From NBC NEWS:
The speculation began almost immediately after Donald Trump was elected: Who would have the ear of the famously unpredictable 45th president?
For a time it appeared that White House adviser Steve Bannon, memorably depicted as the Grim Reaper on “Saturday Night Live,” was the power behind the throne. Another trusted aide, Kellyanne Conway, was also said to be an influential member of Trump’s inner circle. And then there were Vice President Mike Pence, Chief of Staff Reince Priebus and Senior Policy Adviser Stephen Miller — all skilled and ambitious political animals vying for the boss’ attention.
But two months into Trump’s presidency, it’s becoming clear that blood and family have trumped ambition on Pennsylvania Avenue with First Daughter Ivanka Trump emerging as a powerbroker in her own right, along with her husband Jared Kushner.
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Who is to blame for the health care bill fiasco, and whose job might be in jeopardy? Not
Eddie Munster’s Paul Ryan’s, according to Chris Krueger, strategist at Cowen and Company (WSJ):
Ryan is probably safe as speaker because nobody particularly wants to be Henry VIII’s next wife.
(The Family of Henry VIII, c. 1543-1547. Unknown artist, after Holbein.
Hampton Court Palace. © The Royal Collection.)
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From BUSINESS INSIDER:
GOP leadership pulled its bill to overhaul the US healthcare system from what looked almost certain to be a failed floor vote in the House on Friday, in a blow to President Donald Trump’s agenda and House Speaker Paul Ryan’s leadership of his caucus.
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The ongoing scandal around emerging links between Donald Trump’s associates and the Russian establishment found a new twist on Wednesday. According to an exclusive Associated Press report, the former Trump campaign head Paul Manafort contacted Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska in 2005 proposing a strategy to “greatly benefit” Russian President Vladimir Putin’s government.
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From Conor Friedersdorf at The Atlantic:
Representative Devin Nunes, a Republican, is chairman of the House Intelligence Committee. He is therefore leading a key probe into whether or not Donald Trump’s presidential campaign had ties to Russian meddling in the 2016 election.
Can an inquiry he leads be trusted?
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U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson plans to skip an April 5-6 meeting of NATO foreign ministers for a U.S. visit by the Chinese president and will travel to Russia later in the month, U.S. officials said on Monday, a step allies may see as putting Moscow’s concerns ahead of theirs.
The decisions to skip the NATO meeting and to visit Moscow risked feeding a perception that Trump may be putting U.S. dealings with big powers before those of smaller nations that depend on Washington for their security, said two former U.S. officials.
Umm, ya think?
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