DC Daily: Trump's last push for health care, report claims Manafort worked for Putin interests

Posted at 6:42 AM, Mar 22, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-22 15:45:29-04

What's happening in the political world:

House Intel Chair says Trump communications were monitored

-- Devin Nunes, chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said Wednesday President Trump's personal communications may have been picked up through "incidental collection."

"This is a normal, incidental collection, based on what I could collect," Nunes said in a news conference. "This appears to be all legally collected foreign intelligence under," the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.

Nunes said he did not know whether the collection happened at Trump Tower or whether they were directly collected. Read more.

Kaepernick to donate $50K to Meals on Wheels following planned cuts, Palin calls it a "stunt"

-- Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick will donate $50,000 to Meals on Wheels, following the announcement of cuts under President Trump's budget plan, according to the NFL Network.

While Pres. Trump's budget cuts the Department of Health and Human Services funding by 18 percent, it's not likely enough to end the Meals on Wheels program.

Concerns spiked following the budget's release, with many worried about the impact of cuts on Meals on Wheels service. Donations for the program reached 50 times the normal amount in the 24 hours following the budget's release.

Former vice presidential nominee Sarah Palin called the donation a “political stunt” and said, "and he wonders why he can't find a job," in a blog post.

Read more.

Paul Manafort secretly worked to "benefit Putin"

-- President Donald Trump's former campaign chairman Paul Manafort secretly worked for a Russian billionaire to benefit Russian President Vladimir Putin's interests a decade ago, The Associated Press reported Wednesday. 

The AP said documents, including strategy memoranda and wire transfer records, show that Manafort proposed a strategy to Oleg Deripaska, a close Putin ally, to influence politics, business dealings and news coverage inside the United States, Europe and the former Soviet republics.

Manafort confirmed to the AP he had worked with Deripaska in various countries, but that his work was being unfairly cast as part of a smear campaign. Read more.

Trump makes last push ahead of Thursday health care vote

-- President Trump will make his last big push to win over GOP votes to repeal the Affordable Care Act before Thursday's House vote.

At a Tuesday night dinner hosted by the National Republican Congressional Committee, President Trump said that, "the American people gave us clear instructions. It's time to get busy, get to work and get the job done. That legislative effort begins with Thursday's crucial vote and it really is a crucial vote for the Republican Party and for the people of the country."

Trump tweeted Wednesday morning that today was a "big day for healthcare."

As of Wednesday, 21 House Republicans said they will not vote for a bill to repeal Obamacare, while another five said they are likely to vote against the bill, according to CNN.

Trump reportedly issued a warning in a closed-door meeting on Tuesday to Republican lawmakers who vote against his health care overhaul saying, "I honestly think many of you will lose your seats in 2018 if you don't get this done."

Monday, House Republican leaders made changes to the health care bill to reassure conservatives and moderates with concerns on changes in medical coverage.

North Korea missile launch fails "within seconds"

-- Officials with the U.S. Pacific Command say a missile test Wednesday by North Korea failed "within seconds of launch," CNN reported. 

"South Korea and the U.S. are aware of the missile launch and to their knowledge North Korea's missile was not successfully launched," South Korea's Ministry of Defense said in a statement to CNN.

The launch attempt comes just days after the secluded nation announced the development of a new rocket engine. The U.S. has said the new engine could potentially be used for a long-range ballistic missile.

Last week, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said U.S. military action against North Korea could come preemptively - if the U.S. saw fit.

"If they elevate the threat of their weapons program to a level that we believe that requires action, that option is on the table," Tillerson said at a joint press conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Yun Byung-se in South Korea.

CNN contributed to this report.