The most consequential could involve the President’s understanding of the rule of law.
.. His most consequential questions for Trump might not be about Russian influence over American voters but about the power that the President of the United States believes he has to control, or to abrogate, the rule of law.
To that end, Mueller might ask Trump why he has, or has not, fired various people. He might start with James Comey,
.. Mueller also will likely ask Trump why he fired Michael Flynn, his first national-security adviser, and what assurances he might have given him at the time.
.. Flynn was already in legal jeopardy, because he had hidden his contacts with Russians and because his lobbying firm had taken money from Turkish interests without reporting it. Comey testified that Trump nonetheless asked him to go easy on Flynn
.. Does the President imagine that the job of the Attorney General is to protect the law, or to protect him?
.. They also reportedly spoke to Mike Pompeo, the head of the C.I.A., and Dan Coats, the director of National Intelligence. All were apparently asked whether Trump pressured them in regard to the investigation. If Mueller has these men’s statements in hand, he can see if Trump’s answers match theirs.
.. The President might not care. He has said that he has an “absolute right” to control the Justice Department and “complete” pardon power. Speaking to reporters last week, he mocked his critics: “Did he fight back? . . . Ohhhh, it’s obstruction.” Often, for Trump, fighting back has meant just saying that everything is Hillary Clinton’s fault. Indeed, if Mueller gets Trump talking about Clinton, it will be hard to get him to stop
.. The memo was shared only with House members, and reportedly alleges that the Russia investigation is tainted at its core, because, in an application to surveil Carter Page, a Trump-campaign associate, the F.B.I. made use of a dossier that had been partly paid for by the Clinton campaign.
.. Sessions had tried to get Christopher Wray, the new F.B.I. director, to fire McCabe; Wray refused.
.. Trump’s strategy seems obvious: to create confusion, suspicion, deflection, doubt, and, above all, noise.
.. if he does sit down with Mueller’s team, once the first question is asked there will be an interval of silence that only the President can choose how to fill. Will he try to turn the interview against Mueller? If Trump thinks that Mueller can be scared off by the prospect of being fired
The Democratic bill in 2010 delivered significantly to the party’s base; the Republican bill in 2017 delivers significantly only to the party’s donors.
.. In order to mitigate its unpopularity, Senate Republicans keep making their bill more like, well, Obamacare, which raises the question of why they’re attempting something so complex for such a modest end.
.. the smaller bill would repeal the individual mandate requiring the purchase of health insurance. It would replace it, as the Senate bill does, with a continuous-coverage requirement — a waiting period to purchase insurance if you go without it for more than two months.
.. Instead of wringing almost $800 billion out of Medicaid over 10 years, it would try to reduce the program’s spending by $250 billion — just enough for deficit neutrality.
.. That’s it. That’s the whole thing. Eliminate the hated mandate, keep the exchanges stable, cut a few health care taxes, and pull Medicaid spending downward. Pass the package, declare victory, and pivot to tax reform.
.. Republicans could campaign in 2018 on the credible claim that they had maintained Obamacare’s coverage for most people who wanted it, while reducing its burdens on those who don’t.
.. the Republican Party is too divided on health care, too incompetently “led” by its president, and too confused about the details of health policy to do something that’s big and sweeping and also smart and decent and defensible.