* Karla Adam reports that after Sean Spicer spent part of a televised briefing reading a Fox News transcript that included a wild allegation that the British government helped Barack Obama spy on Donald Trump, it created an international incident:
The British government said Friday that the White House has promised not to repeat claims that Britain’s main surveillance agency spied on Donald Trump, in what appears to be an attempt to smooth ruffled feathers on this side of the Atlantic.
The intervention followed an extraordinary statement by the Government Communications Headquarters, the British eavesdropping agency known as GCHQ, which slapped down allegations that the Obama administration used it to spy on Trump.
If you have the entire U.S. government at your disposal and you’re choosing to get your information from Fox News instead, something is seriously wrong.
* Meanwhile, Caitlin MacNeil reports that as his press conference with Angela Merkel today, Trump said that it’s not his fault, because “I didn’t make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox. And so you shouldn’t be talking to me. You should be talking to Fox. Okay?”
* Anna Edney and Zachary Tracer report that opposition to the Republican ACA repeal plan isn’t just an inside-the-Beltway thing:
Four Republican governors told top lawmakers in the U.S. House and Senate that they oppose the current GOP plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, and that they want Congress to preserve an expansion of the Medicaid health program for poor Americans.
In a letter Thursday, governors from Ohio, Nevada, Michigan and Arkansas wrote Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan and said the legislation the House is considering “does not ensure the resources necessary to make sure no one is left out, and shifts significant new costs to states.” They said the bill “does not meet” goals set out by President Donald Trump about state flexibility and making sure people are covered.
The governors presented the GOP leaders with an alternative proposal on Medicaid that would keep an expansion of the program and make it available to other states that didn’t expand it under the Affordable Care Act. The House Republican bill would wind down the current Medicaid expansion starting in 2020.
But once their poor citizens are liberated from the oppression of government health coverage, they’ll be able to enjoy FreedomCare™, which is what it’s called when Paul Ryan takes your insurance away.
* Speaking of which, Ian Millhiser tells us that Paul Ryan admitted to Rich Lowry that he’s been “dreaming” of cutting Medicaid “since I’ve been around — since you and I were drinking at a keg.” Those must have been some great parties.
* Robert Faturechi reports that when he was fired as U.S. Attorney, Preet Bharara was investigating stock trades in health care companies made by Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price. I guess that won’t be a problem anymore.
* David Leonhardt suggests that the health insurer Anthem’s support of the Republican ACA repeal bill may not be based solely on its disinterested assessment of the bill’s effects on all Americans. Shocking!
* And David Shepardson reports that Trump plans to name corporate lawyer George Conway to head the Justice Department’s civil devision. Guess what: Conway just happens to be the husband of a certain purveyor of shameless White House spin.