This Day in Trump, Day 70: Conflict With the Freedom Caucus, More Investigation Drama

WASHINGTON -- Tensions within the Republican Party escalated on Thursday when President Donald Trump started calling out individual Republican congressmen by name for standing in the way of his legislative agenda. On Twitter, Trump expressed a desire for the roughly 30 members of the Freedom Caucus, a conservative coalition within the house, to face challengers in the 2018 midterm elections. He also resumed his criticisms of The New York Times.As Trump picked fights with congressmen, an ongoing controversy surrounding the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation into Russian involvement in the 2016 election got even more complicated. The Times reported that White House officials gave the chairman of the committee, Rep. Devin Nunes of California, confidential intelligence reports that Nunes then took to other sources in the White House. We’ll explain below.Meanwhile, Trump also met with Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen of Denmark. And the world discovered what appears to be FBI Director James Comey’s private Twitter account.Here’s what you need to know.Highlight of the dayThe morning began on a dramatic note when Trump took to Twitter to blast the House Freedom Caucus, a group of ultra-conservative Republicans who by and large stood opposed to the Republican health care bill that failed last week.Although the caucus’ members weren’t the only representatives to oppose the American Health Care Act, and many moderates had also announced opposition to the bill, Trump singled out the caucus in his tweets.“The Freedom Caucus will hurt the entire Republican agenda if they don’t get on the team, & fast,” Trump tweeted. “We must fight them, & Dems, in 2018!”Several of the caucus members reacted angrily. Rep. Justin Amash of Michigan blasted the president for using “bullying tactics.”“Most people don’t take well to being bullied,” he told reporter Jamie Lovegrove. “It’s constructive in fifth grade, it may allow a child to get his way, but that’s not how our government works.”Rep. Joe Barton, R-Arlington, is one of the Texas members of the Freedom Caucus. He was more cautious in his response, telling reporters that he wasn’t sure Trump’s tweets were the best tactic for building a consensus.“I’m not sure the president quite understands what it is that we’re trying to do,” he said.But Trump wasn’t finished. By late afternoon, the president started calling out individual members of the House by name, saying they were the ones standing in the way of “great healthcare and massive tax cuts & reform.”  Continue reading...

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