1/ Senate Republicans released their new Obamacare repeal bill. The new bill would maintain some Obamacare taxes on the wealthy, provide new financial support to help low-income people purchase health insurance, allow people to pay for insurance with pre-tax money, and spend $45 billion to fight opioid addiction. The plan also includes an amendment from Ted Cruz to win over conservatives aimed at building enough GOP support to open debate on the bill next week, but it’s not clear if the votes will be there. The Cruz amendment would allow insurers offering Obamacare plans to also offer cheap, deregulated policies meant to appeal to conservatives. The change could drive away moderates who are concerned the amendment would cause premiums to spike for those with pre-existing conditions. The revised bill would provide an additional $70 billion in funds that states could use to make health care more affordable on top of the more than $100 billion already included. (Politico / CNN)

2/ At least three Senate Republicans will vote against the revised health bill. Susan Collins, Rand Paul, and Rob Portman all remain opposed. Collins said the deep cuts to Medicaid were standing in the way. “My strong intention and current inclination is to vote no on the motion to proceed,” Collins said. Mitch McConnell needs the support of 50 of his 52 members to pass the legislation. (Washington Post / Axios)

3/ Two Republican senators introduced an alternative health care plan moments before McConnell briefed senators on the revised bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. The plan by Lindsey Graham and Bill Cassidy would keep most of Obamacare’s federal taxes in place, but direct that money to the states to control. “We’re going to support Mitch’s effort with his new plan, but we want an alternative and we’re going to see which one can get 50 votes,” Graham said. “We’re not undercutting Mitch, he’s not undercutting us.” (CNN / Politico)

4/ Senate Republicans exempt members of Congress and their staff from their latest health care plan. The exemption is similar to the loophole that existed in the House health bill, which the House voted to close. (Vox)

5/ Trump threatened to get “very angry” if Republicans fail to pass the health care bill. “I don’t even want to talk about it because I think it would be very bad,” Trump said in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network. “I am sitting in the Oval Office with a pen in hand, waiting for our senators to give it to me.” (Washington Post / CNN)

6/ The DOJ issued a mostly blank security clearance form detailing Jeff Sessions’ contacts with the Russians. The form shows he denied having any contact with foreign governments or their representatives in the past seven years. The page, used to apply for a security clearance, was released in response to a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit. (NPR / The Atlantic)

  • Sessions gave a closed-door speech to a Christian religious freedom advocacy group known for its anti-gay stance. The “Summit on Religious Liberty” was hosted by the Alliance Defending Freedom, which is representing a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, claiming that to do so would violate his right to religious liberty under the Constitution. That case will be heard by the Supreme Court next term. (CNN)

7/ Trump, again, defended Trump Jr.’s meeting with a Russian attorney, saying that “zero” improprieties occurred in a meeting that “most people would have taken.” He added that “it’s called opposition research or even research into your opponent” as justification for the meeting with the “Russian government attorney.” (Washington Post)

8/ The Senate judiciary committee asked Trump Jr. to testify. Chairman Chuck Grassley also said he wants former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort to testify before the committee as early as next week. (CNN)

9/ Sarah Huckabee Sanders claimed the White House is “as transparent as humanly possible” in an off-camera briefing. “Every single day we do our very best to give you the most accurate information that we have,” Sanders said in response to a question about why so many members of the administration have not divulged meetings they had with Russian individuals. (Politico)

10/ A 2013 video shows Trump attending dinner with the associates tied to Trump Jr.’s email controversy. Trump dined with Aras Agalarov and Emin Agalarov, and their publicist Rob Goldstone. Aras Agalarov has ties to Putin. In the 2016, Goldstone claimed to have damaging information against Hillary Clinton and setup the meeting between Trump Jr., Paul Manafort, and Jared Kushner with the Russian lawyer. (CNN)

11/ Pence’s press secretary repeatedly refused to say if the VP had met with any Russians during the campaign. “Clear up a few things for us now. Did the vice president ever meet with representative from Russia?” Bill Hemmer, host of Fox News’ America’s Newsroom. “The vice president is not focused on the areas where, you know, on this campaign, especially things that happened before he was even on the ticket. As he has said, that when he joined the campaign his entire focus was on talking to the American people, taking the case that President Trump was going to make to the American people,” Pence’s spokesman Marc Lotter replied. (HuffPost)

12/ Trump won’t say whether he believed Putin’s denial of Russian meddling in the election. He did say, however, that he’s willing to invite Russian president to the White House. (Bloomberg)

13/ Trump’s friend Jim may not exist. Throughout the campaign, Trump mentioned a friend named Jim while linking immigration policies in Europe to increased terrorist attacks, particularly those in France. Trump has never given his last name. The White House has not responded about who Jim is or whether he will be on Trump’s trip to Paris. Jim allegedly claimed that “Paris is no longer Paris” and they he no longer visits because the city has been infiltrated by foreign extremists. (Associated Press / HuffPost / The New Yorker)

14/ Trump claimed he’s “done more in five months than practically any president in history.” He added that the current mood in the White House is “fantastic,” despite recent pressure following allegations of Trump Jr.‘s involvement with Russia during last year’s election campaign. (CNBC)

15/ Kellyanne Conway used flash card props to explain the Russia controversy and how the White House views the scrutiny of Trump’s associates’ ties to Russia. “What’s the conclusion? Collusion? No. We don’t have that yet. I see illusion and delusion,” Conway said. (CNN)

16/ Trump told the French first lady that she’s “in such good shape.” He then turned to French President Emmanuel Macron to affirm the fact, saying “She’s in such good physical shape,” before looking back at Brigitte Macron to say “Beautiful.” Earlier in the day, Trump and Brigitte Macron shared an “awkward handshake.” (NBC News)

17/ The CBO refuted Trump’s claim that his plan will balance the federal budget in a decade. The CBO did say that Trump’s budget proposal would reduce the federal deficit over a decade, but the estimated deficit reduction would be lower than the administration’s because the White House projects higher economic growth. (CNBC)

poll/ 65% of people that disapprove of Trump’s performance say it’s because of his character and personality. 16% say they disapprove of his work based on his policies and stances on issues. In contrast, Americans who disapproved of Obama’s job performance during his first year in office focused mainly on his policies and stances on issues. (Gallup)