it's over
July 2, 2018

Former Republican National Committee official Elliott Broidy is no longer making hush payments to a Playboy model he had an affair with, his lawyer told The Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

Broidy, a married businessman, former deputy finance chairman of the RNC, and top GOP fundraiser, admitted that he had an affair with Shera Bechard. Last year, President Trump's longtime personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, negotiated an agreement with Bechard, guaranteeing $1.6 million from Broidy in exchange for Bechard's silence regarding their relationship. The $1.6 million was to be paid in eight installments, with the third payment due Sunday.

Broidy's lawyer, Chris Clark, told the Journal he didn't make the payment because Keith Davidson, Bechard's lawyer at the time she signed the agreement, allegedly improperly discussed the matter with another lawyer, Michael Avenatti, who is representing Stormy Daniels, the adult film star who signed a $130,000 agreement brokered by Cohen in exchange for her keeping quiet about an affair she said she had with Trump in 2006.

"Elliott specifically was paying for confidentiality that would shield his family from the embarrassing mistake he made," Clark said. "We can prove there was an intentional breach that renders the contract null and void." Davidson's spokesman said he did nothing wrong, and Avenatti is encouraging Bechard "to disclose everything she knows about this situation to the public." In April, FBI agents raided Cohen's office, home, and hotel room, and people familiar with the matter said he's being investigated over whether these agreements violated campaign finance or other laws. For more on Broidy and Bechard's relationship, and the tangled web that connects all these attorneys, visit The Wall Street Journal. Catherine Garcia

January 3, 2018

President Trump has disbanded his voter fraud commission, citing the refusal of many state election officials to hand over voter data due to privacy concerns.

In a statement attributed to Trump on Wednesday, the White House said that "despite substantial evidence of voter fraud, many states have refused to provide the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity with basic information relevant to its inquiry. Rather than engage in endless legal battles at taxpayer expense, today I signed an executive order to dissolve the commission, and have asked the Department of Homeland Security to review these issues and determine next courses of action." The White House did not provide any examples of evidence showing voter fraud.

Trump established the commission in May, and its leaders wanted states to share personal information on voters, including their birth dates and partial Social Security numbers. Its vice chairman, conservative Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, would not go on record saying Hillary Clinton won the popular vote in the 2016 presidential election, and in an email to the Justice Department prior to his appointment, member Hans Von Spakovsky from the Heritage Foundation said he didn't think any Democrats, moderate Republicans, or academics should be allowed on the panel. Catherine Garcia

August 8, 2017

Disney announced Tuesday that it's dumping Netflix. In 2019, Disney will end its streaming deal with Netflix as it launches its very own streaming service later that year.

Disney and Netflix struck their deal back in 2012, though The Verge noted it "only kicked into effect last year." It appears Netflix will retain the Disney movies that it already has in its repertoire, though it won't get any more movies once the deal ends.

Disney's new streaming service will host its latest movies, starting with its planned 2019 releases like Frozen 2 and Toy Story 4, and Disney said it also intends to make a "significant investment" in developing movies and TV programs exclusive to its streaming platform. The platform will be based on technology developed by BAMTech — a video company founded by MLB — in which Disney announced Tuesday it is acquiring a majority stake.

In addition to its theatrical streaming service, Disney in 2018 will launch an ESPN streaming service. Becca Stanek

July 28, 2017

After spending seven years promising a repeal of ObamaCare, Senate Republicans on Friday morning were unable to pass their latest version of a health-care proposal, the Health Care Freedom Act, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) declared "it's time to move on."

With three Republican senators — Susan Collins of Maine, John McCain of Arizona, and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska — joining Democrats in voting against the plan, it failed by one vote in what was "clearly a disappointing moment," McConnell said. He claimed that due to "skyrocketing costs," "plummeting choices," and "collapsing markets, our constituents have suffered through an awful lot under ObamaCare. We thought they deserved better."

McConnell also praised Republicans for "working hard" on the bill, which wasn't finalized until Thursday, and accused Senate Democrats of "not wanting to engage in a serious way to help those suffering under ObamaCare." Catherine Garcia

July 17, 2017

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) acknowledged Monday night that his health-care proposal is in a death spiral, and he said his new plan is to repeal ObamaCare with a two-year delay, with no replacement plan.

"Regretfully, it is now apparent that the effort to repeal and immediately replace the failure of ObamaCare will not be successful," McConnell said in a statement. "So, in the coming days, the Senate will vote to take up the House bill with the first amendment in order being what a majority in the Senate has already supported in 2015 and that was vetoed by then-President Obama: a repeal of ObamaCare with a two-year delay to provide for a stable transition period to a patient-centered health-care system that gives Americans access to quality, affordable care."

Two GOP senators, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), announced Monday they would not support the motion to proceed on the current version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, joining Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), leaving McConnell without the necessary number of votes to pass the GOP health-care proposal. President Trump called on Republicans to repeal ObamaCare now and "work on a new health-care plan that will start from a clean slate." Catherine Garcia

July 13, 2017

On Wednesday night, President Trump informed reporters on Air Force One that his proposed border wall needs to be see-through, or at least have holes in it, so Americans don't get crushed by falling bags of drugs, the White House transcript of the conversation shows. Trump reportedly held court with the traveling press pool for more than an hour while en route to Paris for a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron.

"One of the things with the wall is, you need transparency," Trump said. "You have to be able to see through it. In other words, if you can't see through the wall — so it could be a steel wall with openings, but you have to have openings because you have to see what's on the other side of the wall."

Trump then offered reporters "an example."

"As horrible as it sounds, when they throw the large sacks of drugs over, and if you have people on the other side of the wall, you don't see them — they hit you in the head with 60 pounds of stuff? It's over," Trump said. "As crazy as that sounds, you need transparency through that wall."

As crazy as it sounds, indeed. Jeva Lange

July 11, 2017

After a decade of trying to find a new location for FBI headquarters, the General Services Administration is ending its expensive search, GSA officials told The Washington Post Monday.

The GSA, which manages federal real estate, had wanted to trade the outdated J. Edgar Hoover Building to a developer and use close to $2 billion in taxpayer funds to take care of the rest of the cost. They were unable to convince Congress to fully support the plan, and on Tuesday morning, GSA officials will call bidders and attend meetings on Capitol Hill to let people know the search is off, the Post reports.

There are 9,500 employees at FBI headquarters, and the bureau has outgrown the Hoover Building, with the GSA putting workers at 12 buildings across the D.C. area. The GSA had been looking at building in Greenbelt, Maryland; Landover, Maryland; or Springfield, Virginia, but Congress never was able to come up with the necessary funds to build; former President Barack Obama had wanted $1.4 billion to construct the project, but in May, Congress came up a half-billion dollars short. In 2015, the Post was given a tour of the Hoover Building, which was crumbling, in need of modernization, and susceptible to attacks. When told by the Post about the search coming to an end, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) called it "an extremely alarming development," adding that "the Trump administration and Republicans in Congress are putting the safety and security of our country at risk." Catherine Garcia

June 8, 2016

Two of Sen. Bernie Sanders' top congressional supporters aren't onboard with the candidate's decision to "continue to fight," even after Hillary Clinton claimed the Democratic Party's nomination Tuesday. In an interview with The Washington Post's Greg Sargent, Sanders' sole supporter in the Senate, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), pushed Sanders to put the nomination battle behind him and move forward in supporting Clinton. "This is the moment when we need to start bringing parts of the party together so they can go into the convention with locked arms and go out of the convention unified into the general election," Merkley said. He added that he "would not support a battle that involves trying to flip superdelegates."

Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), the co-chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, offered a similar assessment of the situation. "The reality is unattainable at some point," Grijalva told Sargent. "You deal with that. Bernie is going to deal with this much more rapidly than you think. At some point, when we're trying to flip 400 superdelegates, and it's not gaining traction, I think you have to come to the conclusion that it's not going to happen."

Read Merkley and Grijalva's full takes on Sanders' chances over at The Washington Post. Becca Stanek

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