John Light

John is TPM‘s Prime editor. His writing has also appeared at The Atlantic, Mother Jones, Salon, Slate, UN Dispatch, Vox, Worth, and Al Jazeera, and has been broadcast on Public Radio International. Before joining TPM, John was a producer for Bill Moyers and WNYC, and worked as a news writer for Grist. He grew up in New Jersey, studied history and film at Oberlin College, and got his master‘s degree in journalism from Columbia University.

Articles by John

Republicans made a point of railing against the health care law in past elections. But this year, Democrats are hoping that the popularity of the law’s Medicaid expansion will win them voters. For the first time since the law was created, Alice Ollstein writes in her Weekly Primer on Obamacare, Democrats are spending more on ads about it than Republicans are.

This comes as the Trump administration continues to chip away at various aspects of the law, dealing the latest blow this past weekend when it cut off risk-adjustment payments.

Read our Weekly Primer (Prime access) on Obamacare →

Good morning. Trump’s in Europe and the administration continues to struggle to reunite the immigrant families it separated. Here’s what our team has its eyes on today.

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Hello, Prime subscribers, and welcome to the weekend. We’re already looking ahead to next week, when President Trump has promised to announce the name of his next Supreme Court pick, kicking off what will likely be one of the major political battles of the year.

Here’s what happened in Prime this week.

  • Obamacare is surprisingly hard to kill, Alice Ollstein writes in her Weekly Primer. Despite a year and a half of attacks, the individual markets are continuing to grow. But new threats to the program loom on the horizon.
  • Michael Cohen is shaking up his legal team and making noises that sound a bit like he might be preparing to cooperate. Josh Marshall shares some thoughts on what to make of that story.
  • Cohen is now represented by Clinton lawyer and PR operator Lanny Davis, who says he was moved by Cohen’s “sincerity” in a recent interview with ABC, Allegra Kirkland writes in her Weekly Primer on the Trump-Russia probe.
  • Here are some facts about Rudy Giuliani’s history with a pro-regime-change Iranian group that, until recently, the State Department labeled a terrorist cult.
  • Outrage over Trump’s family separation policy is shedding a spotlight on longtime abuses by ICE — including the agency’s failure, according to a new report, to hold itself to its own standards, Alice Ollstein writes.
  • Texas is hoping that the Supreme Court’s decision on redistricting in the state will be enough to convince a judge to reconsider, and uphold, the state’s voter ID law, I write in this week’s voting rights Weekly Primer.
  • Scott Pruitt’s successor, Andrew Wheeler, has worked for some of the loudest climate change denialists in America, and is likely to continue Pruitt’s aggressive deregulatory agenda quietly, I write, without becoming mired in scandal.
  • Pruitt might be out, but there’s plenty of power being misused elsewhere in the executive branch. Matt Shuham has a roundup in his Weekly Trump Swamp Primer.

Pruitt may be the most comically corrupt member of the administration — the only agency head we know of, yet, to spend taxpayer money on obtaining fancy lotion and “tactical pants.” But there’s plenty to swampiness to go around, Matt Shuham writes in his Weekly Primer.

One example: Chuck Rettig, Trump’s pick to lead the IRS, failed to disclose to Congress that two properties he owns are, in fact, in the Trump International Hotel Waikiki and Tower — a detail that certainly seems relevant to his nomination.

Matt has more here (Prime access)

Scott Pruitt withstood months of increasingly bad headlines, but called it quits today. He’s stepping down. Into his place (in an acting capacity) will step Andrew Wheeler, a former EPA staffer, Senate aide, coal industry lobbyist, and, as of April, the deputy director of the EPA.

Environmental advocates worry that Wheeler shares Pruitt’s theory of environmental regulation — specifically, that we need much less of it — but comes with years of experience as a Beltway operator that will help him put that agenda into action without becoming mired in scandal.

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Yesterday brought a weird story: Four people, including an Iranian diplomat, were arrested in Paris for allegedly planning to bomb a gathering by a group or Iranian expats that wants to overthrow the country’s government, the Mujahedin-e Khalq, or MeK. That’s not the weird part. It’s this: Speaking at the event was none other than Rudy Giuliani, outside counsel to the President of the United States.

What was he doing there?

Longtime TPM readers will have some idea.

Giuliani has supported the group for years — and he’s far from the first American politico to forge ties with the MeK, which advocates for regime change in Iran. TPM has been reporting on the group, and the U.S. politicians that love it, for years. Here’s some notes from our past coverage.

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