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February 27, 2017

Republicans have been railing against the Affordable Care Act since before it even passed, John Oliver noted on Sunday's Last Week Tonight. But now that Republicans control Congress and the White House, they can't just gripe about ObamaCare — and in fact, "all week long, Republicans have been dealing with an unexpected problem: constituents at town halls furious that ObamaCare might be taken away."

"So tonight, let's look at ObamaCare: what it does, what needs fixing, and how Republicans plan to replace it," Oliver said, and he started off by taking everyone back to "just how bad things were before it was passed." ObamaCare fixed some of the systemic problems — getting rid of coverage denial for pre-existing conditions, allowing children to stay on their parents' plans until age 26. But even so, he said, "ObamaCare is not perfect. It had and has serious flaws," and Obama's "famously misleading" and structurally impossible claim about being able to keep your doctor has dogged the law.

On the other hand, in "something of a pattern," the GOP has "happily complained about the flaws in the law" while they "often undermined the whole thing," Oliver said. "That time is now over. It is their turn to present a plan, and the clock is ticking." The GOP's replacement plan is frustratingly elusive, but we have a sense of "what Republicans want to do" from previous plans put forward by HHS Secretary Tom Price and House Speaker Paul Ryan, "and from these talking points that Ryan gave out ahead of the congressional recess."

Oliver walked viewers through the pros and cons of talking points they'll be hearing a lot about from the GOP — "refundable tax credits," "health savings accounts," Medicaid "block grants," and "state high-risk pools" — and the one crucial term Republicans won't define: "continuous coverage incentive," or their mechanism to punish people who drop insurance coverage at any time. "Republicans are in a real bind here," Oliver said. "They need a plan, and soon. And what Price and Ryan have given them so far seems to shift costs from the government to the people, and from the healthy to the sick, and fewer people are going to be covered." Oh, and since the GOP keeps on bringing up Obama's promise about keeping your doctor, he added, "let me remind you what Donald Trump has promised that you are going to do." Watch below — there is quite a bit of NSFW language, plus an unpalatable image of a man in a thong. Peter Weber

12:55 p.m.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) expressed disatisfaction on Meet the Press Sunday with President Trump's selection of William Barr to be his next attorney general.

"I'm concerned that [Barr has] been a big supporter of the Patriot Act, which lowered the standard for spying on Americans," Paul said. "And he even went so far as to say, you know, 'The Patriot Act was pretty good, but we should go much further.'"

"I'm disturbed that he's been a big fan of taking people's property, civil asset forfeiture, without a conviction," Paul continued. "Many poor people in our country have cash taken from them, and then the government says, 'Prove to us where you got the cash, and then you can get it back.' But the burden is on the individual. It's a terrible thing called civil asset forfeiture. He's a big fan of that."

Paul noted he has not yet decided how he will vote on Barr's nomination. Watch the full interview below. Talk of Barr begins around the eight-minute mark, and Paul and host Chuck Todd also discuss Special Counsel Robert Mueller's investigation, Saudi Arabia, and more. Bonnie Kristian

12:40 p.m.

China's Foreign Ministry has summoned the U.S. and Canadian ambassadors to China to protest the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies.

Meng was taken into custody in Vancouver, Canada, on Dec. 1, at U.S. direction. She faces extradition to the United States, where she is accused of helping Huawei, a major electronics manufacturer, evade American sanctions on Iran.

Beijing said the arrest "severely violated the Chinese citizen's legal and legitimate rights and interests," calling it "lawless, reasonless, and ruthless, and ... extremely vicious." Canada should "release the detainee immediately and earnestly protest the person's legal and legitimate rights and interests," the statement said, "otherwise it will definitely have serious consequences, and the Canadian side will have to bear the full responsibility for it." Bonnie Kristian

11:23 a.m.

What if the Trumps were black? That's the question asked in Saturday Night Live's trailer for Them Trumps, an imaginary new series from the makers of Empire.

Them Trumps has a solid concept and a strong line-up: President Darius Trump (Kenan Thompson), first lady Malika (Leslie Jones), Darius Jr. (Chris Redd), and L’evanka (Ego Nwodim). Where it struggles is length, as the black Trump can't seem to avoid arrest as easily as his white counterpart.

"Maybe I've done some dirty things. But I'm making America great again," Thompson's Trump rants. "And what these feds don't realize is that I'm the president, the most powerful man in the most respected office in the world. They can't lock me up, and even though I may be black—"

That's when the feds show up. Watch the full sketch below. Bonnie Kristian

10:52 a.m.

The House Judiciary and Oversight Committees on Saturday evening released a transcript of former FBI Director James Comey's lengthy testimony from the day before — and President Trump, naturally, denied it all early Sunday:

Trump has long made Comey, whom he fired last year, a target of his ire. Read Comey's full testimony here. Bonnie Kristian

10:21 a.m.

A major winter storm began Saturday in southeastern states, especially North and South Carolina, and is expected to bring unusually heavy snow through Monday. "Snowfall amounts in some locations will likely exceed a foot and result in several days of difficult or impossible travel, extended power outages, and downed trees," the National Weather Service warned.

Already more than 200,000 customers in the region have lost power, the bulk of them in North Carolina, and hundreds of flights were grounded Sunday. North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper (D) urged residents to stay safe indoors. "Snow may be beautiful, but it can also be treacherous, and I urge North Carolinians to take this storm seriously and get ready for it now," he said. Bonnie Kristian

10:11 a.m.

The United Kingdom's House of Commons is scheduled to vote Tuesday on whether to proceed with Prime Minister Theresa May's plan for Brexit, the U.K.'s exit from the European Union.

But whether the vote will proceed as planned remains uncertain, as opposition inside and out May's Conservative Party makes its prospects look dim. Protest resignations from May's own government are expected Sunday and Monday, but May's office says the vote will go forward.

May has warned fellow Tories who oppose her plan that its failure may lead to a general election, a new government, and the "very real risk of no Brexit" at all.

The deal under consideration was settled with EU leaders late last month, and European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker warned critics it is the best realistic option. Bonnie Kristian

8:41 a.m.

Robert De Niro returned to Saturday Night Live as Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who also happens to be the boogeyman lurking in poor, sweet, dumb Eric Trump's (Alex Moffatt) closet.

After the more savvy Donald Trump Jr. (Mikey Day) finishes Eric's bedtime story, De Niro's Mueller comes over to his bedside for a chat. "Mr. Mueller," Eric says, "people say you're the worst thing to ever happen to my dad."

"No, Eric," Mueller replies. "Getting elected president was the worst thing that ever happened to your dad." Watch the full sketch below. Bonnie Kristian

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