"President Trump named John R. Bolton, a hard-line former American ambassador to the United Nations, as his third national security adviser on Thursday, continuing a shake-up that creates one of the most hawkish national security teams of any White House in recent history. Mr. Bolton will replace Lt. Gen. H. R. McMaster, the battle-tested Army officer who was tapped last year to stabilize a turbulent foreign policy operation but who never developed a comfortable relationship with the president." Bolton was an outspoken advocate of military action during the George W. Bush administration, and has "called for action against Iran and North Korea."
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner will testify before the House Ways and Means Committee on Tuesday to address the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov.
The hearing follows a tense House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing last week, when lawmakers questioned the website’s contractors on what went wrong and who may have known about the problems ahead of the launch. The contractors maintained that CMS was responsible for overseeing the health care exchanges and was ultimately in charge of end-to-end testing and overall functionality of the site.
CMS could accept full blame for the troubled rollout. During a press call Monday, CMS spokeswoman Julie Bataille said the agency “takes full responsibility.” While the pressure is on Tavenner, she could be covering for subordinates, The New York Times reports. At last week’s hearing, one contractor named CMS official Henry Chao as their primary point of contact with the department.
But at the beginning of August, Tavenner said at a House Energy and Commerce hearing that “CMS is ready for October 1, and we are motivated and well prepared for the hard work ahead.” As late as the end of September, Tavenner was optimistic about a smooth launch of the Affordable Care Act exchanges.
The first few weeks since Oct. 1 have been anything but smooth. As the first administration official to testify about the failed launch of the federal exchange, and the warm-up for Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Tavenner is likely to have a rough day Tuesday.
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"When a Russian news agency reached out to George Papadopoulos to request an interview shortly before the 2016 election," deputy communications director Bryan Lanza encouraged him to respond. "You should do it," Lanza wrote in a September 2016 email, "emphasizing the benefits of a U.S. 'partnership with Russia.'" The Trump campaign has "sought to paint the 30-year old energy consultant as a low level volunteer" in the campaign, but recently disclosed emails show that Papadopoulos had contact with "senior campaign figures" in the Trump campaign, "such as chief executive Stephen K. Bannon and adviser Michael Flynn," who encouraged him to "broker ties between Trump and top foreign officials."