POLITICS
07/25/2017 07:06 pm ET

Your Tumor Having The Worst Week In Washington

But don't you feel more free?
Aaron Bernstein / Reuters

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A disgruntled 70-year-old man with a tenuous grip on reality is publicly intimidating another 70-year-old man ― our politics are now just elaborate bum fights. John McCain proved that the mac is back ― and by “mac,” we mean your macular degeneration, which you won’t have insurance for anymore because McCain wants to take it away. And a click-hungry writer should make our week and write the thinkpiece condemning Susan Collins for fat-shaming Blake Farenthold. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Tuesday, July 25th, 2017:

DEATH IMPANELED - Jeffrey Young: “The death of the Affordable Care Act has never been nearer after Senate Republicans voted to begin formal debate on legislation that would strip health care coverage from millions of Americans. The Senate adopted a procedural motion on Tuesday enabling the upper chamber to move ahead with one of several measures that would repeal major portions of the Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as Obamacare. Things could move swiftly from here, as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has said he wants a final vote on health care legislation to take place before the end of the week.″ [HuffPost]

New, differently lousy health care idea floated. “The new strategy for repealing the Affordable Care Act seems to involve asking Republican senators to pass a relatively narrow piece of legislation that would leave 15 million people uninsured and cause premiums to rise 20 percent ― all in the hopes that House and Senate leaders can later come up with a different bill that would pass muster in both chambers….  Senate leaders are floating the idea of passing a ‘skinny bill.’ … The main focus of the skinny bill would be on the Affordable Care Act’s mandates ― in particular, the individual mandate that penalizes people who have access to insurance but decline to buy it.” [HuffPost’s Jonathan Cohn and Matt Fuller]

HELL NO YOU CAN’T - Even money says he knew this in 2011. Alana Horowitz Satlin: ”Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said that Republicans will ‘never’ repeal and replace Obamacare, ahead of the Senate’s latest attempt to kill the health care law. ‘Here we are, seven months into this year, and yet they’ve not passed this bill. Now, they’re never, they’re not going to repeal and replace Obamacare,’ Boehner said in a speech last week. ‘It’s been around too long. And the American people have gotten accustomed to it. Governors have gotten accustomed to this Medicaid expansion, and so trying to pull it back is really not going to work.’” [HuffPost]

MCCAIN RETURNS TO SCOLD GOP FOR DOING THE THING HE JUST DID - Just maverickin’ around! Elana Schor: “It was quintessential John McCain: a dramatic return to the Senate to salvage the GOP’s Obamacare repeal effort — followed by a speech blasting the process his party used to get there.” [Politico]

AMERICANS NOT CRAZY ABOUT CRAPPY THINGS - Ariel Edwards-Levy: ”Americans are about twice as likely to think that Senate Republicans introduced their health care bill to make an effort at political grandstanding as they are to see the legislation as a legitimate attempt to improve health care, according to a new Monmouth University poll. Just 21 percent of Americans say they think the bill introduced by Senate Republicans is mostly a genuine attempt to fix the health care system, finds the survey ― which was conducted before the legislation’s latest iteration was sunk on Monday night. Another 44 percent say Republicans want to pass the bill largely so they can claim a political victory, with 30 percent saying both reasons apply equally.” [HuffPost]

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TRUMP KEEPS TARGETING SESSIONS - Marina Fang: “President Donald Trump on Tuesday was noncommittal on whether he still had confidence in Attorney General Jeff Sessions, after repeatedly expressing displeasure in Sessions’ decision to recuse himself from the ongoing investigations into whether Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian officials. ‘We will see what happens. Time will tell. Time will tell,’ Trump said, after dodging questions on whether he would fire Sessions…. At a joint press conference with Lebanon’s prime minister, Trump received multiple questions on Sessions. The president admitted in a New York Times interview published last week that he would not have appointed Session had he known beforehand about the recusal. When asked by Bloomberg’s Margaret Talev whether he was letting Sessions ‘twist in the wind,’ Trump said: ‘I don’t think I’m doing that.’ But he would not say outright whether he planned to fire the attorney general. Instead, Trump reiterated that he was ‘disappointed’ in Sessions’ recusal. He added, as he had asserted to the Times, that he ‘would have picked someone else.’” [HuffPost]

@realDonaldTrump: Attorney General Jeff Sessions has taken a VERY weak position on Hillary Clinton crimes (where are E-mails & DNC server) & Intel leakers!

Senate Republicans circle the wagons: ″[Richard] Shelby described Sessions on Twitter as ′a man of integrity, loyalty, and extraordinary character′ and offered his ′deep respect and unwavering support.′ [Thom] Tillis said in a statement that Sessions ′demonstrated good judgement′ by recusing himself from the Russia investigation, and also praised the attorney general’s performance, saying his leadership at the Justice Department is ‘needed now more than ever.’ ‘President Trump’s tweet today suggesting Attorney General Sessions pursue prosecution of a former political rival is highly inappropriate,’ said Graham in a statement, who added that ‘prosecutorial decisions should be based on applying facts to the law without hint of political motivation.’” [HuffPost’s Jenna Amatulli]

MANAFORT STARTING TO TALK - Lucky for this guy that Trump can’t fire him again. Eileen Sullivan and Adam Goldman: “President Trump’s former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, met with Senate Intelligence Committee investigators on Tuesday to discuss the June 2016 meeting between a Russian lawyer and Mr. Trump’s inner circle that was set up for the campaign to receive damaging information about Hillary Clinton, according to a spokesman for Mr. Manafort…. Mr. Manafort gave the investigators notes he had taken during the meeting, according to one person familiar with Tuesday’s discussion with congressional investigators at a Washington law firm. The meeting came as another panel, the Senate Judiciary Committee, announced that it issued a subpoena for Mr. Manafort to appear at a hearing on Wednesday. But the committee later rescinded the subpoena and canceled his appearance. Mr. Manafort’s lawyers are now working out how and when he will be interviewed by the committee.” [NYT]

SPEAKING OF RUSSIA - The House ― yes, this United States House of Representatives in the year 2017 ― is testing out giving Trump a hard time. Mike DeBonis and Karoun Demirjian: “The House on Tuesday voted overwhelmingly to advance new financial sanctions against key U.S. adversaries and deliver a foreign-policy brushback to President Trump by limiting his ability to waive many of them. Included in the package, which passed 419 to 3, are new measures targeting key Russian officials in retaliation for that country’s alleged interference in the 2016 presidential election, as well as sanctions against Iran and North Korea in response to those nations’ weapons programs…. White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders declined to say Monday whether Trump would sign or veto the bill.″ [WaPo]

 

THIS GUY IS TERRIBLE AT NOT SOUNDING LIKE A GOON - Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Maggie Haberman: “Anthony Scaramucci, President Trump’s new communications director, vowed on Tuesday to purge the White House staff of disloyal aides in an effort to crack down on leaks, as another member of the press staff resigned from a West Wing reeling from an unfolding shake-up. ‘I’m going to fire everybody — that’s how,’ Mr. Scaramucci told reporters in the White House driveway, when asked how he planned to identify who had been disclosing information to reporters without authorization and ensure that the leaks stopped. He said he had authority directly from Mr. Trump to do so.″ [NYT]

TILLERSON SEARCHES TRIPADVISOR FOR PLACES TO NAP - Conor Finegan: “The State Department is pushing back on a new wave of rumors that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson is planning on resigning. ‘That is false,’ spokesperson Heather Nauert said…. Tillerson has also been out of the public eye since Friday, and Nauert said today that he’s ‘taking a little time off’ ‘He does have the ability to go away for a few days on his own...just taking a little time off,’ she said. ‘He’s got a lot of work.’” [ABC News]

WHY YOU’RE GOING TO BE READING A LOT ABOUT NARCISSISM - Bear in mind that this isn’t the American Psychiatric Association, which publishes the DSMs. That said, expect this to be huge in your Facebook feed. Sharon Begley: ”A leading psychiatry group has told its members they should not feel bound by a longstanding rule against commenting publicly on the mental state of public figures even the president. The statement, an email this month from the executive committee of the American Psychoanalytic Association to its 3,500 members, represents the first significant crack in the profession’s decades-old united front aimed at preventing experts from discussing the psychiatric aspects of politicians’ behavior. It will likely make many of its members feel more comfortable speaking openly about President Trump’s mental health.” [STAT]

BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s an attention-seeking orangutan.  

YO REPRESENTATIVE SO FAT... - Nick Wing: ”[A] hot mic caught Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) bashing Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) over his suggestion that he wanted to challenge Collins and other female Republican senators to a duel for not supporting GOP health care legislation. Speaking to Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) after a Senate subcommittee hearing, Collins asked if he’d heard Farenthold’s comments, made last week in a local radio interview. Reed said he had, before assuring Collins that she ‘could beat the shit out of’ Farenthold. Collins responded by calling Farenthold ‘so unattractive, it’s unbelievable.’” [HuffPost]

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TWITTERAMA

@HeerJeet: I’m looking forward to the “we shouldn’t kink shame Trump” hot takes when the pee tape drops.′

@morninggloria: John McCain mustering the strength to cross the country & strip health care from millions is like some kind of fucked up reverse Make-a-Wish

@JSwiftTWS: If Sessions is done for, I say we have a nationwide tournament of as-seen-on-TV lawyers to replace him.

Got something to add? Sen  tips/quotes/stories/photos/events/fundraisers/job movement/juicy miscellanea to Eliot Nelson (eliot@huffpost.com)

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