Articles chosen with care. Comments welcomed. Linked articles in bold purple
◆ Trump’s back home and the Russian mess is still dogging him.
The White House plans to far more aggressively combat the cascading revelations about contacts between Trump associates — including Jared Kushner, the president’s son-in-law and senior adviser — and Russia.
White House officials also are trying to find ways to revive Trump’s stalled policy agenda in Congress and to more broadly overhaul the way the White House communicates with the public.
That includes proposals for more travel and campaign-style rallies nationwide so that Trump can speak directly to his supporters, as well as changes in the pace and nature of news briefings, probably including a diminished role for embattled White House press secretary Sean Spicer. –Washington Post
Comment: These allegations are why the investigation by Special Council Robert Mueller are so important–and why it needs to move quickly. If there really was collusion with the Russians, the public and Congress need to know. Same if there was no collusion since the allegations themselves are making it hard to govern.
◆ The most important comment in US politics this week:
Mitch McConnell’s “I don’t know how we get to 50,” votes to pass a health-care reform bill
He did express some optimism on tax reform. (Reuters via Business Insider)
Politico reports: “McConnell Steps Into ObamaCare Firing Line”
Comment: This process is going to be very painful as the insurance markets narrow and premiums go up. Those who pay them are going to be mad as hell. Those who might be harmed by reforms are going to be just as mad.
Politically, the question is whether voters will hold Democrats responsible for making the mess or Republicans for failing to fix it.
My hunch: it is much easier to be the party out of power, casting the blame for failure. Since the Republicans hold both Houses and the Presidency, they won’t have much luck pointing the finger at Chuck Schumer or Nancy Pelosi.
Likely Sentence: To be dragged repeatedly up and down the aisle of a United flight while listening to an endless loop of instructions on how to buckle your seat belt.
(Btw, is there anybody left who doesn’t grasp the vexing concept of buckling a seat belt? Still, I am delighted to hear the detailed explanation on every single flight. I’m sure the flight attendants love doing it, too. Also, except for Sully Sullenberger, is there any such thing as a “water landing”? Isn’t there another term for that?)
Austin didn’t give in on the requirements that led the ride-sharing companies to pull out for a year. But the Texas legislature just passed a bill that says the state, not the city, is in charge of setting the requirements. The key state requirement is annual background checks on the drivers.
Comment: I can see the plaintiff’s point. Pepperoni is virtually impossible to detect on pizza.
But is $100 million really enough?