White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer raised some eyebrows this week when he blamed the Trump administration's decision to hire Michael Flynn as national security adviser on former President Barack Obama — but now President Trump is passing blame off on the previous administration, too.
On Friday, Trump told Fox News' Martha MacCallum: "Just remember, [Flynn] was approved by the Obama administration at the highest level." While Trump is technically correct that Flynn served under President Obama, Obama also fired Flynn in 2014 during Defense Intelligence Agency shakeups.
In February, Flynn resigned from the Trump administration after misleading Vice President Mike Pence about his conversations with the Russian ambassador prior to being sworn in as national security adviser. Additionally, Flynn was directly told in 2014 not to take money from foreign governments without explicit permission, but he took $34,000 in December 2015 for a speaking gala concerning Russian TV and more than $500,000 for lobbying on behalf of Turkish interests ahead of the November election.
"When they say we didn't vet, well Obama I guess didn't vet, because [Flynn] was approved at the highest level of security by the Obama administration," Trump said. "So when [Flynn] came into our administration, for a short period of time, he came in, he was already approved of by the Obama administration and he had years left on that approval." In fact, Flynn's clearance was revoked when he was fired by Obama in 2014.
Retired Adm. John Kirby expressed disbelief at the Trump administration's spin of the situation: "It’s absolutely just ridiculous to me to pitch it away on the Obama administration," Kirby told CNN's Jake Tapper. "Yes, he got his clearance while President Obama was still in office, but that's one piece of a much larger process.” Jeva Lange
Some employees of a Wisconsin vending machine company will be able to purchase food with the wave of a hand. Three Square Market announced over the weekend that it plans to implant RFID (Radio Frequency ID) microchips into the hands of willing employees. The chips are as small as a grain of rice and would essentially replace key cards, credit cards, and phone apps.
Implanted between the thumb and forefinger, the microchips would be able to unlock doors, pay for break room snacks, serve as business cards, and store medical information. Three Square Market expects at least 50 employees to voluntarily undergo the $300 procedure, for which the company will pick up the tab. The implanting will begin as soon as Aug. 1.
Three Square Market specializes in corporate vending machines it calls "micro markets," though its parent company, TW Vending, distributes supplies to jails and prisons, Fast Company notes. TW Vending's stock includes machines similar to the microchip-activated ones Three Square Market offers. "Eventually, this technology will become standardized allowing you to use this as your passport, public transit, all purchasing opportunities, etc.," Todd Westby, the CEO of Three Square Market, wrote in a blog post. The company is claiming to be the first in the U.S. to implant these chips into employees. Elianna Spitzer
In a speech ahead of Senate Republicans' Tuesday vote on health care, President Trump on Monday declared that ObamaCare "is death." "[Democrats] run out, they say, 'death, death, death,'" Trump said, referring to Democrats' concerns about Republicans' health-care plans. "Well, ObamaCare is death. That's the one that's death."
Trump: "Obamacare is death." pic.twitter.com/4JCDrI0z41
— Dan Diamond (@ddiamond) July 24, 2017
Trump urged Senate Republicans to fulfill their longstanding promise to repeal and replace ObamaCare, pushing specifically for a plan that replaces the health law immediately. "So far, Senate Republicans have not done their job in ending the ObamaCare nightmare," Trump said. He warned that "any senator who votes against starting debate is telling America that you are fine with the ObamaCare nightmare."
Though Senate Republicans have confirmed a health-care vote for Tuesday afternoon, it's not yet clear even to senators which bill they will debate or whether there will be enough votes for the effort to succeed. Becca Stanek
GOP congressman blames female senators for thwarting health care, suggests he'd kill them in a duel if they were men
GOP Rep. Blake Farenthold (Texas) blames the women of the party for Republicans' health-care impasse. In an interview that aired Friday on a local Texas radio station, Farenthold bemoaned the opposition of female senators — like Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) — to both the party's plans to repeal and replace ObamaCare and the later proposal to repeal ObamaCare without a replacement in hand.
"The fact that the Senate does not have the courage to do some things that every Republican in the Senate promised to do is just absolutely repugnant to me. … Some of the people that are opposed to this, they're some female senators from the Northeast," Farenthold said. He then declared that if it were "a guy from South Texas" instead of a woman opposing the health-care plans, he "might ask him to step outside and settle this Aaron Burr-style."
As a refresher, Burr shot and killed former Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in an 1804 duel. Becca Stanek
The Democrats unveiled a brand new economic plan Monday, one intended to consolidate the party's message as one that favors the middle class. Titled "A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future," the plan is the Democrats' attempt to embrace a progressive agenda in the hopes that it will broaden the party's appeal.
"Democrats will show the country that we're the party on the side of working people," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) wrote in a New York Times op-ed published Monday. Schumer specifically called out the antitrust laws that "allow huge corporations to merge, padding the pockets of investors but sending costs skyrocketing for everything from cable bills and airline tickets to food and health care."
The Democrats' proposal details several specific sectors in which the party wants to increase competition to fight for the little guy. On the list? Craft breweries:
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) July 24, 2017
Rep. Mo Brooks (R-Ala.) revisited the congressional baseball practice shooting in his new ad for his Senate campaign. The 30-second spot, entitled "Second Amendment," kicks off with the sound of gunshots and people screaming "get down." "June 14: A Bernie Sanders supporter fires on Republican Congressmen," flashes across an otherwise black screen, as audio from the incident plays. "Mo Brooks gives his belt as a tourniquet to help the wounded."
The ad then flips from the incident in which a gunman fired at Republicans gathered for a morning baseball practice to the response of the "liberal media." A clip is played of Brooks, who was at the baseball practice, being asked whether the shooting changes his "views on the gun situation in America." "The second amendment, the right to bear arms, is to help ensure that we always have a republic. So, no, I'm not changing my position on any of the rights that we enjoy as Americans," Brooks says, as patriotic music begins to play.
Four people, including House Majority Whip Steve Scalise (R-La.), were injured in the shooting. Scalise remains in serious condition.
Watch Brooks' ad below. Becca Stanek
Jared Kushner denies Russia collusion, insists his father-in-law won because he 'had a better message'
After a closed-door meeting Monday with the Senate Intelligence Committee, Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, delivered a brief statement outside of the White House. "Let me be very clear: I did not collude with Russia, nor do I know of anyone else in the campaign who did so," Kushner said, echoing the contents of an 11-page statement he submitted to the House and Senate intelligence committees that was released earlier Monday. Kushner added that he has had "no improper contacts" and has "not relied on Russian funds."
Kushner also used the opportunity to insist that his father-in-law did not win the election because of a boost from the Russians. "Donald Trump had a better message and ran a smarter campaign, and that is why he won," Kushner said. "Suggesting otherwise ridicules those who voted for him."
Watch Kushner's statement below. Becca Stanek
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) July 24, 2017
President Trump on Monday ordered Associated Press reporter Catherine Lucey to be "quiet" after she asked him a question about health care. Lucey was shouting out questions to Trump as he posed for a photo with White House interns.
Lucey's first question was whether Attorney General Jeff Sessions — whom Trump deemed "beleaguered" in a tweet earlier Monday — should resign. Trump responded by quite literally rolling his eyes. "They're not supposed to do that," he told the interns. The press had reportedly been "unexpectedly summoned" to observe the photo session.
Then, Lucey asked for an update on Senate Republicans' plan to repeal ObamaCare. "Quiet," Trump said, evoking laughter from the interns.
Watch it below. Becca Stanek
Trump rolls his eyes when asked if Sessions should resign; tells reporter to “be quiet” when asked about health carepic.twitter.com/terMPUDSlz
— Bradd Jaffy (@BraddJaffy) July 24, 2017