What The Fuck Just Happened Today?

Today's essential newsletter. Logging the daily shock and awe in national politics. Read in moderation.
Curated by @matt_kiser

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Day 160: Failing fake news.

1/ Trump and the White House intensify their war on the media. It started with Trump tweeting about a "failing" New York Times story suggesting he was detached from the effort to overhaul the health care bill. He called the story false and said the Times didn't call for a comment. The Times responded saying they did call – as they always do. (CNN)

2/ Later, Trump tweeted that the "FAKE NEWS" Washington Post is the "guardian of Amazon" for taxes purposes. Amazon doesn’t own the newspaper. It's privately owned by Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos. There is no federal “internet tax.” Fake news. (Politico / Recode)

3/ Mitch McConnell wants to send a revised version of the health care bill to the CBO by Friday, in an effort to hold a vote before the August recess. Trump teased that “a big surprise” could be coming in the effort to repeal and replace Obamacare, suggesting that Senate Republicans are “going to get at least very close” to passing their health care bill. It's unclear if Trump even knows what's in the Senate bill. When asked by reporters if Trump understood the details, McConnell ignored the question and smiled. (Washington Post / Politico / New York Times)

4/ An estimated 208,500 additional deaths could occur by 2026 under the Senate health plan, based on the study of the effects of health care reform in Massachusetts on mortality. The authors found that for every 830 individuals insured, one life was saved. 14 million Americans could lose their health insurance in 2018 and 22 million by 2026, the CBO projects. Using state-level coverage losses and the findings of the study, it's estimated that 22,900 excess deaths would occur in 2020 and grow to 26,500 extra deaths by 2026. [Editor's Note: there's some obvious nuance here and it's recommended you read the entire article to fully grasp the potential impact of the health care bill on mortality] (Vox)

5/ Trump’s lawyer postponed filing a complaint about Comey and his memos in what Trump considered to be an illegal “leak." Marc Kasowitz, however, still intends to file the complaint with the Justice Department. He has delayed it as a courtesy to Robert Mueller and his investigation, which Trump has repeatedly called a "witch hunt." Trump has also refrained from publicly criticizing the special counsel lately as part of his legal team’s approach to reducing further confrontation. (Bloomberg)

6/ Paul Manafort's consulting firm received more than $17 million from a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party. In Manafort's retroactive registration as a foreign agent, he indicated that he was retained by the Party of Regions to advise Ukrainian officials in their dealings with American government officials. The report makes Manafort the second former senior Trump adviser to disclose work for foreign interests. Michael Flynn was the other. (New York Times / Bloomberg / Washington Post)

7/ Trump tapped the lawyer that helped draft the Patriot Act for the top State Department role. If confirmed, Jennifer Newstead would serve as the State Department’s top legal adviser, overseeing issues involving foreign policy and security, as well as playing a key role in justifying the use of military force, how to apply the laws of war to cyber attacks, determining what represents a military coup, and more. The Patriot Act was amended in 2015 after years of criticism from civil liberties groups that it violated Americans’ privacy. (BuzzFeed News)

8/ The FBI interviewed at least a dozen employees of a Russia-based cyber-security company, gathering facts about how Kaspersky Lab works, including to what extent the US operations report to Moscow. Kaspersky has long been of interest to the US government, whose founder graduated from the KGB-backed Institute of Cryptography, Telecommunications, and Computer Science. Kaspersky Lab paid former national security adviser Michael Flynn $11,250 in 2015 for cyber security consulting. (NBC News)

9/ The computer system of at least one US nuclear plant was hacked. There is no evidence that any sensitive or operational systems were breached. Authorities have not said who may be responsible, but agencies are looking at the possibility that another country may be behind the hack. (ABC News)

10/ Fox News hired Jason Chaffetz to provide political analysis. In May, Chaffetz announced that he he would resign from Congress to pursue other opportunities. His congressional job ends Friday and will start his role at Fox on July 1. (The Daily Beast / The Hill)

poll/ 17% of Americans approve of the Senate's health care plan, according to a NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist poll. 55% disapprove. (NPR)

poll/ 16% of American voters support the Republican health care plan, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll. 58% disapprove. (Quinnipiac University)

poll/ 12% of Americans support the Senate Republican health care plan, a USA TODAY/Suffolk University Poll finds. 53% say Congress should either leave Obamacare alone or fix its problems while keeping the framework intact. (USA Today)

In a word, not good.

Day 159: Delayed.

1/ Mitch McConnell delayed the Republican health care vote until after the July 4th recess as they search for the 50 votes needed to start debate on the bill. McConnell told GOP senators that he wants to make changes to the bill, get a new Congressional Budget Office score, and have a vote after the holiday. Meanwhile, Trump has invited all Senate Republicans to the White House to discuss the health care bill. The senators-only meeting is scheduled for 4PM EST at the White House. (Politico / CNN)

2/ The Senate health care bill is "hanging by a thread" as Republicans struggle to find the votes needed. At least six Republican senators are currently opposed to the bill: Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Lee, Ron Johnson, Dean Heller, and Susan Collins. Republicans can only lose two votes from their own party and still pass the bill. It's been Pence's team – not Trump – that has played the prominent role in trying to whip up votes this week. Stephen Bannon and Reince Priebus have been all but sidelined. (New York Times / CNN / NBC News)

  • The CBO estimates that 22 million more people would be uninsured under the Senate bill, leaving Mitch McConnell with less than the 50 votes he'd need for a procedural motion to bring his health care bill to the floor. (Axios)
  • The equivalent of 16 states' populations could lose insurance under the Senate health care bill. 22 million people is equal to the total population of 16 US states. (Washington Post)

3/ McConnell: If Obamacare repeal fails, Republicans will be forced to compromise with Democrats. Failure to repeal the health care law would mean the GOP would lose its opportunity to do a partisan rewrite and have to enter into bipartisan negotiations with Democrats to save the failing insurance markets. Democrats will want to retain as much of Obamacare as possible. (Politico)

  • After the CBO score, Republicans can divvy up nearly $200 billion to secure votes for the health care bill. It's "all about side deals" one Senate aide said. (Politico)

4/ The White House warned Syria that it would “pay a heavy price” if it carried out another chemical attack. The Pentagon said it detected “active preparations” similar to those that occurred before the chemical attack in April. Several military officials were caught off guard by the White House statement. (Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times)

5/ Trump's lawyer directed millions in nonprofit donations to family members. Since 2000, Jay Sekulow has steered more than $60 million to his family and their businesses after pushing poor and jobless people to donate money – a “sacrificial gift" – to his Christian nonprofit. The nonprofit has raised tens of millions of dollars a year, mostly in small amounts from Christians who receive direct appeals for money from telemarketers. (The Guardian)

6/ At least 10 Trump aides have hired lawyers for the Russia probe, or are planning to do so. Inside the White House, Trump, Pence, and Kushner have hired private attorneys, as have former campaign advisers Michael Caputo, Boris Epshteyn, and Roger Stone, among others. (Wall Street Journal)

  • Jared Kushner has hired Abbe Lowell, a leading criminal defense lawyer. Kushner has also kept his current lawyer, Jamie Gorelick, who was a partner at WilmerHale, where Bob Mueller was a partner until becoming the special counsel. (New York Times / Politico)

7/ Congressman making $174k wants a 17% pay raise. Jason Chaffetz wants to give House and Senate lawmakers a $2,500 per month allowance to subsidize lawmakers’ housing costs in D.C., which would cost about $16 million a year for all 535 congressional members. (The Hill)

8/ The Pentagon could cancel enlistment contracts for 1,000 foreign-born recruits, putting them at risk of deportation. The recruits have seen their visas expire while waiting for basic training leaving them without legal immigration status. They were recruited into a program designed to award fast-tracked citizenship in exchange for needed medical and language skills. (Washington Post)

9/ North Korea compared Trump to Hitler, likening Trump's “America First” policy to “Nazism in the 21st century." (Wall Street Journal)

10/ Sarah Huckabee Sanders lectured reporters about the "constant barrage of fake news" by the media. She then promoted a video by James O'Keefe, a journalist known for his deceptive video editing and interview tactics, who released an undercover video where a CNN producer called the network's Russia coverage "mostly bullshit." She conceded that she did not know "whether it's accurate or not," then added that "if it is accurate, I think it's a disgrace to all of media, to all of journalism." (Washington Post / Politico / HuffPost)

11/ Trump tweeted that CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC, The New York Times, and The Washington Post are all "fake news" after CNN retracted a story tying a member of Trump’s transition team to the ongoing Russia investigations. (Politico)

13/ Sean Spicer barred TV cameras and live audio broadcasts from Monday's media briefing. Spicer has allowed question-and-answer sessions with reporters to be televised just six times in the past six weeks. A reporter asked, "Why are the cameras off, Sean?" Spicer's eventual answer: "Some days we'll have them, some days we won't. The President is going to speak today in the Rose Garden. I want the President's voice to carry the day." (Washington Post)

14/ The EPA, the Army, and the US Army Corps of Engineers are proposing a new rule to rollback Obama's Waters of the United States. Scott Pruitt's EPA has prioritized the economic concerns of industry and agricultural interests over environmental concerns. (Wall Street Journal)

  • The EPA chief of staff pressured the top scientist to alter her congressional testimony and play down the dismissal of expert advisers. Deborah Swackhamer, who leads the EPA's Board of Scientific Counselors, was told to stick to the agency’s “talking points” on the dismissals of several members of the scientific board. (New York Times)

15/ Rick Perry wants an "intellectual conversation" about the impacts of humans on the climate. While Perry said he believes in climate change, he doesn't believe carbon dioxide is the main driver of climate change, putting him at odds with climate scientists. (Politico)

poll/ More people worldwide have confidence in Putin than Trump. Just 22% have confidence in Trump to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs, down from 64% who had confidence in Obama, and compared to 27% for Putin. Globally, the US favorability rating has decreased from 64% at the end of Obama’s presidency to just 49%. (Pew Research Center)

Day 158: Reinstated.

1/ The Supreme Court partly reinstated Trump's travel ban. The administration may now impose a 90-day ban on travelers from Libya, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen and a 120-day ban on all refugees entering the US, as long as they lack a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity in the United States.” Trump said the court’s decision to hear arguments on the travel ban cases in October was a “clear victory” for national security and will go into effect in 72-hours. Three justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch — said they would have let the complete ban take effect while the court considers the case. (Associated Press / Washington Post / New York Times / Wall Street Journal)

2/ Trump will meet with Putin in Germany next month. Trump wants a full bilateral meeting, while the State Department and National Security Council are urging for restraint. All 17 US intelligence agencies have agreed Russia was behind the hack of DNC's email and tried to influence the election to benefit Trump. A former KGB general said Putin has “other priorities” than discussing the accusations that Russia hacked the election, such as easing sanctions, raising oil prices, as well as next year’s presidential elections in Russia. (Associated Press)

3/ A Russian government official making $75,000 per year spent nearly $8 million on Trump condos in South Florida. There is also no public disclosure of Igor Zorin's properties in Russia, which is illegal under Russian law. None of Zorin’s property purchases used bank financing, meaning he most likely paid cash. He made roughly $75,000 in 2015 and $159,000 in 2016. In one sale, a Florida company transferred a condo valued at $1.5 million to Zorin. No deed of sale was recorded, meaning the price paid — if any — is unknown. (Miami Herald)

4/ Russia is recalling Sergey Kislyak as the FBI and Congress continue to investigate the 66-year-old diplomat’s contacts with Trump’s team during the 2016 presidential campaign. Kislyak spent nearly 10 years at the center of US–Russia relations. (BuzzFeed News)

5/ The Trump administration has done little to prevent Russian hacking in the next election. Trump has shown no interest about how to prevent future election interference. Comey testified that Trump never asked him about how to stop a future election attack, while Jeff Sessions, who sits on the National Security Council, testified that he has not received a classified briefing on Russian election interference. Sean Spicer has never addressed the topic with Trump, either. Despite blaming the 2016 hacks on Obama, Trump hasn't said what he would do to stop Russian hacking. (NBC News)

6/ The Senate health bill would leave 22 million more uninsured by 2026, slightly lower than the 23 million the House bill was projected at. 15 million more people would become uninsured next year compared to the current law. The federal deficit would decrease by $321 billion over a decade, compared to $119 billion for the House’s version. (New York Times / Washington Post)

7/ White House allies are retaliating against a Republican Senator who opposes the Obamacare repeal plan. America First Policies launched a $1 million attack against Dean Heller to both punish and sway his vote. (Politico)

8/ Trump confirmed that he called the health care bill "mean" and then accused Obama of stealing his term. Last week Obama said the Senate health care bill "will do you harm.”, adding that  there is a "fundamental meanness" to the Republican health care bill. In a Fox and Friends interview, Trump took credit. "Well he actually used my term, 'mean.' That was my term," he said. "Because I want to see – and I speak from the heart – that's what I want to see, I want to see a bill with heart." (CNN)

9/ Kellyanne Conway suggested people who lose Medicaid coverage could find jobs to provide health insurance. Projections show the Senate health bill would cut Medicaid by $800 billion, which Conway asserted is not a cut, but rather "getting Medicaid back to where it was." (CNBC / ABC News)

10/ Senate Republicans are skeptical their health care bill can pass this week. Republicans say the biggest problems with the Obamacare repeal bill are its steep Medicaid cuts and effects on older Americans’ premiums. “There's no way we should be voting on this” before the recess, Senator Ron Johnson said, urging party leaders to “not rush this process.” (Politico)

11/ Trump tweets that Democrats are "OBSTRUCTIONISTS" and that Obama “colluded or obstructed” on Russia. Here is Trump's full tweetstorm: "The Democrats have become nothing but OBSTRUCTIONISTS, they have no policies or ideas. All they do is delay and complain.They own ObamaCare! The reason that President Obama did NOTHING about Russia after being notified by the CIA of meddling is that he expected Clinton would win and did not want to 'rock the boat.' He didn't 'choke,' he colluded or obstructed, and it did the Dems and Crooked Hillary no good. The real story is that President Obama did NOTHING after being informed in August about Russian meddling. With 4 months looking at Russia under a magnifying glass, they have zero 'tapes' of T people colluding. There is no collusion and no obstruction. I should be given apology!" (CNN / The Daily Beast)

12/ Kushner finalized a $285 million loan from a bank trying to settle a federal mortgage fraud case and charges that it aided a possible Russian money-laundering scheme. The loan came a month before the election and both cases were settled in December and January. Deutsche Bank is Trump’s biggest lender. (Washington Post)

13/ Ivanka Trump, senior adviser to the president: "I try to stay out of politics," gives him "an A, of course" for his performance. She's met with senators to discuss paid family leave, delivered the keynote at the Republican National Convention, and has met with world leaders. She added that her father has "phenomenal" political instincts. (ABC News / Politico / CNN)

14/ Trump drives his golf cart on the green. Doesn't care. Does it all the time. (Washington Post)

Day 155: Bothersome.

1/ Obama weighed pre-election retaliation against Moscow for the Russian assault on the US election. The Obama administration debated dozens of options for deterring or punishing Russia, including cyberattacks on infrastructure, the release of CIA material to embarrass Putin, and sanctions that could “crater” the Russian economy. Instead, he expelled 35 Russian diplomats and closed two compounds. Obama also approved an operation in late December to embed "digital bombs" in Russia’s infrastructure that could be detonated if the US found itself in an escalating exchange with Moscow. The project was still in its planning stages when he left office, leaving Trump to decide whether to use the capability. “It is the hardest thing about my entire time in government to defend,” a former senior Obama official said. “I feel like we sort of choked.” (Washington Post)

2/ Trump denied obstructing Comey's FBI probe in a Fox & Friends interview. He said his tweet hinting of "tapes" was intended to influence Comey's testimony before Congress, suggesting it was possible that anyone could have taped their discussions. "With surveillance all over the place,” Trump said in the interview, “…you never know what’s out there, but I didn’t tape, and I don’t have any tape and I didn’t tape.” (New York Times / Reuters)

3/ Trump called Preet Bharara the day before dozens of US attorneys were asked to resign. The now former US Attorney sent an email to the Justice Department expressing his concern about a voicemail he received from Trump’s secretary. "It appeared to be that [Trump] was trying to cultivate some kind of relationship," Bharara said. "…It's a very weird and peculiar thing for a one-on-one conversation without the attorney general." Bharara refused to resign, and was firedthe following day. (BuzzFeed News)

4/ The director of national intelligence told House investigators that Trump seemed obsessed with the Russia probe and repeatedly asked him to publicly acknowledge there was no evidence of collusion. At a Senate hearing earlier this month, Dan Coats said Trump never  pressured him to do anything inappropriate, but refused to confirm or deny allegations that Trump asked him to push back against the FBI probe into collusion between the campaign and the Russian government. (NBC News)

5/ Trump: It's "bothersome" that Robert Mueller is "very, very good friends with Comey." He added that “there’s been no collusion, no obstruction, and virtually everybody agrees to that" and that Mueller's team of lawyers are "all Hillary Clinton supporters." (ABC News)

6/ Frustrated by the Russia probe, Trump loses patience with his White House lawyer. Trump took Don McGahn to task in the Oval Office for not doing more to squash the Russia probe early on despite having handed over the Russia investigation to his personal attorney Marc Kasowitz. (Politico)

7/ West Wing aides struggle to keep Trump calm on Russia. His new morning routine begins at 6:30 AM with a venting session with his outside legal team in an effort to prevent the Russia probe from consuming him all day. (Washington Post)

8/ Art of the Deal: Carrier is preparing to lay off 600 employees next month as Trump's deal fails to live up to the hype. Carrier will continue to employ at least 1,069 people at their  plant for 10 years in exchange for up to $7 million in incentives. But, only 730 of those positions are the manufacturing jobs that were at the heart of the debate. The rest are technical jobs that were never scheduled to be cut. (CNBC)

9/ The FBI is investigating business deals involving Paul Manafort and his son-in-law. Manafort helped finance a series of real estate deals by Jeffrey Yohai, who has been accused of defrauding investors. Manafort was Trump’s campaign chairman until reports surfaced that he had received millions of dollars off-the-book for his consulting work in Ukraine. (New York Times)

10/ Trump proposed a law that's existed for 20 years. During his rally on Wednesday, Trump called for a new law barring immigrants from receiving welfare for at least five years. Clinton signed the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act in 1996. The law prevents immigrants from receiving federal benefits, such as food stamps, Medicaid, and Social Security for five years after entering the country. (USA Today)

11/ The White House is frustrated with Rex Tillerson's deliberate approach to hiring at the State Department. Tillerson is more concerned about setting the State Department up for success, rather than satisfying the White House's desire to place Republican appointees in the numerous vacant positions. (Washington Post)

poll/ 13% of US adults have a favorable opinion of Putin, down from 22% in February. Putin's unfavorable rating stands at  74%. (Gallup)

poll/ More Americans believe Comey over Trump. 45% say they believe Comey's version of events compared to 22% who believe Trump more. (NBC News)

Day 154: Win, win, win.

1/ The Senate unveiled its health care bill today. It's similar to the House bill that passed last month, but with changes aimed at pleasing moderates: linking federal insurance subsidies to income, curbing Medicaid expansion, and ending the mandate that most Americans have health insurance. Mitch McConnell has vowed to hold a vote before senators go home for the July 4th recess, but he is still short the 50 votes he needs to pass the legislation. (New York Times / Washington Post / CNN / Politico)

  • What's in the Senate Republican health care bill. Like the House version, McConnell’s proposal would slash taxes, cut Medicaid, and eliminate Obamacare’s insurance mandates for individuals and employers. (The Atlantic)
  • The GOP health plan is really a Medicaid rollback. It would also permanently restructure Medicaid, which covers tens of millions of poor or disabled Americans, including millions who are living in nursing homes with conditions like Alzheimer’s or the aftereffects of a stroke. (New York Times)

2/ Obama said the Senate health care bill "will do you harm.” In a nearly 1,000-word critique, Obama framed the GOP health care plan as fundamentally inhumane. “The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill,” he wrote. “It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America." (Barack Obama / HuffPost / Washington Post)

3/ Four Republican senators say they will not vote for the GOP health care bill unless changes are made, putting passage of the bill at risk hours after it was unveiled. In a statement, Ted Cruz, Ron Johnson, Mike Lee, and Rand Paul said they are "not ready" to support the measure. They are open to negotiating changes to win their support. (Politico / NBC News / Washington Post / ABC News)

  • Where Senators stand on the health care bill. It needs at least 50 votes to pass. Every Democrat is expected to oppose the bill, which means three Republican “no” votes would block it. (New York Times)

4/ The White House refused to say if Trump will support the Senate health care bill. Trump previously called the House health care bill "mean" and wanted the Senate version to be "more generous." (Politico)

5/ Trump tweets that he didn't tape his conversations with Comey after all. In May, Trump warned Comey against leaking to the press, suggesting there were "tapes" of their private conversations. Soon after reports surfaced of memos Comey had written detailing Trump's effort to shut down the Michael Flynn investigation. Today, Trump tweeted that "with all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are "tapes" or recordings of my conversations with James Comey, but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings." (NBC News / New York Times / Washington Post)

  • Trump's tease of possible Comey tapes fits familiar pattern. In 2011, Trump promised to reveal what his private investigators had found in Hawaii about Obama's birth certificate. He never released anything. (Associated Press)

6/ Two of the top intelligence officials told Robert Mueller that Trump suggested they refute collusion with the Russians. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats and National Security Agency Director Mike Rogers described the interaction as odd and uncomfortable, but that they don't believe Trump gave them orders to interfere. The two repeatedly refused to say whether Trump asked them to intervene in the Russia probe during their public Senate intelligence committee testimony. (CNN)

7/ Trump at Iowa rally: "All we do is win, win, win." He then blamed Democrats for his problems, boasted about his "amazing progress," and called the Russia investigation a "phony witch hunt" at his campaign-style rally in Cedar Rapids last night. During the 70-minute speech, Trump promised to lay out the next steps in “our incredible movement to make America great again," but continually veered off on tangents, reflected on the past, and contradicted himself. He knocked trade deals the Iowa economy relies on, dismissed wind energy in a state filled with thousands of turbines, and denounced the war in the Middle East despite reauthorizing troops in Afghanistan. Trump also revealed his plan for putting solar panels on his proposed border wall "so it creates energy and pays for itself." (New York Times / Washington Post / CBS News)

8/ Trump: "I just don't want a poor person" in charge of the economy.  "When you get the president of Goldman Sachs, smart," Trump told the crowd at his Cedar Rapids rally. During the campaign, Trump frequently bashed the investment bank for having too much influence in politics. Trump has one of the wealthiest Cabinets in history. (CNN)

9/ House Democrats want to suspend Jared Kushner's security clearance. Kushner's previously undisclosed meetings with Russian officials have drawn the attention of investigators. Democrats say these contacts should be enough to suspend his access to sensitive information. (ABC News)

10/ Hackers successfully altered at least one voter roll in 2016 and stole voter records that contain private information like partial Social Security numbers. Investigators have not identified whether the hackers in that case were Russian agents. (Time)

11/ The White House is urging House Republicans to weaken its Russia sanctions bill, which was overwhelmingly passed by the Senate. The bill would place new sanctions on Russia for its meddling in the 2016 election and allow Congress to block Trump from lifting penalties against Moscow. (New York Times)

12/ Betsy DeVos picked the CEO of a private student loan company to run the federal student loan system. 42 million Americans currently owe $1.4 trillion in student loans. (The Hill)

13/ Trump will host his first re-election fundraiser at the Trump International Hotel next week, raising ethics concerns from conflict of interest attorneys. Trump is “becoming more and more brazen in his efforts to monetize the presidency,” Obama’s lead ethics attorney said. (Associated Press)

14/ North Korea called Trump a "psychopath" and warned South Korea that no good will come from aligning with him. The commentary, published in a state newspaper, suggested that Trump could launch a preemptive strike on North Korea to distract from his domestic problems. (AOL News / Washington Post)

15/ The White House told reporters not to report on instructions about not reporting on a press conference. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said today's press conference would not be a video affair and then said the announcement itself was "NOT REPORTABLE." (Slate)

poll/ A majority of voters think the American Health Care Act would be harmful for low-income Americans, people with pre-existing health conditions, and Medicaid recipients. 41% oppose the House plan, while 30% support it. 13% think the plan will improve the quality of their healthcare. 9% think it would make their health care cheaper. (Reuters)

poll/ 16% of adults believe that House health care bill is a good idea compared to 48% who say it’s a bad idea. (NBC News)

Day 153: Vulnerable.

1/ CIA Director Mike Pompeo continued to brief Michael Flynn on national intelligence despite concerns Flynn was vulnerable to Russian blackmail. The FBI, the CIA, the Justice Department, and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence all concluded that Flynn had become susceptible to blackmail. Pompeo never raised these concerns with Trump. “Either Director Pompeo had no idea what people in the CIA reportedly knew about Michael Flynn, or he knew about the Justice Department’s concerns and continued to discuss America’s secrets with a man vulnerable to blackmail,” Senator Ron Wyden said in a statement. “I believe Director Pompeo owes the public an explanation.” (New York Times)

2/ Trump is expected to reveal whether tapes of conversations with Comey exist this week. After firing Comey in May, Trump tweeted that Comey “better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press.” Trump and aides have since refused to clarify the ambiguous warning. The House intelligence committee wants the White House to provide an answer about the tapes by Friday. Under a post-Watergate law, destroying recordings would be a crime. (Associated Press)

3/ Jeff Sessions hired a personal lawyer amid the expanding Russia investigation. The Attorney General's longtime friend Charles Cooper has been providing counsel to Sessions, both for his Senate Intelligence Committee hearing last week, as well as during his January confirmation hearing. Sessions recused himself from the FBI’s investigation into Russia meddling and whether any Trump associates colluded in that effort. Special counsel Robert Mueller could seek information from Sessions about the circumstances surrounding the firing of James Comey. (Bloomberg / USA Today / National Law Journal)

4/ The Congressional Black Caucus will reject an invitation to meet with Trump. Members say the caucus-wide meeting would amount to little more than a photo op that Trump could use to bolster his standing among African-Americans. “No one wants to be a co-star on the reality show,” said one aide. (Politico)

5/ Queen Elizabeth didn't mention Trump's planned visit to the UK during her speech at the opening of Parliament. Trump's visit was already in doubt after he insisted on a gold‑plated welcome in the Queen’s royal carriage and started a feud with London's mayor on Twitter after the terrorist attack. The London mayor previously said Trump should be denied a state visit because of his “cruel” policies on immigration. The Queen's speech is used to set the government's legislative agenda for the next two years and announce planned state visits. (BBC / CNN / The Telegraph)

6/ Trump will hold a "Make America Great Again" rally to get a boost from outside of Washington. 8,600 political supporters will join Trump in Cedar Rapids, Iowa where he's expected to repeat his campaign rhetoric at a time when he has the lowest job approval rating of any president in modern history at this point in his tenure. (Washington Post / AOL News)

  • Trump has only held one solo press conference since becoming president, lagging behind his predecessors. Obama had held six solo press conferences by this point in his presidency, George W. Bush had held three, and Clinton seven. Trump's last press conference was four months ago, where he delivered a series of raw and personal attacks on the media in a news conference for the ages. (NBC News)

7/ Michael Bloomberg tells Trump to "stop tweeting and focus on running the government." The former mayor of New York City added that Trump's refusal to acknowledge that climate change is real is an embarrassment. "No reputable person or scientist doubts that we are creating an environmental and a climate change problem," he said. (CNN)

8/ The EPA plans to buy out more than 1,200 employees this summer as part of a push by the administration to shrink the agency Trump once promised to eliminate “in almost every form.” It would be about an 8% reduction of the current 15,000-person EPA workforce. The administration has also proposed a 31% cut to the EPA budget. (Washington Post)

9/ Trump’s budget seeks to cut funding for programs that shelter the poor and combat homelessness, except for a federal housing subsidy that earns him millions of dollars a year. (Washington Post)

10/ The Pentagon spent $28 million on uniforms for Afghan soldiers, which were appropriate for just 2.1% of Afghanistan. In 2007, the Afghan Defense Ministry decided the army needed a “new and distinctive uniform” to set is apart. He chose woodland camouflage. (USA Today)

11/ Russian-linked hackers targeted election-related computer systems in 21 states. Systems involved in vote counting were not affected. The hackers appeared to be scanning for vulnerabilities. In May, it was reported that Russian hackers had hit election systems in 39 states, accessing software used by poll workers on Election Day. The Russian military intelligence executed a cyberattack on at least one US voting software supplier last year, sending spear-phishing emails to more than 100 local election officials days before the election. (Washington Post / CNN)

12/ Republican Karen Handel beat Democrat Jon Ossoff in Georgia's special election for a House seat. Trump tweeted his excitement: “Well, the Special Elections are over and those that want to MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN are 5 and O! All the Fake News, all the money spent = 0." The Georgia race was the most expensive House race in history, with candidates spending roughly $55 million combined. (CNN / New York Times / Politico)

poll/ 35% of voters approve of the Republican health care bill passed by the House last month. 49% disapprove of the bill. (Politico)

Day 152: Spicey.

1/ Sean Spicer is searching for his own replacement as he's expected to transition to a behind-the-scenes role overseeing communications strategy – senior to both the communications director and press secretary. Spicer’s deputy, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, has frequently replaced him in the daily press briefings as he's slowly retreated from public view over the past month. He's often caught between striving for the respect of the press corps and Trump's erratic tweets. (Politico / Bloomberg / Washington Post)

2/ Steve Bannon explains the change in Spicer's role: “Sean got fatter." The White House has pared back the daily press briefings, downgrading them from “briefings” to “gaggles,” and from on-camera to off-camera. They are now shorter and less frequent. (The Atlantic)

3/ Spicer hasn't talked to Trump about whether Russia interfered in the election. The US intelligence community concluded that Russia orchestrated a hacking and influence campaign to swing the election in Trump's favor. “I have not sat down and asked him about the specific reaction,” Spicer said. “I'd be glad to touch base with him and get back to you.” Trump's repeatedly raised doubts about their conclusions. (Politico / The Hill)

4/ The Senate will vote on their health care bill next week, despite not having enough support to pass it. The Senate will release the bill's text Thursday, with the CBO expected to score its impact on the federal budget and insurance coverage by early next week. The Senate could hold a vote next Thursday, before lawmakers leave for the July 4th recess. Failure to vote by then would open Republican lawmakers up to pressure from constituents at town-hall meetings. (Wall Street Journal / BuzzFeed News)

  • Democrats held the Senate floor last night to spotlight Republicans behind-the-scenes efforts to repeal Obamacare. Democrats criticized the closed-door meetings using series of floor motions, inquiries, and lengthy speeches to highlight what Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer called "the most glaring departure from normal legislative procedure that I have ever seen." (Reuters / ABC News)
  • Here's what we know about the Senate health-care bill. The blurry outlines of an Obamacare overhaul are coming into focus as Senate Republican leaders prod their members toward a health-care vote next week. (Washington Post)

5/ Trump's pick for FBI Director removed a past case involving the Russian government from his law firm bio at King and Spalding. Christopher Wray made the edit on January 12, when he was not considered for the FBI Director job, "or any position in government." Wray's law firm has worked closely with the Russian the energy sector, representing companies in deals with the Russian state-owned oil company Rosneft and Gazprom. (CNN)

6/ Wray billed New Jersey taxpayers more than $2.1 million while representing Chris Christie during the Bridgegate trial for legal charges and expenses. The public wasn't aware that Wray was working for Christie for almost two years. Christie hasn't said whether he recommended Wray for the FBI job. (WYNC)

7/ Michael Flynn failed to report a business trip to Saudi Arabia where he represented US and Russian state-sponsored companies, and Saudi financing interests to build 16 nuclear power plants a congressional letter issued Monday shows. The letter questions why Flynn failed to mention one trip and underreported a second for the renewal of his federal security clearance. It also questions why Flynn failed to mention “any of these contacts with Saudi or other foreign officials on his security clearance application or during his interview with security clearance investigators." (McClatchy – DC)

8/ The FBI is investigating Flynn’s former business partner and looking at whether payments from foreign clients were lawful. The now-defunct Flynn Intel Group received payments by three Russian companies and the Netherlands-based company Inovo. (Reuters)

9/ Robert Mueller adds a witness-flipping expert to his team. Andrew Weissmann is best known for gaining witness cooperation in the Enron investigation. He previously headed the Justice Department's criminal fraud unit. (Reuters)

10/ Rex Tillerson has a three-point plan for future US-Russia relations in an effort to seek constructive working relationship with Putin on a limited set of issues. Step 1: Tell Moscow that aggressive actions against the US are a losing proposition. Step 2: Engage on issues that are of strategic interest to the US. Step 3: Emphasize the importance of "strategic stability" regarding geopolitical goals. (BuzzFeed News)

11/ The House health care plan is unpopular in three states where a Republican Senator will have a swing vote. 31% of Nevada voters, 35% of West Virginia voters, and 29% of Alaska voters approve of the AHCA. (Axios)

poll/ 81% of Americans don't want Trump to interfere with the Mueller probe. Trump's approval rating stands at 36%, his lowest in the CBS News Polls since becoming president. 57% percent now disapprove. (CBS News)

poll/ 18% of Americans support Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord. 44% of Americans are "very concerned" and 26% are "moderately concerned" that withdrawing from the agreement will hurt the country’s standing in the world. 64% of Americans disapprove of how Trump is handling the issue of climate change, with 34% approving. (Associated Press)

poll/ 73% of Americans feel the current tone of politics is encouraging violence. 68% say the tone and level of civility in politics is getting worse. (CBS News)