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Daily Reads: Mueller Told Manafort He’d Be Indicted; Trump Killed Study Showing Economic Benefits of Refugees

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

Trump Killed Study Showing Economic Benefits of Refugees

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Like a bad dream –> “A last-ditch Republican push to roll back the Affordable Care Act appeared to pick up momentum Monday even as opposition from leading patient advocates and healthcare organizations mounted,” reports Noam Levy for the Los Angeles Times.  The measure, known as the Cassidy-Graham bill, would replace the Affordable Care Act with block grants to the states, the value of which would erode over time as health care costs rise faster than inflation.

Democratic congressional leaders are demanding a full budget analysis of the latest Republican effort to repeal Obamacare, writes Politico’s Heather Caygle, a move that threatens to stall the legislation ahead of a critical Sept. 30 deadline. Sen. John McCain had previously opposed efforts to jam through legislation before it went through the committee process, which these deadlines would make impossible.

And while the Congressional Budget Office won’t have time to estimate the bill’s impacts before the current budget resolution runs out, Sam Berger and Emily Gee at the Center for American Progress “estimate that individuals with even relatively mild pre-existing conditions would pay thousands of dollars above standard rates to obtain coverage” if the measure passes.

At NYMag, Jonathan Chait profiles Sen. Bill Cassidy, the supposedly “moderate” Louisiana Republican spearheading this last Hail Mary pass.

Meanwhile, a bipartisan group of senators has been quietly crafting a compromise bill that would shore up the Affordable Care Act’s exchanges in return for some conservative reforms, and Caitlin Owens reports for Axios that a key Democrat made an important concession that could yield a deal.

Dueling scoops –> Yesterday evening, CNN and The New York Times both published Kremlingate scoops. CNN reported that former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort had been under surveillance in connection to an FBI investigation into a group of DC consultants working for the former Ukrainian government — surveillance approved by a court — suggesting a degree of evidence — and that he was recorded both before and after the election. The New York Times, meanwhile reported that special counsel Robert Mueller’s team had been extremely aggressive subpoenaing Manafort’s associates and had told him that he would be indicted. At Lawfare, Susan Hennessey, Shannon Togawa Mercer and Benjamin Wittes explain what it all means.

And while most workplaces feature various sources of stress, most of them don’t include widespread concern that one’s co-workers may be wearing a wire to collect information on behalf of federal prosecutors. But that is a growing worry among White House officials, according to The Hill’s Mallory Shelbourne.

Meanwhile, former Federal Election Commissioner Ann Ravel writes at Politico that her colleagues have consistently turned a blind eye to foreign meddling in the election, even as “Russia runs amok on Facebook.”

Protesters say police were unnecessarily aggressive” –> During the fourth day of protests following the acquittal of a white police officer on charges that he murdered a black suspect and then planted a gun on his body, St. Louis’s beleaguered police arrested 100 people, including at least one journalist with a media badge visibly displayed on a lanyard. As they made the arrests, some cops chanted “Whose streets? Our streets!” — a common refrain at Black Lives Matter protests.

Christine Byers reports for The St. Louis Post-Dispatch that “The St. Louis Police Officers’ Association and the St. Louis Police Wives Association started taking donations Monday to help officers working long shifts” during protests of the verdict.

And a federal lawsuit filed on Sunday charges that Columbus, Ohio, police continue to use excessive force against black suspects 17 years after the Justice Department sued the city over similar accusations. According to the AP’s Andrew Welsh-Huggins, “the department also fails to properly train, supervise, monitor and discipline officers who use excessive force, said the civil rights complaint filed Sunday” on behalf of a suspect who was beaten by a group of cops who “shielded fellow officers attacking Davis to keep witnesses from seeing and tried to cover up what happened by falsely claiming Davis put them in harm,” according to the complaint.

Hate crimes up –> New data from the Center for the Study of Hate and Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, found that hate crimes are up by around 5 percent between 2015 and 2016, “marking the first time in over a decade that the country has experienced consecutive annual increases in crimes targeting people based on their race, religion, sexuality, disability or national origin,” according to Christopher Mattias at The Huffington Post. 

Somewhat related –> Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had planned on launching an unprecedented roundup of unauthorized immigrants dubbed “Operation Mega.” The plan was put on hold as the federal government struggled to deal with the aftermath of hurricanes Harvey and Irma, and this week a coalition of immigrant rights groups filed a series of Freedom of Information Act requests demanding information about any future plans for mass roundups. Tina Vasquez has more at Rewire News. 

Meanwhile, the NAACP filed a lawsuit yesterday against Trump and Attorney General Jeff Sessions over the administration’s decision to end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. Kevin Diaz has that story at The Houston Chronicle

Power that is not inconsistent with other parts of the Constitution” –> At The Washington Post, Harvard legal scholar Lawrence Tribe argues that while presidents have broad powers to grant pardons, Trump’s pardon of Joe Arpaio was unconstitutional and should be overturned by an Arizona court.

Inconvenient truth –> Julie Hirschfeld Davis and Somini Sengupta report for The New York Times that “Trump administration officials, under pressure from the White House … rejected a study by the Department of Health and Human Services that found that refugees brought in $63 billion more in government revenues over the past decade than they cost.”

Friday evening document dump –> Veterans are 20 percent more likely to commit suicide than nonveterans — and women vets are 250 percent more likely to kill themselves than women who never served —  according to data released on Friday at 5 p.m., which is, as Thomas Ricks notes at Foreign Policy, “when Washington public affairs types put out bad news they don’t wish to discuss.”

Cashing in –> Max Abelson reports for Bloomberg that Barack Obama has given a series of well-paid speeches to Wall Street forms in recent weeks, “following a path that’s well trod and well paid.” Abelson adds that Obama “continues to be an influential voice in a party torn between celebrating and vilifying corporate power. His new work with banks might suggest which side of the debate he’ll be on.”

Not again –> “Hurricane Maria has strengthened to an ‘extremely dangerous’ category five storm” as it barrels toward the Leeward Islands, which are still reeling from the damage done by Hurricane Irma, according to the BBC.

The man who saved the world –> At a moment of high Cold War tension in 1983, Stanislav Petrov was a Soviet officer monitoring the country’s air defense system when it detected the launch of five nuclear missiles by the United States. Protocols called for Petrov to alert his superiors that a nuclear strike was underway, but he had a feeling something was wrong and so he didn’t pass the message along. Instead, he checked for a computer malfunction. It turns out his hunch was right: There had been a malfunction, as he learned 23 minutes later. We can only imagine what might have transpired if someone else had been in his seat at the time. According to NPR, Petrov died on May 19, at age 77, in a suburb outside Moscow, but news of his death went unnoticed until this week.

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

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