Here’s where things stand heading into Day 48 of the Trump administration:
Donald Trump said one of his first priorities as president would be repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.
Now he’s learning that this task is much harder than he anticipated — no thanks to his own party.
It turns out that disagreements among Washington Republicans are a big part of the challenge facing leaders as they try to follow through on Trump’s campaign promise to implement a more conservative vision for American health care.
House Republicans released legislation to replace Obamacare on Monday night, and despite praise from the White House, the plan’s fate was in doubt less than 24 hours later. Not a great sign for a major Trump priority.
So, what happened during that short window of time to place the bill in doubt?
In short, it was a conservative revolt. Lawmakers and activist groups on the conservative right came out en masse against the American Health Care Act on Tuesday, saying that it does not go far enough in pulling back elements of President Barack Obama’s 2010 health-care overhaul.
This leaves leaders in a tricky spot. If they change the bill to appease hard-line conservatives, they could lose votes from more moderate Republicans whose support is necessary for its passage.
Losing those votes is a possibility: On Monday, four moderate Republican senators expressed worries that the bill doesn’t go far enough in protecting people who gained coverage through some states’ expansion of Medicaid under the ACA.
If three or more of those senators decide to oppose the American Health Care Act, it’s dead on arrival in the upper chamber — and Trump’s first stab at replacing Obamacare fails.
Trump praised the bill on Twitter and said it was just the beginning of a multiphase effort to restructure the health-care system. He said a later phase would allow health insurance to be purchased across state lines — a major conservative priority — and would include measures to lower drug prices.
In general, the president has not expressed significant interest in the ins and outs of health-care policy. Trump has said, however, that he wants “insurance for everybody” — a promise that may be hard to keep under the GOP bill.
WIKILEAKS AND TRUMP: ALLIES OR FOES?
The new president is facing another complicated situation this week when it comes to WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks, the anti-secrecy group known for posting sensitive information online, said it has obtained many of the secret, code-based hacking tools used by the CIA for cyberwarfare. It began posting the files to its website Tuesday, and current and former U.S. officials told The Washington Post that they looked legitimate.
If it’s authentic, this trove of information represents a major breach for U.S. intelligence that could cause significant fallout among American allies, our colleagues wrote.
For Trump, it means the tables have turned.
Remember: Before the election, WikiLeaks produced controversies for Hillary Clinton’s campaign by releasing thousands of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee and Clinton campaign chief John Podesta.
Trump wasn’t shy about expressing his appreciation. “I love WikiLeaks!” he told voters in Pennsylvania a month before the election.
Now that he’s president, the situation is more complicated. The Trump administration has repeatedly railed against the leaks that have dominated media coverage of Trump’s first six weeks in office.
This is just one example of why, as our colleagues wrote, advisers repeatedly told Trump that hacking should “always be condemned and never encouraged.”
SPECIAL PROSECUTOR? DEPUTY AG NOMINEE WON’T COMMIT
Democrats in Congress think that a special prosecutor must investigate Russian interference in the 2016 election. Unfortunately for them, the official nominated for deputy attorney general doesn’t seem to agree.
In a tense hearing on Capitol Hill, Rod J. Rosenstein said he was “not aware” of any reason he would not be able to supervise investigations into Russian interference or Trump associates’ ties to Russia. He did, however, seek to reassure lawmakers that he would act in the best interests of the United States.
“I can certainly assure you if it’s America against Russia, or America against any other country, I think everyone in this room knows which side I’m on,” Rosenstein said.
SENATORS CALL FOR ‘SWIFT ACTION’ AFTER ANTI-JEWISH THREATS
The number of bomb threats against Jewish schools and institutions around the country just keeps building. Now, in a rare show of unity, the entire U.S. Senate is calling on the Trump administration to do more in response.
In a letter to Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, Attorney General Jeff Sessions and FBI Director James B. Comey, members of the upper chamber described the threats as an anti-Semitic attempt to spread fear nationwide. “Failure to address and deter these threats will place innocent people at risk,” the senators wrote.
The letter came after a new wave of threats late Monday and Tuesday targeted Jewish facilities in at least eight states, Washington and Toronto.
Follow the author @eliseviebeck.