Back to healthcare drawing board for Republicans

McCain in the halls of Congress Image copyright Reuters
Image caption McCain announced his opposition to the last Republican healthcare bill shortly after returning from having a brain tumour removed

John McCain's announcement that he opposes the latest healthcare proposal wasn't nearly as dramatic as his late-night vote that derailed an earlier plan, but it should prove equally fatal to Republican hopes.

With Senator Rand Paul already a hard no - because the measure doesn't go far enough - all eyes turn to Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska. Neither seems likely to support the bill now, and only one of them needs to give the thumbs-down to seal the deal.

The Graham-Cassidy proposal was always a bit of a desperation effort - essentially passing the tough decisions about health insurance coverage and benefits to the states, while making sizable cuts to the amount of money they receive from the federal government.

As several Republican senators explained - ones who were firm "yesses" - the main attraction for the plan was that it was the only plan on the board.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Healthcare providers have mostly opposed the latest Republican bill

Now it appears Republicans will have to go back to the drawing board. Although the end of September is the deadline for passing a bill with a simple majority in the Senate for this federal budget, there's no reason the party couldn't start the wheels turning for another vote next year - or, conceivably, simply change the rules, as President Donald Trump has suggested.

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What Happened: The long list of who Hillary Clinton blames

Barack Obama, the New York Times, Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders Image copyright Reuters
Image caption In the firing line - Barack Obama, the New York Times, Jill Stein and Bernie Sanders

The beauty of Hillary Clinton's new book title, What Happened, is it can be interpreted in so many ways.

Perhaps it's a definitive account of the 2016 presidential election. "Here's what happened".

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Trump and Democrats deal: What was the president thinking?

Donald Trump meets with congressional leaders in the White House. Image copyright Getty Images

The conflict between Donald Trump and Republicans in Congress may be coming to a head.

This could be the start of a freelance presidency, unmoored from party ties - the kind of deal-maker in chief some Trump supporters hoped for when they voted for him last year.

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Bannonism lives on in the White House

Steve Bannon Image copyright Getty Images

Steve Bannon may be out as a senior White House adviser, but Bannonism - if that's what it can properly be called - is still firmly entrenched in the White House.

Donald Trump, in a series of tweets on Thursday, bashed his Republican opponents and the media and defended Confederate Civil War monuments - the cause for which white supremacists and neo-Nazis marched last weekend.

Read full article Bannonism lives on in the White House

A White House meltdown in the making

Trump in car Image copyright Getty Images

At some point during the campaign last year, most Republicans came to the conclusion that Donald Trump was like nuclear energy. His was a force that, if properly harnessed, could power their party for a generation.

And so the party embraced Mr Trump. Republican functionaries like Reince Priebus and Sean Spicer joined the White House team. The nuclear dragon would be tamed.

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Why Trump's reactions to N Korea and Charlottesville are no surprise

US President Donald Trump during a security briefing at his Bedminster National Golf Club in New Jersey on 10 August 2017 Image copyright AFP

In North Korea and Charlottesville Donald Trump faces the first pivotal tests of his presidency. His responses have been telling but, for those who watched him on the campaign trail, they shouldn't be surprising.

For the first six-plus months as president, the challenges Mr Trump has confronted have been largely of his own making.

Read full article Why Trump's reactions to N Korea and Charlottesville are no surprise

Trump turns on Republican leadership

Donald Trump talks while Mitch McConnell looks on. Image copyright Getty Images

Attorney General Jeff Sessions can take a deep breath. Donald Trump has found a new punching bag among Republican ranks - Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

In a series of tweets and comments over the past week the president has lashed out against the top-ranking Republican in the Senate, whose attempts to shepherd legislation to repeal and replace Obama-era healthcare reforms through his chamber spectacularly failed two weeks ago.

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Donald Trump's nuclear fixation - from the 1980s to now

Protesters outside the White House call for a de-escalation in tensions Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Protesters outside the White House call for a de-escalation in tensions

Donald Trump's warning that North Korea could face "fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen" has been widely interpreted as a threat backed by the destructive power of the US nuclear arsenal.

In case that message wasn't clear, the following morning the president boasted that US nuclear weapons were "far stronger and more powerful than ever before".

Read full article Donald Trump's nuclear fixation - from the 1980s to now

As Trump plays golf, trouble brews

Donald Trump on the golf course. Image copyright Getty Images

On Friday Donald Trump jetted off to his resort golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, for a 17-day vacation.

The White House has been quick to note that this is a "working" vacation. The president won't be leaving the duties of office totally behind.

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What Trump really meant in those phone calls

Trump with Flynn and Bannon Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Trump calls Turnbull but the conversation doesn't go well

Deconstructing a Donald Trump verbatim transcript has become the hottest new pastime in Washington, DC.

Just days after being treated to a veritable treasure trove of strange presidential assertions and non sequiturs in a previously unreleased Wall Street Journal interview, the public has been offered a blast from the (recent) past in leaked records of Mr Trump's phone conversations with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull.

Read full article What Trump really meant in those phone calls