President Donald Trump took to Twitter on Saturday morning to criticize Republican senators following their failed vote to repeal parts of the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.
Trump said the Republican senators "look like fools." He also suggested they alter rules that require 60 votes to break a filibuster, even though that would not have changed the results of the health care bill debate.
Senate Republicans failed to gather the 50 votes needed to pass the "skinny" repeal bill that would have ended several key parts Obamacare, including the requirement that most Americans buy health insurance or pay a penalty.
The bill was written through the budget reconciliation process, which meant, among other things, that it required only 50 votes for passage instead of a 60-vote filibuster-proof majority. A 50-50 tie would have let Vice President Mike Pence, in his role as president of the Senate, cast the tie-breaking vote in favor of the legislation. But even though Republicans control the Senate by a 52-48 margin, the bill failed to reach the 50-vote mark.
Republican Senators John McCain of Arizona, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine voted with Democrats and independents in the 51-49 defeat of the Republican-led repeal effort early Friday morning.
Republican senators had wanted for seven years to do away with Obamacare, the signature domestic legislative achievement of former President Barack Obama.
Trump's tweetstorm also included a reference to the investigation into alleged Russian interference in the 2016 election.
U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Russia worked to help Trump's campaign and hurt his Democratic challenger, Hillary Clinton. But Trump continues to question that conclusion and recently claimed that in fact the opposite was true — that Moscow favored Clinton.
Trump's tweet included a link to a Fox News story from earlier this week detailing the congressional testimony of a witness who said the company behind an anti-Trump dossier that played a large role in the Russia investigation was working on behalf of the Russian government.
Financier Bill Browder, whose investment firm was once the largest portfolio investor in Russia, testified Thursday before the Senate Judiciary Committee in its probe of the apparent Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election. He told the senators that Fusion GPS, the company that produced the dossier full of unsubstantiated and lurid claims about Trump, also launched a "smear campaign" against him in an effort to fight sanctions against Russia.
"What I'm familiar with is Fusion GPS and Glenn Simpson's role working on behalf of the Russian government to overturn the Magnitsky Act," Browder told members of Congress. "The steps they took there compromised their integrity."
Glenn Simpson is the founder of Fusion GPS. He, too, had been summoned to testify publicly before Congress about his work on the dossier and his alleged ties to the Russian government, but he reached a deal with members to conduct an interview in private.
The Magnitsky Act is a U.S. law that imposed sanctions on Russian officials whom the U.S. held responsible for the 2009 death in jail of Russian lawyer Sergei Magnitsky, who had been retained by Browder to investigate corruption.