News, Straight to the Point

Republican control of the House during President Obama's era was marked by high-stakes showdowns, intra-party sniping and the persistent threat of a coup against the GOP House speaker. A Republican House at the outset of a President Clinton administration could be more of the same–or even worse–if November losses erode the GOP majority, giving the Freedom Caucus types increased leverage in a more closely divided chamber.

While Democrats are signaling they're playing to win back the House, most forecasters still see a flip of the lower chamber to be a long shot. But that doesn’t mean Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) and the other GOP leaders committed to steering the party away from the recent dysfunction have any reason to breathe easily. An election that preserves Republican control of the House but shrinks GOP’s margins significantly will exacerbate the challenges Ryan was already facing in navigating a fractured party.

Here are 5 points on the headaches awaiting Ryan if Republicans’ margin over Democrats in the House shrinks.

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In between "Lock her up!" chants from the crowd, Donald Trump ramped up his rhetoric at a rally in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday afternoon, painting Hillary Clinton as lying, corrupt, and running the State Department as a criminal enterprise.

"Hillary Clinton’s actions constitute all of the elements of a major criminal enterprise," he told the crowd.

Trump has accused Clinton of criminality for weeks, in a series of unusually direct and unreserved attacks by a major party nominee. But Thursday's speech was a more comprehensive indictment that linked five separate lines of attack: Clinton's meeting with Clinton Foundation donors as secretary of state, her use of a private email server, her speeches to Wall Street, the Benghazi attack, and Trump's claims that the November election is rigged.

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In a lawsuit filed Monday, former Fox News host Andrea Tantaros alleges that ex-network boss Roger Ailes was far from alone in making unwanted sexual advances during her tenure there. Tantaros alleges that network heavyweight Bill O’Reilly and former Sen. Scott Brown (R-MA) also contributed to a culture of “misogyny” at the conservative news network.

Tantaros’ suit comes after Ailes resigned from the network amid mounting allegations of sexual harassment and retaliation, first made by fired host Gretchen Carlson in a lawsuit filed in July (Ailes strenously denied those allegations through his lawyers). Tantaros’ lawsuit names the network’s newly appointed co-president, Bill Shine, public relations czar Irena Briganti, and two other high-ranking executives, along with Ailes, whom the complaint labels as a “predator.”

“Fox News masquerades as a defender of traditional family values, but behind the scenes, it operates like a sex-fueled, Playboy Mansion-like cult, steeped in intimidation, indecency and misogyny,” the complaint, filed in New York State Supreme Court, reads.

The complaint also detailes network executives’ alleged efforts to “silence Tantaros by threats, humiliation, and retaliation,” including pulling her off her “dream job” hosting the network’s 5 p.m. talk show and using Fox News’ vast PR infrastructure to denigrate her in the press.

Fox News told Politico the network doesn't comment on pending litigation and Briganti did not respond to a request for comment. Susan Estrich, the attorney representing Ailes also did not respond.

Here are five points on the bombshell allegations brought to light in the lawsuit.

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Donald Trump's presidential campaign spent $18.5 million in the month of July, which was more than it had in previous months, but the candidate's money is still being doled out in unorthodox ways.

Trump still lags far behind Clinton in fundraising, spends a huge amount of cash on campaign swag, shows little evidence of having built a traditional ground game and relies heavily on a digital strategy firm that doesn't have much background at all in politics.

Here are five ways Trump's spending is upends politics as usual.

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News that Aetna, the county's third largest insurer, is slashing its Affordable Care Act participation is not the Obamacare-apocalypse that Republicans are making it out to be. But, coupled with similar moves by two other large insurance companies, the decision points to legitimate challenges some carriers are facing on the ACA exchanges, industry experts tell TPM.

The marketplaces are still working for other plans, and there's reason to believe the big insurers scaling back now might be willing to give the exchanges another try down the road, the analysts predict. Other issues might require the attention of lawmakers, and the hyper-partisan atmosphere that lingers around the law isn't helping.

Here are five points on what it means for Obamacare that Aetna is scaling back its involvement in the exchanges by 70 percent:

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Voting rights advocates have had a good couple of weeks at the courts this summer, having received favorable rulings in cases coming out of Wisconsin, Texas, North Carolina, Kansas, Michigan and North Dakota. The setbacks states have faced in enacting restrictive voting requirements like voter ID and laws that cut back early voting, limited pre-registration or made absentee voting more difficult could affect minority turnout in key battleground states like North Carolina and Wisconsin. The recent opinions are also shaping the broader legal battle over whether these laws are veiled efforts to discriminate against groups of voters who lean Democrat.

Here are five points on the recent rulings:

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Republican leaders are patting themselves on the back for the rollout of what they're portraying as their Obamacare replacement plan. The policy paper, which consists of a broad set of aspirations without any dollar amounts or legislative mechanics, promises to slow the growth of health care costs through caps on government programs and on the tax breaks currently offered on employer-provided health plans. It does not, however, make any guarantees of universal coverage, nor does it provide enough details to assess its impact on the federal deficit or how Republicans plan to pay for what they’re promising. Many of the proposals have been trotted out before and have their own downsides when looked at in a standalone fashion.

Here’s what you need to know about the "new" approach:

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