President Trump returned from France to find the scandal over a meeting between his eldest son and two top campaign advisers and several Russians during the campaign had yet to subside and the Senate healthcare vote had to be delayed yet again.
Trump returned from France after Bastille Day celebrations on Friday and tried to change the news cycle with a series of tweets hailing progress in the stock market and the economy during his time in office.
However, he didn’t stick to that message long before he was tweeting on Sunday about Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting with Russian attorney Natalia Veselnitskaya and claiming the media was “distorting democracy” by making up information about the controversy.
The scandal was the focus of much of the Sunday shows as Trump’s outside attorney Jay Sekulow did the “full Ginsburg” by appearing on all five major Sunday news shows.
Sekulow said the meeting couldn’t have been too nefarious, otherwise the Secret Service would have not let Veselnitskaya and her associates into the meeting. The Secret Service said later it didn’t vet any of the meeting attendees because Trump Jr. was not under Secret Service protection at the time of the meeting.
Sekulow used the interviews to argue Trump Jr. and the Trump campaign did nothing illegal when he appeared to be willing to accept the Russian government’s help to harm Hillary Clinton with damaging information.
However, news came out that Trump’s campaign paid for Trump Jr.’s legal expenses weeks before news of the meeting was to break, an indication that the Trump camp knew bad news was coming.
Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., said Trump’s refusal to accept that the Russians meddled in the election and tried to interfere on his behalf is proof that there’s a lack of a “whole of government approach” to preventing future meddling.
He also said it appeared Trump Jr. reacted with “glee” when he was offered information from the Russian government that would harm Clinton.
Warner added he doesn’t know why anyone would believe anything the Trump administration says about Russia and the 2016 election at this point given the different stories being told.
Rep. Adam Schiff said the meeting between Trump Jr. and Veselnitskaya showed there’s clear evidence that the Trump campaign intended to collude with the Russian government to win the election.
Trump appeared at the U.S. Women’s Open at his Bedminster, New Jersey golf club, where some protesters showed up on Sunday to announce their unhappiness with his administration.
On the healthcare front, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the Better Care Reconciliation Act would be delayed at least one more week because Sen. John McCain had to have surgery to remove a blood clot above his left eye on Saturday. The procedure, which appears to have gone well, will keep McCain out of Washington for at least a week.
The fact that McCain is out and the vote will be delayed means the Congressional Budget Office will not release its analysis of the BCRA on Monday, as it was originally planning to do.
Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn promised Democrats and Republicans will have an opportunity to amend the healthcare bill because it will be an “open process” when it comes up for debate.
Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins said the Senate bill ill would “affect the most vulnerable” because of its decreased Medicaid funding over the next 10 years. She remains against the bill.
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is also a no on the BCRA right now and warned Trump against overselling how good the bill is and what it would do to fix the healthcare system. Paul said it hasn’t answered the fundamental question of the time, which is how to get more young and healthy people to sign up for Obamacare in order to subsidize the sicker and older people on the exchanges.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services hit back at the negative reports about the Senate GOP healthcare bill that deem the decreased Medicaid funding in the bill a “cut.” Instead, it sought to argue that it just slows the growth of Medicaid spending and doesn’t actually cut any funding.
Trump also used Twitter to lash out at a Washington Post-ABC poll that showed he has a record-low approval rating for a president who’s been on the job for six months. The poll showed Trump’s approval rating is just 36 percent.
A report from The Sun newspaper indicated that low approval in the United Kingdom is delaying Trump’s trip to Great Britain and the president told Prime Minister Theresa May he wouldn’t visit until he gets better press coverage .
White House counselor Kellyanne Conway believes much of the criticism she receives is based on the fact that she’s a woman instead of her advocacy for Trump and his policies.
The White House released a plan to reporters Sunday outlining a plan for three themed weeks coming up in July, starting off with “Make America” week this week. The White House plans to celebrate goods made in America and local stores.
This week will also mark the first meeting of the controversial voter fraud commission that is looking into Trump’s claims that 3 to 5 million people voted illegally in the 2016 election, costing him the popular vote.
White House adviser Sebastian Gorka said he’s aggressive in TV interviews because “somebody has to be the pit bull” for Trump on cable TV. Gorka has made waves for his confrontational style in cable TV interviews.
Vice President Mike Pence received some criticism from a spokesman for Ohio Gov. John Kasich over his comments that 60,000 Ohioans are on wait lists for care due to the Affordable Care Act. The governor’s office called that “Fake News” and said there’s no evidence to back the vice president’s claim.
Rep. Ted Lieu, one of the most outspoken critics of Trump, thanked Fox News’ Shep Smith for “telling the truth” about the Trump family’s deception over the Russian email scandal.
Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis said the House Intelligence Committee is bringing in “big names” to investigate leaks from the intelligence community to the press and believes former staffer to President Obama Ben Rhodes is behind many of the leaks to the press from the National Security Council.
Rep. Al Green, one of two Democratic congressmen to sign on to articles of impeachment filed against Trump, said there’s going to be more coming against the president.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu publicly criticized Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin’s ceasefire in southern Syria by saying the deal would only allow the Iranians to grow in power.
Wikileaks found Julian Assange offered his support to a lawsuit of free speech advocates who are suing Trump over his decision to block people on Twitter.
Billionaire Richard Branson, a climate activist, called Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Agreement a very strange decision.
Another billionaire, Elon Musk, called artificial intelligence a “fundamental risk” to human existence in an interview.
On the same day, a drone delivered a gavel to Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval to start the meeting of the National Governors Association.
Former FBI Director James Comey is signed up to write a book, which will presumably deal with his controversial dealings with Trump during the first few months of the administration.
The head of Customs and Border Patrol said he’s looking forward to seeing what his agency can do with an expanded “tool kit” under Trump’s administration.
Caitlyn Jenner is considering whether to run for Senate and wants to figure out how she can have the most impact on the political world — inside the government or outside of it.
Jane Sanders, wife of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, claimed the investigation into her dealings as president of Burlington College is “sexist” because the complainant is a Trump supporter who wants to bring down her husband’s political career.
Healthcare bill waits for John McCain and Trump returns to ramped up Russia scandal