Esme Cribb

Esme Cribb is a newswriter for TPM in New York City. She can be found on Twitter @emquiry and reached by email at esme@talkingpointsmemo.com.

Articles by Esme

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) on Thursday said the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office’s report that millions of people would lose coverage under Senate Republicans’ proposal to repeal Obamacare is not a point in support of the bill.

Collins said the CBO’s estimate is “obviously not a positive.”

In its analysis of the bill, the CBO found that 22 million more people would lose insurance by 2026 under Republican senators’ bill than under current law.

Collins, a moderate representing a state with many elderly and rural residents whose healthcare would be devastated by the current proposal, on Sunday said she had “very serious concerns” about the bill and wanted to see the CBO’s analysis of its impact.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Monday hailed the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the Senate bill to partially repeal Obamacare as a success, though the CBO estimated that millions of people would lose coverage under the bill.

“The Senate will soon take action on a bill that the Congressional Budget Office just confirmed will reduce the growth in premiums under Obamacare, reduce taxes on the middle class, and reduce the deficit,” McConnell said in a statement.

He touted the CBO’s findings that the bill would reduce the deficit, cut taxes and lower premiums by 2020, but did not mention the office’s report that the legislation would first increase premiums.

McConnell also neglected to mention the CBO’s estimate that 22 million more people would lose insurance by 2026 under the Republican proposal compared to current law.

Senate Democrats on Monday read Republicans the riot act over the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of the Senate bill to repeal and replace Obamacare, which would leave tens of millions uninsured in years to come.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called the non-partisan CBO’s analysis a “jaw-dropping report” on a bill he said would impose “higher costs for less care” and leave “tens of millions of Americans left without any insurance.”

“For weeks Senate Republicans tried to tell us that their bill would be better than the House bill,” he said at a press conference. “CBO’s report today makes clear that this bill is every bit as mean.”

According to the CBO’s analysis of the Senate’s Better Care Reconciliation Act, 22 million fewer people would have health insurance by 2026 if the bill was passed, 15 million of whom would lose coverage by 2018.

Schumer said the CBO report “should be the end of the road for Trumpcare,” but added that he expects Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) to “attempt to coerce the votes of his reluctant Republican colleagues.”

“Republicans would be wise to read it like a giant stop sign,” he said. “The truth is the Republicans cannot excise the rotten core at the center of their health care bill, no matter what tweaks they add.”

Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) called the bill a “massive giveaway to special interests in the health care industry.”

“Today’s CBO report makes it clearer than ever just how mean Trumpcare is and why,” she said. “This certainly isn’t the way we should be writing a bill that would have so much impact on the health and financial security of people across our country.”

Murray also said she “fully” expects McConnell to “twist arms and cut backroom deals” to corral enough votes to pass the bill.

“I just hope that Republicans who are rightly concerned about the impact Trumpcare would have will stand strong for their constituents, take a close look at the facts on the table, recognize it is time to change course, and drop this Trumpcare once and for all,” she said.

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) said the bill would “hit millions of working people and seniors like a wrecking ball.”

“The fact is, cuts of this magnitude will rip through the fabric of American society,” he said. “This is another big step back to the days when health care in America was for the healthy and the wealthy.”

He called the bill “a big, big tax cut at the expense of working people and seniors.”

“It’s an ideological document to please the hard right,” Schumer added. “Unfortunately, it badly hurts the American people.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) on Monday said Republican leadership has not reached out to win his support for the Senate bill to repeal and replace Obamacare.

“So far the Senate leadership is not negotiating with our office,” Paul said on CNN. “I’m trying to negotiate with the President, but really the President is going to have to tell leadership they’re going to have to negotiate with some of us who don’t see this bill as being good for the country.”

Paul is one of four hardline conservative senators who announced last week that they oppose the current iteration of the bill, though Paul left himself room to vote in favor of the proposal if Senate leadership is unable to corral enough votes to pass it.

He suggested Republicans have bitten off more than they can chew by trying to get the bill passed by the July 4 holiday.

“I think it’s a lot to digest in one week, not only to read the bill but we don’t even have the CBO score until this afternoon,” Paul said. “So I think it would be very, very ambitious to think you could get it done.”

White House press secretary Sean Spicer on Monday said President Donald Trump “was joking” when he called on Russia in July 2016 to find and release Hillary Clinton’s deleted emails.

NBC News’ Kristen Welker pressed Spicer during an off-camera daily briefing on Trump’s remarks accusing former President Barack Obama of having “colluded or obstructed” in response to Russian interference in the 2016 election.

“Is there an element of hypocrisy here?” Welker asked.

She cited Trump’s comment on the campaign trail last year that Russia “probably” had the emails Clinton deleted from her private server.

“Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you can find the 33,000 emails that are missing,” Trump said during a press conference in July 2016. “I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press.”

“How can you accuse President Obama of obstructing when he was egging Russia on?” Welker asked Spicer.

“He was joking at the time. We all know that,” Spicer replied.

NBC News reporter Katy Tur pressed Trump on his comments in 2016 and asked whether he had “any qualms” about asking a foreign government to hack into a U.S. system.

“Nope,” Trump replied. “If they have them, they have them.”

Trump later said he was not being serious.

“Of course I’m being sarcastic,” he said.

The U.S. intelligence community in October 2016 accused Russia of hacking into the computer systems of “U.S. political organizations.” An intelligence report declassified in January concluded that “Putin and the Russian Government developed a clear preference for President-elect Trump.”

The Washington Post on Friday reported that Putin personally ordered a cyber campaign intended to interfere in the election in Trump’s favor.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Monday said the Department of Justice is looking forward to arguing in favor of President Donald Trump’s travel ban on immigrants from six majority-Muslim countries when the Supreme Court hears arguments on the case in October.

“I am pleased that the Supreme Court has decided to hear this case,” Sessions said in a statement. “The Department of Justice looks forward to arguing on behalf of the President and his constitutional duty to protect the national security of the United States.”

The Supreme Court announced Monday morning that it will review the current version of Trump’s executive order. Until the court hears arguments later this year, it will allow for a limited version of the ban, permitting visitors from five countries on the list to enter the United States “if they have a “credible claim of a bona fide relationship with a person or entity” in the country.

Sessions said the ruling is “an important step towards restoring the separation of powers between the branches of the federal government.”

“This case raises profound questions about the proper balance of these constitutional powers, and we are eager to advance our views on these important issues,” he said. “The Department of Justice is confident that the United States Supreme Court will uphold this constitutional and necessary executive order.”

The Department of Housing and Urban Development on Monday announced that Lynne Patton, a former aide to members of President Donald Trump’s family, will oversee federal housing programs in New York and New Jersey.

“Patton will be responsible for the Department’s programs and operations in the Region’s two states,” the department said in a statement. “Patton joins Region II from HUD’s Office of the Secretary where she served as Senior Advisor and Director of Public Engagement.”

Patton confirmed to the New York Times that she will serve as the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s regional administrator overseeing the department’s New York and New Jersey office.

“As always we do not get ahead of official announcements,” White House spokeswoman Kelly Love told TPM in an email. Love noted the position was department-appointed and not part of the White House’s purview.

Patton has no notable experience in housing or development policy.

After joining Trump’s administration, Patton worked at HUD as a senior adviser and director of public engagement for “several months” before Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson recommended her for the appointment, according to a report by the New York Times.

On the campaign trail in 2016, Patton was a staunch defender of then-candidate Trump. In May 2016, she pushed back against accusations of racism and misogyny levied against Trump’s campaign and insisted that the Trump family worked to elevate the careers of minority women.

Patton also spoke at the Republican National Convention and defended Trump’s personal use of funds from his charitable foundation, arguing that some of the money was in fact his, “no ifs, ands or ways about it.”

Before joining Trump’s administration, Patton served as vice president of the Eric Trump Foundation, which is currently the subject of an investigation by the New York attorney general’s office.

Sergey Kislyak, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, will return to Moscow amid federal and congressional probes into whether members of President Donald Trump’s campaign colluded with Russian officials, according to several reports.

BuzzFeed News on Sunday first reported the Kremlin’s decision to recall Kislyak after he spent nine years as Russia’s U.S. ambassador. It is not clear when Kislyak will leave, but BuzzFeed noted the U.S.-Russia Business Council is scheduled to host a “farewell reception” for Kislyak at the St. Regis Hotel in Washington, D.C. on July 11.

NBC News confirmed on Monday that Kislyak will leave his post.

“NBC News has confirmed Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Sergei Kislyak, is going back home to Russia amid the investigations into his contacts with top Trump officials during the presidential campaign,” NBC’s Ali Velshi reported.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said Kislyak’s departure was “all planned in advance” as part of a regular rotation, CNN reported Monday.

According to Russian media reports cited by BuzzFeed and CNN, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Anatoly Antonov will replace Kislyak as U.S. ambassador.

Several current and former members of Trump’s administration ran into trouble after failing to disclose their meetings with Kislyak during the presidential campaign.

Former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn resigned in February following revelations that he discussed U.S. sanctions on Russia with Kislyak before Trump took office.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions in March recused himself from the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election after it was revealed that he failed to disclose two meetings with Kislyak during his confirmation hearing.

Jared Kushner, a senior White House adviser and Trump’s son-in-law, reportedly spoke to Kislyak in December about the possibility of setting up a secret communications channel between Trump’s transition team and Moscow. Kushner also failed to disclose on his application for a security clearance that he had at least three additional contacts with Kislyak.

President Donald Trump on Monday undercut Senate Republicans’ attempts to corral enough votes to pass their bill repealing Obamacare.

“Republican Senators are working very hard to get there, with no help from the Democrats. Not easy!” he tweeted.

Trump suggested they could just give up and just let the legislation “crash & burn” instead.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) pushed last week for a vote on the bill by the July 4 holiday, a prospect which may be imperiled by opposition from four conservative senators and a number of moderates who have pushed for a delay.

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI), one of four Republican senators who came out against the current version of the Senate bill to repeal Obamacare, on Sunday said the Senate should delay its vote on the proposal.

“I would like to delay the thing. There’s no way we should be voting on this next week. No way,” Johnson said on NBC News’ “Meet the Press.”

He said senators “don’t have enough information” to vote on the bill.

“I don’t have the feedback from constituencies who will not have had enough time to review the Senate bill,” Johnson said. “We should not be voting on this next week.”

Johnson is one of four Republican senators who said on Thursday that they are not ready to vote for the bill in its current form but “are open to negotiation.”

Their announcement may not present much of an obstacle, despite putting Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) two votes short of the number he will need to pass the legislation.