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September 22, 2017

Though the Trump administration is totally behind the Graham-Cassidy bill in public, a White House official admitted to Politico that they "really aren't sure what the impact will be" if the bill gets passed. And that's apparently not the only uncertainty within the White House:

They also fear that the bill could bring political blowback from the left and right.

Trump has publicly expressed enthusiasm about the bill, tweeting about it repeatedly. But in conversations with aides, he has turned back to one topic: What can the White House do that is seen as "repeal and replace?" a phrase he likes to repeat. [Politico]

On top of that, there are doubts about whether the bill can actually even pass the House and Senate. Administration officials and congressional sources told Politico that Trump and his team "have little sway" over wavering GOP senators who are key to the success of the vote, slated for next week.

But even if he did, Trump has reportedly "refrained from making as many calls this go-round."

Read more about the White House's lingering doubts over the bill Republicans have until Sept. 30 to pass by a majority vote at Politico. Becca Stanek

September 1, 2017

A recent poll by President Trump's most-watched network, Fox News, didn't paint a very pretty portrait of the president. The poll, released Thursday, asked Americans to rate how well they felt a particular adjective described Trump; the scale ran from "extremely" well and "very" well to "not at all."

Turns out, the two descriptors that a majority of Americans agreed aptly described Trump were "says what he thinks" ... and "bully." Eighty-one percent very much agreed that Trump speaks his mind, and 53 percent agreed that he's very much a "bully." Forty-four percent said "unstable" was a fitting adjective for Trump.

Fox News noted that "fewer voters, about one-third, assign the clearly positive terms" like "competent," "strong leader," and "problem solver" to Trump. Voters were "least likely" to describe Trump as "presidential," a "moral leader," and "compassionate." Just 27 percent of Americans said they would "not at all" describe the country's commander in chief as a "bully."

The poll was taken among 1,006 registered voters Aug. 27-29. Its margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points. Becca Stanek

June 20, 2017

Senate Republicans don't have plans to hold a public hearing on the GOP-backed American Health Care Act, but an overwhelming majority of Americans think they should. A new poll by CBS News released Tuesday revealed that 73 percent of Americans think Republicans should publicly discuss their plan to repeal and replace ObamaCare. Even among Republicans, a majority (56 percent) think the GOP should publicly talk through their health-care bill. Just 41 percent agree with Republicans' behind-closed-doors approach.

CBS News surmised this push for a public discussion might have something to do with the fact that Americans aren't entirely clear on what the bill is all about. Overall, only 23 percent of Americans say they have a "good understanding" of the health-care bill that Senate Republicans want to hold a vote on next week, while 76 percent say they "haven't heard enough yet."

That sentiment was even stronger among Republicans: Just 19 percent of Republicans say they have a "good understanding" of the bill, while 81 percent say they don't yet know enough.

The poll was taken by phone from June 15-18 among 1,117 adults. Its overall margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points. Becca Stanek

May 30, 2017

GOP Sen. Ben Sasse (Neb.) threw up his hands when asked what the Republican Party stands for in an interview on Politico's Off Message podcast. "I don't know," Sasse said. "Isn't that a problem?" Politico's Edward-Isaac Dovere asked. "Big problem," Sasse said.

Sasse, an outspoken critic of President Trump, wasn't exactly optimistic about the the rest of the American government either. He declared Washington "just lame," "incredibly ineffective," and "populated by people who aren't vey interesting," and he wouldn't say whether he thinks Trump is an "adult." "I think we should just start by admitting that the two political parties are intellectually exhausted," Sasse said. "They don't have future-oriented ideas right now."

Head over to Politico to listen to the full interview. Becca Stanek

May 16, 2017

On Tuesday, The New York Times revealed the real reason that Trump administration officials aren't freaking out about President Trump's potential to spill classified information, as he did last week in a meeting with Russian officials:

In private, three administration officials conceded that they could not publicly articulate their most compelling — and honest — defense of the president: that Mr. Trump, a hasty and indifferent reader of printed briefing materials, simply did not possess the interest or knowledge of the granular details of intelligence gathering to leak specific sources and methods of intelligence gathering that would do harm to United States allies. [The New York Times]

But not even Trump's apparent lack of "interest or knowledge" is enough to assuage some officials' fears. The New York Times also reported that some of Trump's senior advisers are nervous about "leaving him alone in meetings with foreign leaders out of concern he might speak out of turn."

On top of that, advisers are dealing with Trump's mood, which has reportedly become increasingly "sour and dark." Trump has apparently reached the point of "turning against most of his aides — even his son-in-law Jared Kushner — and describing them in a fury as 'incompetent.'"

Read more about what's going down at the White House at The New York Times. Becca Stanek

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