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As the White House pointedly moves on from its failed health-care bill, it is looking ahead to fulfill another of President Trump's ambitious promises: tax reform. But top officials warn that such an enormous project isn't going to be a walk in the park either and "they don't see how they can change the House Republican math that killed health reform," Axios reports.

As one Republican put it, the GOP is at risk of "looking like a clown car." Another official described making the same miscalculation with tax reform efforts that was made with health care would be "the definition of insanity."

The first hurdle will be the April 28 deadline for the budget. If it is not passed — and one top Republican close to the White House told Axios it is "more likely than not" to fail — the government will shut down on April 29, President Trump's 100th day in office.

Read more about Trump's budget, which Jeff Spross describes as "a demented vision of what priorities the federal government should invest its resources in," here at The Week. Jeva Lange

March 27, 2017

On CBS Sunday Morning, veteran TV news journalist Ted Koppel presented a 10-minute segment on the fracturing of the news media and how that has contributed to the widening, chasmic political divide in America. One of the people he spoke with was Fox News host Sean Hannity. Hannity argued that Koppel was selling the American public short in not being able to distinguish between news programs and opinion shows like Hannity. "Do you think we're bad for America?" he asked Koppel. "You think I'm bad for America?" "Yeah," Koppel said.

When Hannity looked surprised, Koppel began to explain, saying, "In the long haul I think you and all these opinion shows..." Hannity cut in and called that "sad," and amid a few more interruptions, Koppel told Hannity that "you're very good at what you do" but what he does features attracting "people who are determined that ideology is more important than facts."

Hannity hit back on Twitter later on Sunday, slamming CBS News for only showing what was probably the most interesting two minutes of a 45-minute interview and "daring" the network to release the entire video.

None of the other guests Koppel spoke with — White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, New York Times editor Dean Baquet, and AEI scholar Norm Ornstein — complained on Twitter about their edited interviews. The whole 10 minutes is worth a watch, and you can view Koppel's report at CBS News. Peter Weber

March 25, 2017

President Trump reiterated on Twitter Saturday his argument that the health-care system set up by the Affordable Care Act will "explode" of its own accord — after which, he added, Republican lawmakers will successfully pass the replacement plan they could not swing without the added pressure of political explosion.

Trump's tweet echoes his Friday suggestion that the "best thing politically speaking is to let ObamaCare explode" so Democrats are forced to "come to us." Bonnie Kristian

March 21, 2017

The public testimony of FBI Director James Comey in Monday's House Intelligence Committee hearings was "rather bad news" for President Trump, CNN's Jake Tapper said Monday afternoon, and he asked the two conservative members of his panel — former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Mary Katherine Ham — if there was any good news for Trump. Santorum said yes, kind of. "I think the good news is that Comey went out and announced there is an investigation," he said, so Trump and his Republican allies "can start putting pressure externally to get this thing moving" to its conclusion. Ham agreed and argued that the White House should be focusing on its actual good news, the Senate hearings for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.

Tapper got some views from former Hillary Clinton campaign spokesman Brian Fallon and Bloomberg White House correspondent Margaret Talev, then turned to CNN senior international correspondent Clarissa Ward. Russian President Vladimir Putin is "somebody who likes to meddle in elections and enjoys sowing chaos in the electoral process in liberal democracies throughout the world," he said, so isn't Putin just really "enjoying this, one way or another? The American political system is in disarray."

Ward half-agreed. "I think up to a certain point he was kind of enjoying it, he was enjoying the ambiguity of it, the possibility that he could have thrown the election in the most powerful, important, consequential country in the world — that certainly spoke to his ego," she said. "But what was noticeable today, while every single news channel pretty much in the world — and I'm talking globally, Sky News, BBC, Al Jazeera — one news channel that very noticeably did not take today's hearing was Russia Today, and I do think you are starting to see now the beginning of what we might call a 'conscious uncoupling' of the Kremlin and the Trump administration."

"Russia Today wasn't covering it this afternoon," Tapper said. "Also, when I looked up, Fox News wasn't covering it, they were covering the Gorsuch hearings."

"An interesting observation," Tapper said dryly, if slightly immodestly. Peter Weber

March 20, 2017

Add making near-weekly trips to Florida to the U.S. president's list of essential duties. White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer, asked Monday if President Trump would consider cutting back on weekend trips to his Mar-a-Lago resort in order to save taxpayer money, claimed the trips are "part of being president." "Presidents always travel," Spicer said.

Spicer said it was a "vast reach" to suggest Trump's trips should be curbed in light of his budget blueprint released last week, which proposes steep cuts to federal programs like Meals on Wheels in order to offset a huge boost in defense and security spending. Thus far, taxpayers have paid an estimated $3.3 million for Trump's trips to what Spicer calls the "Winter White House." Quartz reported Meals on Wheels "could feed 5,967 seniors for a year for that amount."

When pressed about the golf outings Trump is reportedly taking on these trips down south, Spicer noted Trump's rounds of golf are about more than just golf. Spicer explained that Trump's golf games are different than former President Barack Obama's — which Trump repeatedly criticized — because of how Trump manages to "use the game of golf" to "help U.S. interests." Spicer noted Trump frequently golfs with foreign leaders — something Obama did too:

Asked if the press should be briefed on Trump's golfing if so many important meetings are allegedly happening on the greens, Spicer argued Trump is "entitled to a bit of privacy at some point." Becca Stanek

March 19, 2017
Fox News/Screenshot

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) said in an interview with Fox News on Sunday he has seen "no evidence of collusion" between President Trump's campaign and the Russian government, nor has he seen evidence of a physical wiretap on Trump Tower by the Obama administration.

"The president doesn't go and physically wiretap something," Nunes told host Chris Wallace, referencing President Trump's allegation that former President Obama spied on Trump Tower. "So if you take [Trump] literally, it didn't happen. I think the concern that we have is: Were there any other surveillance activities that were used?"

Wallace followed up, asking if Nunes had seen "any evidence of collusion" between "Trump world and the Russians to swing the 2016 presidential election." "I'll give you a very simple answer: No," the congressman replied. "Up to speed on everything I have up to this morning, no evidence of collusion."

The House Intelligence Committee will interview FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Mike Rogers about Russia and the election on Monday. Bonnie Kristian

March 17, 2017

House Speaker Paul Ryan took a trip down memory lane with the National Review's Rich Lowry on Friday at the National Review Institute's 2017 Ideas Summit in Washington, D.C. "So, Medicaid," Ryan said. "Sending it back to the states, capping its growth rate. We've been dreaming of this since I've been around — since you and I were drinking at a keg."

The Trump administration's analysis of the GOP health-care replacement estimates that 17 million people would lose Medicaid coverage, with even many Republicans thinking the cuts go too far. "If you're a Republican senator in, say, Ohio, do you really want to cut Medicaid benefits for hundreds of thousands of your constituents?" asks Jeff Spross at The Week. "Ryan is 47 years old, which means that, if he started 'drinking at a keg' early in his college career, he's fantasized about all the poor people who could be stripped of health care for nearly three decades," slammed the progressive blog ThinkProgress.

Admittedly, it's a bit of an odd thing to be considering at a kegger. "I was thinking about something else, he was thinking about reforming Medicaid," Lowry confessed.

"I've been thinking about this for a long time," Ryan said.

Spross wrote further on the GOP's plot to "drown Medicaid in the bathtub," which you can read here. Jeva Lange

March 16, 2017

Noted climate change skeptic Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) claimed Thursday morning on CNN's New Day that President Trump's budget plan will prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from "brainwashing our kids." The 2018 budget proposal released Thursday morning calls for cutting the EPA's budget by about 30 percent, slashing its funding from $8.3 billion to $5.7 billion.

Inhofe, the former Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chair who infamously brought a snowball to the Senate floor in 2015 to prove a point about global warming, insisted the Trump administration wants to "deliver the services" of the EPA and "make things clean" — just without all the "propaganda." "We're going to [get rid of] all this stuff that comes out of the EPA that's brainwashing our kids, that is propaganda, things that aren't true," Inhofe said.

Inhofe did have one good thing to say about the EPA though: He conceded the Clean Air Act amendments "were very successful" and "have worked." "Our air is cleaner, the pollution is down in spite of the fact that we drive twice as many miles," Inhofe said, suggesting that the success of those amendments proves the EPA's work regulating carbon dioxide is done.

Watch a snippet of the interview below. Becca Stanek

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