Republicans were left reeling over the past week from their humiliating defeats from not being able to finally repeal or replace the Affordable Care Act (Aca) otherwise known as Obamacare. Now, as the Senate breaks for their August recess, it also brings the Trump administration to its halfway mark for its first year showing their inability to legislate. This is mostly because the Trump White House has failed to make any progress with their threats to lawmakers. Those threats reportedly came from the Trump administration's Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke.

Defending and opposing Trump's 'hitman'

The call Zinke made to Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) threatening to cancel federal support for energy projects in the state was largely seen as by many lawmakers in Congress as being "out of line". Some had even gone as far as to refer to it as blackmail in response to Murkowski's vote against repealing Obamacare. While the Interior Department has some sway in Alaska's energy projects, the view is that Zinke is President Trump's "hitman" for making threatening calls and intimidating people on behalf of the administration.

An article by Politico titled: "Democrats vow investigation, a lawsuit over ‘political blackmail’ against Murkowski", House Natural Resources Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah) defended Zinke saying that he was within his right to make those calls.

In fact, he said that he had similar calls from former Interior Secretary Sally Jewel who had contacted him in the past when the department saw lawmakers doing something they didn't like. He wasn't specific if Secretary Jewel had threatened to pull federal support from a project that is pivotal to the state of Utah.

Other Trump cabinet officials interfering with health care

But the Politico article also recalls when just last week, the Director of the Energy Department Rick Perry tweeted that Congress should "discard" the current health care law. Thus far, aside from the threat made by Zinke against supporting Alaska's energy projects, there's nothing to indicate that even the Energy Department has any jurisdiction in the argument over health care.

This blunder from the Energy Department was further confirmed when the tweet was deleted. Murkowski and other lawmakers have already been targeted from within by members of their own party who have become Trump loyalists.

In a recent report, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) had expressed -- or at least provided some insight -- how he saw the contentious atmosphere within Congress. He reportedly observed lawmakers abandoning their values and becoming more hostile in the way they legislate. The recent failure by Republicans to pass health care even had Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell showing that he was not willing to work with Democrats to improve the current health care law, slamming them over their "lack" of ideas.

This is despite the fact that the health care law was fully developed and passed by Democrats with Republicans willingly refusing to take part in 2010.

Democrats investigate Zinke while he and Murkowski 'call a truce'

This also shows that bipartisan efforts are going to be virtually impossible, despite Republican's epic defeats. Looking forward, there's the view that President Trump might also be looking to sabotage health care. This is despite the assurances from Secretary of Health and Human Services, Tom Price over last weekend, that they would not let Obamacare implode. But as a tit-for-tat response to Zinke's threats against lawmakers, it's been reported that Democrats and the Interior Department’s Office of the Inspector General (OIG) Mary Kendall will conduct an investigation against Zinke's.

It's also been reported that Sen. Murkowski delayed confirmation hearings for nominees going to the Interior Department. Nonetheless, Murkowski and Zinke tweeted on Thursday morning a picture of both of them sharing Alaskan beers.