From The Reporter's Notebook
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) late last week agreed to review "security and associated site-related travel expenses” related to President Donald trump’s frequent trips to his private Mar-a-Lago club in Palm Beach, Florida, in response to a request from Democratic members of Congress. "We handled it as we do all requests, from either side of the aisle, using our standard protocols,” GAO managing director of public affairs Charles Young told TPM'S Esme Cribb on Tuesday. “So long as it is from the relevant committee, then we generally accept the requested work.”
Agree or Disagree?
Josh Marshall: "Step back and consider this. The Director of the FBI has now confirmed publicly that there is an on-going counter-intelligence investigation probing whether close advisors and associates of the President colluded with a hostile foreign power to help elect the President. The jarring and disorienting effects of Trump's two months' presidency, makes it hard for us to process just what a stunning revelation that is. This is a matter of sufficient gravity that it is hardly sufficient to say that this will be examined deep in the national security apparatus out of the public eye for months or maybe years. We've been told something all but unbelievable is happening. But we can't know really anything about it. The deeply classified, secretive nature of these investigations is a sufficient explanation for all that. But perhaps there's more to it. Remember, it's not just what's been discussed in open session. Top members of Congress have also pressed the FBI's apparent reluctance to share all of what it knows in closed sessions."
BUZZING: Today in the Hive
From a TPM Prime member: "Obamacare repeal could give Democrats the lead on the health care insurance discussion, but they need leverage to bring it to public discourse again. That is where, if the Republicans need Democrats to pass a budget (see article), they suddenly have some leverage for that. But, the discussion needs to revolve around the loss the Republicans just had on Obamacare. That is, it needs to be about Obamacare. Do not let them off the hook so easy by just letting them now drop it. Then, public discourse also allows a discussion of just how Republicans plan on harming Obamacare through executive action and the consequences on people. Start organizing around this issue again at the town hall meetings. This is grabbing the bully pulpit for all its worth. Since Obamacare is THE CONSERVATIVE policy for improving the health care insurance market, this can become a weapon that can keep on giving if the Democrats play it right. The Republicans literally have no place to go policy-wise, not that they care much usually. And that is a mistake that Democrats need to make Republicans pay for, over and over if given the opportunity. Not only will it give Republicans no place to hide, it distracts them from other things, and it clarifies as best can be that Democrats care about average people, and Republicans do not."
Related: Spicer: Trump Has 'Met With Individuals' About Health Care Bill Strategy
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