10.16.2017 - 4:39 PM EDT

Why did President Trump make up this lie about President Obama not calling the families of bereaved soldiers? It wasn’t just Obama. He seemed to say that previous presidents didn’t do this at all or only did it rarely. Anyone who follows the news knows that’s not true. Basically all Presidents at some point talk about these conversations.

It seems hard to believe that he didn’t come up with this because he had no good explanation for the fact that he’s gone more than a week without making any contact with the families or even making any public statement on what happened.

10.16.2017 - 2:35 PM EDT

Here are the highlights (sub req) from President Trump’s impromptu press conference with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

10.16.2017 - 2:27 PM EDT

President Trump falsely claims that President Obama and other former Presidents did not call the bereaved families of service members who died in the line of duty.

10.16.2017 - 1:14 PM EDT

The following is a rush transcript of President Trump’s comments a few moments ago on Obamacare. There may be small textual errors. But it will give you a broad sense of what he said. It’s important to read.

10.16.2017 - 12:43 PM EDT

President Trump just gave an angry, thrashing, desperate sounding series of remarks about Obamacare. He pressed the point that people think it’s an emergency now that he’s cut off CSR payments. And he thinks that’s good. He went on about how the health insurers only fund Democrats, lashed out at Democrats, says healthcare is going to be great once they repeal Obamacare. It struck me as more unhinged and febrile than usual for Trump. One continuing theme is that even through his anger and need to lash out he seems not to understand even the most elemental details of how the health care system or Obamacare works.

Here’s a bit of video that capture the tone …

10.16.2017 - 11:29 AM EDT

In Austria's legislative elections, from which a Chancellor will be chosen, the free market People's Party (OVP), campaigning on a promise to reduce the number of refugees (primairly from the Middle East) and to limit benefits for immigrants, led the field with 31.6 percent. The Social Democrats (SPO) came in with 26.7 percent, which is a postwar low for a party that has been in power, or shared power, for most of the last 70 years. And the Greens, whose candidate had won the presidency last year, came in at 3.8 percent, less than enough to qualify for parliamentary representation.

10.15.2017 - 9:01 PM EDT

Going on two years ago I read something formative to my understanding of Donald Trump. It was a column by then-Times business columnist Joe Nocera. The column was about a particular swindle with a golf resort. Standard Trump. But the part that mattered was Nocera’s observation about Trump’s fundamental way of doing business and interacting with other people, one he knew from years of covering Trump.

10.14.2017 - 8:29 PM EDT

A key moment today at the ‘Values Voters Summit’. Steve Bannon was listing off all the great things the President has done since his favored candidate went down to defeat in Alabama. Among them, Bannon admitted what the White House has repeatedly denied, which is that Trump decided to cut off CSR payments to make the health insurance exchanges blow up, thus making prices skyrocket.

10.13.2017 - 4:25 PM EDT

The Obamas have chosen the artists who will paint their official presidential portraits. Here’s who they chose and some examples of their work.

Definitely take a look.

10.13.2017 - 3:19 PM EDT

President Trump straight up lied in his speech today on ‘decertifying’ the Iran nuclear deal. He said: “The Iranian regime has committed multiple violations of the agreement.” This is not true. The US, the Europeans, outside observers, the inspectors all agree that Iran is meeting the conditions of the deal. If Iran were violating the deal, all of this drama wouldn’t have been necessary. Trump could have just canceled the deal without any need to justify the decision. He would have had broad support for doing so. That’s the bind he’s been in. The Iranians are keeping their end of the bargain. So Trump really hasn’t had a good rationale – legal or geopolitical – for getting out.

But there’s a different part of the speech I want to focus on. In addition to all the things the President says his new policy will accomplish he made this pledge. “We will deny the regime all paths to a nuclear weapon.”

10.13.2017 - 11:19 AM EDT

The big news out this morning is the overnight decision to end so-called CSR payments to insurers. We’ll have articles out today with technical details. But these are payments which are part of the framework which keeps insurance rates affordable in the Obamacare markets. Doing this directly, intentionally makes rates spike. They may not say it out loud. But many Republicans, especially in the Senate, had no appetite for this action, mainly because they know the consequences will fall largely on them.

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