Vox Sentences: Republicans sure do love late-night health care developments


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James Comey is back and ready to infuriate Clinton voters all over again.


It is with a heavy heart that we must inform you that James Comey is back

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  • FBI Director James Comey appeared with NSA Director Mike Rogers before the House Intelligence Committee today and confirmed two big things: The FBI has no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s claims that President Barack Obama wiretapped him, and the Bureau has been investigating possible Russian ties to the Trump campaign since as early as July 2016 [New York Times / Matthew Rosenberg, Emmarie Huetteman, Michael S. Schmidt]
  • Comey and Rogers’s statements on the wiretapping allegation back up statements from others in the intelligence community, including former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper Jr. and House Intelligence Committee Chair Devin Nunes, who have dismissed President Trump’s tweets on the subject. [LA Times / Brian Bennett]
  • Trump did not take the hint. Throughout the Comey/Rogers hearing, Trump tweeted from the POTUS account and from his personal account, misconstruing what Comey and Rogers were saying to downplay his campaign’s Russia links. [Vox / Zeeshan Aleem]
  • Democrats were understandably furious about Comey’s admission that he waited for DOJ approval to disclose the investigation into ties between the Trump campaign and Russia, but did not do so before disclosing the renewed investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email use in October. [Politico / Gabriel Debenedetti]
  • This is particularly galling given the strong evidence that Comey’s intervention in October was decisive in handing the election to Trump. [Vox / Sean McElwee, Matt McDermott, and Will Jordan]

Full steam AHCA-head

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  • Expect a “manager’s amendment” to the GOP health care bill on Monday night — a maneuver that lets the leadership change the bill after it’s been through committee. [Vox / Jeff Stein]
  • In an interview with Fox News Sunday, Speaker Paul Ryan said the bill should provide “more assistance … for that person in their 50s and 60s.” [Wall St. Journal / Yuka Hayashi]
  • Monday evening, Politico reported that in order to provide more assistance to seniors, the amendment will establish a fund to expand tax credits worth at least $75 billion, but will leave it to the Senate to specify how those funds will be spent. [Politico / Jennifer Haberkorn, Rachel Bade, Josh Dawsey]
  • The bill will also allow states to block-grant Medicaid and impose work requirements, in a sop to conservatives in the House.
  • It’s unclear if this will be enough to convince skeptical Republicans to vote for the bill; indeed, Trump plans to visit Capitol Hill Tuesday morning to stump for the bill. [Washington Post / Mike DeBonis]
  • House Freedom Caucus leader Mark Meadows says he is still opposed to the legislation, that he’s done negotiating, and that he expects it to go down in defeat on Thursday. [Jessie Hellmann]
  • The basic problem is that Trump and the House leadership are being pulled in two directions. There are conservatives, like Meadows, who want the bill to spend less — and then moderates and others who are worried about throwing too many people off of insurance. You can’t appease one group without enraging the other. [Vox / Andrew Prokop]

Brexit begins

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  • This morning, the British government announced it will begin the formal Brexit process on March 29. British Prime Minister Theresa May had pledged to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty by the end of March — an act which will kick off the negotiation process required for the UK to leave the EU. [Washington Post / Griff Witte]
  • Article 50 is a short section of the EU’s governing treaty that explains the process involved for a country to leave the EU. Its author intended it to be used in case of, say, a coup in an affected country — not a situation like Brexit. [BBC / Sarah Glatte]
  • All negotiations redefining the trading relationship between the UK and the EU are expected to be completed within two years of triggering Article 50, per the UK’s new envoy to the EU, Sir Tim Barrow. [Patrick Wintour / Guardian]
  • There are at least five models the UK could look to on how to redefine trade with Europe: It could emulate Norway, Iceland, and Lichtenstein and join the European Free Trade Association — or Switzerland and join the EFTA and also create an additional trade agreement; Turkey provides a less integrated model for post-Brexit trade, as does Canada; and finally there’s the option of standing alone, which could reduce Britain’s negotiating power. [Politico EU / Hortense Goulard]
  • Of course, Brexit isn’t only about renegotiating trade. Over the course of the negotiations, the UK is also expected to prioritize reducing immigration, leaving the European Court of Justice, and determining if and how much it will continue to contribute to the EU budget. [Politico EU / Charlie Cooper]

Miscellaneous

  • Arizona abolished parole for murderers in the 1990s, and yet over 200 people convicted of murder have been sentenced to life WITH the possibility of parole since then. What happens to them? [The Arizona Republic / Michael Kiefer]
  • Would the world be a better place if sociologists had the same influence on government that economists do? [NYT / Neil Irwin]
  • If Ryancare denies 24 million people insurance, and consigns millions more to high-deductible plans, expect “direct primary care” — a model where doctors don’t accept insurance and instead charge a subscription fee — to keep rising in prominence. [Business Insider / Lydia Ramsey]
  • The Alternative Minimum Tax is one of the most reviled provisions in the entire tax code. But Donald Trump’s big AMT bill is a reminder of what the tax does right. [Washington Post / Erin Scharff]
  • At least 1,600 people have gone missing on public lands — and when you go missing in the wild, there’s no guarantee that the authorities will try to find you. [Outside / Jon Billman]

Verbatim

  • “Consciousness is defined as much by what it hides as by what it reveals.” [New Yorker / Joshua Rothman]
  • “Mercer, speaking of the atomic bombs that the U.S. dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, argued that, outside of the immediate blast zones, the radiation actually made Japanese citizens healthier.” [New Yorker / Jane Mayer]
  • “Social scientists call this the ‘halo effect’: a phenomenon, repeated across Europe, in which people are most likely to vote for far-right politicians if they live close to diverse areas, but not actually within them.” [NYT / Amanda Taub]
  • “But you don’t know her the way I know her, because — as she looks at me, coyly, furtively, dare I say longingly — I suspect that this Hollywood actress I’m interviewing might be entertaining thoughts of having sex with me.” [McSweeney’s / Jake Tapper]
  • Review is a satire not just of reality shows, but of New Golden Age of Television antihero dramas, hiding in plain sight. It takes the basic ‘man ruins all he cares about in the name of something that makes him nominally freer and more powerful’ structure of the genre and plays it for deliberate laughs.” [New York Observer / Sean T. Collins]

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