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Week In The News: Mueller Report, Affordable Care Act, Jussie Smollett

Members of the protest group Herndon Reston Indivisible and Kremlin Annex hold signs saying "Full Report," outside the White House in Washington, Monday, March 25, 2019. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)
Members of the protest group Herndon Reston Indivisible and Kremlin Annex hold signs saying "Full Report," outside the White House in Washington, Monday, March 25, 2019. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

With David Folkenflik

The main findings of the Mueller inquiry are known. But the details remain hidden — and Democrats say their work is not over. The administration once more seeks to kill “Obamacare.” Chicago is ablaze over Jussie Smollet. The roundtable is here.

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Seung Min Kim, White House reporter for The Washington Post. ( @seungminkim)

Seth Mandel, executive editor of the Washington Examiner Magazine. ( @SethAMandel)

Jack Beatty, On Point news analyst. ( @JackBeattyNPR)

From The Reading List

Washington Post: “ Trump pressures wary Republicans to produce replacement for health-care law” — “President Trump is pressuring Republicans to produce a replacement for the Affordable Care Act, a request the GOP considers unrealistic in a divided Congress and politically perilous ahead of the 2020 elections.

“Hours after meeting with Senate Republicans at the Capitol on Tuesday, Trump spoke on the phone with a handful of senators, urging them to write a new law — even though the party failed to coalesce around a plan when it controlled the House and Senate for two years.

“The White House has no proposal in the works, according to administration officials, but Trump wants Republicans to pass a bill before his reelection effort that would do what Obamacare does — provide coverage to millions of Americans.

“Trump spoke with Sen. David Perdue (R-Ga.) on Tuesday evening and listed his priorities in a phone call with Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) on Wednesday morning.”

Fox News: “ DOJ, FBI to review ‘outrageous’ Jussie Smollett case, Trump says” — “President Trump announced Thursday that the FBI and Justice Department will review the ‘outrageous’ decision to drop charges in the Jussie Smollett case.

“The president weighed in as controversy mounted in Chicago and across the country over the abrupt dismissal of the charges that the ‘Empire’ actor faked a hate crime, amid widespread speculation over what happened behind the scenes that led to the deal with Cook County prosecutors.

“The handling of the case has led to even deeper fractures in the Chicago political and law enforcement establishment.

“With Mayor Rahm Emanuel fuming over the move to make the case go away, Chicago police came out swinging Wednesday and released the full 61-page investigative report in the alleged hate crime hoax. Chicago police reportedly then became subject of a court order that barred them from releasing further files even though they were widely available online.”

Associated Press: “ Democrats pivot to health care as Trump attacks ‘Obamacare’” — “President Donald Trump is calling on Republicans to revive the effort to quash the Affordable Care Act, handing Democrats an opportunity to unite in defense of the law as they try to move past the Russia investigation and win the White House in 2020.

“Trump’s administration is asking a federal appeals court to strike down the entire health care law. The president vowed on Tuesday to make the GOP the ‘party of health care’ and told Senate Republicans to lean into their own agenda on the issue as they head into next year’s election.

“The moves could help Trump rally his conservative base as he celebrates Attorney General William Barr’s summary of special counsel Robert Mueller’s report that said there was no evidence that the president or his associates colluded with Russia in the 2016 campaign. But the push also poured political kerosene on an issue that many Democrats credit with powering their midterm election victories in November.

“Top Democrats, including presidential candidates, said health care is an issue that resonates with voters more than the Mueller investigation.”

Politico: “ DeVos defends proposed Special Olympics cut amid outcry” — “Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is pushing back against a social media outcry over a proposal to slash $17.6 million in federal funding for the Special Olympics — a cut DeVos has objected to in the past.

“In a statement Wednesday, she blamed the media and some members of Congress for ‘falsehoods and fully misrepresenting the facts’ a day after her defense of the Trump administration budget request during a congressional hearing went viral. Some tweets claimed DeVos had already cut the funding, which goes to programs in thousands of U.S. schools and not global Special Olympics competitions.

“‘Make no mistake: We are focused every day on raising expectations and improving outcomes for infants and toddlers, children and youth with disabilities, and are committed to confronting and addressing anything that stands in the way of their success,’ she said. ‘The President’s budget reflects that commitment.’ ”

BBC: “ US-Mexico border official says migrant crisis ‘at breaking point’” — “The US-Mexico border has reached ‘breaking point,’ US officials say, amid an ‘unprecedented’ surge in migrant numbers.

“Customs and Border Protection (CBP) Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said it is ‘a matter of time’ before tragedy strikes at one of their facilities.

“In El Paso, Texas, officials have over 13,000 migrants in custody this week, he said.

“Most of the migrants entering the US are families or unaccompanied children.”

Brian Hardzinski produced this hour for broadcast.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.