From a new Reuters Institute study:
Political Wire members get exclusive analysis, new features and no advertising. They also help support a site that is focused entirely on its readers.
President Trump “called for a new law barring immigrants from receiving welfare for at least five years at a rally on Wednesday. But neither Trump nor nearly 6,000 of his die-hard supporters seemed to realize that the law has already existed for more than 20 years,” USA Today reports.
“Trump received a standing ovation and pledged his administration would put the legislation into effect ‘very shortly.'”
A new Morning Consult/Politico survey found that 57% of Americans said Congress should not raise the debt limit – a move the Treasury Department says would cause “catastrophic economic consequences.”
“Republican opposition is particularly strong, with 64% of GOP voters saying they oppose raising the debt limit. But they are not alone: Forty-nine percent of Democrats also oppose the move.”
“The White House is quietly lobbying House Republicans to weaken a bill overwhelmingly passed by the Senate last week that would slap tough new sanctions on Russia for its meddling in the 2016 election and allow Congress to block any future move by President Trump to lift any penalties against Moscow,” the New York Times reports.
“The effort is designed to head off an awkward and politically damaging veto fight between the Trump administration and the Republican-controlled Congress on Russia at a time when Mr. Trump is laboring under the shadow of multiple investigations about his campaign’s potential collusion with Moscow.”
“The Senate bill, unveiled today, is not a health care bill. It’s a massive transfer of wealth from middle-class and poor families to the richest people in America.”
— Barack Obama, in a Facebook post.
“When it comes to managing Republicans’ best interests, Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, rarely loses. So it is possible that Mr. McConnell views the potential failure of a hastily written health care bill as an eventual boon,” the New York Times reports.
“His presentation on Thursday of the Senate’s health care measure to Republican colleagues — after the White House and key lobbyists got a peek the night before — was met with something other than unbridled enthusiasm. According to lawmakers who were at the unveiling, members from the left and right ends of the party’s spectrum were deeply critical of the effort.”
“As Democrats immediately took to the Senate floor to excoriate the bill and the secretive process in which it was put together, few Republicans, even those involved in crafting it, came to defend it.”
Caitlin Owens: “Only hours after the release of the Senate health care bill, four conservative senators put out a statement saying they can’t support the bill in its current form. As of now, moderates have held their fire, saying they need to finish reading and analyzing the bill.”
A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds Democrats lead the generic congressional ballot by eight points, 50% to 42%.
It’s the largest lead any party has held on that generic ballot question since 2013.
A new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll finds that by a 3-to-1 margin, the American public holds a negative view of the American Health Care Act, 48% to 16%.
Strikingly, even Republican respondents in the poll are lukewarm about the House bill, with only 34% viewing it positively (and 17% viewing it negatively).
President Trump “said he doesn’t have recordings of his conversations with then-FBI Director James Comey, capping weeks of speculation about whether such tapes exist,” Bloomberg reports.
Said Trump: “With all of the recently reported electronic surveillance, intercepts, unmasking and illegal leaking of information, I have no idea whether there are ‘tapes’ or recordings of my conversations with James Comey but I did not make, and do not have, any such recordings.”
“The hacking of state and local election databases in 2016 was more extensive than previously reported, including at least one successful attempt to alter voter information, and the theft of thousands of voter records that contain private information like partial Social Security numbers,” Time reports.
“In one case, investigators found there had been a manipulation of voter data in a county database but the alterations were discovered and rectified.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) defended her leadership “amid suggestions from some Democrats that it may be time for her to step aside after more than a decade leading the caucus,” The Hill reports.
“Some Democrats had expressed frustration since the party fell short of picking up a seat in Tuesday’s special election in Georgia. A handful even went as far as suggesting Democrats couldn’t win back the House next year with Pelosi still as their leader.”
But Pelosi brushed the criticism aside: “I thrive on competition and I welcome the discussion. But I am honored by the support.”
One of President Trump’s newest appointees is a registered agent of Saudi Arabia earning hundreds of thousands of dollars to lobby on the kingdom’s behalf, according to the Center for Public Integrity.
Since January, the Saudi Arabian foreign ministry has paid longtime Republican lobbyist Richard Hohlt about $430,000 in exchange for “advice on legislative and public affairs strategies.”
A new Quinnipiac poll in Virginia shows Ralph Northam (D) leading Ed Gillespie (R) in the Virginia governor’s race by eight points, 47% to 39%.
Key finding: Just 25% of voters said they were more likely to vote for a candidate supporting President Trump, and 46% said they were less likely to vote for a Trump-friendly candidate.