Politics ESSENTIAL WASHINGTON

Here's our look at the Trump administration and the rest of Washington:

Media Watch: On the Right

Some right-wing media sites under investigation for possible Russia ties

 (Bao Dandan / Tribune News Service)
(Bao Dandan / Tribune News Service)

The investigation is well underway into any potential collusion between President Trump’s campaign aides and Russian officials during last year’s campaign.

A day after FBI Director James B. Comey confirmed the investigation, Trump and his allies are pushing back – forcefully.

Kellyanne Conway, a senior advisor to Trump, told Fox News on Tuesday that the investigation “has nothing to show for it.”

Conservative media, much like the administration, have down-played the investigation, and now some right-wing outlets are facing scrutiny themselves.

Here are today’s headlines:

FBI’s Russian-influence probe includes a look at Breitbart, InfoWars news sites (McClatchy)

OK, McClatchy is not considered so-called conservative news.

But this report focuses on the FBI looking into right-wing websites like Breitbart and InfoWars to see if they played any role last year in a Russian cyber operation that dramatically widened the reach of news stories that favored Trump’s presidential bid.

In recent months, intelligence officials have confirmed that Russia did seek to influence the 2016 election by, among other things, hacking into emails at the Democratic National Committee.

McClatchy, citing anonymous sources, reports “operatives for Russia appear to have strategically timed the computer commands, known as ‘bots,’ to blitz social media with links to the pro-Trump stories.”

The story generated a response from Alex Jones, who runs InfoWars.

“I don’t personally take this as a threat … I’m threatened for the country,” he said on his radio show. “I mean if the Russians want to secure our borders, cut our taxes, not have us go bankrupt, rebuild our military, block radical Islam — well then, hell, I’m a Russian agent! But I’m not.”

Democrats break out political playbook against Gorsuch in hearing (Weekly Standard)

His Senate confirmation hearings are underway and Democrats are ready.

The piece argues that Neil M. Gorsuch, whom Trump tapped as his Supreme Court nominee, is walking into a “fray of flying elbows,” mostly thrown by Democrats.

“The Senate minority's number two and committee member Dick Durbin said Gorsuch was part of a Republican strategy to capture our judicial branch,” writes Chris Deaton.

A year ago, former President Obama nominated Merrick Garland to fill the Supreme Court position left vacant following the death of Antonin Scalia. However, Senate Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, refused to grant Garland a hearing.

Among Democratic topics of discussion for Trump's nominee: Gorsuch's past writings on executive power,  Roe vs. Wade, and his lower-court opinion in Hobby Lobby vs. Sebelius for its application to Obamacare's contraception mandate, to name a few.

Trump counters media narrative with victims of Obamacare (American Spectator)

The consensus is that, well, the House Republican plan to replace Obamacare isn’t perfect.

A report released last week by the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office found that by 2026 nearly 24 million people would be uninsured. Some GOP governors have castigated the plan for its cuts to Medicaid.

But as this piece highlights, Trump has sought to find people who have suffered under Obamacare.

“There also is scant mention of the Americans who stand to lose coverage as healthcare providers drop out of the individual market or who pay their premiums but don’t see doctors because their plans’ high deductibles are prohibitive,” writes Debra J. Saunders. “There is little mention of the 6.5 million Americans who preferred to pay a penalty last year rather than purchase their own policies.”

Latest updates

Copyright © 2017, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
59°