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Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., threw cold water on the whistleblower complaint on Thursday but demanded to know who in the White House spoke with the whistleblower and why they didn’t file a complaint on their own.

“It is imperative we find out which White House official talked to the whistleblower and why. Why didn’t they lodge the complaint?” he asked on Twitter.

He seemed to refer to the White House officials the whistleblower complaint cited as being “deeply disturbed” by a call in which President Trump urged Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden.

The White House released a rough transcript of the call on Wednesday, revealing that it contained no evidence of a quid pro quo for foreign aid. The House Intelligence Committee continued pressing the issue on Thursday, as Acting Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire testified before the panel.

Republicans have panned the report as benign and alleged Democrats were grasping at straws in trying to attack the president. Graham seemed to agree, calling the report a “pig in a poke” bought by Democrats.

He also blasted the whistleblower complaint as an obvious effort to hurt the president. “As to the other matters in complaint: Clearly a coordinated effort to take second-hand information to create a narrative damaging to the President,” he tweeted. “When I think of whistleblower complaints I generally think of someone with first-hand knowledge of the events in question.”

As Graham, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, noted, the whistleblower filed the complaint without witnessing the events himself. Rather, the individual relied on second-hand accounts.

He also appeared to think Democrats were bluffing on impeachment, arguing that if the whistleblower report was as big a deal as they made it out to be, the House should vote to pursue an impeachment inquiry.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., announced on Tuesday that she would launch an official inquiry but the House has yet to vote on official proceedings.

Author: Sam Dorman

Source: Fox News: Lindsey Graham demands to know who in White House talked with whistleblower

Oprah at Abrams rally: I’m not testing presidential waters

Oprah Winfrey fires up supporters at a Georgia campaign rally for Democrat gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams and denies that her appearance is linked to a future presidential run.

HBO host Bill Maher argued on Friday that there was a good chance former Vice President Joe Biden would ruin a 2020 bid and that talk show empress Oprah Winfrey was the only sure bet for beating the president.

“The only person who is a sure thing is Oprah Winfrey,” Maher said before emphasizing the importance of celebrity in American politics. Later in his monologue he said, “I am telling you that at this particular moment in history, in this particular election year, she is the only candidate who is a sure thing winner for the Democrats.”

He argued that Oprah “checks all the boxes” needed to beat Trump: she would energize the African American base, galvanize women, and wouldn’t “scare” white men.

“If Oprah’s running, don’t get in the way of women on election day or you’ll be seeing the color purple,” Maher said in a play off of one of Winfrey’s movies.

He went on to argue that like President Trump, Winfrey had the advantage of being in people’s living rooms for decades. “This is now a ‘as seen on TV kind of country,'” Maher asserted.

At the beginning of that segment, Maher ran through a list of leading Democratic candidates and ticked off reasons why they faced questionable prospects in a general election against Trump.

“I like Joe,” Maher said, referring to the frontrunner, “but if we give him the keys, there’s at least a 50 percent chance he gets in the car and mows down a farmer’s market.”

Speculation has swirled around Winfrey for a potential 2020 run, although she has made it clear that she wasn’t interested in the fight. “I know my path and my path isn’t that,” she said in April.

Author: Sam Dorman

Source: Fox News: Bill Maher claims Oprah would be only ‘sure’ bet for beating Trump in 2020

What is the true cost of Medicare for All?

Juniper Research Group founder and CEO Chris Jacobs breaks down the cost.

Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., specified Tuesday how he would pay for his “Medicare for All” program, which critics have lambasted for its cost and impact on the federal budget.

While campaigning in New Hampshire, he responded to an audience member’s question about payment by saying he would likely raise payroll taxes on employers as well as income taxes on high-income earners.

“It would cost you and ordinary Americans a lot less than you are currently spending on average,” he said before explaining his payment method.

“What it will probably end up looking like is a payroll tax on employers, an increase in income tax in a progressive way for ordinary people — with a significant deductible for low-income people who pay nothing for it,” he said.

He also said his campaign purposefully didn’t put out a detailed account of his payment plan because it would “engender enormous debate.”

Sanders was just one of many progressive, 2020 candidates to advance “Medicare for All” and other policies, prompting more vigorous debate about socialism in the United States.

The proposal has received varying cost estimates from different organizations. According to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, one Medicare for All proposal from Rep. Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash. would cost about $28 trillion – $32 trillion over a decade.

The American Action Forum, a conservative think tank, estimated the Green New Deal’s provision for universal health care would cost $36 trillion, with $260,000 in cost per household.

Another study from the Mercatus Institute, typically perceived as leaning right on fiscal issues, similarly predicted in 2018 that the cost would reach $32 trillion in 10 years but forsaw a scenario in which the nation could actually save more than $2 trillion on health expenditures.

An alternative scenario, accounting for less effective cost controls, would result in more than $3 trillion in additional costs. Mercatus also claimed that its study’s author thought the assumptions showing cost-savings may be unreasonable.

When Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma commented on the issue in April, she described the program as “the biggest threat to the American health care system.”

“What we’re talking about is stripping people of their private health insurance, forcing them into a government-run program,” she said. Her concerns echoed those of others who worried about the impact on existing health plans.

Sanders and others have championed universal health care as a human rights issue — citing the U.S.’s high health care costs and lack of coverage compared to other industrialized nations.

Sam Dorman is a reporter with Fox News. You can follow him on Facebook here.

Author: Sam Dorman

Source: Fox News: Bernie says he’ll probably raise payroll, income taxes to pay for ‘Medicare for All’

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