What We're Reading

Daily Reads: AHCA Is a Disaster; More Russia Bombshells; GOP Congressional Candidate Charged in Assault on Reporter

A roundup of stories we're reading at BillMoyers.com HQ...

AHCA Is a Disaster; More Russia Bombshells

Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wis., conducts a news conference with members the GOP caucus in the Capitol Visitor Center to announce a new amendment to the health care bill to repeal and replace the ACA, April 6, 2017.(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

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Now we know –> With the release of its analysis on Wednesday, it’s now pretty clear why House Republicans were so eager to pass their Obamacare repeal bill before the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) had an opportunity to project the law’s impacts. The short version is that the bill would result in 14 million people losing their coverage next year, and another 9 million losing their insurance by 2026 — a grand total of 23 million more uninsured compared to current law. Around a sixth of the population would lose protections for pre-existing conditions, and out-of-pocket costs for maternity care, mental health care and substance abuse “could increase by thousands of dollars.” Over the next 10 years, the bill would slash $834 billion in Medicaid spending, cut taxes by $664 billion (according to a separate analysis by the Joint Committee for Taxation) and reduce deficits by $119 billion. For more of the gruesome details, see Vox’s write-up at the link above.

Sources tell us that NARAL also sent this to reporters…

Meanwhile, at New York magazine, Lisa Ryan notes that Trump’s budget calls for spending $277 million on abstinence-only education, “which has been shown to be a completely ineffective means of sexual education.”

When a politician’s “closing argument” turns brutal –> Wednesday was a ridiculously busy news day that was capped off by Greg Gianforte, the Republican candidate for Montana’s open House seat, assaulting Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs in front of a Fox News crew the night before this closely watched election. Sheriff Brian Gootkin, who was revealed to be a Gianforte donor, issued a charge of misdemeanor assault against the candidate early this morning. Three Montana newspapers have withdrawn their endorsements, but because of early voting, over half the vote was in before Gianforte lost his cool.

Jacobs, who had recently broken a story about Gianforte having financial ties to Russian companies under US sanctions, was trying to get a reaction to the CBO score from Gianforte at the time of the assault.

Relatedly, David Wasserman writes at the Cook Political Report that while “there’s no such thing as a ‘make or break’ special election,” when “taken collectively, the margins in specials can tell us a good deal about the political environment — and so far, it’s looking really bad for Republicans.” We’ll see what the picture looks like when the results of today’s race in Montana come in, and then again when voters in Georgia’s 6th District head to the polls on June 20.

Emailghazi was more consequential than we thought –> Karoun Demirjian and Devlin Barrett report for The Washington Post on a clumsily faked Russian document purporting to show that Hillary Clinton had cut a deal with the Justice Department to not dive too deeply into her private email server. The document played a central role in then-FBI Director James Comey’s decision to take over the investigation and hold that historic press conference clearing Clinton of any criminal activity but harshly criticizing her for being “sloppy” with classified info.

Speaking of Russia –> Matthew Rosenberg, Adam Goldman and Matt Apuzzo reported for The New York Times that “American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers.”

And according to CNN’s Manu Raju and Evan Perez, “Attorney General Jeff Sessions did not disclose meetings he had last year with Russian officials when he applied for his security clearance, the Justice Department told CNN Wednesday.” According to the report, the application requires those seeking such a clearance to list “any contact” they or their families had with any foreign government or its “representatives” over the past seven years.

Still speaking about Russia –> Greg Farrell reports for Bloomberg that “Democratic lawmakers asked Deutsche Bank AG to hand over its findings on two politically charged matters — its banking on behalf of now-President Donald Trump and trades from the bank’s Moscow operation that helped move some $10 billion out of Russia.” The Democrats, who don’t have the power to force the bank to turn over the documents, want to know if the Russian government guaranteed any loans to The Trump Organization.

Meanwhile, Ari Melber, Meredith Mandell and Diana Marinaccio report for NBC that The Trump Organization isn’t keeping track of how much foreign money is coming into its properties, which makes it pretty much impossible for Trump to avoid breaking a campaign promise to donate foreign profits. This could “increase [Trump’s] legal exposure” because “the Emoluments Clause in the US Constitution bars foreign gifts to the president, and an open federal case in New York alleges The Trump Organization is in violation of that clause.”

Busted –> A Baltimore attorney was arrested on Wednesday and charged with trying to pay the victim of an alleged rape, who is undocumented, not to testify. According to The Baltimore Sun, he was also recorded telling the woman’s husband, who is also undocumented, that they both might be deported if they showed up at court to testify against his client.

Is Trump losing his base? –> At FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver notes that a significant number of people have moved from “strongly” supporting the president to the “somewhat support” category, and suggests that this is evidence of gradual erosion among Trump’s core supporters.

A century-old, white supremacist phrase…” –> Some positive news out of Alabama, where the state’s Republican governor, Kay Ivey, is expected to sign a bill that would restore voting rights to thousands of disenfranchised former felons who have done their time and repaid their debt to society. At ThinkProgress, Kira Lerner explains that “Alabama had been disenfranchising felons using a century-old, discriminatory provision which states that ‘no person convicted of a felony of moral turpitude’ should be permitted to vote. But the state had never officially defined what constituted such a crime, leaving it up to individual registrars to make that decision themselves.” Lerner adds that while “no official definition was given, crimes of ‘moral turpitude’ were commonly understood as crimes more frequently committed by black citizens. According to the president of the all-white constitutional convention, the purpose of the disenfranchisement provision was to ‘establish white supremacy in this state.’”

Stranger than fiction –> Police responded to a hostage situation at a head shop in Tampa. They arrested the perpetrator and none of the hostages were harmed. Then police discovered that earlier in the day he had murdered two roommates. Devon Arthurs, 18, explained that the roommates were neo-Nazis, as Arthurs himself had been until his recent conversion to Islam. And finally, police searching Arthurs’ apartment discovered that a fourth roommate “had been stockpiling materials that could be used to create a bomb,” according to The New York Times. That roommate, it turns out, was “a member of the Florida National Guard [who] kept a picture of Timothy McVeigh, the Oklahoma City bomber, on his dresser.”

Daily Reads was compiled by BillMoyers.com staff and edited by Kristin Miller.

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