Manafort issues his own shock-and-awe response to wiretapping reports

The spokesman for Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, issued a jazzy but meaningless statement Tuesday responding to reports that the FBI obtained two separate warrants to wiretap Manafort before, during, and after the 2016 election. CBS News, which confirmed the wiretapping story separately from CNN, writes:

“If true, it is a felony to reveal the existence of a FISA warrant, regardless of the fact that no charges ever emerged,” Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said in a statement released Tuesday. “The U.S Department of Justice’s Inspector General should immediately conduct an investigation into these leaks and to examine the motivations behind a previous administration’s effort to surveil a political opponent. Mr. Manafort requests that the Department of Justice release any intercepts involving him and any non-Americans so interested parties can come to the same conclusion as the DOJ – there is nothing there.”

Yeah, right. Under

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Manafort issues his own shock-and-awe response to wiretapping reports

The spokesman for Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, issued a jazzy but meaningless statement Tuesday responding to reports that the FBI obtained two separate warrants to wiretap Manafort before, during, and after the 2016 election. CBS News, which confirmed the wiretapping story separately from CNN, writes:

“If true, it is a felony to reveal the existence of a FISA warrant, regardless of the fact that no charges ever emerged,” Manafort spokesman Jason Maloni said in a statement released Tuesday. “The U.S Department of Justice’s Inspector General should immediately conduct an investigation into these leaks and to examine the motivations behind a previous administration’s effort to surveil a political opponent. Mr. Manafort requests that the Department of Justice release any intercepts involving him and any non-Americans so interested parties can come to the same conclusion as the DOJ – there is nothing there.”

Yeah, right. Under

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Ryan, Trump kill bipartisan health effort, force vote on reckless GOP healthcare repeal bill instead

The White House and House Speaker Paul Ryan didn’t want a bipartisan health care effort interfering with their last-ditch push to strip health care coverage from millions of Americans, so they blackballed it. Politico writes:

House Speaker Paul Ryan and the White House have informed Senate Republican leaders that they oppose a bipartisan plan to stabilize Obamacare being written in the Senate, according to Trump administration and congressional sources, in a clear bid to boost the Senate’s prospects of repealing the health law. […]

Republicans say that while the bipartisan talks between Sens. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) and Patty Murray (D-Wash.) initially seemed promising, many in the GOP fear providing money for Obamacare but offering little for conservatives — especially after Republican lawmakers have been throttled by President Donald Trump and the GOP base for failing to repeal the health law.

Oh, so forget about how many

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Huckabee Sanders fakes endorsement of Trump’s ‘destroy’ North Korea policy—from Barack Obama

When you take the position of press secretary in the Trump White House, the first thing they teach you is highly selective editing. That’s how you can get something like this:

x

That certainly makes it appear that President Obama made the same unvarnished threat as Donald Trump, only in that case the national press didn’t raise an eyebrow. Clearly another case where Trump is being held to a higher standard for policy that’s just the same as past administrations.

That is, except for some pesky words located adjacent to those that Sanders lifted.

“It’s not something that lends itself to an easy solution,” Mr. Obama said. “We could, obviously, destroy North Korea with our arsenals. But aside from the humanitarian costs

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Republicans go to ludicrous lengths to pass a ‘healthcare’ bill that deliberately harms blue states

The drafting of the Graham-Cassidy healthcare bill has Republicans throwing away more than a century of Senate protocol.

Don Ritchie, historian emeritus of the Senate, said not since the years before World War I has the Senate taken such a partisan, closed-door approach to major legislation.

But it’s going to get worse. In order to get the bill through, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to cut off all debate, prevent any amendments, and refuse any discussion. It’s a combination that has never been used before. It’s a genuinely unprecedented shutdown of the Senate. For anyone who claimed to be concerned over the way previous Republican bills were pushed, it might seem that this institution-flattening excercise in power would be a deal-breaker … or maybe not.

In addition to a process that’s ripping up the Senate rules …

Donald Trump took $107 million promised to charities … and kept it

Occupying the White House has proven lucrative for Donald Trump. He’s been able to charge the Secret Service hundreds of thousands for rental space and golf carts. He’s been able to turn his Washington Hotel into a place where the emoluments clause is put to constant test. But the AP reports that no other cash-in matches the one Trump took on day one.

President Donald Trump’s inaugural committee raised an unprecedented $107 million for a ceremony that officials promised would be “workmanlike,” and the committee pledged to give leftover funds to charity.

The $107 million is a massive amount for even the most lavish inauguration. It’s almost twice what Barack Obama took in for a celebration that was much more widely attended and which included many more events. Trump even cut back on the number of inaugural balls to only two, compared to the ten balls that the Obamas attended in 2009. With

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Senate Republicans are scrambling for the 50th vote to gut health care

They’re not there yet, but Senate Republicans are working hard to get from 49 to 50 votes to pass Graham-Cassidy, their latest plan to strip health coverage from tens of millions of people and rob still-insured people of important protections. That means it’s time—again—to call your senator and urge him or her not to be the 50th vote that enables Mike Pence to once again show off his special smug tie-breaking smile.

On Friday, Cassidy told reporters his bill has support from as many as 48 or 49 Republicans. “I’m confident we’ll get there on the Republican side,” he said. “People are coming out and saying they are for it, either publicly or privately.”

Confident they’ll get there means they aren’t there yet, but consider who’s standing in the way. Sen. John McCain voted against “skinny repeal” in July, dooming that bill, but he hasn’t ruled out voting for

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