GOP gaining momentum on health care? … Comey talks Clinton email probe … Trump vows to be ‘mediator’ for Israeli-Palestinian peace

CNN Politics:  Nightcap
May 3, 2017   |   by Eric Bradner and Daniella Diaz

Trump gaining momentum toward health care vote?

Happening tonight: A House Republican leadership meeting that could set the course for a vote on the GOP’s Obamacare repeal-and-replace legislation for later this week. 

President Donald Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan might have some momentum. Reps. Fred Upton and Billy Long met with Trump at the White House today and flipped their votes from “no" to “yes." Trump committed to backing an amendment spending $8 billion over five years to fund high-risk pools and go toward patients with pre-existing conditions. Other than Long and Upton, there have not been major switches from the “no" to “yes" category, but several undecided members are seemingly open to the new changes.

Where conservatives are: Importantly, the Freedom Caucus continues to back the bill, even with the new spending being added. Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows said only one member of the group opposes the bill. “We’re not going to lose any votes because of it," he said.

Lots of action today: House leaders have made clear that if everything goes their way, their preference is to have a vote Thursday. But they won’t call a vote unless they believe it will pass. Vice President Mike Pence is on Capitol Hill. Members have been walking in and out of the speaker’s office all day.

High-risk pools won’t match Obamacare’s protections for pre-existing conditions. Don’t miss CNN’s Tami Luhby’s deep dive into the details of the GOP’s plan. She writes: High-risk pools have long been a favorite tool of Republicans, but they have a very checkered past. They were typically severely underfunded, charged participants high premiums, excluded coverage of pre-existing conditions initially and had waiting lists for enrollment.

STRAIGHT UP

“(Russia is) the greatest threat of any nation on Earth, given their intention and their capability."

 

— FBI Director James Comey to GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham at a Senate Oversight hearing.

BUZZING

All eyes on Comey: Photographers in the room got up close with FBI Director James Comey before the Senate Oversight Committee hearing began.

BAR TALK

Comey defends handling of Clinton’s email probe

A recap: FBI Director James Comey strongly defended his decision to alert Congress just days before the 2016 election about his agency’s investigation into emails potentially related to Hillary Clinton‘s personal server, telling senators while the idea of impacting the election made him “mildly nauseous," he would not change what he did. He also said Russia to this day is actively involved in trying to influence US politics, emboldened after the outcome of last year’s election.

Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley originally called the oversight hearing of the FBI to examine what the agency knows about a 2015 terrorist attack in Garland, Texas. But the broad oversight hearing almost immediately shifted to the FBI’s investigation into Russian meddling in the US elections, a subject on which there are four congressional probes in progress that have led to a steady stream of revelations since President Donald Trump was elected. Read more from CNN’s Tom LoBianco, Manu Raju and Mary Kay Mallonee.

What we learned from ComeyBill Clinton‘s meeting with Attorney General Loretta Lynch proved disastrous, FBI investigators thought Anthony Weiner had the missing Clinton email trove and more — Tom has the roundup.

LAST CALL

3 things you might have missed today

Trump vows to work as “mediator" for Israeli-Palestinian peace: President Donald Trump vowed to work as a “mediator, an arbitrator or a facilitator" to help broker peace between the Israelis and Palestinians as he welcomed Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House. More from CNN’s Jeremy Diamond.

Nancy Pelosi: Abortion shouldn’t be litmus test for Democrats. Here’s what the House Democratic leader told The Washington Post: “I grew up Nancy D’Alesandro, in Baltimore, Maryland; in Little Italy; in a very devout Catholic family; fiercely patriotic; proud of our town and heritage, and staunchly Democratic. Most of those people — my family, extended family — are not pro-choice. You think I’m kicking them out of the Democratic Party?"

Obamas donating $2M to South Side of Chicago summer jobs program: Michelle and I will personally donate $2 million to our summer jobs programs here in the community so that right away people can get to work and we can start providing opportunity for them," former President Barack Obama said, noting that the center itself will not open for four more years. More from CNN’s Betsy Klein. 

CLOSING TIME

First lady Melania Trump doesn’t wear real fur anymore. … Vice President Mike Pence will host a Cinco de Mayo celebration on Thursday. … Hillary Clinton plans to launch a political action committee
Thanks for reading the CNN Politics Nightcap. Your bartenders are Eric Bradner and Daniella Diaz. The tip jar: nightcap@cnn.com.
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Your bartenders for CNN Politics’ Nightcap are Eric Bradner (@ericbradner) and Daniella Diaz (@DaniellaMicaela)— Tips, thoughts and beer recommendations are always welcome at nightcap@cnn.com.
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