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A Few Thoughts On the Big Story

I wanted to take a moment to share some thoughts on today's Trump/Russia revelations, or rather some guideposts for how to approach a true mess of information which is undigested, wildly inflammatory and in many cases seemingly fantastical. Let me start by saying that this is the rawest kind of 'intel', if that is even the right word for it. I would caution everyone to maintain a sensible skepticism even if you rightly believe that Trump is a danger to the republic. So with that, a few thoughts.

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BREAKING

CNN has a breaking report that in addition to the reports we're aware of, Russia also compiled compromising information about President Elect Trump. They also included information about on-going contacts between Trump surrogates and members of the Russian government during the presidential campaign. The report seems like the same set of facts which Mojo's David Corn a few months ago - that's my surmise but the claims line up. We'll have more reports shortly.

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The Go To Place For Sessions Hearing

TPM's Tierney Sneed is covering the confirmation hearing of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) to be attorney general. You can watch the hearing live and follow Tierney's coverage from the hearing room here.

Quote to Start the Day

Sen. Leahy: D-VT: "Well, Mr. Giuliani likes to say things like that to get on television. He's not a senator."

Wheels Coming Off the Obamacare Repeal Train

David has posts below pulling together the evening's rapid fire developments in the Senate, where Republican defections now appear to have at least delayed Obamacare repeal. This isn't out of nowhere. A growing number of Senate Republicans have been expressing skepticism about "repeal and delay" for some time now - even though it's been largely ignored in much of the press. There was an initial flurry of calls for delay just after the election. They were were batted down by the leadership in the House and Senate. But they've been bubbling up over the last week.

There was Susan Collins, Rand Paul and even Tom Cotton, who we mentioned on Friday. Then today Lamar Alexander again expressed his opposition (he did so in November too). Alexander is the Chair of the key health care committee in the Senate. Then came Bob Corker saying not to repeal the Obamacare taxes before there was a replacement (a key point we'll get to below). And then late this evening five senators - Portman, Corker, Collins, Cassidy and Murkowski - introduced an amendment that that would force at least a one month delay before Obamacare can be repealed.

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Wait, There's More!

Five GOP senators have broken ranks and are now pushing to delay Obamacare repeal by more than month to allow more time to come up with a replacement plan.

Tennessee Two-Stepping

A potentially very important development this evening on the Obamacare repeal front, as TPM's Lauren Fox reports. HELP Chairman Lamar Alexander (R-TN), a key figure in internal GOP wrangling over repeal and eventual (if ever?) replacement, told reporters on the Hill that Obamacare repeal should come after a replacement is in place and "available" to consumers.

At the same time and in a similar vein, Alexander's fellow Tennesseean, Bob Corker, was expressing his frustration that repeal as planned would wipe out the tax revenue to pay for an Obamacare replacement.

Just to emphasize the point: these comments, especially Alexander's, are very much at odds with the McConnell-Ryan plan for immediate repeal.

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