Nevada governor undecided on health bill, will meet with Pence

Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval on Friday expressed deep reservations about Senate Republicans’ latest Obamacare repeal bill, but he wouldn’t go as far to say he opposes the revised legislation.

“My preliminary understanding is that, with regard to the Medicaid population, it is not any different or much different than the previous bill, which would cause me great concern,” Sandoval told POLITICO during the National Governors Association meeting in Rhode Island.

Story Continued Below

The moderate Republican said he will meet privately with Vice President Mike Pence, who will deliver a speech to governors later today. Earning Sandoval’s support for the legislation is seen as crucial for securing a vote from Sen. Dean Heller, the most vulnerable GOP incumbent facing reelection next year.

The revised Better Care Reconciliation Act provides additional subsidies for lower-income people and makes small tweaks to the GOP’s Medicaid overhaul. But major cuts to Medicaid, the largest sticking point for several moderate Republicans, remain in the bill. Sandoval, who opposed the initial Senate bill, said the legislation’s rollback of generous Medicaid expansion funding remains his biggest concern.

“I want to protect the 210,000 lives in Nevada that are living happier and healthier lives,” said Sandoval, adding he still needs to review the legislation with his staff. “That’s been my primary concern all along.”

Heller and several moderate Republicans from Medicaid expansion states — including Ohio’s Rob Portman, West Virginia’s Shelley Moore Capito and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski — have not yet taken a position on the updated legislation.

Two Republican senators, Susan Collins of Maine and Rand Paul of Kentucky, have already said they will oppose a procedural measure to start debate on the bill. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell cannot afford to lose another Republican vote.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, one of the most outspoken Republican critics of the GOP repeal effort, blasted the updated bill on Friday morning and urged congressional leaders to strike a bipartisan compromise.

“The Senate plan is still unacceptable,” he said. “Its cuts to Medicaid are too deep and at the same time it fails to give states the ability to innovate in order to cope with those reductions.”

Trump campaign’s digital director agrees to meet with House Intel Committee

Brad Parscale, who ran the digital operation for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign, said Friday he will voluntarily meet with the House Intelligence Committee, one of the bodies investigating Russia’s role in the 2016 election.

“I have accepted a request from the House Intelligence Committee to meet with them for a voluntary interview, and I look forward to sharing with them everything I know,” Parscale said in a statement he tweeted Friday morning.

Story Continued Below

Parscale, however, said he is “unaware of any Russian involvement in the digital and data operations” of Trump’s campaign, which he said utilized “the exact same digital marketing strategies that are used every day by corporate America.”

“The only collaboration I am aware of in the Trump digital campaign was with staff provided to the campaign by Facebook, Google and Twitter,” he added. “Those experts in digital marketing worked side-by-side with our teams from Giles-Parscale, the Republican National Committee, and Cambridge Analytica to run a professional and winning campaign.”

Parscale now works with the pro-Trump outside group America First Policies, a non-profit started by top campaign aides to support the president’s agenda.

Trump confidant Roger Stone is scheduled to appear before the House Intelligence Committee on July 24, and Michael Caputo, who resigned from the Trump campaign last June, has also been communicating with the panel.

The FBI and congressional intelligence committees are probing Russia’s meddling in the presidential campaign, including possible collusion between Trump associates and Moscow.

The Senate Judiciary Committee has invited Donald Trump Jr. to testify before the panel following recent revelations that Trump Jr. met with a woman during the height of the campaign last summer who was described to him as a “Russian government attorney.” According to an email exchange Trump Jr. released on Tuesday, he was told the woman had “information that would incriminate Hillary” Clinton as “part of Russia and its government’s support for Mr. Trump.”

“[I]f it’s what you say I love it especially later in the summer,” Trump Jr. replied, in part. He has said the meeting was brief, and no information on Clinton came out of it.

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort also attended the meeting with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and Russian-American lobbyist Rinat Akhmetshin.

Jimmy Carter discharged from hospital after suffering from dehydration

Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn are pictured. | Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP

Former President Jimmy Carter and his wife Rosalynn help build homes for Habitat for Humanity in Edmonton Alberta on July 11. | Jason Franson/The Canadian Press via AP

Former President Jimmy Carter was discharged from a Canadian hospital Friday morning after collapsing a day earlier due to dehydration.

The 92-year-old was transported to a hospital in Winnipeg on Thursday while volunteering on a home-building project for Habitat for Humanity, a spokesperson for The Carter Center said.

Story Continued Below

“He and Mrs. Carter extend their appreciation for the many well-wishes he received worldwide,” Deanna Congileo said in a statement.

The long-time supporter of Habitat for Humanity attended the last day of the building project as scheduled.

Russian-American lobbyist says he was in Trump Jr.’s meeting

A Russian-American lobbyist says he attended a June 2016 meeting with President Donald Trump’s son, marking another shift in the account of a discussion that was billed as part of a Russian government effort to help the Republican’s White House campaign.

Rinat Akhmetshin confirmed his participation to The Associated Press on Friday.

Story Continued Below

The meeting heightened questions about whether Trump’s campaign coordinated with the Russian government during the election, which is the focus of federal and congressional investigations. In emails posted by Donald Trump Jr. earlier this week, an associate who arranged the meeting said a Russian lawyer wanted to pass on negative information about Democrat Hillary Clinton and stated plainly that the discussion was part of a Russian government effort to help the GOP candidate.

While Trump Jr. has confirmed that the Russian attorney was in the meeting he did not disclose Akhmetshin’s presence. The president’s son has tried to discount the meeting, saying that he did not receive the information he was promised.

Akhmetshin said the meeting was “not substantive” and he “actually expected more serious” discussion.

“I never thought this would be such a big deal to be honest,” he told AP.

Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and current White House senior adviser, and then-campaign chairman Paul Manafort also attended the meeting.

Asked about Akhmetshin and his possible participation in the June 2016 meeting, Dmitry Peskov, spokesman for Russian President Vladimir Putin, told reporters on Friday: “We don’t know anything about this person.”

The Associated Press