February 16, 2017

Top Stories

The ‘Incredible Tug Of War’ Over O'Care Repeal And Medicaid Expansion

The Gist: How to do deal with Medicaid expansion has become the latest sticking point in Republicans’ effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. While most lawmakers acknowledge it’s a major source of tension, there appears to have not been any decisions made yet as to whether states should be able to keep their expanded eligibility -- and whether the federal government should continue to subsidize a vast majority of it.

McConnell: Bill Blocking Trump From Easing Russia Sanctions Not 'Necessary'

The Gist: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has signaled that he will not support bipartisan legislation announced yesterday that would prevent President Donald Trump from rolling back sanctions on Russia.

House GOP Wants DOJ Watchdog To Probe Leaks About Flynn And Russia

The Gist: Two top House Republicans on Wednesday sent a letter to the Justice Department inspector general, urging the agency watchdog to investigate leaks about communications between aides to President Donald Trump and Russian officials.

From The Reporter's Notebook

The cartoonist who came under fire on social media for depicting Education Secretary Betsy DeVos as Ruby Bridges, the girl in an iconic civil rights painting told TPM's Kristin Salaky on Wednesday that he did it to shed on light on what he feels is a toxic political environment. "My cartoon was about how, in this day and age, decades beyond the civil rights protests, it's sad that people are still being denied the right to speak freely or do their jobs or enter public buildings because others disagree with who they are or how they think," he said in the statement. "I'm surprised that some readers see 'hate' in this cartoon when I thought I was speaking out against hate."

Agree or Disagree?

Josh Marshall: "As I've mentioned a number of times, you can be extremely concerned about Russia's tampering in the 2016 election, its aggression in Ukraine and President Trump's relationship with the Kremlin while also recognizing that Russia is in many ways, perhaps the most important ways, a weak and declining power. What makes it a permanent focus of US foreign policy is that it has one of the world's two major nuclear arsenals. These are all true. There's no contradiction."

Say What?!

"I had no contact knowingly with Russian intelligence officials. I don’t think it’s possible I could have even inadvertently had discussions with Russian officials. It’s not like they wear badges. The story is not true."

- Donald Trump's former campaign manager said Wednesday that he didn’t think it was even “inadvertently” possible that he had spoken to Russian officials during the campaign.

BUZZING: Today in the Hive

From a TPM Prime member: "I know I've said this before but one of the dynamics I see here is that Trump is not only expendable but to most of the Washington establishment, his departure is a desirable outcome. There is a ticking clock counting down the hours leading to the final outrageous action on his part when he crosses a line which simply can't be crossed and it is audible to everyone on both sides of the aisle. According to some reports, Trump, himself, is beginning to hate the job because it was all about gaining the office and basking in the public adulation and not about bringing a well-formed agenda to the office and implementing it, Actually doing the work is just boring, frustrating and irritating to him because he views his role as a delegating CEO and it just don't work that way. Turn up the pressure and keep it on."

Related: Trump Says Media Treated Flynn 'Very Unfairly,' Slams 'Criminal' Leaks

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What We're Reading

Scenes From the 2017 Westminster Dog Show (The Atlantic)

The Little Syria Of Deep Valley (The New Yorker)