May 4, 2017

GOP takes WH victory lap after House passes health care bill


House Republicans gathered in the White House Rose Garden after they passed the American Health Care Act Thursday. President Trump kicked off the congratulatory speeches, saying he's "so confident" the bill will pass in the Senate.

  • Trump: "[For] only being a politician for a short period of time, how am I doing? Okay? I'm president. I'm president! Can you believe it?"
  • Pence: "Thanks to the leadership of Pres. Donald Trump, welcome to the beginning of the end of Obamacare..."
  • Paul Ryan: Ryan thanked Trump and Pence for "their personal involvement in working with our members."
  • Kevin McCarthy: The president told me, "Let's not make this partisan... Do what's right for the American country... I've only been through a few presidents, but I've never seen someone so hands on."

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Grassley to hold up pair of nominations until Trump explains IG firings

Grassley questions Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on June 3 in Washington, D.C. Photo: Greg Nash-Pool/Getty Images

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said on Thursday that he will block the confirmation of two of President Trump's nominees until the White House provides "adequate explanations" for why the inspectors general for the intelligence community and State Department were ousted in the past two months.

Why it matters: It's a rare attempt by a Republican to hold Trump accountable for his recent purge of federal watchdogs. Grassley has long considered himself a defender of inspectors general.

John Kelly defends James Mattis against Trump attacks

John Kelly in the White House in July 2017. Photo: Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Former White House chief of staff John Kelly defended James Mattis on Thursday after President Trump attacked the former defense secretary as "the world's most overrated general" and claimed on Twitter that he was fired.

What he's saying: “The president did not fire him. He did not ask for his resignation,” Kelly told the Washington Post in an interview. “The president has clearly forgotten how it actually happened or is confused."

Barr claims "no correlation" between removing protesters and Trump's church photo op

Attorney General Bill Barr said at a press conference Thursday that there was "no correlation" between his decision to order police to forcibly remove protesters from Lafayette Park and President Trump's subsequent visit to St. John's Episcopal Church earlier this week.

Driving the news: Barr was asked to respond to comments from Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who said Tuesday that he "did not know a photo op was happening" and that he does everything he can to "try and stay out of situations that may appear political."