Trump and Putin Held A Second, Undisclosed Hour-Long Talk
Breaking News, Featured Story, Foreign Policy, Healthcare, Russia, The Latest News

Trump and Putin Held A Second, Undisclosed Hour-Long Talk

Also: Obamacare Repeal Dies in the Senate; Trump Says He’ll ‘Let It Fail’

NBC News published this photo of the Group 20 dinner where Trump met with Putin for an hour. The upper circle shows where Putin was seated with the First Lady; the lower where Trump was seated.

One more time. Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin had a second, previously undisclosed July 7 meeting at the Group of 20 summit meeting in Hamburg, and there’s no American record of what they talked about. No American interpreter, note taker or national security or foreign policy aide was present. Trump approached Putin for a second round of their diplo-tryst when Putin was seated next to Melania Trump at a dinner. Trump got up from his seat and sat down with Putin. The dinner discussion caught the attention of other leaders around the table, some of whom later remarked privately on the odd spectacle of an American president seeming to single out the Russian leader for special attention at a summit meeting that included some of the United States’ staunchest, oldest allies. Trump and Putin had a formal, two-hour meeting earlier in the day. Trump tweeted: The Fake News is becoming more and more dishonest! Even a dinner arranged for top 20 leaders in Germany is made to look sinister!

Down for the count. Trump now says he will “let Obamacare fail” after he couldn’t get enough votes from his own party to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act or just repeal the law that provides low-cost health insurance to moderate-income Americans. “I’m not going to own it,” Trump said after the defeat. Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval compared to Republican efforts on passing Trumpcare to shaking an Etch-a-Sketch. Trump could sabotage the Affordable Care Act by cutting off subsidy payments to insurers or not enforcing the mandate that most Americans have health insurance.

Bare minimum. The nonprofit news service FairWarning reports that the Trump administration decided against raising the required minimum liability insurance of $750,000 for trucking companies. That minimum was set in 1983. Even just adjusting for inflation, the minimum would be more than $2.2 million today. Tens of thousands of people are injured each year in the United States in accidents involving large trucks. The $750,000 must cover all victims in a crash and may be a fraction of the expenses for a single badly injured survivor. Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which has spent more than $2.3 million lobbying in Washington since the start of 2015, opposes raising the minimum level.

Ugly Americans. The documentary “The UnAmerican Struggle,” will premiere Aug. 2 at the San Antonio Film Festival. The film, produced by 1366 Films, examines the resurgence of racism, misogyny, sexism, and xenophobia in America brought about by Donald Trump’s words and actions as a candidate, and now his policies as president. Experts from organizations including the Southern Poverty Law Center and the Council on American-Islamic Relations appear in the film to help Americans better understand the fight to preserve America’s values of inclusion and civil liberties.

Worker safety. The House bill for fiscal 2018 could cut OSHA’s enforcement budget by 6.5% or $13.5 million. The Labor/HHS Appropriations committee meets today to mark up the bill. The enforcement cuts are far worse than what Trump had proposed. “Cutting back enforcement funding will result in thousands of totally preventable injuries,” said former OSHA administrator David Michaels.

July 19, 2017