News & Politics

The Morning Briefing: AHCA Fallout, EPA Clean Sweep, Yates Testifies...and Much More

Happy Monday Morning!

Here is what’s on the President’s agenda today:

  • In the morning, President Trump will meet with National Security Advisory H. R. McMaster.
  • In the afternoon, the President will have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence.
  • The President will then meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The AHCA bill fallout continues

As expected the healthcare bill passed by the House last week continues to make headlines. Let’s start with ubiquitous former President Obama. Obama accepted the Profiles in Courage Award at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum in Boston and used that opportunity to promote his failed healthcare plan.

Barack Obama urged Congress not to repeal the Affordable Care Act on Sunday, marking his most significant foray into the healthcare debate since leaving office in January.

Let us not forget how sick Obamacare is. Insurance companies have steadily abandoned the program, leaving “consumers” with little choice for an insurance plan. (Let’s be honest: we aren’t really consumers when the government controls healthcare.) Premiums have skyrocketed and placed an undue financial burden on the middle class. It’s killing jobs. Why should we save this horrible mess?

“It is my fervent hope and the hope of millions that regardless of party, such courage is still possible,” Obama said. “That today’s members of Congress, regardless of party, are willing to look at the facts and speak the truth, even when it contradicts party positions.

“I hope that current members of Congress recall that it actually doesn’t take a lot of courage to aid those who are already powerful, already comfortable, already influential, but it does require some courage to champion the vulnerable, and the sick, and the infirm — those who often have no access to the corridors of power,” he said.

“I hope they understand that courage means not simply doing what is politically expedient, but doing what they believe deep in their hearts is right,” he added.

It has nothing to do with courage — Obamacare is unsustainable. Even the New York Times admitted less than two weeks ago: “Many counties already have just one insurer offering health plans in the Obamacare marketplaces, and some of those solo insurers are showing signs that they are eyeing the exits.” It’s a disaster.

Jonathan Gruber, architect of Obamacare, appeared on Fox News Sunday to blame President Trump for the failures of Obamacare. Chris Wallace called Gruber on his blame-shifting.

“And whose fault is this?” Gruber asked. “Before President Trump was elected, there were no counties in America that did not have an insurer.”

“Wait, you’re going to blame the problems with Obamacare on President Trump?” Wallace questioned.

Gruber is most noted for calling the American voters who supported Obamacare “stupid.”

“Well that’s pretty much the same thing, why’s it matter? You’ll see. And they were both in and that passed, because the American voter is too stupid to understand the difference.”

And now the rest of the story. Politico has a piece today titled “Left launching blitz against Republicans who backed Obamacare repeal.

Progressive activists are ready to inflict pain on Republicans who helped push the Obamacare repeal-and-replace bill through the House last week.

Save My Care, a coalition of pro-Obamacare advocacy groups, is launching a $500,000-plus TV ad campaign in five congressional districts held by Republicans who backed the GOP plan, the American Health Care Act. The ads target Reps. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Bruce Poliquin (R-Maine), Don Young (R-Alaska), Mark Amodei (R-Nev.) and Tom MacArthur (R-N.J.).

The ad doesn’t mention Obamacare, but it accuses lawmakers of repealing “health care” and supporting a “disastrous” bill opposed by the American Medical Association, AARP and the American Cancer Society.

Let’s see if the American voter is as stupid as Gruber says and believes this propaganda. The loudest voices are hysterical over the bill, spreading lies about AHCA — but if Obamacare was so popular, why did the candidate who campaigned on dismantling it win the the election?

Former Obama appointee Sally Yates to testify today

Former Deputy Attorney General Sally Yates will testify at a Senate Judiciary subcommittee hearing today about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Here’s what she’s expected to testify to:

Yates is expected to publicly confirm those reports for the first time — and deliver a rebuke to the Trump administration in the process. Trump, who asked for Flynn’s resignation after reports surfaced that he had misled Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with Kislyak, has said he was not aware that Flynn had discussed the issue of US sanctions with the Russian ambassador.

According to CNN, however, Yates plans to insist that she warned the White House about Flynn’s conversations with Kislyak and how he was misleading Pence, and was therefore susceptible to Russian blackmail.

Yates reportedly told White House Counsel Don McGahn that she had “serious concerns” about Flynn. But he was not asked to resign until February 13, at least two weeks after Yates visited the White House.

According to Axios, President Trump is telling the WH staff to stop trash talking Flynn.

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. Trump still defends his former national security advisor and wasn’t happy to see an Axios story Sunday afternoon saying administration officials have been attacking Flynn to reporters.

In addition to Yates testifying, intel sieve James Clapper, the former DNI, will appear before the committee. In early March, Clapper told MSNBC propagandist Chuck Todd that he saw “no evidence” the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians.

Trump EPA jettisons at least 5 members of “science” review board

And now for some good news. The EPA has ditched half of the scientists on “a major scientific review board.” The New York Times writes:

A spokesman for the E.P.A. administrator, Scott Pruitt, said he would consider replacing the academic scientists with representatives from industries whose pollution the agency is supposed to regulate, as part of the wide net it plans to cast. “The administrator believes we should have people on this board who understand the impact of regulations on the regulated community,” said the spokesman, J. P. Freire.

The dismissals on Friday came about six weeks after the House passed a bill aimed at changing the composition of another E.P.A. scientific review board to include more representation from the corporate world.

Agency spokesman J.P. Freire explained: “We want to expand the pool of applicants” for the scientific board, he said, “to as broad a range as possible, to include universities that aren’t typically represented and issues that aren’t typically represented.”

Of course, the move was opposed by the over-politicized climate industry.

“This is completely part of a multifaceted effort to get science out of the way of a deregulation agenda,” said Ken Kimmell, the president of the Union of Concerned Scientists. “What seems to be premature removals of members of this Board of Science Counselors when the board has come out in favor of the E.P.A. strengthening its climate science, plus the severe cuts to research and development — you have to see all these things as interconnected.”

If you weren’t convinced the EPA has become entirely political, the Washington Post reports:

“I was kind of shocked to receive this news,” Robert Richardson, an ecological economist and an associate professor at Michigan State University’s Department of Community Sustainability, said in an interview Sunday.

Richardson, who tweeted on Saturday, “Today, I was Trumped,” said that he was at the end of an initial three-year term on the board, but that board members traditionally have served two such stints. “I’ve never heard of any circumstance where someone didn’t serve two consecutive terms,” he added.

Rep. Lamar Smith (R-TX), who is the chair of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, has written a bill that would put more folks from the business world on the Science Advisory Board.

“In recent years, S.A.B. experts have become nothing more than rubber stamps who approve all of the E.P.A.’s regulations,” Mr. Smith said at a House hearing in February. “The E.P.A. routinely stacks this board with friendly scientists who receive millions of dollars in grants from the federal government. The conflict of interest here is clear.”

As with other government agencies under Obama, the EPA was weaponized. The Trump admin can’t change that fast enough.

Trump goes on federal appeals court nomination spree

Fox News is reporting that the President will announce at least five nominations to the federal appeals court.

Trump plans to choose some of his nominations from his list of 21 candidates for the Supreme Court. Two from the list who will announced include Justice Joan Larsen from Michigan and Justice David Stras from Minnesota.

The move will come days after White House Counsel Don McGahn alluded to more judicial nominations that were in the works for various courts. McGahan said Trump was putting on “finishing touches” and that people “would be amazed” by the exceptionalness of the nominees.

“The president is putting the finishing touches on a few folks and without getting too far ahead of ourselves you’re going to be amazed at the by exceptionalness of them,” McGahn said. “I mean the qualifications are impeccable it is really going to be an amazing thing. It is an honor to be a part of it.”

Excellent news.

Other morsels:

82 Nigerian School girls freed by terror group Boko Haram

“Comedians” leading the Trump resistance

Teacher accused of letting students beat Trump pinata

Barbra Streisand wonders ‘what might have been’ with President Hillary

Emma Watson accepts genderless acting award

Why were the 2016 presidential polls so wrong?

Trump travel ban faces challenges on both coasts

Texas governor signs bill banning sanctuary cities

That’s all I have — now go beat back the angry mob!