Week In Politics: Paris, FBI, Health Care
SCOTT SIMON, HOST:
This roiling Russia story was hardly the only news this week. NPR's Scott Detrow is here to tell us everything else.
SCOTT DETROW, BYLINE: Everything else.
SIMON: Thanks for being with us, Scott. The president, of course, was in Paris this week. He was president Macron's guest for Bastille Day. There'd been some attention in this country which would affix President Macron as somehow a different figure than President Trump. The two of them seemed to get on very well. There seemed genuine rapport.
DETROW: That's right. I think if this improves relations, it certainly improved body language when it comes to President Trump in Europe. You know, there were so many images at the G-20 of Trump just looking isolated, big policy announcements put out by every country except the United States. So I think Macron sensed an opening here. He saw that Trump needs a friend, an ally, a wingman - whatever you want to call it - in Europe.
And Trump has a long track record of responding when people show him respect and welcome him. There's certainly nothing more welcoming than a big parade being put on, so this seemed to work. They seemed to get along. The question is, does this get Trump to shift on any of the key policy differences? Starting with climate change, where they could not be any further apart.
SIMON: There was a phrase in the press conference where he said, well, maybe there will be something with the Paris accords, right?
DETROW: Maybe there will be something, but I think at this point, Macron, Angela Merkel, other European leaders probably want a bit more than open-ended phrases at press conferences. They would like the U.S. to hop back into that big global agreement.
SIMON: Christopher Wray, President Trump's choice to be head director of the FBI, at his confirmation hearing on Wednesday. Obviously, a lot of interest in the Russian investigation, but there were also indications of bipartisan support.
DETROW: Yeah. Despite the ongoing uproar and concern created by the firing of James Comey, you have a lot of bipartisan support for Christopher Wray. He said a lot of the right things this week when it came to what what senators wanted to hear, what they were asking about. He said he would be independent if he ran the FBI. He said he would not pull any punches.
And he was asked several times, what would you do if the president asked you to do something illegal or unethical? He said, first, I would try to change his mind, and if he didn't do that, I would quit. So Democrats seem to hear what they wanted to hear. And there could be a vote on his nomination in the next couple of weeks.
SIMON: Republicans released a revised health care bill - as popular as the first one was?
DETROW: Just about, it seems, with the public. But I think where it matters more is, is it more popular within the Republican caucus? And it seems to be a tad more popular right now. But this bill is still right on a danger zone in terms of whether or not it can pass. You have two senators in the Republican caucus saying they're not going to vote for it. They can't lose any other Republican support and still get this bill passed.
SIMON: Well, let me ask about - Susan Collins and Rand Paul have spoken out against the plan. One's a moderate. The other's what I'll call a libertarian conservative. This is the worst metaphor I've ever come up with, but can two wings of that Republican bird create a bill that flies?
DETROW: I think that's been the problem all along - right? - because if you make a Susan Collins more happy, you're going to make a Rand Paul more upset. They're trying to get very different things out of this bill. I think the one person to keep an eye on over the weekend to see what he says is Dean Heller from Nevada. He was very critical before, said he couldn't support it. Right now, he's saying he's taking the weekend to read the bill and make up his mind.
SIMON: And there's a CBO score - Congressional Budget Office score - next week too, right?
DETROW: That's right, Monday or Tuesday next week. They are the ones who put the estimates out before saying 22 million people lose insurance because of this bill.
SIMON: Thanks so much. NPR's congressional correspondent Scott Detrow. Thank you both, gentlemen, for being with us.
DETROW: Thanks for having me.
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