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Inside Politics: Why Trump's tweets against the media mean big dollars from donors

Inside Politics: Why Trump's tweets against the media mean big dollars from donors
Posted at 11:39 AM, Jul 02, 2017

The fundraising power of the President's media-bashing, several wrinkles to watch in the Senate health care debate, a testy month for the GOP in Alabama and the changing tone of US-China diplomacy: It's all in this week's Inside Politics forecast.

1) POTUS media attacks translate into $$$

President Trump's constant attacks on the media make him happy, and they play well with the conservative base.

But there is an added benefit -- they also make the President's fundraisers happy. CNN's Sara Murray explored the connection between the "Fake News" tweets and speeches and Trump's campaign coffers.

Donors "have it made clear they're willing to write big checks to his outside group to take on his number one enemy, the media -- and then at the fundraiser this week the crowd went wild when Trump was taking his swipes at CNN. They raised $10 million at that event," Murray said.

2) A call Sunday, and then a big meeting at the G20 

President Trump emerged from his first summit with China's President Xi Jinping convinced he had made a new friend prepared to do business on big issues.

But things have soured as Trump has grown frustrated that China has not been able to bring changes to North Korea's behavior.

Julie Pace of The Associated Press said a big test of the relationship will come as the two Presidents meet again at this week's G20 economic summit in Germany.

"Last week, we saw this flurry of action from the US that really infuriated China, including a big arms sale to Taiwan. They're not aimed at pressuring China, but certainly this relationship is starting to cool off," said Pace. "That's another big meeting to watch for when the President heads abroad."

3) Ted Cruz -- inside player?

Ted Cruz made a name for himself in the Senate by defying the GOP leadership.

But he is playing the inside game now on health care, one of the more interesting dynamics as negotiators try to resolve major policy differences within the GOP family. CNN's Phil Mattingly shared reporting on some of the changes Cruz is championing in the negotiations.

"Everybody seems to agree the key here is Ted Cruz and specifically his proposal right now -- essentially what it would do is if an insurer offered an ACA regulation compliant plan, they would also be able to offer one that's not compliant at all. This would give them an opportunity to do that. There's two major problems with this," Mattingly said. "First and foremost, it touches pre-existing conditions. The other issue I think that you hear right now is whether or not it can actually get into the bill at all. This would be the key to unlocking conservative votes."

4) Celebrate the holiday -- and debate health care

Parades, fireworks and barbeque are all part of July Fourth tradition.

But how about a new twist: Track down your member of Congress and pressure them on health care. A town hall is the logical venue, but fewer members are holding such events.

So 538's Perry Bacon offered insights on how progressive groups like Indivisible and MoveOn are encouraging their members to seek out Republican members of Congress.

"You're going to see the liberal group Indivisible is talking about trying to find your member at the Fourth of July parade or at the grocery store," Bacon reports.

"I'll be interested to see where this goes about what kind of activism you can have when you don't have town halls."

5) Alabama Senate race is a test case for GOP divide

The Republican establishment in at or near panic mode about the upcoming Alabama Senate race. There is a primary August 15 and the establishment favorite -- Sen. Luther Strange -- is trailing.

There is little fear among Republicans that Democrats could win the seat. But Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is among the establishment figures alarmed that former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is ahead in polls. Moore drew national attention for recommending that Alabama judges ignore the Supreme Court ruling recognizing same-sex marriage.

Strange was appointed to the seat after Jeff Sessions resigned to become attorney general, and has the Washington party leadership's backing as he now runs for the seat.

McConnell, who has a narrow 52-48 majority, has made clear he does not want a conservative rebel in a GOP conference already difficult to manage.

Now, after polling showing Moore opening a lead with six weeks to go, the establishment is trying to rally financial and other support for Strange.