Friday’s Mini-Report, 3.17.17

Today’s edition of quick hits:

* I wish I understood why he says the things he says: “President Donald Trump used a joint press conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel to deflect criticism about his unsubstantiated claim that the Obama administration spied on him, reviving a sensitive diplomatic incident in which the U.S. was revealed to have snooped on her cell phone.”

* Making a bad bill worse: “President Trump signed on to a pair of changes to the House Republican health plan and declared ‘100 percent’ backing for it Friday, moving to consolidate support among GOP lawmakers in hopes of moving it through the House next week.”

* On a related note: “The latest group to oppose the GOP plan is Consumers Union, which scored the proposed plan. ‘In the AHCA many millions of Americans, from children to seniors, will be left uninsured or with insurance that falls short of their needs,’ the report card from Consumers Union says. ‘The bill provides less coverage at a higher cost for consumers than the ACA.’”

* The inevitable appeal: “The Trump administration filed court papers Friday hoping to salvage its second version of a travel ban, after two judges in separate cases this week found it likely violated the Constitution.”

* A story worth watching closely: “Former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who was removed from his post by the Trump administration last week, was overseeing an investigation into stock trades made by the president’s health secretary, according to a person familiar with the office.”

* Russia ties: “A Reuters review found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida.”

* NSC: “President Donald Trump’s senior counselor for economic initiatives Dina Powell will be named deputy national security adviser for strategy, according to National Security Council and administration sources.”

* Another relevant angle to the health care debate: “The Republican healthcare plan could signal the beginning of the end for employer-based healthcare insurance, a perk that millions of Americans take for granted.”

* Conservative media: “The congressional reporter for Independent Journal Review, the conservative website whose profile has risen during the Trump administration, quit on Thursday over disagreements with the website’s direction, people familiar with the situation told POLITICO.”

* The White House gets the little things wrong about as often as it gets the big things wrong: “During the annual White House meeting with the Irish Prime Minister on Thursday, President Donald Trump shared one of his favorite proverbs with Taoiseach Enda Kenny. The only problem was, as many pointed out on social media after the meeting’s broadcast, it may not have been an Irish proverb at all.”

Anything to add? Consider this an open thread.

Friday's Mini-Report, 3.17.17