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July 27, 2017
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Republican Sens. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), John McCain (Ariz.), and Ron Johnson (Wis.) held a news conference Thursday evening about their party's health-care efforts, expressing their concern that the House will pass the Senate's "skinny repeal" of ObamaCare this week without bringing the bill to conference.

Senate leadership has been toying with a "skinny repeal" plan that would focus on eliminating ObamaCare's individual mandate, employer mandate, and medical device tax, while largely leaving the rest of the health-care law in place. Votes on a straight repeal of ObamaCare with a two-year window to replace, as well as a repeal-and-replace bill favored by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), failed earlier this week, prompting senators to take up the "skinny repeal" plan.

Graham called the bill a "fraud" and "terrible policy," stating that unless House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) can assure him that the "skinny" bill "will not become the final product," he will vote against it. McConnell has indicated the bill would simply serve as a way for the Senate to pass a lowest-common-denominator piece of legislation that would pave the way for conference with the House, and has reportedly been in communication with Ryan about that strategy. Still, Graham said he would like a more solid guarantee. "It's like pornography, you know it when you see it," Graham said of what would be a sufficient pledge.

McCain called for a bipartisan approach to create a better health-care bill. "Right now I am voting no," McCain confirmed, and he joined Graham's call for the bill to go to conference with the House. Johnson said that "virtually nothing we're doing in any of these bills" would properly address the underlying problems of the health-care system.

Given the existing opposition to the bill by Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine) and Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), if any one of the three senators were to vote no on the "skinny repeal" bill, it would not pass. Shivani Ishwar

2:25 p.m. ET
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In March, City of Miami Police Lt. Javier Ortiz was stripped of his gun, temporarily suspended, and forced to do desk work after a county judge granted a restraining order against him by a woman he'd harassed on Facebook. Over the last few years, Ortiz had also posted racially inflammatory content on social media, allegedly written improper police reports, and received several use-of-force lawsuits.

On Wednesday, he was promoted to the role of captain, the Miami New Times reports.

Although Ortiz is the head of Miami's police union, he has been accused of racism by the the city's oldest black police organization, the Miami Community Police Benevolent Association, and he is deeply unpopular even within the union he helms. A quick Google search on "Javier Ortiz Miami" yields almost exclusively bad press, which is a point of contention for officers who have anonymously complained to local media about the reputation Ortiz creates for the Miami Police Department.

Miami police chief Rodolfo Llanes, who technically retired in 2016 but still collects both a salary and pension, did not respond to a message from the Miami New Times asking about Ortiz's promotion. Kelly O'Meara Morales

1:46 p.m. ET

The Trump National Golf Club Los Angeles used to claim it had contributed $5 million to charity. Then NPR started asking questions.

Just a few months ago, a philanthropy page on the Southern California club's website listed about 200 nonprofit groups, saying it had given them a total of about $5 million. Now, that page has been stripped of all those claims.

The redaction came soon after NPR started questioning the club's charitable giving. So far, NPR has only been able account for $800,000 of the supposed $5 million in donations, and 17 of the listed charities had no record of contributions from the club at all.

A producer from NPR's Embedded podcast discussed the team's findings on Wednesday's Morning Edition program:

The Embedded team cross-referenced the list on the golf club's website with a publicly-available list the Trump campaign put out detailing donations it had made over the years. Several organizations on the website weren't on the campaign's list, and upon calling these organizations, NPR found they had no record of Trump National donations on the books.

Need a little more proof of Trump National's backtracking? You can still see the $5 million claim if you hover over the "About" tab on its website. Kathryn Krawczyk

1:34 p.m. ET
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Starting Wednesday, Kohl's department stores in 10 locations across Los Angeles and Chicago will sell Amazon smart home products. The brick-and-mortar stores will also accept returns for Amazon online purchases.

Kohl's and Amazon have been working on this retail partnership since the spring. “I really do think it's an example of two companies that can leverage each other's strengths,” said Michelle Gass, Kohl's chief merchandising and customer officer.

More than 70 Kohl's locations will eventually accept Amazon returns, which will be handled by Kohl's employees, but the kiosks selling Amazon products within the department stores will be operated by Amazon. Kohl's joins Sears and Best Buy as prominent retailers who have entered into some type of partnership with Amazon.

Although Kohl's rejected speculation that it may get purchased by Amazon, the retailer's stock rallied 7.7 percent from announcement of their partnership until the end of September. Some traders are reportedly wagering on a stock price increase resulting from the company's potential sale. Amazon recently purchased the grocery chain Whole Foods and now sells Amazon smart home products in the high-end supermarkets. Kelly O'Meara Morales

1:26 p.m. ET

There were probably important things said at the Senate Judiciary Committee's hearing with Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Wednesday, but the highlight was almost certainly a sheepish Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) apologizing for spilling his Dr Pepper on Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas):

"Sorry to have added to the drama and distracted you for a minute," Sasse told Sessions. "I was paying enough attention there that I dumped a Dr Pepper on Sen. Cruz." Suuuure.

There is unfortunately not yet any footage of Cruz actually getting showered in soda (we will post an immediate update if one becomes available), but there are plenty of jokes:

Cruz promptly retaliated — by cutting off Sasse's supply. Jeva Lange

12:59 p.m. ET
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On Monday, the FBI released a document containing 50 redacted pages that indicated that former FBI Director James Comey had decided not to charge Hillary Clinton with any crime related to her email server before even interviewing her.

In late August, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) announced that they had received partial transcripts showing that Comey had drafted a statement rejecting criminal charges for Clinton months before she was even interviewed in the FBI probe, and President Trump took Monday's reveal as validation of Grassley and Graham's claim. Early Wednesday morning, Trump tweeted, “Wow, FBI confirms reports that James Comey drafted letter exonerating Crooked Hillary Clinton long before investigation was complete."

In May, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote a letter to Trump recommending he fire Comey, in which he criticized the former director's July 2016 press conference rejecting charges for Clinton. "We do not hold press conferences to release derogatory information about the subject of a declined criminal investigation," Rosenstein wrote.

On Wednesday morning, Trump seemed decidedly less concerned about Comey's release of "derogatory information" about Clinton. He tweeted: "As it turns out, James Comey lied and leaked and totally protected Hillary Clinton. He was the best thing that ever happened to her!" Kelly O'Meara Morales

12:28 p.m. ET
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We're 10 months into the Trump administration, and the president hasn't let up on his crusade against "fake news." Perhaps more surprising, however, is that nearly half of American voters seem to share his sentiments.

A new Politico/Morning Consult poll shows that 46 percent of voters believe the media makes up stories about the president. Only 37 percent think the media doesn't make up stories, and 17 percent remain undecided.

Republicans and Trump supporters are especially likely to believe in "fake news," the poll found. Of those who strongly approve of Trump's job performance, 85 percent think the media fabricates stories about Trump, and 76 percent of Republicans feel the same way. The poll also addressed Trump's relationships with congressional Republicans, finding that most Republicans think Trump is better aligned with the American people than their representatives are.

The poll was conducted Oct. 12-16 across 1,991 registered voters. It has a margin of error of 2 percentage points. Read more about the results at Politico. Kathryn Krawczyk

12:04 p.m. ET
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The Democratic National Committee will consider a resolution that calls on independent Sens. Bernie Sanders (Vt.) and Angus King (Maine) to run as members of the Democratic Party in 2018.

Although the resolution, sponsored by California DNC member Bob Mulholland, "recognizes the important contributions of the independent senators from Maine and Vermont to causes at the heart of the Democratic Party's mission," it calls for "candidates and voters who share common goals and beliefs to register or affiliate with the Democratic Party in 2017, 2018, and beyond.”

In July of 2017, Morning Consult released its rankings of "America's Most and Least Popular Senators." Both Sanders and King ranked in the country's top 10. In the same rankings, more than half of the country's senators have negative net approval ratings in their respective states. HuffPost's most recent poll charts show the Democratic Party has a 49.7 percent unfavorable rating, and just a 38.1 percent favorable rating. Kelly O'Meara Morales

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