D.C. briefly

The Senate gave final passage to a multibillion-dollar revamp of the veterans health care system, consolidating seven Veterans Affairs Department health programs into one and making it far easier for veterans to take their benefits to private doctors for care. The legislation, which passed 92-5, also expands popular stipends to family caregivers of veterans who served during the Vietnam War era or after. And it establishes a nine-member commission to study the department’s infrastructure to determine where its health system should expand and contract. Trump plans to sign it into law.

Lesley Stahl, one of the foremost broadcast journalists in the country, said Trump admitted to her that his relentless attacks on the press are part of a strategy to discredit reporters and news media organizations to shield himself from negative coverage. The “60 Minutes” correspondent made the disclosure Monday at a journalism award presentation in New York.

Rudy Giuliani backpedaled on whether Trump should sit down for an interview with Special Counsel Robert Mueller, saying he’s now open to the prospect after pouring cold water on it 24 hours earlier. The former New York City mayor expressed reservations about the “conditions” that would have to be met for Trump to consent to an interview, but he affirmed the president and his legal team won’t stonewall the special counsel.

The recent spate of torrential rain in Washington has opened a sinkhole on the White House lawn. The visual arrived like a gift to the wags of Twitter, who found all kinds of metaphors and riffed away. There were many “drain the swamp jokes,” naturally. And the opportunity for puns and wordplay was irresistible. Voice of America’s Steve Herman tweeted a picture of the hole after it had finally been boarded up. It was “a cover-up,” the reporter declared. Ariel Edwards-Levy of HuffPost called it “ground breaking news.”

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