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Federal health officials ‘honestly don’t know’ what Trump will propose Thursday to fight opioid abuse

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Senior federal health officials say they have not been briefed about what President Donald Trump will announce on Thursday as his plan to fight the opioid epidemic, according to Politico.

The White House announced last week that Trump would be unveiling his plan to combat the epidemic of opiate drug abuse in the United States, but whatever the plan is, top-ranking personnel at the Department of Health and Human Services wish he’d tell them.

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“We don’t have information about what the announcement will be, and so I can’t comment on it. I honestly don’t know,” said Assistant HHS Secretary for Mental Health and Substance Use Elinore McCance-Katz to Politico.

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, McCance-Katz said, has not been in communication with the White House about the speech or the president’s proposals.

Anne Schucha — Principal Deputy Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) — told Politico that she has no information about the project, but that the CDC intends to be involved “to an extent.”

The Trump administration said that it has consulted at least one federal health agency on how much funding will be required for the project.

Politico’s Sarah Karlin-Smith and Brianna Ehley quoted an HHS spokesperson who insisted that federal agencies — including HHS and SAMHSA — have been very closely involved in the Trump administration’s opioid crisis plan.

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“HHS has been working very closely with the White House on the event for tomorrow,” the official said.

Pres. Trump’s dogged insistence that he will “repeal and replace Obamacare” rankles many mental health professionals and addiction experts, who said that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has provided much-needed avenues to treatment and recovery for addicts and alcoholics who would otherwise be unable to seek treatment.

Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing executive director Andrew Kolodny told Politico, “If there is no money, I don’t believe that Trump is serious. We need real action. We need real money. I’m going to be very disappointed if they don’t propose something north of $1 billion.”

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“If the Trump administration wants to show they’re serious about this,” said Andrew Kessler of Slingshot Solutions, a behavioral health policy shop, “the proof will go well beyond whatever they announce Thursday.”

The anti-Obamacare House healthcare proposal made massive cuts to mental health and substance abuse programs, as did the so-called “skinny repeal” that failed in the Senate in July.

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Fox News legal analyst makes stunning prediction: Trump will testify under oath in impeachment trial

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Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano predicted that President Donald Trump would testify during his impeachment trial.

Napolitano told "America's Newsroom" anchor Bill Hemmer on Thursday that he believed the president would testify on his own behalf once the House votes to impeach him and the Senate holds a trial, reported The Hill.

“If you go to a Senate trial, who testifies on behalf of the president?” Hemmer asked.

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Mitch McConnell may let Republicans write Senate impeachment rules without Democratic votes

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is plotting to shut out Democrats on impeachment if a bipartisan compromise on rules for the trial can't be reached.

The Kentucky Republican said this week that he hopes to reach an agreement on rules for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump, but he's also readying a "backup plan" in case he can't reach an agreement with Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, reported Vanity Fair.

“The first thing Sen. Schumer and I will do is see if there’s a possibility of agreement on a procedure,” McConnell said. “That failing, I would probably come back to my own members and say, ‘Okay, can 51 of us agree how we’re going to handle this?’”

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Fresno Bee burns Nunes to the ground in scathing editorial

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The editorial board of the Fresno Bee has written a scathing takedown of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) for his extraordinary fealty to President Donald Trump, which the editors say is harming the country.

Specifically, the editorial accuses Nunes of forsaking his oath of office as a congressman to serve as Trump's most loyal toady on the House Intelligence Committee.

"As has been true for nearly all of Trump’s first term, Nunes has relinquished his proper role as an independent representative of Congress and has instead acted like a member of the Trump 2020 re-election team," the editorial states.

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