“Pissed” Trump demands Friday vote after GOP leadership delays because of worries over passage

Developments on Day 63 of the Trump Administration:

See also Podcasts: Explaining ObamaCare and the GOP Bill Trying to Replace It
FBI’s Russia Probe Is a Reckoning for Team Trump

Trump Fury After GOP Delays House Vote on ObamaCare Repeal

[UPDATE 1935 GMT: Donald Trump has withdrawn the proposed bill to repeal and replace ObamaCare, just before it was to go to a vote on the House floor.

The news broke in a tweet by Robert Costa of NBC News:

An aide to the GOP leadership said Trump asked Paul Ryan, who had come to the White House, to pull the bill.

Trump had tweeted on Friday morning:


Donald Trump warns GOP leaders in the House of Representatives after they delay the vote to repeal ObamaCare.

The GOP leadership, including House Speaker Paul Ryan, pulled back on Thursday amid the growing likelihood that — despite a 43-seat majority — the Republicans would lose the vote. Conservative Republicans who believe the legislation does not go far ahead to reverse ObamaCare said they have up to 40 objections, with another 20-30 legislators undecided, while some moderate Republicans have expressed concern about the estimate of 24 million Americans losing coverage under the GOP plan.

Trump, who had personally lobbied this week to win over the opponents, demanded that the vote be held on Friday. He sent the message through his director of the Office of Management and Budget, Mick Mulvaney, in a Thursday night session with Representatives.

Trying to appease the conservative objections, Trump agreed on Thursday to strip federal insurance requirements for maternity care, emergency services, and mental health and wellness visits from the bill. However, that was still not enough for some members of the Freedom Caucus.

Trump then issued his warning that he would agree to no further changes, saying that legislators would have to deal with the fallout of ObamaCare remaining in place if they did not support the revised bill.

A meeting with legislators, led by Vice President Mike Pence, discusses changes such as the removal of provisions for maternity care:


White House sources “close to the President” said Trump is “pissed” about the situation, frustrated with his staff, and feels misled by aides who advised him to sign onto the GOP bill. They said Trump realizes his credibility will be affected if the bill fails.

Trump had tried to sway legislators on Wednesday with the warning, “I’m going to come after you” if they voted no.

Another source said the White House is unhappy with Ryan’s handling of the legislation. Ryan’s staff responded with a long list of media appearances and advocacy for the bill by the Speaker, and said he and Trump spoke for 45 minutes by phone on Thursday night.

Republicans of the Freedom Caucus and the moderate Tuesday Group met through the night. Meanwhile, Ryan told reporters after the encounter with Mulvnney, “We have been promising the American people that we will repeal and replace this broken law, and tomorrow we’re proceeding.”

House Intelligence Chair Apologizes for Briefing Trump

The GOP chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Devin Nunes, has apologized to committee members for his self-publicized briefing of Donald Trump on Wednesday.

Nunes, who was on Trump’s transition team, told Trump that the President’s associates had been caught up in surveillance of Russian officials with whom they were speaking.

Nunes’ statement was not a “revelation” — it has been known that a warrant from a top-secret FISA court in October authorized the surveillance of the Russian officials, amid Moscow’s hacking and interference in the 2016 election. However, Trump used it as vindication for his unsubstantiated claim that President Obama wiretapped Trump Tower last summer.

Nunes went to the press and Trump without consulting with members of the committees, which opened hearings on possible Trump-Russia links on Monday.

Democrats were dissatisfied with the apology, saying it was “generic” and unclear over which actions it covered.

Nunes stressed “that he really wanted us to be bipartisan,” said Representative Jim Himes. “He was contrite. Internally on the committee, he’s a very reasonable guy. But outside, on a number of occasions, he’s acted in the interests of the Trump campaign.”

State Department Ordered to Toughen Visa Screening

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has ordered US embassies to demand extra security measures before issuing visas to the relatives of American residents, tourists, and business officials.

The measures are a steps towards Donald Trump’s campaign promise of “extreme vetting”. They accompany his administration’s efforts, held up by courts, to impose restrictions on visas to citizens of six mainly-Muslim countries.

The new rules do not apply to citizens from 38 countries — including several countries from Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, and South Korea — who can enter the US under a visa waiver program. There are no waivers for citizens from any country in the Middle East or Africa.

Under Tillerson’s order, staff will ask the applicants about their backgrounds and monitor their social media.

Trump Envoy Concludes 4 Days of Talks With Israelis

Trump envoy Jason Greenblatt concludes four days of discussions with Israeli officials on “exceptionally complicated” issues.

A joint US-Israeli statement said these included “specific measures that could have a meaningful impact on the economic environment in the West Bank and Gaza, allowing the Palestinians to more fully realize their economic potential”, with pursuit of agreements on electricity and water.

Both sides acknowledged the central issue of Jewish settlements on Palestinian territory, with the US delegating “reiterating President Trump’s concerns regarding settlement activity in the context of moving towards a peace agreement” and the Israelis saying their intent is “to adopt a policy regarding settlement activity that takes those concerns into consideration”.

The Israeli delegation was led by the Chief of Staff to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Yoav Horowitz, and included Israeli Ambassador to the United States Ron Dermer and representatives of the Israeli National Security Council and Prime Minister’s office.

Trump: Everything I Predict Is True

In a conversation with Time magazine’s Michael Scherer, Donald Trump explains how everything he says turns out to be true:

I predicted a lot of things, Michael. Some things that came to you a little bit later. But, you know, we just rolled out a list. Sweden. I make the statement, everyone goes crazy. The next day they have a massive riot, and death, and problems. Huma [Abedin] and Anthony [Weiner], you know, what I tweeted about that whole deal, and then it turned out he had it, all of Hillary’s email on his thing. NATO, obsolete, because it doesn’t cover terrorism. They fixed that, and I said that the allies must pay. Nobody knew that they weren’t paying. I did. I figured it. Brexit, I was totally right about that. You were over there I think, when I predicted that, right, the day before. Brussels, I said, Brussels is not Brussels. I mean many other things, the election’s rigged against Bernie Sanders. We have a lot of things.

Trump’s claims about Swedish “riots”, Hillary Clinton’s e-mails, and the situation with NATO all face challenges under scrutiny, but that did not deter the President, who then tried to stand up his discredited assertion that he was wiretapped by President Obama last summer.

Trump also reiterated his unsupported declaration that more than 3 million people voted illegally in the November elections.

Congress Lifts Prohibitions on Tactics to Hunt Wild Animals in Alaska

In party-line votes, the House of Representatives and Senate lift Department of Interior regulations prohibiting the use of tactics such as baiting, spotlighting, and aerial spotting to hunt predatory animals on national preserve lands in Alaska.

The bill will hand jurisdiction over the hunting of bears, wolves, and coyotes on Alaska’s 20 million acres of federally-protected national preserves back to the State, which has had “predator control” laws since 1994 aimed at maximizing wild game populations for recreational hunting.

In 2015-2016, the National Park Service and US Fish and Wildlife Service implemented rules banning tactics such as attacking black or brown bear cubs or sows with cubs; attacking brown bears over bait; attacking bears using traps or snares; attacking wolves and coyotes during the denning season from May to August; and attacking bears from an aircraft or on the same day as air travel has occurred.

Senate Repeals Internet Privacy Rules

The Senate votes to repeal rules protecting consumers’ online data from Internet providers, making it easier for broadband companies to sell and share usage information for advertising purposes.

The rules were approved last year over objections from Republicans who argued the regulations went too far.

U.S. senators voted 50-48 to approve a joint resolution preventing the Federal Communications Commission’s privacy rules from going into effect.