Back on June 19th, almost a week ago, I announced that we were 514 membership sign-ups short of our June goal of hitting the milestone of 22,000 total subscribers. I was highly uncertain we’d be able to get there by June 30th. But we’ve actually made pretty startling progress. We’re now 307 sign-ups short of our goal. So still possible, albeit a stretch. So now I’m even more focused on making sure we hit this milestone. If you’ve been thinking about becoming a member, please take a moment and make today the day. Every new member who joins puts TPM on a firmer footing, makes us more able to do what we do every day and up our game. It’s important. On the fence? Waiting for the right moment? Just take the plunge. You will be glad you did. Click here.

The big news this afternoon is that Sen. Heller of Nevada says he opposes the Senate’s current health care repeal bill “in this form.” It is important to understand what this means. It is not opposition to the bill. It’s a bid to negotiate. And beyond that, all but certainly it is an effort to extract some minor concessions that will be the justification for voting for the bill and making it law.
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President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump walks to their vehicle after visiting MedStar Washington Hospital Center in Washington, Wednesday, June 14, 2017, where House Majority Leader Steve Scalise of La. was taken after being shot in Alexandria, Va., during a Congressional baseball practice. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

After firing the current White House Chief Usher, the person who oversees the White House residence staff, the Trump Family has now found a replacement. It’s Timothy Harleth, who comes to the Trump White House from the Trump International Hotel down the street. Harleth is currently “director of rooms” at Trump DC.

Here’s the announcement just out from the White House …
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People who follow health care policy discussions have known how crazy this is forever. But GOP criticisms of Obamacare for high deductibles and out of pocket costs have always been particularly duplicitous and dishonest since Republicans think out of pocket costs and deductibles should be higher! That’s just because they’re heartless, though on health care policy they are. It’s because the theory is that exposing people to the costs of their care will help reduce overall medical spending. (In limited doses, this is not a crazy theory.) In any case, Tierney Sneed has an update on how Republicans are now officially deciding that high deductibles and limited coverage is in fact awesome.

I suspect that some TPM readers are going to disagree with David Goodhart’s assessment of the youth vote in the British election and with his view of Jeremy Corbyn’s politics. I have a somewhat different take myself on the youth vote. But there are two things that I want to point out in this interview that I did with him about British politics. First, he is absolutely right to remind us that Theresa May and the Tories got their highest percentage of the vote since 1983. They failed to live up to expectations. And May made a mistake in calling the election. But the Tories remain Britain’s leading party.


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News comes today that despite President Trump’s heroic intervention to save the jobs of manufacturing workers at a Carrier plant in Indiana last winter, they’re basically all losing their jobs anyway.

From CNBC
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It’s still possible. Over the last three days we’ve signed up an average of 66 new Prime members each day. That leaves us looking for 324 new members by the end of this month to meet our goal for June. Even my once High School D-for-the-semester getting math skills tell me that’s possible over the next eight days (a weekend makes it a little less than eight full days). Thinking about becoming a subscriber? Take a moment right now and become our newest member. Just click right here.

I know I’m harping on this point. But again, the fallacy of policy literalism. It has always been crystal clear for numerous reasons that the Senate health care repeal bill would be the like the House bill, both versions, just as it will be like the final bill that emerges from a conference committee. McConnell and Ryan knew that ball hiding about scores and legislative language would prevent reporters from saying this: Around 24 million Americans will lose their coverage, everyone will go back to the era of pre-existing conditions restrictions and lifetime limits. The freed up money will go to a big tax cut for the very wealthy. You didn’t need to see the legislative language to know this. It’s been a failure of journalism to pretend otherwise.

The best analog to President Trump’s stance toward the Russia probe and his refusal to accept that Russian interference even happened is a husband who is suspected in his wife’s disappearance and repeatedly insists that she’s probably on a beach in Aruba having a good laugh at his expense.

In any normal circumstance, by any conventional standard, Trump’s attitude and actions are ones that are only consistent with guilt. He has not only repeatedly insisted on his innocence, which the innocent and guilty do in equal measure, but insisted that the crime itself never actually happened. On top of this, using his unique powers as President, he has repeatedly taken actions to end the investigation into his campaign. The most blatant example was firing the FBI Director with the stated goal of relieving the pressure of the Russia probe. But that’s just the most glaring example.
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Over the last two days I’ve seen several mentions of one argument about what happened in the Georgia 6 special election. Simply, it goes like this: Democrats were stupid because it was obvious they wouldn’t win as long as so many potential voters were disenfranchised either by felony disenfranchisement, onerous voter ID laws, permissive voter roll purges or other laws that limit voting. Nothing will change until that changes.

This is profoundly misguided and demoralizing when it comes to the effort to actually bring about change.
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This morning former DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson testified before the House committee investigating Russia’s 2016 election subversion campaign. In the course of the hearing we heard the jarring information that Johnson only heard about the initial hacking into the DNC network sometime in 2016, months after the FBI first learned of the intrusion in the summer of 2015. Johnson said he was told that the FBI had contacted the DNC about the intrusion but was told “they don’t want our help.”

This sounds hard to fathom on a number of levels. There is no question that it delayed any more aggressive law enforcement posture as the hacking campaign continued and escalated over the course of 2016. Indeed, during the hearing, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) jumped in to press the point that the DNC was significantly responsible for what happened since it refused any involvement from federal law enforcement.

This also sounds bewildering. But remember: this isn’t the first we’ve heard about this story. It is a highly misleading rendition of what happened and absolves the FBI of its own pretty clear responsibility for what happened.
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We’re now down to 408 membership sign ups we need to get to our June goal! A tall order in 9 days but just barely doable. If you’re considering signing up for Prime, make it today. Just click right here. A strong, independent journalism organization is built on its relationship with its audience, a community of committed readers. 21,591 TPM Readers have become subscribers so far. We need more of you to come on board. Make it today: click right here.

Update: Now just 374!

Update: Now just 343!

Update: Now just 328!

President Donald Trump meets with Russian Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, left, in the White House in Washington, Wednesday, May 10, 2017. At right is Russian Ambassador to USA Sergei Kislyak. President Donald Trump on Wednesday welcomed Vladimir Putin's top diplomat to the White House for Trump’s highest level face-to-face contact with a Russian government official since he took office in January. (Russian Foreign Ministry Photo via AP)

This morning I had the chance to read David Brooks column pooh-poohing the Russia probe and the scandal engulfing the Trump administration. There are many things I could say about it. But I’ve resolved to be nicer and less cutting in my writing, or to do the contrary only when it is inextricably tied to explaining and conveying points of substance. Certainly this is a resolution that won’t last long.
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We currently have 459 Prime membership sign ups to go before the end of the month to reach our goal for June – 22,000 total subscribers. That’s just barely doable. If you thought of signing up earlier, if you’re planning to, take a moment right now and become a member. It’s easy, just 14 cents a day, gives you an awesomer version of TPM and keeps us a vital, growing organization. Click here.

Update: Now down to 448!

Update: Now down to 418!

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks to reporters as Republicans prepare to use their majority to confirm President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Environmental Protection Agency, despite calls from Democrats to delay until requested emails are released, at the Capitol in Washington, Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Senate Republicans are driving at a breakneck speed to abolish Obamacare and throw more than twenty million people off their health insurance coverage. The damage will be far greater when you figure in the loss of protections for people with pre-existing conditions and those who’ve benefited from various other Obamacare regulations. Senate Republicans’ main weapon in this effort has been total secrecy, which has had the effect of killing debate and discussion since there’s actually nothing concrete – no specific CBO score or legislative text or even outline – to discuss.

This, frankly, is silly.
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We’ve had a great response in the last few days for our on-going, annual membership drive. We are trying to sign up 500 members by the of the month – actually we need 514 to get to a total of 22,000 subscribers. That’s a lot by June 30th. But it’s just barely doable. If you’ve been waiting for the right moment. THIS IS THE RIGHT MOMENT. Why is it important? I explain here and here.  Seriously, if you’re a regular TPM Reader, take this moment to become a member. Just click here. And thanks.

Mike Flynn has been out at the White House for more than four months. He is, we are told, in the most serious kind of legal trouble. Yet the political ghost of Mike Flynn still seems to be a hidden hand driving outcomes in the Trump White House. Maybe it’s even Flynn himself.

Allow me to explain.
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I got an email from a TPM Reader and Prime member on Friday evening who said we shouldn’t put our longform articles behind a paywall. This is a minority opinion among subscribers, at least as far as I can tell. But TPM Reader JG isn’t the only one. And it’s an issue we’ve given a lot of thought to ourselves. So I wanted to answer the question for everyone because I want readers and subscribers to understand our goals, thought process, reasons, etc.
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President Donald Trump speaks during a cabinet meeting in the Cabinet Room of the White House, Monday, June 12, 2017, in Washington. (AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

Today we are apparently having a discussion about whether the President is in fact under investigation. Or perhaps it’s better to say, Trump’s lawyers (or his TV lawyer, legal activist Jay Sekulow) are having this discussion since no one else seems to have any question that he is. What makes this discussion so weird is that not only does the President appear to be the subject of an investigation but as a factual matter there’s almost no question that he’s guilty. As far as I can see, the real question isn’t factual but rather constitutional.

Here’s what I mean.
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As the director of National Resource Defense Council’s (NRDC) Renewable Energy Policy Initiative, Nathanael Greene specializes in researching, analyzing, and influencing policies related to utility regulation, energy tax, and energy efficiency. Greene has written about the benefits of renewable energy policies on a state level, a topic especially relevant now that several states have formed a state climate coalition after Trump pulled the U.S out of the Paris agreement. Nathanael will be in The Hive on Thursday, June 22nd at 2 PM EST for a chat about renewable energy, climate change, and policies to combat climate change. Submit your questions at any time or join us on Thursday! If you’d like to participate but don’t have TPM Prime, sign up here.

Early this week, Time Inc. laid off 300 employees across its properties. On Wednesday, Huffpost laid off 39 employees. Then later that day Vocativ, another digital media site, laid off its entire editorial staff. Huffpost’s layoffs were part of a much larger retrenchment (2,100 layoffs) at Oath, the new company which combines what used to be Yahoo and AOL. Both are now owned by Verizon. Yet, while this is happening, TPM is expanding.

I’ve been doing this for almost 17 years. In that time I’ve seen all the challenges of this very challenging business, digital news publishing. So I want to be crystal clear that this is anything but gloating or taking the remotest pleasure in the challenging transitions that others are having. I’ve been there. My point in raising this is that the difference – why we’re here and they’re there – is no coincidence. And the reason is you.

Allow me to explain.
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“God, this is going to make me sound pathetic, but it feels a little bit like getting dumped by your girlfriend. It feels a little like that.” That’s “alt-right” leader Richard Spencer describing the experience of getting jilted by Trump when he went all Goldman Sachs and went low energy on mass deportation. It’s our latest Prime longform. Definitely check it out. You’ll love it.

It is very difficult to get my head around the question of whether President Trump will fire Robert Mueller. Trump’s personal attack on Mueller yesterday followed by a personal attack on Rod Rosenstein this morning portends a trajectory that ends with the firing of both men. We don’t know that will happen. The consequences of it happening are so dire that it is hard to imagine it will happen. Yet that appears to be more or less precisely what happened with James Comey. Trump is a man of anger and predictable habits. It would be naive in the extreme to assume Trump won’t eventually fire both men.
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