Schiff: “. . . collusion . . . deception.”

POTUS Trump has spent two weeks re-defining but not retracting his Tweeted allegations re: being ‘tapped’ by the previous POTUS.

Mark Meadows of the Freedom Caucus wants more changes before he’d support the new health plan.  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-takeout-rep-mark-meadows-on-the-fate-of-the-health-care-bill/

Meadows wants some big changes to the bill put forward by Speaker Paul Ryan and supported by President Trump, he told CBS News’ Chief White House Correspondent Major Garrett in the latest episode of “The Takeout” podcast. But he also said that he’s willing to compromise, in the interest of moving forward on an ambitious Republican agenda. House Republicans are in a hurry to get this plan passed.

Huge discretionary cuts on the budget chopping block.  

President Trump’s first budget blueprint envisions a major retrenchment for the Department of Health and Human Services, calling for a nearly 18% cut next year, or $15.1 billion, for programs that are subject to annual spending bills.  http://www.latimes.com/politics/washington/la-na-essential-washington-updates-trump-budget-envisions-big-cuts-for-1489664310-htmlstory.html

Among the biggest targets are the National Institutes of Health, which would see their budgets cut by $5.8 billion to $25.9 billion. The budget plan says this would “help focus resources on the highest priority research.”

Trump would also cut $4.2 billion in grants the federal government provides to communities to assist poor people, including the decades-old Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which helps low-income Americans with their heating bills.

And the budget would slash more than $400 million in training programs for nurses and other health professionals, which the Trump administration said are ineffective.

http://www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/omb-dir-mulvaney-defends-budget-blueprint-won-t-balance-n735406

President Trump’s Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney on Sunday defended the administration’s budget blueprint for not reducing the federal deficit — despite his past reputation as a deficit hawk member of Congress.

“Keep in mind, the administration is different than members of the Hill, the members of the House and the Senate,” Mulvaney told host Chuck Todd on “Meet The Press.”

“Every House member, which I used to be, has a constituency,” said Mulvaney. “We have a group of people we represent. Senators represent the whole state. There’s also a lot of special interests, a lot of lobbying involved. The president’s not beholden to any of that. The president represents everybody.”

Mulvaney estimates that if the president’s budget were to be approved by Congress, that the deficit would remain the same as it is now. On the campaign trail, then-candidate Trump repeatedly promised to balance the budget “quickly,” and at one point, even made a pledge to get rid of the federal debt in eight years.

Mulvaney also pointed out that the current proposal is more of a spending outline, and that the administration will be introducing a full budget in May, with a longer budget window and other policy changes.

“We won’t be able to balance the budget this year but we are working on trying to get it to balance within the 10 year budget window, which is what Republicans in the House, the Senate have traditionally done the last couple of years.”

Paraphrasing Robert Costa (Washington Post):  My White House sources advise the POTUS often has a higher regard for the news sources he reviews than briefings he gets from the Intelligence Community.

This observation in The New York Times from Jeremy Shapiro, a research director for European Council on Foreign Relations,  “It’s very easy to have a good meeting with Trump, it’s very pleasant and he’s very pleasant in person. He’ll promise you the world, and 48 hours later, he’ll betray you without a thought. He won’t even know he’ll be betraying you.”

Says Rep. Adam Schiff on Meet The Press:

I would characterize it this way, at the outset of the investigation, there was circumstantial evidence of collusion. There was direct evidence, I think, of deception.

And that’s where we begin the investigation. Now I don’t want to prejudge where we ultimately end up, and of course, there’s one thing to say there’s evidence. There’s another thing to say we can prove this or prove it beyond a reasonable doubt, or there’s enough evidence to bring to a grand jury for purposes of criminal indictment.

But there was certainly enough for us to conduct an investigation. The American people have a right to know, and in order to defend ourselves, we need to know whether the circumstantial evidence of collusion and direct evidence of deception is indicative of more.

Says Chuck Todd (Meet The Press host):

According to Pew, in 1994 there was a good deal of ideological overlap between the two parties. Thirty six percent of Republican voters were more liberal than the typical Democrat, and thirty percent of Democrats were more conservative than the typical Republican.

Today, no longer the case. In 2014, just eight percent of Republicans, six percent of Democrats, were more liberal or conservative than the members of the opposite party. And guess what? We’ve seen the same shift among our elected officials. Based on a National Journal analysis of voting records, in 2002 there were 137 House members who fell in the ideological middle ground. With voting records somewhere between the most conservative Democrat and the most liberal Republican. In 2013 that number was down to four. Let’s go to the Senate. 2002 there were seven members in that middle ground. 2013? Zero.

So as you can see, in the last fifteen years we’ve seen a complete hollowing out of the political center. And this coincided with the advent of microtargeting in 2004, then advanced by team Obama, and now, of course, everybody uses it. Look, the electorate and politicians alike used to be conditioned to know that the middle mattered. That’s why big deals in Washington were bipartisan. Tax reform in the eighties, welfare reform in the nineties. Flash-forward to 2010, Democrats pass health care without a single Republican vote, and right now Republicans appear poised to try to do it the same way.

What is microtargeting?

Microtargeting is the use by political parties and election campaigns of direct marketing datamining techniques that involve predictive market segmentation (aka cluster analysis). It is used by United States Republican and Democratic political parties and candidates to track individual voters and identify potential supporters.

They then use various means of communication—direct mail, phone calls, home visits, television, radio, web advertising, email, text messaging, etc.—to communicate with voters, crafting messages to build support for fundraising, campaign events, volunteering, and eventually to turn them out to the polls on election day. Microtargeting’s tactics rely on transmitting a tailored message to a subgroup of the electorate on the basis of unique information about that subgroup.

CHUCK TODD:  . . .  is it the right strategy to just be party of no? George Will, the Washington, you’ve been used to covering for 30 years, of course the answer to that used to be no. But perhaps it’s better for them politically to be the party of no.

GEORGE WILL:  It’s better in the sense that it energizes their base. You get to an election and you realize you can’t win an election with your base alone. The old axiom used to be that American politics took place within the 40-yard lines. I still think it’s true.

 

 

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