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First Read’s Morning Clips: Making Concessions

TRUMP AGENDA: McConnell making concessions

Leigh Ann Caldwell, on the latest machinations on health care. “As negotiations continue on a new version of the Senate Republican health care bill, there is growing movement towards preserving some taxes on wealthy Americans, a decision that could anger some conservatives but appease moderates in the search for a compromise.”

The Washington Post: “Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), in an effort to strike a balance between centrists and conservatives, is now making concessions to both factions of his caucus, according to lawmakers and aides. McConnell is rewriting his proposal to provide tens of billions more for opioid addiction treatment and assistance to low- and ­moderate-income Americans, in part with a major policy shift that has already alarmed conservatives who oppose it — potentially preserving a 3.8 percent tax on investment income provided under the ACA that the current draft of the Senate bill would repeal. At the same time, the Republican leader hopes to placate the right by further easing the existing law’s insurance mandates and providing higher tax deductions for the health savings accounts that conservatives favor, several Republicans said.”

The New York Times, on how the latest CBO updates are creating yet another hurdle for Republicans.

What the president is tweeting this morning: “If Republican Senators are unable to pass what they are working on now, they should immediately REPEAL, and then REPLACE at a later date!”

The Democratic Governors Association held a conference Wednesday with governors of two red states that expanded Medicaid -- John Bel Edwards of Louisiana and Steve Bullock of Montana -- to discuss the impact the GOP health-care legislation would have on their states, per NBC’s Rebecca Choate. “People will die. It’s just a fact,” Bel Edwards said. “It doesn’t matter if you’re from a red state or a blue state,” he added. “It’s whether you’ve seen the benefits of Medicaid in your state and you know that it’s working.”

The Wall Street Journal scoops: “Before the 2016 presidential election, a longtime Republican opposition researcher mounted an independent campaign to obtain emails he believed were stolen from Hillary Clinton’s private server, likely by Russian hackers. In conversations with members of his circle and with others he tried to recruit to help him, the GOP operative, Peter W. Smith, implied he was working with retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, at the time a senior adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump.”

The Intercept got audio from Trump’s closed fundraiser.

The White House may nix the Council on Women and Girls, POLITICO reports.

“The chair of President Trump's Election Integrity Commission has penned a letter to all 50 states requesting their full voter-roll data, including the name, address, date of birth, party affiliation, last four Social Security number digits and voting history back to 2006 of potentially every voter in the state,” writes the Washington Post.

POLITICO on Jared Kushner, a “collector of people.” More: “In interviews, half a dozen people who have worked and socialized with him described how he likes to crowdsource on issues new to him, often cold-calling people he is impressed by and making his own introduction. In his first six months in Washington, he’s developed a new circle of advisers — one that’s more political — while leaving behind some of his earlier confidants.”

The New York Times lays out the latest legal wrangling over who counts as a “close relative” as the partial travel ban goes into effect.

The Wall Street Journal: “The Trump administration is set to miss a self-imposed Friday deadline for concluding a major probe of steel imports, a delay officials said was driven by unanticipated complexities in engineering such a big shift in U.S. trade policy.”

And POLITICO looks at how Trump’s trade plan is setting up a global clash.

Erik Ortiz sums up the president’s back and forth with the press yesterday.

Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough respond to the controversy in a Washington Post op-ed.

“Chinese officials have urged the United States to immediately halt its $1.42 billion of planned arms sales to Taiwan. The comments, which came hours after the State Department announced the proposed sale Thursday, are the latest twist in Washington and Beijing's complex relationship since President Donald Trump took office.”

OFF TO THE RACES: Libertarian candidate qualifies for VA GOV ballot

AL-SEN: POLITICO: “The Republican National Committee has greenlighted funding for the upcoming Alabama special election — a long-delayed move that in recent days had become a point of contention between Senate Republicans and the White House… The approval, which was confirmed by three senior Republicans, is rooted in byzantine campaign finance rules — yet it involved weeks of closed-door talks, inflamed tensions between Senate GOP leaders and the administration and touched on a central issue: how the insurgent-minded Trump White House will approach party primaries.”

CA-GOV: Republicans are trying to get into position for the 2018 governor’s race. “The big question is if the party will be able to marshal enough support behind a Republican candidate for governor and avoid a repeat of last fall's Senate campaign, which, thanks to the top-two primary, was fought between two Democratic candidates. Several Republicans are in the mix. They include conservative Orange County Assemblyman Travis Allen and Rancho Santa Fe venture capitalist John Cox. Speculation is mounting that former state Assemblyman David Hadley plans to announce a run. There also are furious efforts to recruit San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer into the race, because he is viewed as the strongest possible contender.”

NE-GOV: Former Speaker of the Legislature Mike Flood won’t challenge Pete Ricketts in the GOP gubernatorial primary.

NJ-GOV: The state is bracing for a shutdown over a budget impasse.

VA-GOV: A Libertarian will be on the ballot in November.

WI-GOV: Madison Mayor Paul Soglin says he’s “preparing” for a possible run for the Democratic nomination.