Day 57: Fri., March 17
• German Chancellor Angela Merkel visits the White House. There is an awkward photo op and no handshake.
• The White House sends out a 1600 Daily email linking to a piece in The Washington Post titled “Trump’s budget makes perfect sense and will fix America, and I will tell you why.” Among the satirical piece’s recommendations: “National Endowment for the Arts: The NEA will be destroyed and replaced with an armored helicopter with a shark painted on it.” The link is later deleted.
• At the National Review Institute’s Ideas Summit, House Speaker Paul Ryan speaks with National Review editor Rich Lowry about health care: “So, the health-care entitlements are the big, big, big drivers of our debt. There are three. Obamacare, Medicaid, and Medicare. Two out of three are going through Congress right now. So, Medicaid — sending it back to the states, capping its growth rate. We’ve been dreaming of this since you and I were drinking out of a keg.”
• U.S. Customs and Border Protection issues RFPs for the border wall. It states: “Designs with heights of less than 18 feet are not acceptable,” and “the north side of wall (i.e. U.S. facing side) shall be aesthetically pleasing in color, anti-climb texture, etc., to be consistent with general surrounding environment.”
• At a joint press conference, Trump, when responding to a reporter’s question about allegations of wiretapping by Obama, addresses German Chancellor Merkel: “As far as wiretapping, I guess, by this past administration, at least we have something in common perhaps.”
• Trump follows up on wiretapping accusation: “All we did was quote a certain very talented legal mind who was the one responsible for saying that on television. I didn’t make an opinion on it. That was a statement made by a very talented lawyer on Fox. And so you shouldn’t be talking to me, you should be talking to Fox, OK?”
• On Fox News, Sam Smith responds: “Fox News knows of no evidence of any kind that the president of the United States was surveilled at any time in any way, full stop.”
Day 58: Sat., March 18
• Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, traveling in Asia with a lone reporter from the online Independent Journal Review, tells her: “I’m not a big media press access person. I personally don’t need it.”
• LOCAL: City Paper reports on “Yinzers Against Jagoffs,” a new PAC demanding more accessibility from U.S. Rep. Keith Rothfus
• Chuck Berry dies, joins Beethoven and Tchaikovsky.
Day 59: Sun., March 19
• Journalist and writer Jimmy Breslin dies.
• Pope Francis advocates for Vatican-trained exorcists in the event of “genuine spiritual disturbances.”
Day 60: Mon., March 20
• The NFL reports that Tom Brady’s stolen Super Bowl jersey has been “found in the possession of a credentialed member of the international media.”
• Confirmation hearings begin in the Senate for Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch.
• “I have been authorized by the Department of Justice to confirm that the FBI as part of our counterintelligence mission is investigating the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election. And that includes investigating the nature of any links between individuals associated with the Trump campaign and the Russian government, and whether there was any coordination between the campaign and Russia's efforts.” — FBI Director James Comey begins his testimony before the House Intelligence Committee
• In his testimony, Comey says, referring to Trump’s tweets of March 4 alleging Obama wiretapped Trump Tower: “I have no information that supports those tweets.”
• The White House POTUS account tweets during the hearing:
• David Rockefeller dies at 101.
• At the White House press briefing, Press Secretary Sean Spicer says Trump’s campaign manager Paul Manafort “played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time.”
• The Department of Homeland Security bans electronics on nonstop flights into the U.S. from 10 airports in majority-Muslim countries, including Saudi Arabia and Jordan.
Day 61: Tue., March 21
• Trump visits the House to rally wavering Republicans to approve the American Health Care Act. Two journalists present report Trump saying “many of you will lose your seats in 2018” if health-care legislation is not passed.
• NBC News identifies 26 House Republicans who are opposed to or leaning strongly against AHCA.
• According to the White House, the president’s daughter, Ivanka Trump, will get an office in the West Wing and a security clearance, but will not be a federal employee.
• In interplanetary news: Trump signs a bill authorizing $19.5 billion in funding for NASA. Among the agency’s plans: a human mission to Mars in 2033.
• “Would you rather fight 100 duck-sized horses or one horse-sized duck?” — Sen. Jeff Flake querying Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch at the Senate confirmation hearing
• “The President clings to his assertion like a drunk to an empty gin bottle.” — Wall Street Journal posts online editorial, referencing Trump’s claims that Obama wiretapped him
Day 62: Wed., March 22
• Creator of TV’s The Dating Game and The Gong Show — and possible CIA agent — Chuck Barris dies.
• “I didn’t want this job. I didn’t seek this job.” — Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, in an interview with the Independent Journal Review
• A man drives a car into a sidewalk on London’s Westminster Bridge, killing five and injuring more than three dozen.
• White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer on AHCA: “No, there is no plan B. There’s plan A and plan A. We’re going to get this done.”
• Federal Election Commissioner Ellen Weintraub sends a letter to Trump asking for proof of the president’s repeated claims of voter fraud.
• Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Rep. Devin Nunes tells reporters: “I have seen intelligence reports that clearly show that the president-elect and his team were ... monitored.”
• Rep. Nunes then travels to the White House to brief Trump on his findings. He does not brief Rep. Adam Schiff, the Democratic leader of the House Intelligence Committee, who tells the press: “If the chairman is going to continue to go to the White House instead of his own committee, there is no way we can continue to conduct this investigation.”
Day 63: Thu., March 23
• Today is the seventh anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare.
• Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announces “Doggy Days at the Interior,” a pilot program in which staffers can bring their pet dogs to work.
• Time magazine publishes “Can President Trump handle the truth?” Trump concludes the interview with reporter Michael Scherer by stating: “I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m President and you’re not.”
• Sen. Pat Roberts, when asked about the cutting of Essential Health Benefits from the revised AHCA bill says, “I sure don’t want my mammogram benefits taken away.”
• CNS announces Candy Crush the TV show, a “one-hour, live-action game show series” hosted by Mario Lopez, will premiere July 9.
• The Congressional Budget Office projects 24 million more uninsured in 2026 under revised GOP bill and there is less deficit savings.
• Rep. Paul Ryan cancels two press conferences.
• A photo of Trump sitting in the driver’s seat of a big rig goes viral bigly.
• The House vote on AHCA, scheduled for today, is postponed till Friday.