Thursday, May 25, 2017

Last Call For Mitch's Big Punt

The House has passed Trumpcare 3.0, but the Senate may punt on repealing and replacing Obamacare with a disaster of a plan and put it off until 2020.

Senate Republicans are weighing a two-step process to replace Obamacare that would postpone a repeal until 2020, as they seek to draft a more modest version than a House plan that nonpartisan analysts said would undermine some insurance markets. 
Republicans -- in the early stages of private talks on the Senate plan -- say they may first take action to stabilize premium costs in Obamacare’s insurance-purchasing exchanges in 2018 and 2019. Major insurers have said they will leave the individual market in vast regions of states including North Dakota, Iowa and Missouri. 
A Senate plan is likely to continue subsidies that help low-income Americans with co-pays and deductibles, said third-ranking Republican John Thune of South Dakota. White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said Thursday the administration hasn’t committed to paying subsidies due in June -- which would create additional uncertainty for insurers as they set rates for next year. 
“There clearly has to be a short-term solution that works with the transition until some of our long-term policy changes can take effect,” Thune told reporters. “There’s got to be certainty in the marketplace.” 
The private Senate GOP negotiations include a 13-member leadership-controlled working group as well as almost daily closed-door discussions among all Senate Republicans. In addition, Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine has convened bipartisan talks with about a dozen senators.

How far this plan will get, I couldn't tell you.  If the Senate goes this route they can't use budget reconciliation, which means they'd have to get Democratic votes to pass it.  Whether the House GOP will go along with anything that the Senate Democrats had a hand in is again anyone's guess.

Stiil, as we've seen, the devil is in those details (and the CBO score).  We know the House plan as is will wreck health care for millions of families, and the plan is more unpopular than Obamacare ever was, even in the dark days of 2010.

And we all know what happened to the Dems in 2010 when they passed health care legislation.

We'll see.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

We already know that the Trump regime knew Mike Flynn was under FBI investigation for being a representative of a foreign government when he was hired by Trump as National Security Adviser, today we find out that, as long expected, former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort remained in contact with Trump months after being fired for his Kremlin ties.

Months after the FBI began examining Paul Manafort as part of a probe into ties between President Donald Trump’s team and Russia, Manafort called Trump’s chief of staff Reince Priebus to push back against the mounting controversy, according to four people familiar with the call.

It was about a week before Trump’s inauguration, and Manafort wanted to brief Trump’s team on the alleged inaccuracies in a recently released dossier of memos written by a former British spy for Trump’s opponents that alleged compromising ties between Russia, Trump and Trump’s associates, including Manafort.

“On the day that the dossier came out in the press, Paul called Reince, as a responsible ally of the president would do, and said this story about me is garbage, and a bunch of the other stuff in there seems implausible,” said a person close to Manafort.

Manafort had been forced to resign as Trump’s campaign chairman five months earlier amid scrutiny of his work for Kremlin-aligned politicians and businessmen in Eastern Europe. But he had continued talking to various members of Trump’s team, and had even had at least two conversations with Trump, according to people close to Manafort or Trump.

While the people say the conversations were mostly of a political or, in some cases, personal nature, the conversation with Priebus, described by four people familiar with it, was related to the scandal now subsuming Manafort and the Trump presidency.

It suggests that Manafort recognized months ago the potentially serious problems posed by the investigation, even as Trump himself continues to publicly dismiss it as a politically motivated witch hunt, while predicting it won’t find anything compromising.

The discussion also could provide fodder for an expanding line of inquiry for both the FBI and congressional investigators. They’ve increasingly focused on the Trump team’s handling of the investigations, including evolving explanations from the White House, and the president’s unsuccessful efforts to get the FBI to drop part of the investigation, followed by his firing of FBI director James Comey. All that has led to claims that the president and his team may have opened themselves to obstruction of justice charges.

It wasn't the Watergate hotel break-in itself that sunk Nixon, but the increasingly stupid and paranoid efforts to cover it up that ended his presidency.   Understand that since Manafort and Flynn remain under investigation and have for months now before Trump's inauguration, that these phone conversations in January have almost certainly been recorded as evidence in that investigation.

In other words, it's looking pretty bad for Trump and everyone involved with him.  And that's just the cover-up angle.  The money laundering is separate and could take down Trump too.

He is facing both.

By the way, there's reason to believe that Reince Preibus might be the next domino to fall in this mess.  As White House Chief of Staff, he would have had contact with all the players in this little game: Flynn, Manafort, Carter Page, Jared Kushner, and of course Trump himself.  James Comey talked to Priebus in February, and Comey's notes on that conversation might be the nail in his coffin as well.

Of course if it isn't Priebus, it might be Jeff Sessions who's in trouble now, as he's facing new questions about lying about his contacts with our friends in Moscow on his security clearance paperwork.

It's going to get crowded in the dock soon, I would think.

But Her Emails, Con't

Well then, it looks like we just got one of the big puzzle pieces in the whole Russia/Trump affair late on Wednesday, and our good friends the Russians were definitely in the fake news business, so much so that they even got to the FBI and James Comey about the Clintons.

In the midst of the 2016 presidential primary season, the FBI received a purported Russian intelligence document describing a tacit understanding between the campaign of Hillary Clinton and the Justice Department over the inquiry into whether she intentionally revealed classified information through her use of a private email server
The Russian document mentioned a supposed email describing how then-Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch had privately assured someone in the Clinton campaign that the email investigation would not push too deeply into the matter — a conversation that if made public would cast doubt on the inquiry’s integrity. 
Current and former officials have said that document played a significant role in the July decision by then-FBI Director James B. Comey to announce on his own, without Justice Department involvement, that the investigation was over. That public announcement — in which he criticized Clinton and made extensive comments about the evidence — set in motion a chain of other FBI moves that Democrats now say helped Trump win the presidential election. 
But according to the FBI’s own assessment, the document was bad intelligence — and according to people familiar with its contents, possibly even a fake sent to confuse the bureau. The Americans mentioned in the Russian document insist they do not know each other, do not speak to each other and never had any conversations remotely like the ones described in the document. Investigators have long doubted its veracity, and by August the FBI had concluded it was unreliable. 
The document, obtained by the FBI, was a piece of purported analysis by Russian intelligence, the people said. It referred to an email supposedly written by the then-chair of the Democratic National Committee, Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-Fla.),and sent to Leonard Benardo, an official with the Open Society Foundations, an organization founded by billionaire George Soros and dedicated to promoting democracy.

The Russian document did not contain a copy of the email, but it described some of the contents of the purported message. 
In the supposed email, Wasserman Schultz claimed Lynch had been in private communication with a senior Clinton campaign staffer named Amanda Renteria during the campaign. The document indicated Lynch had told Renteria that she would not let the FBI investigation into Clinton go too far, according to people familiar with it. 
Current and former officials have argued that the secret document gave Comey good reason to take the extraordinary step over the summer of announcing the findings of the Clinton investigation himself without Justice Department involvement.

Comey had little choice, these people have said, because he feared that if Lynch announced no charges against Clinton, and then the secret document leaked, the legitimacy of the entire case would be questioned.

And that is the answer to the question of why Comey came forward with the news that Clinton was under investigation.  He thought he had to, because of Russian intel, which we now know was false.

Of course, this means that the Russians planted false info so "incriminating" on Clinton that Comey did all the work, torpedoing Clinton's campaign.  Even the FBI had figured it out by August, but by then the damage was done.  The second time Comey came forward on Anthony Weiner's laptop was the finisher, but that would not have been possible without the Russian hit job on Clinton that was first received by the FBI in March of 2016.

America was played.

We elected Trump as a result.  If this story is true, then this was most successful Russian intel operation in history, and arguably an act of war.

Trump must resign.


Related Posts with Thumbnails