio guv expanded on his thought. “Well because I think there are some very conservative Republicans in the House who are going to say just get rid of the whole thing,” he stated. “And that’s not acceptable when you have 20 million people, or 700,000 people in my state, because where do the mentally ill go? Where do the drug addicted go?”


Spicer Complains About Misreported Birthplace; CNN's Tapper Trolls Him With Birther Reference

Earlier today, the New York Times put out a report about Trump’s continued feud with the press, his past relationship with tabloids, and his frustration with leaks in his administration. Even though co-writer Glenn Thrush says he emailed Spicer to ask about certain details of the Times‘s story ahead of time, Spicer took issue with a certain aspect of the content:

Sean Spicer ✔ @seanspicer
For the record @nytimes @grynbaum can't even get where I was born right and failed to ask

Enter Tapper, who added this bit of snark to the conversation:

Jake Tapper ✔ @jaketapper
I imagine it must be really annoying when someone puts out false info about where you were born. Must really bother you!! cc @BarackObama


Your Sunday LOLcats (dial-up warning) Giant Jellybeans Edition The DU Lounge : By SalmonChantedEvening

Hi... I'm here to resist The DU Lounge : By askyagerz

Hello The DU Lounge : By DavidAbel

"Every State Described by a Single Sarcastic Line from a Bitter Resident" The DU Lounge : By FrankfurtCat

What's that comin' down the line? The Hamster Express Redball The DU Lounge : By packman

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