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Boehner: Republicans won't repeal and replace Obamacare

(Politico) Former House Speaker John Boehner predicted on Thursday that a full repeal and replace of Obamacare is “not going to happen.”

Boehner, who retired in 2015 amid unrest among conservatives, said at an Orlando healthcare conference that the idea that a repeal-and-replace plan would blitz through Congress was just “happy talk.”

Instead, he said changes to former President Barack Obama’s signature legislative achievement would likely be relatively modest.

“(Congressional Republicans are) going to fix Obamacare – I shouldn’t call it repeal-and-replace, because it’s not going to happen,” he said.


Manafort faced blackmail attempt, hacks suggest

(Politico) A purported cyber hack of the daughter of political consultant Paul Manafort suggests that he was the victim of a blackmail attempt while he was serving as Donald Trump’s presidential campaign chairman last summer.

The undated communications, which are allegedly from the iPhone of Manafort’s daughter, include a text that appears to come from a Ukrainian parliamentarian named Serhiy Leshchenko, seeking to reach her father, in which he claims to have politically damaging information about both Manafort and Trump.

Attached to the text is a note to Paul Manafort referring to “bulletproof” evidence related to Manafort’s financial arrangement with Ukraine’s former president, the pro-Russian strongman Viktor Yanukovych, as well as an alleged 2012 meeting between Trump and a close Yanukovych associate named Serhiy Tulub.

“Considering all the facts and evidence that are in my possession, and before possible decision whether to pass this to or FBI I would like to get your opinion on this and maybe your way to work things out that will persuade me to do otherwise,” reads the note. It is signed “Sergii” — an alternative transliteration of Leshchenko’s given name — and it urges Manafort to respond to an email address that reporters have used to reach Leshchenko.


Trump administration rolls back protections for transgender students

(WaPo) The Trump administration on Wednesday revoked federal protections for transgender students who sought the right to use the public school restrooms that match their gender identity, taking a stand on a contentious issue that has become the central battle over LGBT rights.

Officials with the federal Education and Justice departments notified the U.S. Supreme Court late Wednesday that the administration is ordering the nation’s schools to disregard memos the Obama administration issued during the past two years regarding transgender student rights. Those memos said that prohibiting transgender students from using facilities that align with their gender identity violates federal anti-discrimination laws.

The two-page “dear colleague” letter from the Trump administration, which is set to go to the nation’s public schools, does not offer any new guidance, instead saying that the earlier directive needed to be withdrawn because it lacked extensive legal analysis, did not go through a public vetting process, sowed confusion and drew legal challenges.

Miles Archer

"Leaving him alone can prove damaging": Staffers warn Trump needs constant praise and limit on TV

(Raw Story) Campaign staffers told Politico in a report published on Wednesday that the president requires constant praise and a limit on media consumption.

“If candidate Trump was upset about unfair coverage, it was productive to show him that he was getting fair coverage from outlets that were persuadable,” former communications director Sam Nunberg explained. “I would assume the president would like see positive and preferential treatment from those outlets and that would help the operation overall.”

To curb his urge to tweet, campaign officials said that they showed Trump positive coverage from friendly outlets like Breitbart, Fox News, the Daily Caller and the conspiracy theory website Infowars.

“He saw there was activity so he didn’t feel like he had to respond,” one former campaign official pointed out. “He sends out these tweets when he feels like people aren’t responding enough for him.”


FEC Commissioner Tells Trump: 'I Will Not Be Silenced,' Provide Fraud Evidence

(TPM) An FEC commissioner repeated her demand Tuesday that the White House provide proof for its claims that thousands of people were bused from Massachusetts into New Hampshire to vote illegally in the 2016 election.

The President of the United States has, without providing evidence, alleged a massive conspiracy to bus thousands of voters from one state to another to cast illegal votes in the 2016 elections, commissioner Ellen Weintraub wrote in a statement posted online Tuesday.


New Dem Governor Reverses Course In Major North Carolina Voting Rights Case

(TPM) North Carolina Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper, who narrowly unseated Republican Pat McCrory in November, announced Tuesday that he is reversing course in a major voting rights case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

The state will no longer defend a series of voting restrictions passed in 2013 by the GOP-controlled legislature and signed by McCrory that a federal appeals court has ruled constitute unconstitutional "race-based vote suppression."

Since 2013, the state has fought to implement a law that eliminated same-day voter registration, cut a full week of early voting, barred voters from casting a ballot outside their home precincts, scrapped straight-ticket voting, and got rid of a program to pre-register high school students who would turn 18 by Election Day. That law also included one of the nation’s strictest voter ID requirements.


Va. gov vetoes bill to defund Planned Parenthood

(The Hill) Virginia's Democratic governor on Tuesday vetoed a bill from the GOP-majority state legislature that would have defunded Planned Parenthood.

"It's time that our General Assembly understands that we have a responsibility to protect the rights and dignity of women," Gov. Terry McAuliffe said at a press conference.

"Without access to reproductive care and the freedom to exercise choice, women are denied the choice to make deeply personal health decisions."

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