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Rudy Giuliani denied that he will replace Jeff Sessions, depriving the world the pleasure of having New Yorkers’ two least-favorite New Yorkers in government. Jared Kushner told a Senate committee that he “did not collude” with Russia, taking a break from his ongoing hunt for a child to sacrifice to a painting of Vigo the Carpathian. And new White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci is doing a positively bang-up job ― that is if his job is to be the awkward friend that America’s buddy brought to dinner who ruined the evening by saying weird things. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Monday, July 24th, 2017:
GOP SENATORS TOTALLY FINE WITH NOT KNOWING WHAT’S GOING ON - Jeffrey Young: “The long, halting slog toward Obamacare repeal is set to reach a significant milestone Tuesday, when the Senate is scheduled to vote on...something…. Tuesday morning, the Senate is scheduled to begin floor debate on whatever that something is. McConnell is asking GOP senators to approve a procedural motion on a House-passed health care bill, which will then allow him to bring up something else, after which senators will debate and vote on amendments to the something. No one knows what they’ll be voting to debate. Seriously.″ [HuffPost]
WOE UNTO REINCE PRIEBUS - Poor guy thought he’d have to take a high-six-figure lobbying job in half a year. Tara Palmeri: “Six months in, with one of his top allies in the West Wing — press secretary Sean Spicer — on his way out, Priebus is in defensive mode, his role diminished and an internal rival hogging the limelight. Trump’s decision to bring Wall Street financier Anthony Scaramucci into the role of communications director shows the rising power of political outsiders and the diminished influence of establishment figures — which Priebus, the former chairman of the Republican National Committee, epitomizes. One White House official and two outside advisers said that while Scaramucci was brought into the White House for the communications job, he’s considered an internal candidate to eventually succeed Priebus as chief of staff. There are also a handful of outside candidates.” [Politico]
JEFF SESSIONS TOO ETHICAL FOR PRESIDENT TRUMP’S TASTE - Heartless, sure, but spineless? Those kinds of guys don’t grow on tree―- oh hey, Rudy. Mike Allen: ”President Trump is so unhappy with Attorney General Jeff Sessions that he has raised the possibility of bringing back Rudolph Giuliani to head the Justice Department, according to West Wing confidants. In internal conversations, Trump has recently pondered the idea of nominating Giuliani, a stalwart of his campaign. Even before last week’s blast at Sessions in a New York Times interview, Trump had expressed fury at Sessions — also one of the first prominent Republicans to back the Trump campaign — for recusing himself from the Russia investigation. And in a Monday morning tweet, Trump referred to ‘our beleaguered A.G.’ not investigating Hillary Clinton.” [Axios]
Rudy says he’s not interested.
KUSHNER TESTIFIES, WYDEN CALLS FOR OPEN HEARING - “White House adviser Jared Kushner ought to testify under oath in an open session of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said Monday. President Donald Trump’s son-in-law faced questions from committee staff behind closed doors on Monday about his contacts with Russian citizens and officials. He is scheduled to answer more questions about the matter during a similar meeting with the House Intelligence Committee on Tuesday. In a statement released Monday, Kushner said he ‘did not collude, nor know of anyone else in the campaign who colluded, with any foreign government.’ Wyden said Monday that Kushner’s 11-page written statement about four meetings he had with Russians during last year’s presidential campaign and during the Trump administration’s transition, which he failed to disclose on a security clearance form, ‘raises far more questions than it answers.’”
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TRUMP NOT HAPPY WITH CONGRESSIONAL REPUBLICANS - Then again, when he’s willing to trash the one senator who went out of his way to endorse him, you can’t expect much for the majority of them who didn’t. Paige Lavender: “President Donald Trump called out Senate Republicans on Monday for not yet repealing Obamacare. Trump gave a public statement after meeting with a group of people the White House called ‘victims’ of Obamacare. Trump said Senate Republicans have so far ‘not done their job in ending the Obamacare nightmare.’ But he also criticized Democrats in his remarks, calling them ‘obstructionists.’ ‘The Senate is very close to the votes it needs to pass a replacement. The problem is, we have zero help from the Democrats,’ he said. ‘They run out [and] they say death death death, but Obamacare is death,’ Trump added.” [HuffPost]
Maybe a tad ghoulish. “Senate Republicans are still hoping John McCain makes it to Tuesday’s crucial Obamacare repeal vote…. ‘They were trying to get approval [from his doctors] for his travel arrangements. I’ve personally volunteered to rent an RV,’ said Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas.” [Politico’s Burgess Everett]
SHOW US WHERE MATH TOUCHED YOU, REPUBLICANS - The House Freedom Caucus is very angry at those nerds and their carefully considering findings. Mike DeBonis: “Conservative hard-liners in the House are hoping to gut the Congressional Budget Office, the nonpartisan scorekeeper whose analysis has recently bedeviled Republican efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act…. ′There’s plenty of think tanks that are out there. And so we ought to take a score from Heritage, from AEI, from Brookings, from the Urban Institute and bring them together for a composite score that would represent a very wide swath of think tanks and their abilities,′ [said Rep. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.)]” [WaPo]
BLUE DOGS TRYING TO MAKE A COMEBACK, BECAUSE SURE - They will no doubt have a receptive audience with Speaker Heath Shuler. ”[W]ith Democrats eager to woo the white working-class voters who flocked to Trump, the coalition is prodding party leaders to support Blue Dog-backed candidates, saying that’s the key to taking back the House in 2018. It’s a push that is quickly running into conflict with the party’s energized left flank…. The Blue Dogs are also meeting with top Trump officials on tax reform and other issues, causing heartburn with some colleagues who insist all-out resistance — not working with an administration they loathe — is the winning formula for next year…. With only 18 members, the coalition represents less than 10 percent of House Democrats. In recent years, it has been eclipsed in membership by a similar group, the centrist New Democrat Coalition, which boasts 61 members and is more socially liberal.” [Politico]
Progressives also lining up to be candidates. “There has been a surge of Democrats signing up to run for office since President Donald Trump entered the White House. There are many reasons for this, but it’s hard to see a more universally motivating factor than health care.” [HuffPost’s Jennifer Bendery]
MO BROOKS GOES THERE - If you have to ask whether a member of Congress will go there…. Eric Garcia: ”Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks is touting his Second Amendment credentials by saying his views about guns are unchanged even after being shot at. Brooks is running for the Republican nomination for Senate in Alabama against incumbent Sen. Luther Strange, who was appointed after Jeff Sessions became attorney general…. The ad opens with text saying ‘June 14: a Bernie Sanders Supporter fires on Republican Congressmen’ and has the sound of gunshots…. It then segues to show reporters who Brooks describes as ‘the liberal media’ asking about guns before showing footage of his response as patriotic music plays in the background…. Brett Horton, Scalise’s chief of staff, criticized the ad on Twitter, saying ‘this makes my stomach turn.’” [Roll Call]
Lawmaker only wants to murder dudes. “A Republican congressman did not throw away his shot when he called out his Senate counterparts for their lack of ‘courage’ in the ongoing failure to pass health care legislation. In a local radio interview last Friday, Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-Texas) took particular issue with the GOP women who didn’t get the job done. Or as he described them ― wait for it ― ‘some female senators from the Northeast’ who opposed the legislation. Farenthold suggested he would have challenged them to a duel — if only they were men.” [HuffPost’s Marina Fang]
DEMOCRATS REVEAL POLICY AGENDA, KIND OF LEAVE THE BELTWAY TO DO SO - Thank God D.C. has so many nearby rural areas to use as props. Erica Werner: ”Promising ‘A Better Deal’ for American workers, Democratic Party leaders rolled out a new agenda with a populist pitch on Monday as they sought to bounce back from their losses in November and look ahead to the 2018 midterms. They left the Beltway for small-town Berryville, Virginia, in an attempt to appeal to the working-class voters that Donald Trump appealed to last November and Democrats hope to win back…. Detailed planks will be rolled out over time. On Monday, three were being unveiled: Lowering prescription drug prices. Suggestions include a new agency that could investigate drug manufacturer price hikes and allow Medicare to negotiate directly for the best drug prices. Cracking down on corporate monopolies. Democrats would enact new standards to limit large mergers, and create a new consumer competition advocate. Creating millions more jobs. The agenda includes proposals for expanding apprenticeships and providing a tax credit to employers to train and hire new workers.” [AP]
BECAUSE YOU’VE READ THIS FAR - Here’s a young girl having her day made by meeting Wonder Woman.
MOOCH GOOFS - Emma Gray: “New White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci shared his thoughts on press briefings and the role he will play in the Trump administration with CNN’s Jake Tapper on Sunday morning. He also took the time to comment on White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders’ hair and makeup regimen. ‘For Sarah Huckabee, I want to do everything I can to make her better at that podium. I think she’s phenomenal there now. But like every athlete that is training for the Olympics, every day we have to make ourselves incrementally better,’ Scaramucci said. ‘The only thing I ask Sarah — Sarah, if you’re watching, I loved the hair and makeup person we had on Friday, so I’d like to continue to use the hair and makeup person.’” [HuffPost]
- The internet has decided that Anthony Scaramucci is the 80s Guy from “Futurama.”
- Free heavy metal is the new free hugs.
- Take your crazy cat person game to a whole new level with cat sushi.
@JaredRizzi: Jefferson Beleaguered Sessions
@recordedvoice: 10 Epic Headline Structures HuffPost Is Parsing In A Self-Aware Way, And Twitter Can’t Even (NSFW)
@sunraysunray: Daenerys says “bend the knee” two minutes into the new GoT. Clearly the toxic discourse is spilling over beyond just Twitter.
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