The long, drawn out Russia investigation … stop Mr. President … how Congress avoided ObamaCare coverage … McCain returns … and Megyn Kelly slips again

 My observations on the news of the day.

“Paul Manafort offers to testify about Russia connections.“New York Post, March 24, 2017

“Ex-Trump Advisors Manafort, Stone Offer to Testify to Congress.” – Bloomberg, March 24, 2017

“Paul Manafort to Testify Before House Intelligence Panel.” – The New York Times, March 24, 2017

 

THE DATES TELL A STORY of delay by both House and Senate committees that are supposed to be conducting hearings, interviewing people who may have information on the alleged collusion of Trump campaign members and Russians.

Yes, those committees are headed by Republicans, but with bipartisan rules, Democrats are able to delay and draw out schedules for testimony.

Finally, after four months, Manafort met with Senate intelligence members today.

Testifying by Susan Rice, once agreed upon, is now off again. Why?

While Jared Kushner, after long delay, appeared behind closed Senate doors yesterday, and appeared in private in the House today, he faced microphones in public to deny any collusion with Russians by himself and further denied any knowledge of collusion by others on the Trump team.

While Reuters News Service reported that Kushner had two calls with Russian Ambassador Kislyak some time between April and November 2016, Kushner testified that after review of his phone records, he has been unable to identify any calls to any number to be associated with the ambassador; and was highly skeptical those talks took place. The Reuters journalist refused to provide corroborating evidence that the calls took place. Hmmmm. Fake news?

 STOP, MR. PRESIDENT, STOP tweeting and saying things that divert attention from the important issues on your agenda, like health insurance, tax reform, infrastructure, and important foreign policy issues. Save your Tweets for congratulatory messages and legitimate news. Humiliating Attorney General Jeff Sessions, attacking Special Counsel Robert Mueller, and your continual surfacing of the Russian issue and fake news may make you feel better, but reflect poorly on you and the presidency.

The unsettling nature in the White House, Mr. President, has now spurred a rumor that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who is taking a few days off, may in fact be contemplating resignation. That would be serious.

The people who put you in office still support you, but it’s the Beltway swamp people, including Republicans, who will bring you down if you continue down your path of distractions.

WERE YOU AWARE how the Obama administration crafted a special exemption enabling Congress and their staffers to escape the requirement to be covered by ObamaCare? In August of 2013, the Office of Personnel Management ratified the law with a provision that entitled House and Senate offices with fewer than 50 members would qualify as “small businesses,” according to Heather R. Higgins, CEO of Independent Women’s Voice, who runs the Repeal & Reform Coalition, writing in The Wall Street Journal.

That accommodation “enabled OPM to establish a system of special subsidies and exemptions sparing Congress the embarrassment of a self-serving vote,” wrote Higgins, allowing them to remain on their old insurance plans, where they receive a one-of-a-kind subsidy from their employer (we taxpayers) of up to $12,000, or about 70 percent of their premiums.

Declaring the “sweet deal” illegal, Higgins suggests that President Trump could announce that he is instructing the OPM to end the exemption and subsidies for Congress. At a minimum, he could threaten to do so if Congress, including the Democrats, failed to repeal and replace ObamaCare.

SEN. JOHN MCCAIN RETURNED to the Senate today to vote to allow the Senate to open debate on the health insurance bill, but followed with a speech that included an appeal to work across the aisle and return to regular order, which resulted in wild applause, primarily from Democrats.

SUNDAY NIGHT WITH MEGYN KELLY hit another new low in viewership, 2.71 million on July 23, down from her previous low of 3.1 last week, according to Nielsen data.

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