Giffords Tells GOP Lawmakers to ‘Have Some Courage’

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) blamed his decision not to hold town hall events on “the threat of violence at town hall meetings.”

He also pointed to a specific violent event to bolster his case, invoking the 2011 shooting that severely injured Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-AZ) and killed six others, the Washington Post reports.

Giffords responded: “To the politicians who have abandoned their civic obligations, I say this: Have some courage. Face your constituents. Hold town halls.”

Draft of Obamacare Replacement Bill Leaked

A draft House Republican repeal bill would dismantle Obamacare subsidies and scrap its Medicaid expansion, Politico reports.

“The legislation would take down the foundation of Obamacare, including the unpopular individual mandate, subsidies based on people’s income, and all of the law’s taxes. It would significantly roll back Medicaid spending and give states money to create high-risk pools for some people with pre-existing conditions. Some elements would be effective right away; others not until 2020.”

“The replacement would be paid for by limiting tax breaks on generous health plans people get at work — an idea that is similar to the Obamacare ‘Cadillac tax’ that Republicans have fought to repeal.”

Trump Slam’s Media’s Use of Anonymous Sources

President Trump “escalated his criticism of the news media Friday, taking direct aim this time at the use of anonymous sources,” the AP reports.

Reporters “shouldn’t be allowed to use sources unless they use somebody’s name,” he declared, just hours after members of his own staff held a press briefing and refused to allow their names to be used. Members of Trump’s White House team regularly demand anonymity when talking to reporters.

Majority of Public Finds News Media Credible

A new Public Policy Polling survey finds that all five of the media outlets President Trump singled out for attack last week are seen as credible by majorities of the public.

Out of the Trump friendly outlets only Fox News comes out seen as more credible than not, but it is still seen as less credible than all the mainstream outlets Trump targeted in his media attack tweet last week.

Hickenlooper Says No Presidential Bid

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) told the Denver Post that he’s not running for president in 2020 and that his recent remarks on CNN were misconstrued.

Said Hickenlooper: “I thought that couldn’t have been more clear that I wasn’t going to run. If you were legitimately going to run for president, you’d form a PAC. Literally everyone does. I haven’t formed a PAC. I’m not going to form a PAC.”

Woman Awaiting Surgery Forcibly Moved to Detention

“A critically ill woman from El Salvador who was awaiting emergency surgery for a brain tumor was forcibly moved from a Texas hospital to a detention center by federal agents, raising concerns about President Trump’s directive to more aggressively pursue people living in the country illegally,” the Los Angeles Times reports.

“Sara Beltran-Hernandez, 26, a mother of two young children, was bound by her hands and feet and removed by wheelchair from Huguley Hospital in Fort Worth by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who brought her to a detention facility in Alvarado, Texas.”

Obamacare Approval Hits New High

Rick Klein and Sushanna Walshe: “The best thing to happen to Obamacare might have been Donald Trump. A new Kaiser tracking poll has the approval rating for the Affordable Care Act up to 48% – the highest it’s been in some 60 such polls. Lawmakers, of course, are hearing about that newfound popularity firsthand at raucous town halls that are developing into mirror-image opposites of the famous Tea Party events that hurt the bill’s popularity back in 2009 and 2010.”

“With President Trump’s address to Congress coming on the eve of the month slated for repeal/replace, it may be that Republicans have lost critical momentum around what they all once agreed would be their top priority. Former House Speaker John Boehner’s statements on the difficulty the GOP will have in undoing Obamacare is a clue to the anxiety Republicans are feeling right now about their promise of repeal.”

Trump’s Clean Up Crew

Politico: “With each passing day, Donald Trump’s Cabinet looks more like a clean-up crew. The president’s undiplomatic comments are repeatedly forcing his foreign policy and national security appointees into the awkward position of telling an anxious world that, basically, their boss didn’t really mean what he said.”

Russia Was Surprised Trump Won

New Yorker: “For many national-security officials, the e-mail hacks were part of a larger, and deeply troubling, picture: Putin’s desire to damage American confidence and to undermine the Western alliances— diplomatic, financial, and military—that have shaped the postwar world.”

“The working theory among intelligence officials involved in the case is that the Russian approach—including hacking, propaganda, and contacts with Trump associates—was an improvisation rather than a long-standing plan.”

Said one official: “After the election, there were a lot of Embassy communications — to Moscow — saying, stunned, ‘What we do now?'”

Trump Says U.S. Has Fallen Behind in Nuclear Weapons

President Trump told Reuters he wants to ensure the U.S. nuclear arsenal is at the “top of the pack,” saying the United States has fallen behind in its weapons capacity.

Said Trump: “I am the first one that would like to see… nobody have nukes, but we’re never going to fall behind any country even if it’s a friendly country, we’re never going to fall behind on nuclear power. It would be wonderful, a dream would be that no country would have nukes, but if countries are going to have nukes, we’re going to be at the top of the pack.”