Tuesday Reads: The Death of Trumpcare, Don Jr.’s Meeting, and “Devil’s Bargain.”

Good Morning!!

Trumpcare is dead after two more GOP Senators said they won’t support the bill to “repeal and replace Obamacare. The Washington Post reports:

Two more Senate Republicans have declared their opposition to the latest plan to overhaul the nation’s health-care system, potentially ending a months-long effort to make good on a GOP promise that has defined the party for nearly a decade and been a top priority for President Trump.

Sens. Mike Lee (Utah) and Jerry Moran (Kan.) issued statements declaring that they would not vote for the revamped measure. The sudden breaks by Lee, a staunch conservative, and Moran, an ally of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), rocked the GOP leadership and effectively closed what already had been an increasingly narrow path to passage for the bill.

They joined Sens. Rand Paul (Ky.) and Susan Collins (Maine), who also oppose it. With just 52 seats, Republicans can afford to lose only two votes to pass their proposed rewrite of the Affordable Care Act. All 46 Democrats and two independents are expected to vote against it.

In a pair of tweets Tuesday morning, Trump decried the defections, called for letting the Affordable Care Act “fail” and vowed to keep pushing for a GOP plan.

“We were let down by all of the Democrats and a few Republicans. Most Republicans were loyal, terrific & worked really hard. We will return!” he wrote in the first tweet.

Remember when our joke of a “president” said repealing Obamacare would be “so easy?” Mother Jones in March:

“Together we’re going to deliver real change that once again puts Americans first,” Trump said at an October rally in Florida. “That begins with immediately repealing and replacing the disaster known as Obamacare…You’re going to have such great health care, at a tiny fraction of the cost—and it’s going to be so easy.”

Trump also argued on the campaign trail that electing a Republican-controlled Congress would allow him to quickly dismantle the health care law and pass other pieces of legislation. “With a Republican House and Senate, we will immediately repeal and replace the disaster known as Obamacare,” Trump said at another event. “A Republican House and Senate can swiftly enact the other items in my contract immediately, including massive tax reduction.”

“We will [repeal and replace Obamacare], and we will do it very, very quickly,” Trump said during the final week of the campaign. “It is a catastrophe.”

Trump’s confidence in his ability to win the health care fight continued through the first few weeks of his presidency. On February 9, he bragged that when it came to repealing Obamacare, “Nobody can do that like me.” ….

By the end of February, Trump had changed his tune somewhat. “Now, I have to tell you, it’s an unbelievably complex subject,” the president said. “Nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”

He still has no idea what’s in the bill he was so eager to sign.

So now Mitch McConnell says he will try to do a simple repeal of the ACA and worry about a “replacement” down the road. The Washington Post says that plan is dead in the water too.

Mitch McConnell pulled the second draft of his health-care bill last night after two more Republican senators came out against even bringing it up for debate on the floor: Utah’s Mike Lee and Kansas’s Jerry Moran.

“Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of Obamacare will not be successful,” the Senate majority leader said in a statement sent at 10:47 p.m.

He announced that he’ll bring the bill that already passed the House up for consideration “in the coming days,” and the first amendment the Senate would take up would be for the full repeal of Obamacare (with a two-year delay for implementation). But to get that vote on repeal, conservative critics must vote to allow debate on the broader bill.

If the clean vote for full repeal failed, as it almost certainly would, senators could continue making additional amendments that may make the measure even more unpalatable to conservatives.

The latest Trump Russia news:

CNN is trying to find out who the eighth person in the Don Jr. meeting was.

CNN reported July 14 that there was also an eighth person in the room, according to two sources familiar with the circumstances, although the name has not been disclosed. The person was described to CNN by a source as a representative of the Russian family, the Agalarovs, who had asked Goldstone to set up the meeting. While it isn’t clear who the person is, a second source said he was an employee of the Agalarovs who was in the US before the meeting.

More hints: Trump Jr. attorney offers details about 8th person at meeting.

Donald Trump Jr.’s attorney, Alan Futerfas, has told CNN he has spoken by phone to the eighth person in the room during the meeting at Trump Tower in June 2016.

CNN reported last week that the Awas there on behalf of a Russian family, the Agalarovs, who had asked for the meeting to be set up, according to two sources….

Futerfas says the person, who he declined to name, was a US citizen and said he was not employed by the Russian government. But Futerfas acknowledged he didn’t know his entire history. The Agalarovs and their attorney have not publicly explained who the employee was who attended.

Finally, Dan Diamond of CNN has pulled together “the ever-changing story about Trump Jr.’s meeting — what we know.”

The New York Times has a piece on “The Master of ‘Kompromat’ Believed to Be Behind Trump Jr.’s Meeting.”

The salacious video, of a naked man in bed with two women, was one of the most prominent examples of “kompromat,” the Russian art of spreading damaging information to discredit a rival or an enemy, in recent Russian history.

It was made available to Russian state television in the late 1990s and authenticated in public by Yuri Y. Chaika, Russia’s prosecutor general, who at 66 has a long and storied background in kompromat. Mr. Chaika benefited from the video, as it destroyed a predecessor as prosecutor general, Yuri I. Skuratov, who had been looking into suspicions of corruption by President Boris N. Yeltsin and his associates.

Mr. Chaika (pronounced CHIKE-uh) is also the man who is widely considered to have been the source of the incriminating information on Hillary Clinton that Donald Trump Jr. was promised at a meeting last June in Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer and a Russian-American lobbyist. And yet, oddly, the accusations brought to New York fell flat, by the accounts of those present, despite their having originated from such a seasoned master of kompromat.

We’ll see. I’m not prepared to believe anything that comes from the Trump family or their attorneys.


This morning I downloaded the new book on Steve Bannon and the Trump campaign by Joshua Green. Here’s the intro from the New York Times review: How Steve Bannon and Donald Trump Rode the Honey Badger Into the White House.

Mellivora capensis — better known as the honey badger — is a thick-skinned and sharp-toothed little creature that in 2011 became a YouTube sensation thanks to a short video called “The Crazy Nastyass Honey Badger.” In the clip, a honey badger chases off jackals, raids a beehive, survives a cobra bite and eats venomous snakes head first. Meanwhile, an unseen narrator extols the animal’s core virtue: “Honey badger don’t give a . . .” — well, a darn.

The video has been viewed more than 83 million times.

Most people who watch it probably find it fairly amusing — and plenty gross. But for Stephen Bannon, Donald Trump’s chief strategist and leading impresario of the alt-right, the video and its furry hero were something else: inspiration. The animal is the mascot of Breitbart News, the truth-optional publication Bannon took over following Andrew Breitbart’s sudden death in 2012 and with which he can maintain communication thanks to a White House waiver. After Trump made allegations about Bill Clinton’s sexual history in a debate last year with Hillary Clinton, Bannon exulted over his boss’s brazen but effective performance: “Classic honey badger,” he called it.

If there’s a lesson to draw from “Devil’s Bargain,” Joshua Green’s deeply reported and compulsively readable account of Bannon’s fateful political partnership with Trump, it is not to underestimate the honey badger. “If I didn’t come along, the Republican Party had zero chance of winning the presidency,” Trump told Green, a senior national correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek, in May 2016, and he was probably right. Only someone with his and Bannon’s transgressive instincts, along with their seeming incapacity for moral and intellectual embarrassment, could have defeated the well-oiled if soulless machine that was Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign.

You’ve probably already heard about or read excerpts from the book. A couple of examples:

The Daily Beast: Trump’s Campaign Conceded in a Memo That Comey Was Having Major Impact.

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign acknowledged in an internal memo that former FBI Director James Comey’s 11th hour decision to reopen an inquiry into Hillary Clinton’s use of private email helped shift the results.

Reported in Joshua Green’s new book Devil’s Bargain, the memo gives credence to an argument long espoused by Clinton world that Comey’s announcement propelled Trump to victory.

The memo was authored by some of Trump’s pollsters and data gurus just five days before the vote. Days earlier, Comey had reopened his investigation after FBI agents found additional emails on a laptop belonged Anthony Weiner, the now estranged husband of Clinton’s longtime aide Huma Abedin. While polling began to swing towards Trump, virtually all prognosticators still had Clinton heading for a comfortable win on November 8. On the Trump campaign, however, Green writes that “it was suddenly clear” that the investigation “was roiling the electorate.”

“The last few days have proven to be pivotal in the minds of voters with the recent revelations in reopening the investigation of Secretary Clinton,” the memo read, according to Green. “Early polling numbers show declining support for Clinton, shifting in favor of Mr. Trump.”

It added: “This may have a fundamental impact on the results.”

The Daily Mail: Trump the foul-mouthed germophobe fired Chris Christie because New Jersey governor arranged for Obama to call his phone NOT The Donald’s on election night.

Author Joshua Green, a senior national correspondent for Bloomberg Businessweek, writes that Christie had run against Trump for the Republican Presidential candidacy but quit in February last year after the New Hampshire primary.

The next month he shocked the Republican establishment by endorsing Trump and began leading his White House transition team.

According to ‘Devil’s Bargain’, Trump was in his War Room on election night when it started to look like he would pull of his shock victory.

The book says that ‘although he was surrounded by friends, aides and family members, there seemed to be a force field around him that discouraged a direct approach’.

Friends started congratulating Mike Pence instead and saluting him as ‘Mr Vice President’.

Trump sat down to ‘absorb the gravity of what was happening’ and a moment later Christie ‘burst through the force field and sat next to him’.

Christie said: ‘Hey Donald. The President talked to me earlier’ – the two had gotten to know each other after Superstorm Sandy. Christie said: ‘If you win he’s going to call my phone, and I’ll pass it over to you’.

Trump ‘flashed a look of annoyance, clearly resenting the intrusion’ and was repulsed by the idea of having somebody else’s phone next to his face.

Trump told Christie: ‘Hey Chris, you know my f***ing phone number. Just give it to the President. I don’t want your f***ing phone’.

Aides said that Christie’s move was the ‘ultimate mistake’ and one from which he ‘wouldn’t recover’.

If anyone is looking for me, I’ll be reading this book up until I have to go to the Sam Delahunty Dentist later this afternoon.

What stories are you following today?



46 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: The Death of Trumpcare, Don Jr.’s Meeting, and “Devil’s Bargain.””

  1. bostonboomer says:

    The next battle . . .

    The Atlantic: House GOP Budget Plan Cuts Medicare and Social Security

    On Tuesday, House Republicans released a 2018 budget plan that would make cuts to Medicare and Social Security, despite President Trump’s campaign pledge to keep those entitlement programs intact.

    The proposal calls for more than $200 billion in cuts to mandatory programs. It also serves “as a vehicle for changing taxes,” CNN reports, which is “the primary legislative focus of the 2018 budget.”

    “In past years, our proposals had little chance of becoming a reality because we faced a Democratic White House,” said House Budget Committee Chairman Diane Black in a statement. “But now with a Republican Congress and a Republican administration, now is the time to put forward a governing document with real solutions to address our biggest challenges.”

    The spending plan will likely face hurdles within the Republican Party: While it may alleviate concerns from deficit hawks and fiscal conservatives, it may also receive pushback from moderate Republicans for the entitlement cuts.

  2. Pat Johnson says:

    I have been debating all morning with myself about ordering this book from Amazon after having seen the author last night on Lawrence.

    I am interested in hearing your take on it before I order it.

  3. Enheduanna says:

    BB – great post and good luck at the dentist! I have a periodontal consultation tomorrow. GAH

    The book looks like it has a lot of juicy inside info. I resent that line characterizing Hillary’s campaign as soulless, which is the usual misogynist point of view from most male journalists and pundits. From where I stood it was the most exciting campaign of my lifetime.

    • NW Luna says:

      “soulless” — it had more soul and spirit and heart than any other in my lifetime. He never really listened to her.

      • Enheduanna says:

        Luna they are erasing us from history. I don’t even think the polls indicated there was a genuine enthusiasm gap. And judging by the Women’s March that followed the inauguration – I’d say there was a great deal of enthusiasm. Women are signing up in droves now to run for local office.

        I guess history gets written by men.

        • quixote says:

          Me too. “Soulless.” How dare the little lily-livered dweeblet writing that? It’s nothing but a “Pffffft” at Hillary’s supporters.

          I’ve gotten so allergic to that BS, I wouldn’t read anything else written by someone capable of that.

          (Yeah, allergies are not exactly a proportionate response.)

      • Enheduanna says:

        Another thing that is so galling about that characterization of Hillary’s campaign is – the vast majority of POC were solidly behind her. And as we all know – POC have no soul. That isn’t snark – it’s contempt.

        The campaign that was soulless was tRump’s. But I guess in white man land, vehement racism, misogyny, and contempt for common decency = soul.

  4. cheekos says:

    The blueprint for ACA had been on The Heritage Foundation web site, until about three or four months ago. Ironically, Health Care for All, and with a Mandate–required for the “Risk Pools” to work–had always been a GOP Thing, all the way back to Nixon’s 1972 Letter to Congress. But, once Reagan introduced Trickle-Down Mythology, the Health Care policy idea began to fade, albeit slowly.

    If the Trump-Republicans were honest about really wanting a Health Care for All Plan, why not offer Legislation, based on the Massachusetts Plan? The problem with that face-saver (for them) is that it would look awfully similar to Affordable Health Care!

    • dakinikat says:

      This new breed of Republican believes in an interactive Gawd and perfect markets. Both are basically as real as unicorns and Martians. But, once you let your life be guided by something beyond a reality, you can forget a lot. Every one that’s any where near the health care and insurance market remembers ChafeeCare cum DoleCare cum RomneyCare which all morphed into ObamaCare and it’s all from the HF.

  5. palhart says:

    Did the Russies have Hillary’s naked body (or a blurred likeness) in bed with that fat Russian ambassador to the U,S.? Maybe her pantsuit hanging from the bedpost? The goods on Trump for sure, but lies, lies, lies on Hillary.
    Here we go again.

    • Enheduanna says:

      IKR? They honestly believe there is some terrible terrible skeleton in her closet. What a gang of dolts. They’ll never find anything because there isn’t anything to find.

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. bostonboomer says:


  8. bostonboomer says:


  9. dakinikat says:

    It Was Always About the Money
    Russia and the Trumps: A Grift Story.

    JUL 18, 2017
    It was always about the money. The reason we never saw the tax returns was because of what they would show about the money. The reason we can’t get a straight answer about the family’s dealings with the Russians is the money. Preet Bharara got fired because of the money and how the money had been allegedly laundered. James Comey got fired because of the money. Without the money, specifically the money from Russia, the Trump empire likely would have collapsed under a hail of writs and the paterfamilias would have been rendered invisible, even in the mirrors of Mar-a-Lago.

    It always was about the money. The meeting on June 6, 2016 ultimately was about the money, as we learned today from CNN. The network reported that it had identified the eighth participant in that now-famous Trump Tower confab. Contrary to the previous load of hooey dispensed by Junior and the first family, this dude was not a translator.

    Ike Kaveladze’s identity was confirmed by his attorney, Scott Balber. Kaveladze is a senior vice president at Crocus Group, the real estate development company run by Azerbaijani-Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov, according to Kaveladze’s LinkedIn. His personal website says he “holds responsibility for multiple elements of the company’s Russian development project.”
    I am sure that, like most wealthy Russians in the Putin era, old Ike there is on the up and up.

  10. bostonboomer says:


  11. Fannie says:

    Hope all is well with your dental work BB. I am on phase three of trying to save one tooth, looks like it’s going to come out, and implant. Of course, I can’t afford it, but here I am.

    Trump robs the poor, and wants to give more and more to already wealthy family. I am confident that we are going to stand up and fight back.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That what mine was about. I got an implant and I’m getting a temporary crown in two weeks. It has been a long process. Good luck to you with yours.

  12. NW Luna says:

    The article is behind a paywall for me.

    • bostonboomer says:

      That’s a really old article. You’d think they’d remove the paywall after that long.

      • NW Luna says:

        I missed that when it first came out. So many ‘appearances’ and meetings it’s hard for me to keep track of all of them.

  13. dakinikat says:

    GOP Lawmaker Got Direction From Moscow, Took It Back to D.C.
    After being given a secret document by officials in Moscow, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher sought to alter sanctions legislation and tried to set up a virtual show trial on Capitol Hill.


  14. dakinikat says:

    • Enheduanna says:

      Look what Bernie admitted to on live teevee last night:


      Admits he knew the Russians were influencing the campaign – at the time!

    • NW Luna says:

      I made the mistake of reading the comments, including one from a self-confessed “BernieBro”

      “BernieBro” was developed by the ruling elite in the Democratic Party to subjugate, to stigmatize, to ridicule and generally to make an entire group of people feel like they did not count. And when it came to the Primary votes, I mean that in a literal sense.

      “developed by the ruling elite”! Lol! And there’s that innuendo about the primary being rigged. But no discussion of policies which would help black people, no discussion of environmental justice.

  15. Sweet Sue says:

    Oh God, dental work. I’ve had everything done but I’m cursed with Irish teeth.
    My mouth is due for a complete overhaul; it will take months and I could buy a new car for what it will cost. Good luck to everyone
    Getting old suckkkkkkkkks.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Good luck to you too, Sweet Sue.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I’m just off to the periodontist for a consult. I have terrible gums (actually good teeth though). But I’m going to lose them if I don’t get some gum surgery and I better do it now while I’m employed with good insurance – before tRump & Co. ruin that for everybody as well.

      You have my complete and sincere commiseration Sue!

    • NW Luna says:

      I keep having my teeth chip and crack. Stress and gritting my teeth and clenching my jaw? Bet that a fair number of people in this country are having the same problem.

      There’s no reason for having dental healthcare separate from ‘medical’ healthcare IMO.