Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar tried to stop President Donald Trump from waging another war against the Affordable Care Act this week.
Trump told the GOP caucus that he wants the Republican Party to become the “healthcare party,” while at the same time urging the courts to completely unmake the law informally known as Obamacare.
According to Politico, Azar argued against the administration supporting a lawsuit to get a full repeal of the law during a December White House meeting. He cited a lack of an alternative piece of legislation from the GOP, two sources told Politico. Budget director Mick Mulvaney claimed that supporting the “bold stance” would force Congress into repealing and replacing the law. That didn’t work out well.
Now, the country is firmly behind the law with 50 percent who support it and only 37 percent against. It matches the meager 37 percent of Americans who think Trump is doing great on health care while 52 percent disapprove of Trump’s work on healthcare.
The White House was quick to dispute the claim, saying all of Trump’s cabinet secretaries are firmly behind the president.
“Secretary Azar fully supports the Administration’s litigation position in the ACA case, which bears his name,” HHS spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley said in a statement. “Any insinuation that Secretary Azar has ‘butted heads’ with Mulvaney on this issue is false.”
Azar joins with Attorney General Bill Barr who wants nothing to do with an unpopular battle that the Justice Department will likely lose in court, Politico said.
“The Republican Party will soon be known as the party of health care,” Trump told reporters after the caucus meeting. “You watch.”
Meanwhile, the Politico report noted that this is an example of Mulvaney trying to create his own “mini-fiefdom inside West Wing.”
“The Obamacare decision was backed by DPC Chief Joe Grogan and acting OMB Chief Russ Vought, both Mulvaney allies, as well as by Mick Mulvaney himself, who pushed Obamacare repeal while in Congress,” tweeted Politico’s Eliana Johnson. “Mulvaney hasn’t tried to restrict access to Trump but rather added allies inside the WH, accumulating a roster of people who share his views who also now have access to POTUS. Monday’s decision was an example.”
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Mike Pompeo Called on to Resign – or Be Impeached Himself
After Ambassador Gordon Sondland implicated Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the Ukraine scandal during his impeachment testimony on Wednesday morning, calls arose for him to resign — or to be impeached himself.
“Sondland puts Pompeo right in the middle of Trump’s bribery scheme,” former federal prosecutor Joyce Vance told Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post. “And, Pompeo, who listened in on the July 25 call, knew what was at stake — Trump was forcing [Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce an investigation into the Bidens that was politically valuable to Trump’s 2020 campaign.”
Vance added: “Pompeo, top of his class at West Point and a graduate of Harvard Law, knew it was wrong.”
Rep. Adam Schiff: “[Pompeo] was aware of the connections that you were making between the investigations and the White House meeting and security assistance?”
— The Hill (@thehill) November 20, 2019
Rubin agreed, and observed that unlike the president, Pompeo has no protection from legal exposure.
“The House Intelligence Committee should make a criminal referral, subpoena Pompeo for testimony and proceed with impeachment proceedings if he doesn’t comply,” she wrote. “The message to future secretaries of state must be that they must [not] participate in illegal schemes and that their oath is to the Constitution, not a president.”
Sondland: ‘We Followed the President’s Orders’
Gordon Sondland will say in sworn testimony before Congress that he “followed the President’s orders” to extort a quid pro quo and engage in a bribery scheme with Ukraine, according to the text of his opening remarks his attorney has released ahead of his testimony Wednesday morning.
“Mr. Giuliani’s requests were a quid pro quo for arranging a White House visit,” Sondland will say, CNBC reports.
“Mr. Giuliani was expressing the desires of the President of the United States, and we knew that these investigations were important to the President.”
Sondland will also say, “we followed the president’s orders” to work with Giuliani, Bloomberg adds.
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.
Revealed: Nikki Haley Sent Confidential Information About North Korea Nuke Scare Over System Meant Only for Unclassified Communications
“Convenience is not an acceptable reason to skirt information security rules. She should be held to the same standard as everyone else,” said Austin Evers, executive director at American Oversight, upon hearing the news that former UN ambassador Nikki Haley used a Blackberry smartphone to communicate with staff regarding North Korea’s July, 2017 test of an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the US.
“For an administration obsessed with security lapses others have committed, and for a still-rising star in the Republican party, this could be more than a little embarrassing,” The Daily Beast notes in their exclusive report on Haley’s security violation:
Haley was in a rush as she headed to her office—“On my way in”—shooting emails back and forth with top aides who’d been with her since she was governor of South Carolina. She needed to make a statement, and they were drafting it for her. “Let’s clean this up,” she writes after looking at some of the copy. “Pretty this up for me,” she says, then, “Can’t find my password for the high side.”
Long story short, Nikki Haley violated procedure because she couldn’t remember her password.
Haley’s emails were part of a trove of classified documents secured by a FOIA request by American Oversight, a non-profit watchdog organization engaged in investigating the Trump administration.
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