National News Roundup: Week 28 (July 30-August 5)

Well, this week wasn’t all that much calmer than the last week, purely in terms of incoming news, but it certainly felt a lot less dire. Basically, this week was more a ride on the highway than a trip on a roller coaster; fewer ups and downs and nausea, but we still did cover a lot of ground!

Standard standing reminders apply: I am no journalist, though I play one in your inbox or browser, so I’m only summarizing the news within my area of expertise. This news continues to contain multiple headlines each week outside my area as a legal generalist — still a lawyer, not a spy! — but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!

Constitutional Crisis Corners:

As predicted, there was a lot of movement on The Russia Collusion Investigation in the past week. Stuff is starting to get really real, y’all, and this might be the beginning of the snowball. (Although it might turn out that there’s no way for this snowball to gain momentum as it rolls down Capitol Hill. We’ll have to keep watching and find out.)

In other bad news, we’re back to a second Constitutional Crisis Corner this week, as The Free Press gets some major threats. We saw both threats to the press and creation of an official administration-created propaganda program.

Your “Normal” Weird:

  • State of the Affordable Care Act. Remember how last week Trump was threatening to just refuse to pay ACA subsidies? Well, the main thing to happen since last week on healthcare was both the Senate and a U.S. Court of Appeals telling him “good luck with that, buddy.” (Okay, fine, the court didn’t really say that. I refuse to believe some of the Senate didn’t at least think it, though.) The court order permits Attorneys General from 17 different states to defend the subsidy payments — essentially guaranteeing that somebody is arguing for the states’ legal right to that money, and potentially leading to a court case ordering the government to pay. It also removes political cover for Trump, making blame fall more squarely on his shoulders if the subsidy payments don’t happen. It’s a bit of an unusual move, though good news for the country. Meanwhile, members of the GOP in both houses have been signaling that it’s time to move on for over a week now, and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions officially announced bipartisan health care hearings will be held next month. Just for extra schadenfreude, the ranking member of that committee is Republican Senator Lamar Alexander.
  • Can Jersey Just Keep Him? Trump was quoted as calling the White House “a real dump” on the golf course this past week, presumably to justify the seventeen-day vacation he’s currently taking in Jersey (from the White House, but, I will note, not from Twitter). He then denied that this happened at all, even though eight different people apparently heard him say it. Weirdly, regardless of the state of the White House, Trump is not the most avid vacation-taking President in recent memory; that honor goes to George W. Bush, who took 67 days of vacation in the first 196 days of office. Trump has taken 41. (Both of them ran rings around Obama, who took a more modest 21 days, though this did not stop Trump from tweeting about how much vacation the man took.)

The Bad:

The Good:

And that’s the week’s news! The news cycle has become so rapid that I bet by tomorrow we’ll be in a different posture, but I’ll do my best to keep hitting all the key points each week. In the meantime, daily news summaries like WTFJHT and Today in Resistance are an excellent resource until we meet again!

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