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The 13 Male Republicans Drafting the Senate Version of TrumpCare on the House’s Version



‘We Have No Interest in Playing the Games of Identity Politics’

When House Republicans passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA, TrumpCare) Thursday, the argument could be made, at least watching House Republicans and Donald Trump, that the case had been settled: ObamaCare was gone, repealed and “replaced.” 

In reality, the only cases settled that day would be the cases of beer wheeled into the White House to celebrate the “victory” of attempting to strip an estimated 24 million Americans of their healthcare coverage.

The House’s so-called victory may be short-lived, however, considering that just hours after the bill’s passing, Senate Republicans signaled they’d write their own version.

And as Americans across the country shared their thoughts and concerns about the passing of Trumpcare in the House, the 13 Republicans responsible for drafting the Senate’s plan, all male, weren’t silent either.

Below, reactions from the 13 male Senators on the potential loss of healthcare for 24 million Americans, the cutting of Medicaid by $880 billion, and the placement of Americans with pre-existing conditions into high-risk, grossly underfunded pools that would cost them thousands more annually:

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Kentucky, elected until 2020)


“Today’s vote in the House was an important step,” McConnell’s statement read. He further asserted that his constituents were now closer to “freedom” and congratulated Paul Ryan, Donald Trump and Mike Pence by name “for a job well done.”

John Cornyn (Texas, elected until 2020)


“Today is an important step in upholding our promise to give the American people relief,” Cornyn’s statement echoed McConnell’s. “Working alongside the Administration… will continue to be our top priority and [Trumpcare] sets us on a course to achieve that.”

John Thune (South Dakota, elected until 2022)


Thune called it a “critical step in delivering relief for the American people” in his statement, because “Americans deserve better.” He further asserted that he looks forward to working with his colleagues on the matter.

John Barrasso (Wyoming, Elected Until 2018)


While Barrasso released no official statement, in a statement on ObamaCare and previous efforts to repeal and replace it, he said that “American people are asking for our help.” He cited Ronald Reagan, who said ‘it’s better to get 80 percent of what you want rather than go over the cliff with a flag flying.’”

Lamar Alexander (Tennessee, Elected Until 2020)


Alexander congratulated the House’s passage of the bill, but was more cautious in his statement, advising the Senate “will take the time to get it right.” His goals moving forward include “rescuing” his constituents from ObamaCare.

Mike Enzi (Wyoming, Elected Until 2020)


Enzi appears to have made no official statement, but may be attempting to stay out of the spotlight after his homophobic remarks to school-aged children.

Orrin Hatch (Utah, Elected Until 2018)


Hatch seemingly made no official statement, but told Politico “it’s close to near-impossible, except we’ll get it done.” He further insisted that he’s “been at near-impossible a couple of times” and “always gets it done.”

Ted Cruz (Texas, Elected Until 2018)


Cruz said the bill was “an important step,” and found it encouraging that the House could “come together.” He praised the House Freedom Caucus for “[pressing] hard [to] reduce premiums.”

Mike Lee (Utah, Elected Until 2022)


Lee made no official statement on the bill’s passing, but of the House’s first and failed attempt at passing TrumpCare, he called for ObamaCare to be “properly sent to the dustbin of history.”

Tom Cotton (Arkansas, Elected Until 2020)


Cotton also refrained from an official statement, but didn’t support the House’s last attempt. Ahead of the previous and failed version, he urged his “friends in the House of Representatives… ‘Do not walk the plank and vote for a bill that cannot pass the Senate and then have to face the consequences of that vote.’”

Cory Gardner (Colorado, Elected Until 2020)


Gardner said he looks “forward to working with [his] colleagues” on the matter, but no official statement was made.

Rob Portman (Ohio, Elected Until 2022)


Portman’s statement advised that he has “already made clear that [he] doesn’t support the House bill as currently constructed.” He further asserted that while “Congress must take responsible action,” that “changes must be made that [do] not leave people behind.”

Pat Toomey (Pennsylvania, Elected Until 2022)


“The House bill is merely the first legislative step,” Toomey said, but released no official statement.

“We have no interest in playing the games of identity politics,” a Republican aide said of the criticism that the 13 Senators were all men. (There are five female senators amongst the 52 Republicans in the Senate.)

“To reduce this to gender, race or geography misses the more important point,” the aide insisted.


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Images via Wikimedia

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‘It’s Not Theirs, It’s Mine’ Trump Told Aides About White House Records Including Classified Documents: NYT



Donald Trump last week claimed all the Dept. of Justice had to do was “ask” for the classified documents, and other items the FBI confiscated a week ago Monday, and he would have returned them, while multiple aides reportedly have quoted him saying those items belonged to him.

“Pat A. Cipollone and Patrick F. Philbin, the White House counsel and his deputy under President Donald J. Trump, were interviewed by the F.B.I. in connection with boxes of sensitive documents that were stored at Mr. Trump’s residence in Florida after he left office, three people familiar with the matter said,” The New York Times Tuesday afternoon reports.

Both were named as Trump’s representatives to the National Archives, so when the Archives discovered it was missing items, including the highly classified documents, NARA reached out to Philbin.

READ MORE: Trump Makes False Claims About Classified Documents – And Obama

“Mr. Philbin tried to help the National Archives retrieve the material, two of the people familiar with the discussions said. But the former president repeatedly resisted entreaties from his advisers,” the Times’ Maggie Haberman reports.

“’It’s not theirs, it’s mine,’ several advisers say Mr. Trump told them,” according to the Times.

That’s a different response to the one Trump posted to his Truth Social account last week.

“Number one, it was all declassified,” Trump wrote, a claim experts question.

“Number two,” Trump added, “they didn’t need to ‘seize’ anything. They could have had it anytime they wanted without playing politics and breaking into Mar-a-Lago. It was in secured storage, with an additional lock put on as per their request.”

READ MORE: Does Trump Still Have Classified Docs? DOJ May Think So After Asking Judge to Keep Affidavit Sealed Former Fed Says

“They could have had it anytime they wanted—and that includes LONG ago,” he continued in a separate post on Truth Social. “ALL THEY HAD TO DO WAS ASK.”

Despite NARA retrieving the 15 cartons in January, there were more items they wanted returned. In May Trump was sent a subpoena, and yet those items were not returned.

In June, a Trump lawyer signed a statement saying there were no classified documents at Mar-a-Lago.

Two months later, on August 8, the FBI executed the search warrant that reportedly secured 11 sets of classified documents.

READ MORE: Trump’s Weaponization of DOJ Notice to Pick Up His Passports Negates Claim He Will ‘Do Whatever’ to Tamp Down Anger

The Times adds that in June, “officials then used a subpoena to obtain surveillance footage of the hallway outside a storage room at Mar-a-Lago and saw something that alarmed them.”

The Times on Tuesday does not state what “alarmed” them, but Maggie Haberman at the Times on Saturday reported the surveillance footage revealed items being taken out of that locked storage room.

“The Justice Department also subpoenaed surveillance footage from Mar-a-Lago recorded over a 60-day period, including views from outside the storage room,” Haberman reported. “According to a person briefed on the matter, the footage showed that, after one instance in which Justice Department officials were in contact with Mr. Trump’s team, boxes were moved in and out of the room.”

“They also received information from at least one witness who indicated that more material might remain at the residence, people familiar with the investigation said,” she added.



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Trump Tweeted ‘Highly Classified Image Taken by a Secret Spy Satellite’ in 2019: Report



In late August of 2019, more than two and a half years into his first and only term, Donald Trump tweeted a photo that many at the time thought might be a classified spy image, setting the internet on fire.

As it turns out, it was.

Calling it “an infamous moment in the Trump presidency — one that former intelligence officials say perfectly illustrated his approach to dealing with state secrets,” NBC News on Tuesday reported that on August 30, 2019, a “former senior intelligence official with firsthand knowledge told NBC News that Trump did indeed tweet a highly classified image taken by a secret spy satellite, as many experts suspected at the time. And in doing so, the official and others said, Trump gave U.S. adversaries keen insights into the U.S. capabilities to spy from above.”

Trump’s Twitter account is gone, permanently suspended after the Jan. 6 insurrection, and with it all the tweets he posted over many years.

But this is a screenshot of that tweet captured by the Internet Archive (with what appears to be Finnish):

“The president tweeted a picture of an Iranian missile launch site that showed a failed ICBM test launch that everybody acknowledged was a highly classified picture taken from space,” former national security adviser John Bolton told NBC News. “He tweeted it out, and that of course declassified it by definition, but also showed what could happen when such a picture, even on a Twitter attachment, was then able to be analyzed by foreign intelligence services.”

“We had this image of the Iranian missile blown up, and it was exquisite intelligence, and he didn’t even wait,” a former senior intelligence official said. “As soon as we showed him, he said, ‘Hey, I’m tweeting this.’”

Trump “spent no time understanding what made something a secret and what we protected,” that former official also told NBC News.

“CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire tried to talk Trump out of doing it,” NBC News adds,  “noting that the U.S. spent billions of dollars developing capabilities to capture images from space, and told Trump, ‘You can’t do this. If you put this out, they’re going understand what our capability is.'”

Falsely, he responded: “Look, I’m the president, I can declassify anything.”


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Top Democratic House Committee Chairs Accuse Embattled DHS IG of ‘Obstruction’ in Warning They Will ‘Ensure Compliance’



Two of the most powerful House Committee chairs have sent a lengthy letter to embattled Dept. of Homeland Security Inspector General Joseph Cuffari detailing his “obstruction” in investigations, revealing their “investigation is focused precisely on potential misconduct in [his] office,” and warning him if he does not comply with their requests they will “have no choice but to consider alternate means to ensure compliance.”

Cuffari (photo), who was installed by then-President Donald Trump in 2019, is already accused of holding back information from Congress, including delaying for many months the release of information that Secret Service agents’ text massages from Jan. 5 and 6, 2021, were erased, and that the cell phones of top Trump appointees at DHS also were erased.

“Since May 2022, we have written to you on three separate occasions to request documents and information about your conduct as Inspector General,” write Carolyn Maloney, Chairwoman of the Committee on Oversight and Reform, and Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security.

READ MORE: ‘Coverup of Treason’: Trump-Appointed IG, Under Investigation, Knew of Missing Secret Service and DHS Texts Far Earlier

Detailing those instances, they say, “first, following serious allegations that your office censored findings of domestic abuse and sexual harassment by Department of Homeland Security (DHS) employees; second, after you failed to promptly notify Congress of crucial information on the Secret Service’s erasure of text messages related to the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol; and third, after new information emerged on your repeated failures to gather text messages from the Secret Service and other senior officials related to the January 6 attack.”

The two chairs further accuse Cuffari: “you have refused to produce responsive documents and blocked employees in your office from appearing for transcribed interviews. Your obstruction of the Committees’ investigations is unacceptable, and your justifications for this noncompliance appear to reflect a fundamental misunderstanding of Congress’s authority and your duties as an Inspector General. If you continue to refuse to comply with our requests, we will have no choice but to consider alternate measures to ensure your compliance.”

Addressing his handling of the Secret Service investigation, they add they have “grave concerns about your lack of transparency and independence,” and note, “we urged you to step aside from this critical investigation and allow another IG to complete this work.”

READ MORE: ‘Quite Robustly a Coverup’: Rick Wilson Urges J6 Committee to Nail Secret Service for Deleted Texts

They also reveal that Cuffari “removed key information before sending a subsequent semiannual report to Congress in June 2022. An earlier draft version of the report would have provided Congress with a detailed explanation of Secret Service’s ‘resistance to OIG’s oversight activities’ and refusal to produce documents. The draft report also included detailed information about the Secret Service’s erasure of text messages.”

At one point in the eight-page letter they also state: “Career staff in your office reportedly drafted a management alert in October 2021 that would have alerted Congress and the public, but you ‘rejected sending the alert.'”

And they note that Cuffari is refusing their requests while they cite examples when he complied with requests from their Republican predecessors.

RELATED: Inspector General Refuses to Investigate if Acting DHS Secretary Wolf Is Serving Illegally After Judge Says ‘Likely’

“Your failure to comply with our outstanding requests lacks any legal justification and is unacceptable,” they conclude. “Please provide all responsive documents by August 23, 2022, and make the individuals requested for transcribed interviews available by the same date. If you continue to obstruct, we will have no choice but to consider alternate means to ensure compliance.”

The Washington Post adds that Cuffari “has rejected calls from leading Democratic legislators to recuse himself from the investigation into the erasure of text messages that Secret Service agents exchanged during the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol, drawing fresh rebukes from lawmakers on Tuesday.”

“Cuffari said forcing him to step aside ‘has no legal basis’ and ‘would upend the very independence that Congress has established for Inspectors General,’ according to the letter he sent to House oversight committees on Aug. 8.”

Read the full letter here.


This article has been updated with the addition of reporting from The Washington Post.

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