GOP headed for another health care failure? … Trump wonders why Civil War had to happen … Trump says Bannon, other top aides aren’t leaving

CNN Politics:  Nightcap
May 1, 2017   |   by Eric Bradner and Daniella Diaz

Republicans may be poised for another health care failure

President Donald Trump and House Republican leaders are — again — in serious jeopardy of not having enough votes to repeal and replace Obamacare. Moderates continued bolting Monday — CNN’s count has the GOP at 21 departures, with no room to spare — while the President made comments that could throw the entire measure into doubt. 

Get a whip for the whips: Some of the people tasked with counting votes for the GOP — Reps. Kevin Yoder, David Valadao, Erik Paulson, Elise Stefanik, and Adam Kinzinger — haven’t yet decided whether they even support the bill. Other members of the whip team said they didn’t know the vote count as they headed out of a whip meeting in the Capitol this evening.

Trump once again muddied the waters by suggesting the measure may still be changed. “I want it to be good for sick people. It’s not in its final form right now," he said during an Oval Office interview Monday with Bloomberg News. “It will be every bit as good on preexisting conditions as Obamacare."

Here’s the thing: The legislation — a compromise negotiated by moderate GOP Rep. Tom MacArthur and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows — seems to lose votes any way it’s changed. Handing those with pre-existing conditions the same guarantees they get through Obamacare would mean another conservative rebellion. 

Trump made a personal call to surprise defector Rep. Billy Long, but couldn’t win him back, per Politico’s Kyle Cheney, Josh Dawsey and Rachael Bade.

Vice President Mike Pence visited the House this evening. His only comment to reporters, on whether Republicans have the votes: “Stay tuned."

STRAIGHT UP

“Why was there the Civil War? Why could that one not have been worked out?"

 

— President Donald Trump, discussing how President Andrew Jackson — a slaveholder who died 16 years before the Civil War began — might have prevented it, in an interview with Washington Examiner columnist and CNN contributor Salena Zito.

BUZZING

President Trump was grilled by CBS’s John Dickerson on his unproven claims that President Barack Obama wiretapped him. “I don’t stand by anything. I just, you can take it the way you want. I think our side’s been proven very strongly," Trump said — and then he shooed Dickerson out of his office. 

BAR TALK

Trump: Steve Bannon isn’t going anywhere

From Bloomberg’s Jennifer Jacobs and Margaret Talev: “President Donald Trump on Monday dismissed widespread reports that his administration is riven by discord, saying he is sticking by his polarizing chief strategist, Steve Bannon, calling him a ‘very decent guy’ who is getting a ‘bad rap.’ Trump even revealed his own term for Bannon’s ideology: ‘alt-left,’ a play on Bannon’s ties to the nationalist conservative movement sometimes called the alt-right. Why alt-left? “Bannon’s more of a libertarian than anything else, if you want to know the truth," Trump said Monday during an interview with Bloomberg News in the Oval Office."

More on the personnel front: “He said Bannon and Chief of Staff Reince Priebus both would likely still be in their same roles several months from now, along with two other figures in his administration who have drawn withering fire: counselor Kellyanne Conway and press secretary Sean Spicer. Trump also said that Bannon and Trump’s senior adviser, son-in-law Jared Kushner, have managed to repair their relationship. ‘Bannon is a very decent guy who feels very strongly about the country. Likewise, Jared. And they’re getting along fine,’ Trump said, calling Kushner ‘a very brilliant young guy.’  But the president did acknowledge past tensions on the staff. ‘We have a lot of people that are getting along well,’ Trump said. ‘It’s coming out better now than it was, you know, for a while. And for a while it was a little testy, I guess for some of them. But I said they’ve got to get their acts together.'" 

Source says DeMint likely out at Heritage: At a Tuesday board meeting, former South Carolina Sen. Jim DeMint — known as a hardliner whose Senate Conservatives Fund financed right-wing primaries against sitting Republicans — is expected to step down as head of the think tank, a source tells CNN

LAST CALL

2 things you might have missed today

Trump Army secretary pick gave a lecture arguing against the theory of evolution: Trump’s pick to be secretary of the Army, former army doctor Mark Green, is facing scrutiny on his views and past statements ahead of his confirmation hearing, which has yet to be scheduled. More from CNN’s KFile team.

Sources say Sebastian Gorka set to leave White House: Gorka, a controversial national security aide in the White House, is expected to leave his job, several administration officials confirm to CNN. One senior administration official said Gorka is expected to find an opportunity outside the White House soon. More from CNN’s Jim Acosta and Eric. 

CLOSING TIME

Democratic Rep. Joaquin Castro is passing on a Senate run against GOP Sen. Ted Cruz. … A Donald Trump impersonator got the dream job he never wanted. … That time Chief Justice John Roberts may have broken the law
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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