Putin Suggests He Might Not Leave Office

“Asked what he plans to do when he leaves the presidency, Vladimir Putin paused and smiled. ‘But I haven’t decided yet if I will leave the presidency,’ the Russian leader replied, to laughter and applause from an audience made up almost entirely of Russians who were born after he first became president in 2000,” the Guardian reports.

“Presidential elections will take place next March and Putin is widely expected to stand and win another six-year term.”

Pence Makes Push to Get Health Bill to the Floor

Vice President Mike Pence is making an all out push for the Senate to get the health care bill onto the floor next week, Jonathan Swan reports.

“The White House needs to convince two conservative senators, Mike Lee and Rand Paul, to vote to allow the Senate to debate the health care bill. We expect Pence to leverage his deep connections in the conservative movement to build pressure on these senators over these crucial few days.”

Sean Spicer Resigns

Sean Spicer resigned as White House press secretary “telling President Trump he vehemently disagreed with the appointment of New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director,” the New York Times reports.

“His resignation is a blow to the White House chief of staff, Reince Priebus, the former Republican Party chairman who brought Mr. Spicer into the West Wing despite skepticism from Mr. Trump, who initially questioned his loyalty.”

“The appointment of Mr. Scaramucci, a favorite of Mr. Trump’s earliest campaign supporters, was backed by the president’s daughter Ivanka, his son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross.”

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Will Republicans Draw a Red Line for Trump?

First Read: “If things appear that the country is indeed headed toward a possible constitutional crisis — Trump instructing the Justice Department to fire Mueller, Trump pardoning aides and family members — there is a simple solution: Congressional Republicans can act.”

“They can do so by passing a law to reinstate Mueller, or they can threaten impeachment. The question, of course, is whether they’d follow through.”

“That’s why every member of Congress should be on the record on this question: What will you do if Trump tries to fire Mueller or pardon his aides or family members? And the fact that this question needs to be asked — six months into Trump’s tenure as president — is an extraordinary development.”

Trump Can’t Stop Mentioning Hillary Clinton

Washington Post: “In fact, in 19 interviews that he’s conducted since becoming president, we found that Clinton tended to be mentioned much earlier than a number of Trump’s other favorite topics: The 2016 election, the votes he received, the electoral college and Barack Obama. Tallying the first appearance of each word in those 19 interviews, we figured out how far into an interview Trump first made mention of them, on average.”

“In 17 of 19 of his interviews, Clinton came up, on average about 36 percent of the way in. That’s more frequently and earlier than his mentions of Obama, who made it into only 16 interviews, about 43 percent of the way in.”

Are the U.S. and China Headed for War?

That’s the provocative, timely, and somewhat scary question posed by one of America’s great authorities on international affairs: Harvard’s Graham Allison.

Allison is the author of the bestselling Destined for War: Can America and China Escape Thucydides’s Trap?

He speaks to Chris Riback on the latest episode of Political Wire Conversations.

Subscribe to the podcast via iTunes or Google Play to get new episodes automatically downloaded to your phone.

Kushner’s Status Being Used to Lure Chinese Investors

“Jared Kushner’s status as a top aide to President Donald Trump was used to lure Chinese investors to his family’s New Jersey development, even after his family’s company apologized for mentioning his name during a sales pitch in May,” CNN has found.

“References to Kushner are part of online promotions by two businesses that are working with Kushner Companies to find Chinese investors willing to invest in the 1 Journal Square development in exchange for a US visa. The promotions are posted in Chinese and refer to Kushner Companies as ‘real estate heavyweights,’ going on to mention ‘the celebrity of the family is 30-something ‘Mr. Perfect’ Jared Kushner, who once served as CEO of Kushner Companies.'”

Fox News Turns to Clinton Amid Negative Trump News

CNN: “As a cloud of negative news hangs over President Donald Trump and his administration, a familiar face has been all over the airwaves on Fox News: Hillary Clinton. The former Democratic presidential candidate, a favorite villain of the right, has been featured prominently across Fox News’ programming this week.”

“In many cases, instead of the network’s hosts applying pressure to the current President, who is grappling with the fallout from a federal investigation related to Russian election meddling, Fox News’ personalities have deflected and turned their attention to Clinton.”

Ryan Insists Tax Reform Will Be Easier

Boston Globe: “With the GOP effort to repeal President Obama’s Affordable Care Act on the rocks, and doubts that the enormously complex field of tax reform could pose an equally heavy lift, Ryan sounded a note of optimism.”

Said Ryan: “As Republicans, we are wired the same way on tax reform. Obviously, we’ve seen in the Senate there are a difference of opinions on how to do health care reform. We are so much more unified on tax reform, on what it looks like, and how to do it, and the need to do it.”

McCain’s Absence Could Impact Health Care Bill

New York Times: “The circumstances are eerily similar. In the middle of contentious health care deliberations, a larger-than-life figure in the Senate learns he has a very serious form of brain cancer. A leading voice goes quiet and the Senate suffers for it.”

“Such was the case in 2008 when Edward M. Kennedy, Democrat of Massachusetts, learned he had brain cancer and again this week when it was announced that John McCain, Republican of Arizona, had the exact condition that claimed his colleague — a man who shared Mr. McCain’s zest for a good argument and for cutting a deal.”