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Reports: Trump legal team backs off Comey...

Thursday June 29th, 2017 03:51:48 AM
Fmr. Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman & MSNBC National Security Analyst Jeremy Bash join guest host Nicolle Wallace to discuss the Trump legal team's latest moves on the Russia investigations.

Fundraiser at Trump hotel 'worse than the...

Thursday June 29th, 2017 03:49:55 AM
Fmr. Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman responds to Pres. Trump and the RNC holding a fundraiser at Trump's own D.C. hotel calling the move 'worse than the Teapot Dome scandal.'

What is Mitch McConnell up to?

Thursday June 29th, 2017 03:44:21 AM
Lawrence O'Donnell explains why the Senate Majority Leader took a big gamble on the repeal and replace bill—and whether the Resistance will succeed in stopping it. Joy Reid and John Heilemann discuss.

GOP blame game after health care bill...

Thursday June 29th, 2017 03:00:49 AM
Pres. Trump and the RNC held a huge fundraiser in D.C., but is this a party divided? Guest host Nicolle Wallace and our panel look at the blame game happening as the GOP health bill falls apart.

Trump lied: 'Saved' Carrier jobs being cut

Thursday June 29th, 2017 02:48:34 AM
In December, Chuck Jones, the head of the union representing Carrier workers, was attacked on Twitter for saying Trump was wrong to claim he helped save "a minimum of 1,100 jobs" at the plant. We now know who was telling the truth. Jones gets the last...

Does Trump scare GOP senators?

Thursday June 29th, 2017 02:30:43 AM
A Republican insider says a president with a 35% approval rating and who is under FBI investigation "doesn't have a hammer" to make GOP senators vote for controversial health care legislation. John Heilemann and Liz Mair join Lawrence O'Donnell.

Where does the time go?

Thursday June 29th, 2017 02:00:02 AM
When Rachel Maddow loses track of time and is caught off guard by the end of her hour, at least she knows she has an extra segment already ready for tomorrow's show.

Scientist says EPA pressured her on testimony

Thursday June 29th, 2017 01:51:08 AM
Deborah Swackhamer, chair of the E.P.A.’s Board of Scientific Counselors, talks with Rachel Maddow about the pressure she received from an EPA official to change her congressional testimony and how the EPA's outside scientific review board has been ...

EPA sidelining science under Trump, Pruitt

Thursday June 29th, 2017 01:43:00 AM
Rachel Maddow looks at the dubious job Donald Trump's EPA is doing as a steward of the environment and tells the story of Deborah Swackhamer, chair of the E.P.A.’s Board of Scientific Counselors, who was pressured by an EPA official to change her...

GOP health bill tests loyalty to constituents

Thursday June 29th, 2017 01:31:51 AM
Chris Hayes talks with Rachel Maddow about the key to the success or failure of the Republican health/tax bill: whether Republicans from Medicaid expansion states care about their constituents.

The Ratchet of Medicaid Expansion

Thursday June 29th, 2017 03:08:51 AM
One premise or hope of ACA supporters has been the belief that once new access to health care had been extended it would be politically difficult or even impossible to claw it back. This is the political logic which has guarded Medicare and Social Security for decades. We still don’t know yet whether it will apply with Obamacare. But one thing that has become very clear in recent weeks is the political logic of Republican controlled states refusing Medicaid expansion. Given how little money states’ have to contribute, even over the long haul, there’s very little financial logic to refusing Medicaid expansion. This is why even a significant number of Republican governors eventually bought in. The reasons for opposing were ideological and political. Refusing Medicaid expansion would be a state by state (de facto and legal) nullification which would prevent the ACA from embedding itself in significant parts of the country. Refusing to establish exchanges was a similar gambit. But refusing Medicaid expansion was far, far more consequential. We’re seeing how correct, if highly cynical, that political logic was. One of the big, big parts of the Senate story is Republican governors who have not wanted to give up Medicaid expansion. We see it with Governor Sandoval in Nevada, Governor Kasich in Ohio as well as a number others. They are exerting major pressure on and in some cases provide cover for their senators. This also applies to some Republican senators from red states who nonetheless have Democratic governors and accepted Medicaid expansion. Louisiana is an example of that. This isn’t a great surprise and it’s no great insight. But we’re seeing the dynamic play out in real time, in very hard, concrete ways. States’ unwillingness to give up Medicaid expansion has been a major problem for the Republican senate trying to repeal Obamacare. Whether it will be enough of an obstacle isn’t yet clear.

Staff Announcement Email

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 10:29:58 PM
Last year I told you we were shifting our business model to a greater reliance on subscription revenue and as a core part of that decision redoubling our commitment to investigative reporting, muckraking in the TPM tradition and original reporting of all sorts. You, our readers, have matched our hopes and ambitions. So today I sent this staff announcement to the TPM team, explaining two key staffing moves as we build toward those goals. Team, As we get the new TPM Investigations Desk off the ground, I have two big staff announcements. First, I’m promoting Tierney Sneed to become the second member of the Investigations Desk. Tierney has been at TPM for just over two years and has done consistently great work on a range of Capitol Hill and policy issues ranging from health care and the Supreme Court to our longstanding core focus on voting rights and voter suppression. Tierney will be a great addition to the Investigations Desk, bringing her crackerjack reporting skills along with a deep immersion in our style of iterative reporting. Tierney switches roles on August 1st. That brings the Investigations Desk team to two. David and I are actively hunting for the third member of the team and will keep you posted on our progress. Along with Tierney’s move from the congressional/DC team to the Investigations Desk, we are also making a major investment in our DC and campaign coverage going into next year: We’ve hired Cameron Joseph, currently DC Bureau Chief of The New York Daily News. Cameron began his DC reporting career at The Hill. He is in his second stint at the Daily News, which was interrupted by a brief sojourn at Mashable. He joins TPM in a new position as our new senior political correspondent, and we expect to have him on the road consistently during the 2018 campaign season. Cameron joins us on July 18th. As we’ve discussed, the Investigations Desk represents a major new investment in investigative journalism, muckraking and original reporting. But we are not going to let our politics and policy franchise languish. Quite the contrary we want to break more news on that front too. I’m excited to see what Cameron and Alice will do on that front. Let me add one other point about these changes and our general strategy going forward. While Cameron will be on the campaign and politics team in DC, when we hired him, we were quite aware of how his sources and experience would help us leverage the work of the Investigations Desk. This is a more general point. While the Investigations Desk is going to be the focus of our digging on the Russia probe and other investigative and muckraking projects, I do not see this as an isolated effort within the organization. Just as there’s no bright line distinction between the news writing and reporting teams, I do not want hard and fast divisions here either. I am looking for all of us on the editorial team to be part of our broadening ambitions as a news organization. We are a small organization that has always prided itself on punching well above its weight. Fundamentally, we are one news battalion attacking the news everyday, drawing on everyone’s strengths, being flexible and creative as the news evolves. I’m really excited about what we’re going to be able to accomplish this year. As always, if you have questions, let me know.

Authorities In 2 States Now Looking Into Trump Lawyer's Christian Charity

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 10:19:44 PM
Two state attorneys general announced that they are reviewing a Christian charity run by one of President Donald Trump’s personal attorneys after the Guardian reported Tuesday that the nonprofit steered tens of millions of dollars from low-income, direct-mail donors to the attorney and his family members. North Carolina Attorney General Josh Stein and New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman will be looking into Jay Sekulow’s Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (CASE) for any evidence of wrongdoing. As the Guardian reported, Sekulow signed off on documents pressuring poor and unemployed donors to make a “sacrificial gift” to CASE despite their financial hardship. He, his family and their businesses have raked in over $60 million in compensation and contracts through the charity since 2000, according to the report. “The reports I’ve read are troubling,” Stein said in a statement to the Guardian. “My office is looking into this matter.” Amy Spitalnick, a spokeswoman for Schneiderman, confirmed to TPM in an email: “We are reviewing their filings.” Sekulow did not directly respond to the allegations, but his spokesman, Gene Kapp, told the Guardian that all of the charity’s financial arrangements are reviewed by outside counsel and that the IRS found CASE to be in full compliance with tax laws during a previous audit. Experts in nonprofit law said that the Sekulows could have violated a federal law prohibiting top officials at non-profits from receiving excessive benefits, according to the Guardian’s report.

CNN: Trump Still Unconvinced Russia Interfered In 2016 Election

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 10:16:37 PM
President Donald Trump remains unconvinced that Russia interfered in the 2016 U.S. election despite tweets and White House statements to the contrary, CNN reported Wednesday afternoon. NSA director Mike Rogers expressed frustration during a private briefing with lawmakers over his inability to convince Trump to believe the intelligence community’s assessment that Russia interfered in the election, CNN reported, citing an unnamed congressional source familiar with the meeting. Another unnamed congressional source told CNN that Rogers expressed concerns about the White House’s lack of concern regarding the ongoing threat Russia presents. Trump “can’t admit anything that may taint his election,” an unnamed Republican congressional source told CNN. “He is more hung up on how it affected the election outcome than what Russia did.” The President last week appeared to express skepticism over whether Russian interference took place at all in a tweet referring to the Democratic National Committee’s reluctance to accept the Department of Homeland Security’s help when the former was hacked as “a big Dem HOAX!” Pressed on his statement, deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump thinks “it probably was Russia” that hacked the DNC’s systems. Over the weekend, Trump acknowledged Russian meddling in the election and criticized former President Barack Obama’s administration for not doing more to respond to it in a series of tweets. “Since the Obama Administration was told way before the 2016 Election that the Russians were meddling, why no action?” he tweeted. An unnamed senior administration official told CNN said they have “seen no evidence” that Trump has organized meetings or devoted any time to Russian meddling.

FBI Agent Indicted On Charges Of Lying About Firing Shots At Oregon Occupier

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 09:21:55 PM
An FBI agent has been indicted on federal charges for allegedly lying about firing a weapon at LaVoy Finicum, the spokesman for last year’s 41-day-long occupation of a remote wildlife refuge in Oregon by armed anti-government activists. W. Joseph Astarita, an agent with the bureau’s Hostage Rescue Team, was charged on three counts of making false statements and two counts of obstruction of justice related to his official account of a dramatic Jan. 26, 2016 shootout on an isolated Oregon road that left Finicum dead. The indictment alleges that Astarita falsely said he did not fire his weapon while attempting to arrest Finicum and several other Malheur National Wildlife Refuge occupiers who he and other law enforcement officials encountered on a remote stretch of highway. Astarita is accused of actually firing two rounds and then knowingly lying to Oregon State Police about his conduct on two separate occasions, according to the indictment. Alison Clark, a defense lawyer representing Astarita, entered not guilty pleas on his behalf at a court hearing Wednesday, but said he will retain his own local attorney during the trial, according to the Oregonian newspaper. The charges are the result of the Justice Department’s more-than-a-year-long investigation into the death of the Arizona rancher, whose killing by law enforcement personnel immediately spawned conspiracy theories and made him a martyr in the anti-government community. U.S. authorities concluded that agents were justified in firing at Finicum. The FBI last year released a 26-minute video of the incident, which showed that Finicum crashed his pickup truck into the snow after speeding away from a surprise traffic block. Oregon officials said that an FBI agent, now revealed to be Astarita, fired at Finicum as the truck was crashing, but the bullets did not hit the occupier. Finicum was then shot three times by state police troopers after he stepped out of the vehicle and reached for his coat pocket, where he had a loaded handgun. Four other FBI agents are also under investigation for covering up Astarita’s gunshots, and the status of that probe is unclear, according to the Oregonian. The indictment is yet another bizarre twist in the legal aftermath of the occupation led by Ammon and Ryan Bundy, whose father, Cliven, infamously carried out his own occupation of federal ranchland in 2014 near the family’s Bunkerville, Nevada home. The Bundy brothers and five other defendants were acquitted last fall of weapons and conspiracy charges for preventing employees at the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management from working at the refuge through intimidation, threat or force. Four other occupiers were charged with offenses ranging from conspiracy to damaging government property in a separate trial that concluded in March. Ammon, Cliven and Ryan Bundy are all currently awaiting trial in Nevada for conspiracy and weapons charges related to the 2014 standoff. Read the full indictment below:

President Posts Videos By Conservative Activist Known For Misleading Editing

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 09:08:36 PM
President Donald Trump is on a mission to raise hell about CNN’s supposed bias against him. And in his latest salvo, the President posted on Instagram two new videos released by conservative activist James O’Keefe. O’Keefe and his Project Veritas outlet are infamous for their selective and often misleading editing in expose-style “undercover” videos: interview subjects don’t know they’re being interviewed on tape, and their remarks are likely used out of context. In O’Keefe’s recent “American Pravda” video series, an unidentified interlocutor speaks to CNN producer John Bonifield — who the Washington Post pointed out produces health and medical stories and would not know the details of CNN’s political coverage. “It’s ratings,” Bonifield says at one point in a clip Trump posted on his Instagram page, explaining the network’s heavy coverage of the Russia investigations. “Our ratings are incredible right now.” NBC News reported in October that the Trump Foundation donated $10,000 to Project Veritas in May 2015, just before Trump launched his presidential campaign. He later promoted O’Keefe’s work on the campaign trail. Trump’s son, Donald Trump Jr., has also shared the videos on his Twitter page, and deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders encouraged all Americans to watch the videos in an on-camera press briefing Tuesday, though she noted: “Whether it’s accurate or not, I don’t know.” She did not respond to TPM’s questions Wednesday about Trump’s endorsement of the videos. Bonifield says separately in the video — asked if “the whole Russia shit is just like, bullshit” — that the story “could be bullshit. I mean, it’s mostly bullshit right now. Like, we don’t have any big, giant proof.” “I just feel like they don’t really have it, but they want to keep digging,” he adds later. “So I think the President is probably right to say, like, look, you are witch hunting me. You have no smoking gun, you have no real proof.” In another O’Keefe video posted by Trump, Bonifield is heard saying: “Even if Russia was trying to swing an election, we try to swing their elections — our CIA are doing shit all the time.” It’s a surprising charge for the President to endorse via a personal social media page. Trump posted next to each video: “#CNN is #FakeNews. The video via #ProjectVeritas that EVERYONE is talking about!” CNN responded to O’Keefe’s videos in a statement: “CNN stands by our medical producer John Bonifield.  Diversity of personal opinion is what makes CNN strong, we welcome it and embrace it.” O’Keefe and two accomplices pleaded guilty in 2010 to entering a federal building under false pretenses of disguising himself as a telephone worker in order to enter then-Sen. Mary Landrieu’s (D-LA) office. One Project Veritas operative, Allison Maass, has repeatedly been caught attempting to infiltrate Democratic offices and liberal organizations in attempts to capture disparaging material. H/t The Hill

Sanders: WH Had 'Great Day' Yesterday Despite Delayed Vote On ACA Repeal

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 08:44:06 PM
Deputy White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Wednesday insisted President Donald Trump’s administration had a good day on Tuesday despite the delay of a vote on a bill to partially repeal Obamacare. “If I can ask you about yesterday, you’ve had a day to sort of look back. Did you go to the gym and hit the heavy bag? Did you laugh it off?” a reporter asked Sanders during her off-camera, audio-only briefing. “I was wondering what you’re thinking and feeling a day later?” “I think that the White House had a great day yesterday,” Sanders replied. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday announced the Senate will not vote on its bill to repeal Obamacare until after the July 4 recess. McConnell’s announcement came amid defections from hardline and moderate conservatives, the latest in a series of congressional roadblocks to one of Trump’s biggest policy pledges.

Senate Intelligence Committee To Receive Comey’s Memos About Trump

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 07:34:00 PM
The Senate Intelligence Committee will receive access to former FBI director James Comey’s memos about his private conversations with President Donald Trump, Politico reported Wednesday. Committee chairman Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) told Politico that he had a “commitment” to view the memos, which Comey said described Trump’s requests that he pledge loyalty to him and quash the FBI’s investigation into ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn. Those memos are also in the possession of special counsel Robert Mueller, who is overseeing the sprawling federal investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election. Mueller’s probe is looking into whether Trump attempted to obstruct justice and interfere in that investigation. Burr and his vice-chairman, Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA), announced after meeting with Mueller earlier this month that obstruction of justice was not part of their own investigation.

Trump: 'We Could Have A Big Surprise' When It Comes To GOP Health Care Bill

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 06:35:59 PM
President Donald Trump on Wednesday predicted a “great, great surprise” with regard to the Republican bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. “Just to do a little official business, health care is working along very well,” Trump said during a meet and greet with the Chicago Cubs in the White House. “We could have a big surprise with a great health care package. So now they’re happy,” he added in an aside to the team, gesturing at the reporters. “What do you mean by big surprise, sir?” one reporter called. “I said you’re going to have a great, great surprise. It’s going to be great,” Trump said. He did not offer any further details, and joked about taking his meeting with the team behind closed doors. “Does anybody want to see the Oval Office? We’ll leave them behind,” Trump said, waving at the reporters gathered for the photo opportunity. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Tuesday announced that the Senate will not vote on its health care proposal until after the July 4 recess, instead of by the end of the week, as McConnell reportedly wanted.

The Art of the Choke?

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 06:18:51 PM
He always chokes. After threatening, Trump team won’t file DOJ complaint against Comey after all.

Surprise! Trump’s Lawyers Indefinitely Postpone Comey ‘Leak’ Complaint

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 06:09:01 PM
President Donald Trump’s outside legal team is acknowledging that it pressed pause on stated plans to file a complaint against former FBI director James Comey for allegedly sharing the content of “privileged conversations” with the press. “The filings will go forward at the appropriate time in the future,” a person with knowledge of the legal team’s plans told TPM on Wednesday. “For now, they will be postponed to allow the Special Counsel to do his work.” This effort to smooth over relations with Robert Mueller, the special counsel investigating the Trump campaign’s ties to Russian officials, was first reported by Bloomberg. It follows weeks of backlash from Trump and his allies against both Mueller and Comey, who testified before Congress that he kept detailed memos of private conversations he had with the President that he found troubling. Comey asked a friend to share descriptions of those memos with the media out of concern Trump would misrepresent their interactions—a decision that Trump and his private attorney, Mark Kasowitz, said proved Comey was a “leaker.” The day after Comey’s testimony, Trump’s team publicized plans to file a complaint with the Justice Department about his actions. Legal observers said it was unlikely that Comey sharing unclassified information with the media as a private citizen qualified as leaking. Trump and his defenders also blasted Mueller for his friendship with Comey, and the fact that several of the high-powered attorneys he brought onto his special counsel team had donated to Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign. For the moment, per the individual close to Trump’s legal team, the President is taking a step back. As TPM previously reported, his outside lawyers kicked the bucket for almost two weeks after initially announcing that they intended to lodge a complaint against Comey, until conceding Wednesday that it actually would not be filed any time in the near future. This month, Trump’s outside legal team has expanded to include Jay Sekulow, an attorney who made his name fighting for conservative Christian causes; John Dowd, a former prosecutor well-known in Washington, D.C. legal circles; and Mark Corallo, a spokesman for the group who has represented big names like former George W. Bush adviser Karl Rove.

We Need You

Thursday June 29th, 2017 04:03:20 AM
We are closing in on our membership sign up goal for June. Just 178 129 sign ups to go. Really close but we have just three days. Our goal is to have a total of 22,000 Prime subscribers by the end of June. It’s a critical part of building a new, stronger, better, more vital TPM today and in the future. If you’ve been thinking about subscribing, take a moment and make it today. It’s inexpensive, simple to sign up, you get a better version of TPM and it makes a huge difference. Just click here.

Spicer Tweets Baffling Defense Of Obamacare Repeal Efforts

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 05:59:14 PM
White House press secretary Sean Spicer argued against Obamacare Wednesday by pointing out that some 28 million people lacked insurance coverage under the law. He made no mention of the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office’s estimates that tens of millions more Americans would lose coverage as a result of Republicans’ efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act and make deep cuts to Medicaid, however. 28.2M Americans are still waiting under #Obamacare and remain uninsured. They need relief now. #RepealAndReplace — Sean Spicer (@PressSec) June 28, 2017 “28.2 million Americans are still waiting under Obamacare and remain uninsured!” an infographic Spicer tweeted out stated. He appeared to be citing data from the Department of Health and Human Services that was published in February and based on polling from January-September 2016. However, the CBO estimated Monday that Senate Republicans’ Obamacare repeal bill would result in 49 million uninsured people under age 65 by 2026, “compared with 28 million who would lack insurance that year under current law.” So by Spicer’s own metric, Senate Republicans’ Obamacare repeal bill — which President Donald Trump has heartily endorsed — would unacceptably leave tens of millions more Americans without coverage. Similarly, the CBO estimated in May that House Republicans’ Obamacare repeal would result in 51 million uninsured people under age 65 by 2026, versus 28 million under the status quo. Under both bills, most of the estimated coverage losses are the result of deep proposed cuts to Medicaid, which Trump himself pledged during the presidential campaign that he would not tolerate. On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced that he would delay until after the July 4 recess a vote on Senate Republicans’ repeal bill, which was written in secret for weeks and released on Thursday in anticipation of a potential vote this week.

Safety in Numbers

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 05:23:30 PM
We’ve discussed several times in recent days the legislative principle of safety in numbers. No one wants to face the full weight of public pressure alone or be left standing when the music stops. Just as much, no one wants to stick their neck out for an unpopular piece of legislation when it’s not going to pass anyway. Sure enough, when McConnell (at least temporarily) pulled the legislation yesterday, three more senators came forward to say they were also nos all along. The three Senators are Moran (KS) (who tweeted his non-support) and Capito (WV) and Portman (OH) who issued a joint statement. Notably, none issued the kind of sweeping statements of opposition we heard from Heller, Collins and Paul. Moran said the bill “missed the mark for Kansans and therefore did not have my support.” Capito and Portman’s statement is long on “concerns” about basically everything but is notably vague on any point that would make it hard to support a substantively similar bill. As we’ve discussed, yesterday’s defeat is only a temporary one. Making this happen is now considerably harder for McConnell. But he and the Senate leadership are going to do everything possible to make it happen in July and they have a good shot at doing so, especially if they can find a let up in the public protests against Trumpcare. The key question now is whether opponents of Trumpcare will be able to make the most of those senators now running for cover and saying they were never going to support the bill. The key questions are: Why? What level of coverage loss would be acceptable? 12 million losing their coverage as opposed to 15 million? Over three years as opposed to next year. This is still a very close run thing. But this is the moment to do everything possible to put obstacles in the way of Senate Republicans trying to make their way back to McConnell after running for cover now.

READ: Manafort’s Foreign Agent Filing Details His Richly-Paid Work For Ukraine

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 05:16:49 PM
Former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort’s lavishly-compensated work for a pro-Russian Ukrainian political party came into sharper focus when he retroactively filed with the U.S. Justice Department under the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) late Tuesday. Manafort’s firm, DMP International LLC, earned more than $17 million over just two years from the now-defunct Party of Regions, according to his filings, which are a belated acknowledgement that the work he was doing primarily benefited a foreign power. Deliberate failure to register under FARA can result in a felony charge and severe financial penalties, but such prosecutions are rare. Manafort’s spokesman, Jason Maloni, said that the former campaign chairman began the registration process shortly after he left the Trump campaign in August amid mounting questions about the millions of dollars he earned doing political work in Ukraine. “He started this process in concert with FARA’s unit in September, before the outcome of the election and well before any formal investigation of election interference began,” Maloni said in a statement. “Paul’s primary focus was always directed at domestic Ukrainian political campaign work, and that is reflected in today’s filing.” The FBI’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election actually began in July 2016, as fired bureau director James Comey testified before Congress. Manafort is one of several Trump associates under scrutiny in the probe, now helmed by special counsel Robert Mueller, for his business dealings and ties to Russian operatives. Federal investigators first began looking into Manafort’s political activity in Ukraine in 2014, and recently their inquiry reportedly expanded to look into real estate investments Manafort made in partnership with his son-in-law, Jeffrey Yohai. Manafort’s 87-page FARA filing shows that he and Rick Gates, an associate in his firm who also worked on the Trump campaign, conducted polling and developed a party platform and political agenda for the Party of Regions and then-President Viktor Yanukovych. Between 2012-2014, their firm spent about $4 million of the party’s money on polling and consulting services in both the United States and Ukraine, and another $2 million on travel and living expenses. Their firm also advised Ukrainian officials on dealing with their U.S. counterparts, and held at least one meeting with an American politician: Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA). The filing shows that Manafort held a March 2013 meeting with Rohrabacher, who has such an ardently pro-Russia reputation that he’s been dubbed “Putin’s favorite congressman,” and then donated $1,000 to the lawmaker just three days later. Manafort’s work in Ukraine predated the time period covered by his retroactive FARA filing. Shortly before his departure from the Trump campaign, the New York Times reported that secret ledgers maintained by the Party of Regions showed Manafort was earmarked to receive $12.7 million in cash payments between 2007 and 2012. Ukrainian prosecutors said this week that they’d found no proof Manafort had signed off to actually receive these off-the-books payments, which were first discovered by last year by anti-corruption investigators in that country, Bloomberg reported. Both Manafort and Gates have denied there was anything untoward about their work in Ukraine, with Gates recently telling the Times that “everything was done legally and with the approval of our lawyers.” Gates is one of the most recent Trump campaign associates to be pulled into the Russia mess. His name reportedly was included in a memo a Trump transition team lawyer circulated to former campaign officials requesting the preservation of all documents related to Russia and Ukraine, as well as travel records and all documents connected to a handful of former campaign staffers. Manafort and Gates are the second and third prominent members of Trump’s campaign to retroactively register as foreign agents. Ousted national security adviser Michael Flynn registered under FARA shortly after leaving the White House for lobbying work his consulting firm did to benefit the government of Turkey during the 2016 election. Read Manafort’s full filing below:

Parade Of GOPers Wobbly On O'Care Bill Roll Through McConnell's Office

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 08:54:47 PM
The tiled, chandelier-lit hallway in front of Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office was the most closely watched area in the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. As GOP Senate leadership seeks to tweak its Obamacare repeal legislation after a lack of support for the bill thwarted this week’s plans for a vote, a parade of senators who have been the most concerned about the current version of the legislation trickled in and out of McConnell’s office outside the Senate chamber, where they had a change to air their grievances. It’s unclear how much reconstructive work leadership intends to do on the health care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, or if they hope to win over the wobbly votes with a series of side deals, promises down the road or new information to put better spin on the bill’s ugly CBO score. Alaska Sens. Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, both Republicans, were spotted heading into office ahead of Senate GOP’s conference wide-lunch. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma was also in the meeting with the Alaskan senators. Sullivan said she was showing them “broad base numbers.” “From my perspective getting more numbers, from Seema Verma and others, is a really important part of what we are trying to do to work through this,” he said. Murkowski has been one of the closest votes to watch throughout the Obamacare repeal process. She opposes defunding Planned Parenthood, as the current version of the legislation does. The Senate bill’s phase-out of Alaska’s Medicaid expansion and reduction of Obamacare’s tax credits also hit her state particularly hard. Sullivan has been less vocal in his concerns about the direction the Senate was heading with its bill. He has stressed, however, his focus on the unique challenges facing Alaska, a far-flung, sparsely populated state with the highest health care costs in the country. As the GOP Senate lunch was wrapping up, Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) marched in to McConnell’s. He has taken one of the most dramatic stands in opposition to the bill,  announcing last week that it would be “very difficult” for Senate leaders to get his support. Then came Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), who has vowed that simply throwing more money at her areas of concern won’t be enough to win her over. Heading into McConnell’s office, she said the bill’s tax credit scheme, which is particularly burdensome on older consumers, would be an area of discussion. “Nothing has been promised, it’s what I am looking for,” she said. By mid-afternoon, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) made the walk into McConnell’s office. He told reporters that he wanted more support for mental health and addiction programs, and has previously raised concerns about protecting people with pre-existing conditions. Cassidy emerged more than an hour later to tell reporters: “I certainly laid out my concerns and they indicated a willingness to work with us, that does not necessarily mean they are addressed. I think they’re open to it, but whether that’s where they end up, I don’t know.” Specifically, he said he wants “to take care of pre-existing conditions,” and “lower premiums. People are just groaning beneath these premiums,” but declined to elaborate on what specific policies were under consideration. When asked if he received any commitments from McConnell on these fronts, Cassidy answered: “No, not at all.”    

'They're Laughing at Us'

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 05:01:34 PM
Trump was right. Now they really are laughing at us. Or rather, laughing at Trump and Wilbur Ross.

Trump: 'I Think We’re Going To Get At Least Very Close' To Passing Health Bill

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 04:45:08 PM
President Donald Trump doesn’t appear to be completely confident Republicans will get enough GOP Senators on board to pass the Senate health care bill, according to comments he made during an energy roundtable discussion with governors on Wednesday. The President said Obamacare is “essentially dead” and called it a “headache for everybody” and a “nightmare for many,” before praising Republicans’ latest Affordable Care Act repeal plan that he wasn’t fully confident would pass. “So we have a plan that if we get it approved, it’s very tough. Every state is different, every senator is different. But I have to tell you, the Republican senators had a really impressive meeting yesterday at the White House. We had close to 50 of them, we have 52, but we need almost all of them. That’s never easy,” he said. “I think we’re going to get at least very close, and I think we’re going to get it over the line.” He said the meeting of GOP senators at the White House Tuesday — after Republican leaders announced they were going to delay the vote on the new health care bill — had a “really great feeling” and said he thinks the bill has “a chance to be a great health care at a reasonable cost.” “We’ll see what happens. We’re working very hard, we have given ourselves a little bit more time to make it perfect,” he said. “We’re sending a lot of it back to the states, where it belongs, and this will be something really special if we can get it done. Always tough. It’s probably the toughest subject from the standpoint of approval because every state is different, every state has different needs.” When asked about the plan to make significant cuts to Medicaid expansion, the President told reporters, “It’s gonna be great. It will be great for everybody.”

Paul To McConnell: Here's What I Need To Get To Yes On Obamacare Repeal

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 04:17:25 PM
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) sent a letter to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) Wednesday outlining the changes he’d like to see to the Senate health care bill to earn his vote. His requests are a whole-scale remodeling of the main framework of the bill, making his vote among the toughest for GOP leaders to win. His letter takes issue with the Obamacare-like tax credits for individual insurance the Republican bill offers, the “stabilization” funding it carves out for insurers and the continuous coverage requirement it imposes in the place of Obamacare individual mandate. He also requests a further loosening of federal insurance regulations, with a particular focus on the opportunity for consumers to form their own small group plans. Read the letter below:

House Oversight Chair Chaffetz To Join Fox News As Political Analyst

Wednesday June 28th, 2017 04:12:37 PM
Fox News on Wednesday announced that House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) will join the network as a contributor after resigning from Congress at the end of the month. “In this role he will offer political analysis across FNC and FOX Business Network’s (FBN) daytime and primetime programming,” Fox News said in a release. Chaffetz will begin at Fox on July 1, a day after stepping down from his job in Congress. In April, Chaffetz announced that he would not seek another term in Congress, and later announced his plans to resign before the end of his term.

Labor Department Finds Evidence Microsoft Discriminated Against Female Employees

Friday August 5th, 2016 05:28:29 PM Lauren C. Williams
A Labor Department investigation found preliminary evidence of gender discrimination at Microsoft. The post Labor Department Finds Evidence Microsoft Discriminated Against Female Employees appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Looking At Brazil’s Economic Fall From The Top

Friday August 5th, 2016 04:07:43 PM Alejandro Davila Fragoso
In less than a decade Brazil went from miraculous growth to a historic collapse. The post Looking At Brazil’s Economic Fall From The Top appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Scott Walker Is ‘Proud’ Of Gutting University Of Wisconsin Budgets

Friday August 5th, 2016 03:13:24 PM Aaron Rupar
Fact is he has nothing to gloat about. The post Scott Walker Is ‘Proud’ Of Gutting University Of Wisconsin Budgets appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Trump Campaign Circulates Misleading Video Claiming Clinton Promised To Raise Taxes On Middle Class

Friday August 5th, 2016 02:54:26 PM Bryce Covert
Context clues. The post Trump Campaign Circulates Misleading Video Claiming Clinton Promised To Raise Taxes On Middle Class appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Donald Trump Announces Economic Policy Team: 13 Men

Friday August 5th, 2016 02:11:17 PM Josh Israel, Evan Popp
While the list does not include any women, it does include five Steves. The post Donald Trump Announces Economic Policy Team: 13 Men appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Economy Shrugs Off Signs Of Trouble With Strong Job Growth In July

Friday August 5th, 2016 12:30:43 PM Bryce Covert
Analysts had expected 180,000 jobs to be added. The post Economy Shrugs Off Signs Of Trouble With Strong Job Growth In July appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Apple Store Employees Are Diverse, But Their Silicon Valley Co-Workers Lag Behind

Thursday August 4th, 2016 09:07:48 PM Lauren C. Williams
Racial and gender diversity in retail has jumped significantly since 2014. The post Apple Store Employees Are Diverse, But Their Silicon Valley Co-Workers Lag Behind appeared first on ThinkProgress.

The States That Do Nothing To Help Working Parents

Thursday August 4th, 2016 02:50:26 PM Bryce Covert
Many states haven't passed a single law or program that would make life easier for parents. The post The States That Do Nothing To Help Working Parents appeared first on ThinkProgress.

The Brownbacklash Is Finally Here: Kansas Primary Voters Send Conservatives Packing

Wednesday August 3rd, 2016 08:00:58 PM Alan Pyke
Gov. Brownback might finally be facing a revolt from Kansas Republicans. The post The Brownbacklash Is Finally Here: Kansas Primary Voters Send Conservatives Packing appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Student Suspended For Sexual Assault Complaint Argues The College Practiced ‘Anti-Male Bias’

Wednesday August 3rd, 2016 07:37:28 PM Casey Quinlan
This Columbia University student, who was disciplined for sexual assault, is arguing that he is the victim of "anti-male bias." The post Student Suspended For Sexual Assault Complaint Argues The College Practiced ‘Anti-Male Bias’ appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Why Trump Can Bully Paul Ryan And Get Away With It, In One Chart

Wednesday August 3rd, 2016 02:32:31 PM Ian Millhiser
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) endorsed his party’s racist presidential nominee. Now that nominee has publicly humiliated Ryan by refusing to endorse the speaker back. Sad! The post Why Trump Can Bully Paul Ryan And Get Away With It, In One Chart appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Trump Family Has Very Predictable And Unhelpful Advice On Sexual Harassment

Tuesday August 2nd, 2016 03:28:49 PM Laurel Raymond
The Trump family's reactions place the blame for the harassment squarely on the victim's shoulders. The post Trump Family Has Very Predictable And Unhelpful Advice On Sexual Harassment appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Massachusetts Becomes First State Ever To Ban Employers From Asking For Salary Histories

Monday August 1st, 2016 06:06:54 PM Bryce Covert
The state will be the first in the country to ban employers from asking prospective hires for their salary histories. The post Massachusetts Becomes First State Ever To Ban Employers From Asking For Salary Histories appeared first on ThinkProgress.

The Paid Sick Days Movement Is Already Paying Off. Here’s the Proof.

Monday August 1st, 2016 03:03:53 PM Bryce Covert
New data shows the effort to pass paid sick leave laws is working. The post The Paid Sick Days Movement Is Already Paying Off. Here’s the Proof. appeared first on ThinkProgress.

6 Common Assumptions About ADHD That Aren’t Helping Students

Monday August 1st, 2016 12:15:24 PM Casey Quinlan
Teachers can help students with ADHD if they set aside stereotypes. The post 6 Common Assumptions About ADHD That Aren’t Helping Students appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Analysts Say Clinton Proposals Would Strengthen The Economy

Friday July 29th, 2016 02:52:29 PM Bryce Covert
The economy would benefit in particular from some unique policy platforms Clinton has proposed. The post Analysts Say Clinton Proposals Would Strengthen The Economy appeared first on ThinkProgress.

A Kentucky Politician Called Out Her Daughter’s School For Banning Cornrows And Dreadlocks

Thursday July 28th, 2016 03:18:08 PM Casey Quinlan
A Kentucky politician is unhappy with her daughter's school after she noticed it bans cornrows and dreadlocks. The post A Kentucky Politician Called Out Her Daughter’s School For Banning Cornrows And Dreadlocks appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Debt Collectors’ Harassment Tactics Are Put On Notice For First Time In 40 Years

Thursday July 28th, 2016 02:58:37 PM Bryce Covert
The country's consumer watchdog issued brand new regulations to crack down on debt collectors. The post Debt Collectors’ Harassment Tactics Are Put On Notice For First Time In 40 Years appeared first on ThinkProgress.

Democrats Grapple With The Economic Anxiety Fueling Trump’s Campaign

Thursday July 28th, 2016 12:46:21 AM Alice Ollstein
"There is a widespread alienation and disinterest in politics." The post Democrats Grapple With The Economic Anxiety Fueling Trump’s Campaign appeared first on ThinkProgress.

New York City Is About To Take A Step Toward Ending The School-To-Prison Pipeline

Wednesday July 27th, 2016 08:37:17 PM Evan Popp
The move could help begin to address the school-to-prison pipeline. The post New York City Is About To Take A Step Toward Ending The School-To-Prison Pipeline appeared first on ThinkProgress.

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