February 22, 2017

Top Stories

Trump Dismisses Town Hall Crowds 'Planned By Liberal Activists'

The Gist: President Donald Trump on Tuesday evening downplayed the large crowds that have been showing up to Republican lawmakers' town halls, saying that the constituents are often just "liberal activists."

Republicans Buy Time In Case That Could Destabilize Obamacare

The Gist: In a sign that the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress aren't prepared to burn down Obamacare just yet, they have jointly asked for a delay in a lawsuit that was originally intended to undermine the Affordable Care Act, back when President Obama would have had to handle the fallout.

GOP Sen. Delays Speech At Last Minute As Hundreds Of Protesters Show Up

The Gist: As hundreds of protesters gathered at the Montana state capitol for a speech from Sen. Steve Daines (R-MN) on Tuesday, the Republican lawmaker postponed his address under two hours before he was scheduled to speak.

From The Reporter's Notebook

Rep. Tom Emmer (R-MN) has an ultimatum for those who plan to protest his upcoming town hall Wednesday: behave or I'll scrap the whole thing, TPM's Kristin Salaky wrote. In a statement to the Pioneer Press newspaper, Emmer's office cautioned that if protesters turn the town hall event into a "disruptive display," it will be cancelled.

Agree or Disagree?

Josh Marshall: "On its own, Trump's relationship with Sater might be written off (albeit not terribly plausibly) as simply a sleazy relationship Trump entered into to get access to capital he needed to finance his projects. Whatever shadowy ties Sater might have and whatever his criminal background, Trump has long since washed his hands of him. (Again, we're talking about most generous reads here.) But now we learn that Sater is still very much in the Trump orbit and acting as a go-between linking Trump and a pro-Putin Ukrainian parliamentarian pitching 'peace plans' for settling the dispute between Russia and Ukraine. (Artemenko is part of the political faction which Manafort helped build up in the aftermath of the ouster of his Ukrainian benefactor, deposed President Viktor Yanukovych.) Indeed, far, far more important, Cohen - who is very close to Trump and known for dealing with delicate matters - is in contact with Sater and hand delivering political and policy plans from him to the President."

Say What?!

"So I saw that statement. I wish that they had praised the President for his leadership in this area. And I think that hopefully as time continues to go by they recognize his commitment to civil rights, to voting rights, to equality for all Americans."

- White House press secretary Sean Spicer responded to a harshly worded comment from the Anne Frank Center for Mutual Respect Tuesday by saying he wished the center had recognized the President’s “leadership” in combating anti-Semitism.

BUZZING: Today in the Hive

From a TPM Prime member: "If we're talking about GOP members of Congress, it's possible that they might become convinced that he's a grave enough threat to our safety that they decide to turn on him, but I doubt that will happen. It was clear enough in the primaries how dangerous he was, and they still supported him. If they do decide to try and get rid of him, it would probably start with intentional leaks, so that the story can move the public, so then they can safely respond, rather than getting ahead of the Tea Party crowd. If we're talking about regular Republican voters, last poll I saw said 84% of Republicans approved of the job he was doing. I think there's only a few ways they change their views of him. Most likely is that the economy crashes, and so he and Republicans will get the blame, whether or not they actually deserve it (which they would). I think the second most likely scenario, is that Democrats take the House in 2018, maybe even the Senate too (though that seems hard to imagine right now), and they start investigating the Trump administration. They publicize his tax record, they hold hearings on all the corruption issues throughout the executive branch, and it all starts crumbling from there."

Related: RECESS RUCKUS: Republicans Met With Jeers At Town Halls Across Country

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What We're Reading

"I Love His Power": Dispatches from the Saturday Night Trump Rally (Esquire)

A Chelsea Manning-WikiLeaks Opera, Seen in a New Light (The New York Times)