Senate Republicans face a daunting path to getting a healthcare bill done in the next month, as is their stated goal, with the GOP's seven-year pledge to repeal Obamacare facing its toughest test yet. Inducements designed to win conservative support appear to be having the desired effect, but efforts to win over moderates in the Senate are as yet not paying off. It's unclear if Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell even has the votes to begin debate on the legislation—which will be an all-important test vote for the bill. House Republicans have been told to be on standby for possible votes on the Senate bill if it passes. But the House and Senate bills differ substantially, and expecting swift passage of the Senate bill in the House would be premature, given how difficult it was to pass the bill there the first time around.
President Donald Trump's travel ban suffered another legal setback Thursday night, as a federal court in Hawaii expanded the approved list exceptions to the travel restrictions from six Muslim-majority countries to include grandparents. The new policy, implemented after last month's Supreme Court ruling, narrowed the injunction on implementing the executive order to those with "bona fide" connections to the U.S. Grandparents were left off the Trump administration's policy, prompting the legal challenge. The validity of the order as a whole is set to be heard by the high court later this year.
Trump expresses openness to inviting Russian President Vladimir Putin to the White House when the time is right. More details about the meeting with a Kremlin-linked lawyer last year are revealed, causing new headaches for the administration. And Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton speak out about the presidency.
Here are your must reads:
As goes the White House goes the legal defense [Washington Post]
Latest revelation relating to June 2016 meeting. [NBC]
Even before McConnell was able to pitch a new draft, there was mutiny afoot [TIME]
More potential losers [New York Times]
"I'd say the only thing more difficult than peace between Israel and the Palestinians is healthcare." —President Donald Trump to reporters late Wednesday on the way to Paris.
"No, not joking, no. There is a chance that we can do a solar wall." —Trump asked to confirm he was joking about emplacing solar panels on his 'border wall'
Bits and Bites
Hawaii Judge Expands List of Relatives Exempt from Trump's Travel Ban [Associated Press]
GOP Activist Who Sought Hillary Clinton Emails Killed Himself [Wall Street Journal]