Oct 18, 2017

White House: Alexander-Murray bill needs to go "further"

Sarah Sanders calls on reporters for questions at a White House briefing. Photo: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / AP

Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said President Trump does not support the bipartisan Alexander-Murray health care deal in its current form. It's "a step in the right direction," but the president wants the bill to "go a little bit further" in reducing premiums and allowing flexibility, she said.

Sanders also addressed the controversy surrounding President Trump and calls to Gold Star families. Asked if Chief of Staff John Kelly knew Trump would raise his son's death in responding to the controversy, Sanders did not directly address whether Kelly knew, but said the retired general was "disgusted" that his son's death had become politicized.

  • On Trump's calls to gold star families: The president has made contact with all individuals presented to him by the White House Military Office, Sanders said.Trump's "proof" of the contents of his call to gold star widow Myesha Johnson, disputed by Rep. Wilson, is the fact that staffers including John Kelly were present in the room when he made the call. Kelly thought the call was "respectful."Rep. Wilson is "disgusting" for politicizing the call, Sanders said. (Note: Johnson has corroborated Wilson's account.)Sanders did not deny that Trump, at some point during the call to Johnson's family, said the soldier "knew what he signed up for."
  • On NAFTA negotiations: Nafta is not dead "yet," but Trump has said it's a "bad deal."
  • Gov. Ricardo Rossello of Puerto Rico will visit the White House tomorrow.
  • On the liberation of Raqqa: "It is clear that Isis's so called caliphate is crumbling across Iraq and Syria."
  • On Mnuchin's comment that it's difficult not to give tax cuts to the wealthy: "That's not the focus" of Trump's tax plan.
  • On banning bump stocks: The ATF is reviewing bump stocks. There is no policy decision yet.

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Scoop: Inside the Trump campaign's big hedge on Facebook

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Trump campaign has invested most of its advertising budget to date on Facebook, testing thousands of versions of ads per day to maximize its spending.

But behind the scenes, a source familiar with the campaign tells Axios, the thinking has shifted: "As everyone can see, we still have strong spending on Facebook, but the percentage of our total media budget [on Facebook] is shrinking."

Trump's revenge tour has the House in its sights

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios. Photo: Saul Loeb/Getty Contributor

In the lead-up to the 2018 midterm elections — buoyed by Republican control of both chambers — President Trump viewed campaigning for the House as a lower-tier priority and instead poured his energy into rallying for the Senate.

But after the GOP reckoning in 2018, and experiencing firsthand how damaging a Democratic-led House has been to him, Trump is now personally invested in helping Republicans regain the majority in November, several people familiar with his thinking tell Axios.

Pelosi warns U.S. allies against working with China's Huawei

Nancy Pelosi, Feb. 16. Photo: Sven Hoppe/picture alliance via Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday cautioned U.S. allies against allowing Chinese telecommunications giant Huawei to develop their 5G networks, arguing at the Munich Security Conference that doing so is akin to “choosing autocracy over democracy," CNBC reports.

Why it matters: Pelosi's hawkish stance marks a rare area of agreement with the Trump administration, which believes Huawei is a national security threat because the Chinese government may be capable of accessing its equipment for espionage.

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