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Chuck Schumer has concluded that denying President Trump his wall is perhaps the surest major defeat Democrats can hand the President in his first year.
Trump needs 60 Senate votes to fund construction of his "great wall" along the Southern border. Unlike healthcare or tax reform, Republicans can't use the budget process to ram the wall funding through Congress using only Republican votes.
The Sunday shows were supposed to focus on Obamacare — the policy issue that's supposed to be consuming Washington right now — but instead they were dominated by President Trump's explosive and unsubstantiated claim that Obama ordered the wiretapping of Trump Tower.
On ABC's "This Week," host Martha Raddatz became exasperated with the White House's representative — deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders. Sanders told Raddatz that "if this happened, if this is accurate, this is the biggest overreach and the biggest scandal."
"If, if, if, if," Raddatz replied, pointing out that Trump didn't hedge in his tweet. He categorically asserted that Obama committed what would be a crime of Watergate proportions.
Republicans are distressed and irritated, and nobody in the White House or on Capitol Hill has offered evidence to support Trump's allegation:
Trump's aides desperately want to move on from the wiretap flap. Press Secretary Sean Spicer issued a statement this morning saying the President requests that the congressional committees look into the allegations as part of their investigation into Russia's interference in the 2016 election. "Neither the White House nor the President will comment further until such oversight is conducted," he said.
But, but, but ... As is so often the case in Trumpland, the President has his own ideas. Trump's friend Christopher Ruddy gives us a window into the president's current state of mind. Ruddy, the CEO of conservative media outlet Newsmax, writes this morning:
"I spoke with the President twice yesterday about the wiretap story. I haven't seen him this pissed off in a long time. When I mentioned Obama 'denials' about the wiretaps, he shot back: 'This will be investigated, it will all come out. I will be proven right.'"
What many in Congress will say: Given Trump made the claim, the onus is on him, not us, to produce the evidence. The president has access to any piece of classified intelligence in the country. It's well within his power to find out whether Obama ordered the tapping of Trump Tower.
The Hill will be consumed by Obamacare for the foreseeable future but this week is a big one, with House committees expected to mark up the first legislative text.
Committees responsible for the health-care bill — led by Ways and Means chair Kevin Brady and Energy and Commerce chair Greg Walden — worked over the weekend with the White House "to tie up loose ends and incorporate technical guidance from the administration," a senior GOP aide tells me.
There was a weekend call with the big players crafting the policy: Speaker Ryan, Walden, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney, HHS Secretary Tom Price, White House senior policy hand Andrew Bremberg, and others.
Outstanding issues, still being worked through by the committees:
Many laughed in 2012 when a news anchor on the satirical website The Onion reported that "due to Facebook ... every potential candidate for the 2040 presidential race, no matter how smart or accomplished, is now completely unelectable."
Turns out The Onion had a solid grip on the future, with a new political attack ad comprised entirely of unflattering footage found on social media.
NPR reports: "Jon Ossoff, 30, is running as a Democrat in a special election in Georgia ... The Congressional Leadership Fund, a super-PAC aligned with GOP leadership, launched an attack ad Wednesday [which] includes a clip of him dressed as Han Solo in a Star Wars parody of the school's alcohol policy."
"The ad marks a new era in politics," writes NPR's Jessica Taylor. "In years past, opposition researchers would have to dig deep to hope for leaked videos or testimony from former friends, rivals and roommates. Now, they don't have to go much farther than Google or the photos section of Facebook pages."