10 min readMorning Guide to Politics, Monday, July 31st

Monday, July 31st

Good Monday morning, this is the Morning Guide to Politics.

Weekend Reads

Despite what you hear, Obamacare isn’t ‘imploding’-Via Braeden Politics Life

Trump’s Really Weak Week-The New York Times

 Say Hello to a post-America World-The Washington Post by Fareed Zakaria

McCain Once Almost Left the GOP…What About Now?-Politico

Sunday Talk

ABC’s This Week: Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price discussed the recent efforts to repeal and replace Obamacare. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov talked about the new sanctions on Russia and what it means for his country’s relations with the U.S. John Podesta, the former Chair of the Clinton Presidential Campaign in 2016 talked about the Senate GOP health care efforts as well as President Donald Trump’s decision to replace Reince Priebus as Chief of Staff with John Kelly, a retired four-star general and outgoing secretary of Homeland Security. Read the full transcript here

CBS’ Face the Nation: Senator Jeff Flake and Senator Diane Feinstein discussed health care reform with host John Dickerson. Senator Flake said that the Republican party has “lost its way,” and Senator Feinstein said that North Korea is a “clear and present danger to the United States.”Major Garret and Margeret Brennan, both correspondents for CBS talked with Dickerson about the news of the week with a journalist’s perspective. Read the highlights here

NBC’s Meet the Press: Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price talked health care reform with host Chuck Todd via Skype. Helene Cooper, Cornell Belcher, Eliana Johnson, Hugh Hewitt were part of the roundtable discussion about politics this week. Watch the full episode here

Fox News’ Fox News Sunday: Host Chris Wallace interviewed Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, and Governor of Ohio John Kasich. The panelists were Karl Rove, Brit Hume, Jane Harman, and Mo Elleithee. Read the transcript here

CNN’s State of the Union: Senator Susan Collins of Maine talked with host Jake Tapper about the week in health care, Senator Bernie Sanders discussed single payer health care. Office of Budget Managment (OMB) Director Mick Mulvaney talked Obamacare. Look at the full lineup here

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Weekend Trump Tweets

“In other words, Russia was against Trump in the 2016 election- and why not, I want strong military & low oil prices. Witch Hunt!”

“Republican Senate must get rid of 60 vote NOW! It is killing the R Party, allows 8 Dems to control country. 200 bills sit in Senate. A JOKE!”

“The very outdated filibuster rule must go. Budget reconciliation is killing R’s in Senate. Mitch M, go to 51 votes NOW and WIN. IT’S TIME!”

“Republicans in the Senate will NEVER win if they don’t go to a 51 vote majority NOW. They look like fools and are just wasting time……”

“8 Dems totally control the U.S. Senate. Many great Republican bills will never pass, like Kate’s Law and complete Healthcare. Get smart!”

“If the Senate Democrats ever got the chance, they would switch to a 51 vote majority in first minute. They are laughing at R’s. MAKE CHANGE!”

“After seven years of “talking” Repeal&Replace, the people of our great country are still being forced to live with imploding ObamaCare!”

“If a new HealthCare Bill is not approved quickly, BAILOUTS for Insurance Companies and BAILOUTS for Members of Congress will end very soon!”

“U.S. Stock Market up almost 20% since Election!”

“Unless the Republican Senators are total quitters, Repeal&Replace is not dead! Demand another vote before voting on any other bill!”

“I love reading about all of the “geniuses” who were so instrumental in my election success. Problem is, most don’t exist. #Fake News! MAGA”

“I am very dissapointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet…”

“…they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!”

“Don’t give up Republican Senators, the World is warching: Repeal&Replace…and go to 51 votes (nuke option), get Cross State Lines&more.”

–As of 10:23 PM Pacific Time on July 30th, 2017–


Trump plan on China may come as soon as this week


President Donald Trump’s top advisers are huddling behind the scenes in a bid to craft a set of economic measures meant to punish China, two administration officials told POLITICO.

Trump’s aides met over the weekend and will continue the discussions on Monday, with a final decision expected as soon as this week, the officials said

They said there are a range of options on the table, including trade restrictions. Other possibilities include economic sanctions. But the officials said it’s too early to say what the president might decide.

The escalating situation in North Korea, including Friday’s latest intercontinental ballistic missile test, has heightened the urgency of crafting a cogent China strategy. The president believes China is not doing enough to stop North Korea from building a nuclear weapon that could strike U.S. soil — and he has long complained, both in public and in private, that the Chinese are engaging in unfair trade practices.

“I am very disappointed in China. Our foolish past leaders have allowed them to make hundreds of billions of dollars a year in trade, yet they do NOTHING for us with North Korea, just talk. We will no longer allow this to continue. China could easily solve this problem!” Trump said on Twitter over the weekend.

Trump is prepared to slap sanctions on Venezuela


Two senior administration officials told CNN Sunday that sanctions could be announced as early as Monday. The Venezuelan government on Sunday held a controversial vote that President Trump and many other critics say will erode any last signs of democracy in the South American nation.

One option is a possible ban on sales of U.S. crude and refined products. The harshest of sanctions, an embargo on shipments of Venezuelan oil to the U.S., is off the table for now, one source said.

Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro “dreams of becoming a dictator,” Trump said in a statement on July 17. “The United States will not stand by as Venezuela crumbles.”

For his part, Maduro called Trump an “emperor” this week.

The Trump administration on Wednesday slapped sanctions on 13 government and military officials tied to Maduro. Mexico and Colombia followed with sanctions on the same individuals.

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Trump threatened further “strong and swift economic action” after Sunday’s vote.

The U.S. sends light crude oil to Venezuela, which has heavy crude. The two get mixed together in Venezuela and shipped back to the United States.

Related: Venezuela’s hyperinflation is jaw-dropping See for yourself

Still, the possibility of sanctions isn’t lost on Venezuela’s young protesters in Caracas known as “La Resistencia” who go up against Maduro’s national guard in violent clashes nearly every day.

One protester, an engineer who declined to give his name, told CNN Wednesday “in a way, it would help us,” arguing that U.S. sanctions would force Maduro to change his ways or step down.

Putin orders cut of 755 personnel at U.S. missions

Washington Post

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Sunday that the U.S. diplomatic missions in Moscow and elsewhere in the country will have to reduce their staffs by 755 people, signaling a significant escalation in the Russian response to American sanctions over the Kremlin’s intervention in the 2016 presidential election.

The United States and Russia have expelled dozens of each other’s diplomats before — but Sunday’s statement, made by Putin in an interview with the Rossiya-1 television channel, indicated the single largest forced reduction in embassy staff, comparable only to the closing of the American diplomatic presence in the months following the Communist revolution in 1917.

In the interview, Putin said that the number of American diplomatic and technical personnel will be capped at 455 — equivalent to the number of their Russian counterparts working in the United States. Currently, close to 1,200 employees work at the United States’ embassy and consulates in Russia, according to U.S. and Russian data.

“More than a thousand employees — diplomats and technical employees — have worked and are still working in Russia these days,” Putin told journalist Vladimir Solovyov on a nationally televised news show Sunday evening. “Some 755 of them will have to terminate their activity.”

Putin’s remarks came during a 3½ -day trip by Vice President Pence to Eastern Europe to show U.S. support for countries that have chafed at interference from Moscow — Estonia, Georgia and Montenegro.

Republicans Worry That White House Disarray is Undermining Trump

New York Times

President Trump and Republicans in Washington have shaken the confidence of their supporters after a punishing and self-inflicted series of setbacks that have angered activists, left allies slack-jawed and reopened old fissures on the right.

A seemingly endless sequence of disappointments and blunders has rattled Mr. Trump’s volatile governing coalition, like Mr. Trump’s attacks on Attorney General Jeff Sessions; a vulgar tirade by his new communications chief, Anthony Scaramucci; and the collapse of conservative-backed health care legislation.

Mr. Trump remains overwhelmingly popular with Republicans, but among party loyalists and pro-Trump activists around the country, there are new doubts about the tactics he has employed, the team he has assembled and the fate of the populist, “drain the swamp” agenda he promised to deliver in partnership with a Republican-controlled Congress.

“There is a significant amount of justified frustration, particularly with the Senate,” said Robin Hayes, the chairman of the North Carolina Republican Party, alluding to the health care defeat. “I don’t want to use any Scaramucci language this morning, but it’s their inability to function as a team, to work together and come up with a responsible win.”

Some Republican grass-roots activists cheered the ouster on Friday of Reince Priebus, a former party chairman, as White House chief of staff, and his replacement with John F. Kelly, a retired Marine general. “Priebus was in over his head,” said Ed Martin, a former Missouri Republican Party chairman. “General Kelly is battle tested.”

But Mr. Hayes said that while a strong majority of Republican voters adored Mr. Trump, there are creeping doubts about other administration advisers. Mr. Hayes said that Mr. Scaramucci’s interview with The New Yorker magazine, in which he savaged several White House colleagues in sexually graphic terms, had shocked Republicans in his state.

“How does that help us get health care and tax reform and rebuilding the military?” Mr. Hayes said.

Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, a Republican who has been critical of Mr. Trump, echoed that sentiment, saying meaningful policies will emerge from the White House only when the “chaos” in the administration abates. He said he was uncertain whether the shake-up of the senior staff would have that effect.

Thanks for reading, we’ll be back tomorrow.

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