January 27, 2017

Top Stories

After GOP Confab, A Clear Path To Replace Obamacare Is Still Elusive

The Gist: After two days in Philadelphia, Republicans are still grappling with how to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, with no signs that they have reached a consensus or are ready to plow ahead with a specific plan.

Democrats Tell Trump Admin. To Stop Sending Gag Orders To Agency Staff

The Gist: Two Democratic members of Congress on Thursday sent a letter to the White House counsel informing him that several reported gag orders sent to federal agencies violate several laws, citing a memo directing employees at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) not to speak with members of Congress.

Trump: Waterboarding 'Was Just Short Of Torture'

The Gist: During an interview with Fox News' Sean Hannity that aired Thursday night, President Donald Trump insisted that waterboarding is not a big deal and that it is an effective interrogation technique.

From The Reporter's Notebook

Sean Spicer sent ripples worldwide when he said Donald Trump would proposed a 20 percent border tax on countries with whom the U.S. has a trade deficit, including Mexico, TPM’s Matt Shuham reported. Such a tax, Spicer said, would “easily pay” for the border wall promised by Trump during his campaign. But, shortly afterwards, Spicer told reporters that the proposal was just one of many options for paying for the wall.

Agree or Disagree?

Josh Marshall: "Donald Trump has given Democrats an immense gift with his latest Wall cave. As I've noted, Mexico paying for the Trump Wall has never been mainly about budgets or money. It's about dominance and humiliation. Countries defeated in war pay war indemnities. They are forced to agree to unequal treaties. Trump is all about dominance politics and humiliation. "

Say What?!

"Alternative facts. Is that going to be a new one? She's good at bullshit."

- A host on Fox 29 in Philadelphia was suspended Wednesday after saying that top White House advisor Kellyanne Conway is "good at bullshit."

BUZZING: Today in the Hive

From a TPM Prime member: "It's horrible but I also think its a misstep on their part. Climate deniers have been pushing the idea for years that global warming is 'politicized science', that scientists are pushing a political agenda or lying about global warming in order to get government funding. Moves like this one expose the hypocrisy behind climate denial. I think it will become an opportunity to show the public who really has the political agenda. The average person hears there is a lot of controversy about climate change but doesn't necessarily understand that the 'controversy' is entirely fueled by a political ideology about government regulation on energy and the environment. But I think when the public hears about scientific research being repressed by political appointees, scientists being stripped of research funding or forced from their jobs because their work is on climate change, reports and data being altered for political reasons or withheld from the public, etc.. I think that will have an impact on public opinion. So the irony, I hope, will be that by putting climate deniers in positions of power over scientists, the only thing the Trump administration will achieve is in discrediting climate denial."

Related: Trump Administration Freezes All EPA Grants And Contracts

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What We're Reading

How to launch a populist revolution (Axios)

This Is What Happens When Alt-Right Trolls Get Your Phone Number (BuzzFeed)