Two more NBC News/Marist polls paint a mixed picture for Democrats in the race for the Senate, with a tie in one state, and a strong Democratic lead in another over a one-time Republican star.
In Iowa, where longtime Democratic Sen. Tom Harkin is retiring, Democratic Rep. Bruce Braley and Republican state Sen. Joni Ernst are tied at 43 percent each. The poll was conducted from July 7-13, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points.
Meanwhile in New Hampshire, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen leads former Sen. Scott Brown — who moved to New Hampshire and has launched a comeback bid, after he lost re-election in Massachusetts in 2012 — by a solid margin of 50 percent to 42 percent. The poll was also conducted from July 7-13, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points.
The polls show that in Iowa, Braley leads among women by a margin of 45 percent to 37 percent, while Ernst leads among men by a similar 48 percent to 40 percent. In New Hampshire, though, Shaheen leads among women by a huge 59 percent to 34 percent, more than balancing out Brown's lead among men of 51 percent to 42 percent. From NBC's analysis: "In this current environment, successful Democratic campaigns are going to need to win female voters by double digits; single digits probably won't cut it." Eric Kleefeld
At a Senate Republican meeting at the White House on Tuesday, President Trump got an earful about a brutal ad campaign an allied super PAC, America First Policies, has been running against Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.), who is up for re-election next year in a state carried by Hillary Clinton, The New York Times reports, citing a senator and another person presdent at the meeting. Heller was one of the first Republicans to say he couldn't support the Senate GOP health-care bill as written. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had already complained about the ads, reportedly telling White House Chief of Staff Reince Priebus they were "beyond stupid."
"The move against Mr. Heller had the blessing of the White House, according to an official with America First, because Mr. Trump's allies were furious that the senator would side with Nevada's governor, Brian Sandoval, a Republican who accepted the Medicaid expansion under the health law and opposes the Republican overhaul, in criticizing the bill," the Times reports. "According to the senator, the president laughed good-naturedly at the complaint and signaled that he had received the message." After the meeting, America First said it was pulling its promised seven-figure attack campaign against Heller, congratulating Heller for coming "back to the table."
On Tuesday evening, Heller held an event with constituents over the telephone. Jon Ralston, editor of The Nevada Independent, live-tweeted it. Heller praised Sandoval's decision to accept ObamaCare's expansion of Medicaid in the state, argued that former President Ronald Reagan wouldn't have supported the Senate GOP health-care bill, said McConnell couldn't count on his vote for the bill after the July 4 break, then dropped this reference to The Godfather, according to Ralston: "It's going to be very difficult to get me to a yes ... have to make us an offer we can't refuse, me and the governor."
— Alex Burns (@alexburnsNYT) June 28, 2017
If Trump comes after Heller again, maybe he can drop the talk of severed horse heads and draw inspiration from Michael Corleone's conversation with a fictional Nevada senator, Pat Geary, in The Godfather Part II, though presumably with a less bloody enforcement mechanism.
Shortly before reversing pending ban on a pesticide, EPA chief met with CEO of chemical company selling it
Environmental Protection Agency head Scott Pruitt met with Dow Chemical CEO Andrew Liveris on March 9, and 20 days later, he reversed the EPA's decision to ban the spraying of food with a Dow chemical that studies show can interfere with the development of children's brains, The Associated Press reports.
AP received Pruitt's schedule through a Freedom of Information Act request. Pruitt and Liveris were both speaking at an energy industry conference in Houston when the 30-minute private meeting occurred. EPA spokeswoman Liz Bowman told AP that the pair did not discuss chlorpyrifos, the chemical in question, and were just "briefly introduced." Liveris leads a White House manufacturing working group, and Dow Chemical gave $1 million to help underwrite President Trump's inauguration.
EPA scientists have reviewed the chemical, and found that ingesting even the smallest amount can harm the brains of fetuses, infants, and children. The American Academy of Pediatrics is calling on Pruitt to take the chemical off the market, saying in a statement: "There is a wealth of science demonstrating the detrimental effects of chlorpyrifos exposure to developing fetuses, infants, children, and pregnant women. The risk to infant and children's health and development is unambiguous."
Chlorpyrifos is similar to a chemical developed during World War II as a weapon, AP says, and traces of it are often found in drinking water. Dow sells about five million pounds of the chemical in the U.S. annually, and in 2015, the Obama administration proposed banning its use on food. In April, AP reported that Dow was urging the Trump administration to "set aside" findings made by federal scientists that organophosphate pesticides like chlorpyrifos are harmful to threatened and endangered species. Catherine Garcia
At least one GOP senator is pretty sure Trump doesn't understand the basics of the GOP health-care bill
When President Trump, a month after effusively praising a House Republican health-care bill, dismissed it as too "mean" last week, some people began to suspect that Trump was more interested in getting a legislative victory than in the policy details of the victorious legislation. "I don't know that he ever understood exactly what the provisions of ObamaCare were, or what we're trying to accomplish in our health system today for more affordable quality care," Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) said on MSNBC Tuesday, after Nicole Wallace asked what specific ObamaCare policies Trump actually opposed.
— Kyle Griffin (@kylegriffin1) June 27, 2017
Before he delayed a vote on the Senate GOP plan to replace ObamaCare Tuesday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) asked Trump to invite all 52 Senate Republicans to the White House for a meeting on the legislation. When reporters asked McConnell outside the West Wing if he believed Trump had command of the details of the health-care negotiations, "McConnell ignored the question and smiled blandly," The New York Times reports. Trump has been pretty hands-off in the Senate health-care talks, at McConnell's request, so only a few senators had interacted with Trump on the legislation before Tuesday's meeting, the Times says, setting up this anecdote:
A senator who supports the bill left the meeting at the White House with a sense that the president did not have a grasp of some basic elements of the Senate plan — and seemed especially confused when a moderate Republican complained that opponents of the bill would cast it as a massive tax break for the wealthy, according to an aide who received a detailed readout of the exchange. Mr. Trump said he planned to tackle tax reform later. [The New York Times]
About 45 percent of the tax benefits from the Senate bill would go to the top 1 percent of U.S. hold holds by income — those earning $875,000 a year an upwards would get a $45,500 annual tax cut, and the top 0.1 percent would pocket an average tax cut of $250,000 by 2026 — according to an analysis by the Tax Policy Center. The middle class would get a 0.4 percent raise in after-tax income, the analysis found, versus a 2 percent bump for the top 1 percent. You can read how the Senate GOP bill stacks up to Trump's health-care promises at The Week. Peter Weber
Cristina Penton boarded her Spirit Airlines flight to Dallas 36 weeks pregnant, and disembarked with a 7-pound baby boy in her arms.
The Phoenix resident was 30 minutes into her flight from Ft. Lauderdale a few days ago when she notified the flight attendants that she wasn't feeling well. Once she realized the baby was coming, the flight was diverted to New Orleans, and two of her fellow passengers — a pediatrician and a nurse — jumped up to help. Before the plane could land, Christoph Lezcano made his debut.
Penton and Christoph were taken to a local hospital to be checked out, and are both doing great. Spirit Airlines representatives visited them in their room, and showered the baby with presents, including one that's perfect for the tiny traveler — free flights for Christoph and a guest to anywhere Spirit Airlines goes, every year on his birthday for the rest of his life. Catherine Garcia
On June 14, Leo Varadkar became prime minister, or Taoiseach, of Ireland, after winning an internal race for leadership of his Fine Gael party following the resignation of Enda Kenny. On Tuesday, President Trump called Varadkar to congratulate him on his "great victory." He invited the press to observe the call. Trump began with a nod to the Irish-American community. "We have so many people from Ireland in this country," he said. "I know so many of them, too. I feel I know all of them." Then things got slightly odder.
— RTÉ News (@rtenews) June 27, 2017
Trump, perhaps searching for something to talk about, told Varadkar that he had members of the Irish press corps in the Oval Office. "And where are you from?" he asked one, Caitriona Perry, the Washington correspondent for state broadcaster Raidio Teilifis Eireann (RTE), who shot the video above. "Go ahead, come here, come here. Where are you from? We have all of this beautiful Irish press." When she identified herself, Trump said to Varadkar: "Caitriona Perry. She has a nice smile on her face. So I bet she treats you well."
That moment when the president of the US treats an international reporter like a goddamn pageant contestant. pic.twitter.com/fOXzXxrzlJ
— shauna (@goldengateblond) June 27, 2017
"Thank you for the newspapers, Caitriona," Trump told the TV and radio broadcast journalist. Peter Weber
Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro said a police helicopter fired shots at the Supreme Court on Tuesday and threw grenades that could have caused "dozens of deaths."
Witnesses say they heard explosions go off in downtown Caracas, Reuters reports, and Maduro vowed that "sooner rather than later we are going to capture the helicopter and those behind this armed terrorist attack against the institutions of the country." For the past three months, the opposition has protested against Maduro, while the pro-government Supreme Court has made several rulings in his favor. At least 75 people have died during the demonstrations.
Maduro wants a July 30 vote for a Constituent Assembly, which could rewrite the national charter and supersede the opposition-controlled Congress, and the opposition is calling for an early presidential election. Some supporters of the opposition, whose leaders have urged security forces to stop following Maduro's orders, believe Tuesday's attack may have been staged by the government. Earlier in the day, Maduro said if a violent revolt should occur and Venezuela is "plunged into chaos and violence and the Bolivarian Revolution destroyed, we would go to combat. We would never give up, and what couldn't be done with votes, we would do with arms, we would liberate the fatherland with arms." Catherine Garcia
On Tuesday, Paul Manafort, a former chairman of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, retroactively filed paperwork showing that his consulting firm received $17.1 million for work done from 2012 to 2014 for a pro-Russia political party in Ukraine.
Manafort worked with the Party of Regions and politician Viktor Yanukovych, who served as president from 2010 until 2014, when he fled to Moscow after protesters demanded he step aside. Manafort's Foreign Agents Registration Act filing did not reveal how much he received personally, but did show that he met in 2013 with a pro-Russia and now pro-Trump congressman, Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.). Any American who works in the U.S. on behalf of a foreign government or political party has to register within 10 days of agreeing to conduct the work, The Washington Post reports, and Manafort's spokesman told the paper he started preparing the filing in September.
Last August, Manafort resigned as chairman of the Trump campaign after it was reported that the Party of Regions secretly paid him millions of dollars, an allegation Manafort denies. Special Counsel Robert Mueller is looking at Manafort as part of his investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election, and he's the second close Trump associate to retroactively file as a foreign agent; in March, former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn disclosed that in 2016, he worked with a Turkish businessman active in his country's politics. Catherine Garcia