Last night's GOP Senate primary in North Carolina was billed as a surrogate battle in the Republican Civil War between the establishment and grassroots. But it ended up being more of a surrender than a battle. And since establishment candidate Thom Tillis easily trounced his two grassroots conservative opponents, it would be easy to declare today that the tea party is toast.
The truth is probably more complicated than that. In fact, if the tea party didn't show up, or put up much of a fight, it might be because they already won the war. I'll let The Atlantic's Molly Ball explain:
[I]f Tillis represented the Republican establishment — something he denies, of course; it is not a label anyone embraces — he also represents the party's new, post-Tea Party mainstream. He was endorsed by National Right to Life and the National Rifle Association. As House speaker during a time when Republicans took over North Carolina's government for the first time since 1896, he oversaw a dramatic slate of rightward policies, from tax cuts to voter ID, that he terms a "conservative revolution."
It was hard for opponents to paint Tillis as a liberal when actual liberals were picketing his initiatives on the steps of the statehouse in Raleigh on a regular basis. If this race is any indication, the "Republican civil war" storyline so beloved of pundits in recent years may have to be retired... [The Atlantic]
The theory goes like this: In the beginning, the GOP establishment had grown old and fat and corrupt, and the tea party bench was full of young and talented and pure candidates. And so, when quality candidates like former Florida House Speaker Marco Rubio and former Rep. and Club for Growth head Pat Toomey challenged moderate GOP candidates like then-Gov. Charlie Crist (Fla.) and then-Sen. Arlen Specter (Pa.) — both of whom later became Democrats — it was like picking low-hanging fruit.
But there are only so many Rubios and Toomeys (and only so many Crists and Specters). So it gets increasingly harder to replicate this success. The well of quality tea party candidates goes dry, and eventually, you're scraping the bottom. What's more, the early victories send a message to the old guard that they'd better clean up their act.
And so, the tea party message gets co-opted by the establishment — which, for tea party conservatives, ought to be cause for celebration; incumbents who want to survive either get religion, or get ousted.
If the tea party is having a bad year, it's only because they are a victim of their own success. Matt K. Lewis
Following the retraction of an article on a Wall Street financier and ally of President Trump allegedly meeting with a Russian investment fund, three investigative journalists at CNN are leaving the network.
On June 22, CNN published a story its website about Senate investigators looking into a meeting between SkyBridge Capital founder Anthony Scaramucci and an executive for the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which invests in Russian companies, the Los Angeles Times reports. Late Friday, CNN removed the story from its website, saying the article did not meet its editorial standards, and the network also apologized to Scaramucci. Scaramucci said Friday the story was false, and on Saturday, accepted CNN's apology, tweeting: "Everyone makes mistakes. Moving on."
In the wake of the retraction, the article's writer, Thomas Frank, and editors Eric Lichtblau and Lex Harris have all resigned from CNN, the network announced Monday night. CNN did not say that the story was false, just that the facts were "not solid" enough for publication. Harris, who started at CNN in 2001 and oversaw the investigative unit, said in a statement CNN is a "news organization that prizes accuracy and fairness above all else. I am leaving, but will carry those principles wherever I go." Catherine Garcia
White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer released a blunt statement Monday night about Syria, claiming the United States has "identified potential preparations for another chemical attack by the [Bashar al-] Assad regime that would likely result in the mass murder of civilians, including innocent children."
The White House says it has seen activities "similar to preparations the regime made before its April 4, 2017, chemical weapons attack." The U.S. is in Syria to "eliminate the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria," the statement continued. "If, however Mr. Assad conducts another mass murder attack using chemical weapons, he and his military will pay a heavy price." Catherine Garcia
Tennis superstar Serena Williams is not to be messed with, on or off the court.
Over the weekend, John McEnroe, while promoting his new memoir, But Seriously, told NPR he believes Williams is the best female player ever. When asked why he didn't refer to her, like others have, as the best player in the world, McEnroe responded that while she is "incredible," if Williams "played the men's circuit, she'd be like 700 in the world."
Williams waited until Monday to tweet a message right to McEnroe. "Dear John," she wrote. "I adore and respect you but please, please keep me out of your statements that are not factually based." That wasn't all; Williams went on to add, "I've never played anyone ranked 'there' nor do I have time. Respect me and my privacy as I'm trying to have a baby. Good day, sir." Williams is engaged to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian, and they are expecting their first child. Catherine Garcia
Carter Page, a foreign policy adviser to Donald Trump during the presidential campaign, was questioned by FBI agents five times in March regarding his contacts with Russians and communications with the Trump campaign, several people with knowledge of the investigation told The Washington Post.
When asked about claims that he acted as a middleman between the campaign and Russian officials, Page denied any wrongdoing, a person familiar with the case said. Page told the Post he had "extensive discussions" with FBI agents in March, but would not say if he has had any follow-up meetings. He did reveal that he met with the agents without an attorney, and said he wasn't concerned about not having a representative with him because he told the truth.
The Post reports Page was also asked about the claims made against him in a dossier compiled by a former British intelligence officer, which came to light earlier this year. The dossier states that Page met in July 2016 with Igor Sechin, an associate of Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Igor Divyekin, a senior Kremlin official, and he was part of a "well-developed conspiracy of cooperation between [Trump associates] and the Russian leadership." Page said he never met Sechin, and hadn't heard of Divyekin until the dossier came out. Catherine Garcia
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) tweeted Monday evening that she will vote no on a motion to advance the Senate health-care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act.
Collins made the announcement a few hours after the Congressional Budget Office released its preliminary analysis of the Senate Republicans' health-care proposal, which estimates that in 10 years, if the plan passes, 22 million more people would be uninsured than if the Affordable Care Act remained the law. "I want to work with my GOP and Dem colleagues to fix the flaws in ACA," she tweeted. "CBO analysis shows Senate bill won't do it. I will vote no on mtp," meaning motion to proceed.
"CBO says 22 million people lose insurance," she continued. "Medicaid cuts hurt most vulnerable Americans; access to health care in rural areas threatened. Senate bill doesn't fix ACA problems for rural Maine. Our hospitals are already struggling. 1 in 5 Mainers are on Medicaid." Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who wants a vote on the BCRA this week, cannot afford to lose more than two votes, and now at least eight GOP senators have publicly noted their displeasure with the bill. Catherine Garcia
The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released on Monday its preliminary analysis of the Senate Republicans' health-care proposal, estimating that by 2026, 22 million more people would be uninsured under the Better Care Reconciliation Act.
— Kedron Bardwell (@KedronBardwell) June 26, 2017
The Senate Republicans decided to jump on one bit of information in the analysis — that "the draft bill would lower premiums by 30 percent when compared with current law," the Affordable Care Act. Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), chairman of the Senate Republican Conference, also said the CBO report "confirms that the Senate health-care bill will soon start lowering premiums for millions of Americans relative to the unsustainable premium increases under the broken ObamaCare system."
They're not exactly on the same page as the Republican National Committee, which released its own statement saying, "Remember, the CBO has a long track record of being way off in their modeling, with predictions often differing drastically from what actually happens." So, depending on which Republican you ask, either the CBO report is completely accurate, or it can't be trusted. Catherine Garcia
22 million more would be uninsired under the Senate health bill than ObamaCare. That's the entire population of these 17 states combined.
On Monday, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office released its appraisal of Senate Republicans' health-care bill, dubbed the Better Care Reconciliation Act. The CBO estimated that were the BCRA to become law, 22 million more people would be uninsured by 2026 than if ObamaCare were to remain the law of the land.
As ProPublica's Charles Ornstein pointed out, that's effectively the populations of these 17 U.S. states combined:
The increase in the number of uninsured is the population of KS, NM, NE, WV, ID, HI, NH, ME, RI, MT, DE, SD, ND, AK, VT, WY, DC--combined.
— Charles Ornstein (@charlesornstein) June 26, 2017
The Senate's bill does make out slightly ahead of the bill House Republicans passed early last month, which the CBO estimated would result in 23 million more uninsured by 2026 than ObamaCare.