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a critique
July 7, 2017

Michael McFaul, former U.S. ambassador to Russia, deemed the White House "weak" after President Trump on Friday apparently took Russian President Vladimir Putin's word that Russia did not interfere in the 2016 U.S. presidential election — a contradiction of U.S. intelligence agencies' overwhelming consensus to the contrary. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov reported the conversation after Trump and Putin's first-ever meeting during the G-20 summit in Germany, though a senior Trump administration official has since denied Trump accepted Putin's assurances.

McFaul argued that while there can be "disagreements with Russia about policies," there cannot be "disagreements about basic facts," like that Russia meddled in the U.S. election:

McFaul also scoffed at Putin and Trump's apparent focus on how to "move forward," as Secretary of State Rex Tillerson put it, given it was the leaders' first-ever face-to-face meeting. After Putin annexed Crimea, "propped up" Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, and meddled in the U.S. elections, "of course, he wants to 'move on,'" McFaul wrote. Becca Stanek

March 21, 2017

FBI Director James Comey's responses at Monday's House Intelligence Committee hearing on Russia's election meddling left former House Speaker Newt Gingrich with one big question: What about the leakers?

During an interview Tuesday on Fox & Friends, Gingrich wanted to know why Comey was allowed to disclose the ongoing FBI investigation of connections between the Trump campaign and Russia, but not "any investigations involving Americans who are committing felonies, of up to 10 years in jail, leaking secret information." "Now, how come he could tell us the one, but not tell us the other?" Gingrich said. "I mean, it makes no sense."

All in all, Gingrich said he found Comey's answers to be "pathetic" and his performance "very, very disappointing." "And frankly a little alarming," Gingrich added. "He has too much power to be as politically clever as he is."

Watch the clip below. Becca Stanek

March 7, 2017

Even one of the leading conservative health care intellectuals sees a gaping problem with House Republicans' ObamaCare replacement plan. Early Tuesday — just hours after Republicans released the text Monday of the long-awaited American Health Care Act — Avik Roy, author of Transcending ObamaCare and How Medicaid Fails the Poor, published an article in Forbes titled, "House GOP's ObamaCare Replacement Will Make Coverage Unaffordable For Millions — Otherwise, It's Great."

As Vox founder Ezra Klein noted, that's not a great sign for Republicans:

Roy writes that while the American Health Care Act boasts "a number of transformative and consequential reforms," all of that is "overshadowed by the bill's stubborn desire to make health insurance unaffordable for millions of Americans, and trap millions more in poverty." The bill's pitfalls leave even Roy wondering: "Can such a bill garner the near-universal Republican support it will need to pass Congress?"

Read Roy's full analysis at Forbes. Becca Stanek

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