The House Judiciary Committee subpoenaed former White House communications director Hope Hicks for documents and testimony related to its investigation into possible obstruction of justice and public corruption by the Trump administration, Axios reports.
As the 2020 presidential race heats up, North Korea’s official news agency called Joe Biden a “snob bereft of elementary quality as human being,” Bloomberg reports.
They added: “He is self-praising himself as being the most popular presidential candidate. This is enough to make a cat laugh.”
The news agency also called the former vice president a “fool of low IQ” and said he “had the temerity to insult the supreme leadership” of North Korea.
“The Republican National Committee spent about $2.2 million last month on legal fees, new financial filings show, boosting the overall tab for lawyers paid by the party, the Trump campaign and a legal defense fund to about $17 million since President Trump took office,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“The legal bills are far higher than they were for former President Obama and the Democratic National Committee, as well as for previous years at the RNC… The RNC and Mr. Trump’s campaign paid about eight times more between January 2017 and last month than the $2 million the Obama campaign and the DNC paid in a similar time period of his first term.”
Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA) asked Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson about REOs — or “real estate owned” — which refers to a kind of property owned by a lender, like a bank, after a foreclosure.
Carson thought she was referring to a popular chocolate sandwich cookie.
USA Today: “The tense exchange came during a hearing about oversight of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, which has also been met with criticism over recent proposals to scale back housing subsidies for lower-income Americans.”
“President Trump’s appeal of a subpoena from House Democrats to turn over his financial records will be heard by a court where snubbed Supreme Court pick Merrick Garland is the chief judge,” The Hill reports.
“Garland serves as the chief judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. Trump’s lawyers are asking that court to review a federal judge’s order allowing House Oversight and Reform COmmittee’s subpoena to move forward.”
A new Quinnipiac poll finds 22% of Americans rate the nation’s economy as “excellent,” while another 49% of voters say the economy is “good.” The total 71% for “excellent” and “good” is the highest total number for American voter attitudes on the economy in almost 18 years.
However, American voters also give President Trump a negative 38% to 57% approval rating.
Said pollster Tim Malloy: “For the moment, the disparity leaves the president on shaky re-election ground.”
Key takeaway: “Trump begins his reelection campaign in a deep hole as 54% of American voters say they ‘definitely’ will not vote for him.”
“House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) blocked a bipartisan attempt to limit Chinese companies from contracting with U.S. transit systems, a move that benefited a Chinese government-backed manufacturer with a plant in his district,” the Washington Post reports.
“His behind-the-scenes intervention came as Congress was trying this year to craft a spending compromise to avert another government shutdown. McCarthy pressed lawmakers to strip out language that could have prevented the company in his district, BYD Motors, from winning federal contracts, and they relented because they feared imperiling the bill.”
A federal judge in Jackson, Mississippi said that the state’s controversial “fetal heartbeat” law “smacks of defiance” after hearing arguments seeking to temporarily block the WJTV reports.,
“Judge Carlton Reeves, an Obama-appointed federal judge, heard arguments from the Center for Reproductive Rights which challenged the state’s recently-passed ban, which would outlaw abortions after about six weeks. The new law was signed by the governor on March 21 and is scheduled to be implemented on July 1. Reeves is the same judge who struck down Mississippi’s 15-week ban late last year.”
“Robert Mueller and House Democrats have been unable to reach an agreement on how much of the special counsel’s expected congressional testimony would be public, and how much would take place in private,” the Washington Post reports.
“The special counsel’s office has been quietly negotiating with the House Judiciary Committee, whose chairman, Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), has been eager to have Mueller testify as soon as possible.”
“Mueller… would like for any discussions beyond the public contents of his report to be conducted in private. Democrats want to press Mueller in a nationally-televised hearing about a host of issues, including whether he thought President Trump could or should be charged with obstruction if he were not the president, and whether Mueller agreed with Attorney General William Barr’s handling of the investigation’s findings.”
CNN: “The special counsel’s team has expressed the notion that Mueller does not want to appear political after staying behind the scenes for two years and not speaking as he conducted his investigation into President Trump.”
Richmond Times Dispatch: “A much-awaited investigation into how a racist yearbook photo wound up on Gov. Ralph Northam’s 1984 Eastern Virginia Medical School yearbook page is completed and the school will announce the findings Wednesday.”
Daytona Beach News-Journal: “Voter registration records are public, as are felony criminal records. But a last-minute insertion into a bill that passed with overwhelming support on the final day of Florida’s legislative session aims to keep the public from seeing felon voting restoration records.”
“Lawmakers say the amendment protects felons from being singled out and harassed. But the change also makes it difficult, if not impossible, to track the progress of a November constitutional amendment that restored voting rights to more than 1 million felons.”
“Johnny DeStefano, one of President Trump’s top advisers who served as a bridge between the Republican Party and the administration, is leaving the White House on Friday,” the Washington Post reports.
“He told Trump on Monday that he would be leaving the administration… He is expected to advise a number of companies, including Juul, the e-cigarette company, while helping on the campaign… Juul has significant business in front of the Food and Drug Administration.”
“Amid the hullabaloo over purported immigrant hordes, alleged Chinese perfidy on trade and a Green New Deal, Americans — crossing lines of age, party and gender — are united in what they really care about, according to a new poll: health care,” Axios reports.
“Eighteen months before the presidential election, the finding suggests potential peril for President Trump should he be seen as insensitive on the issue.”
“Health care was the most important issue across all three groups: 45% of Democrats, 30% of Republicans and 31% of independents ranked it their No. 1 issue from a list of six that were shown. For Republicans, 29% said the economy was the No. 1 issue and 28% immigration. 62% of all people polled said health care is the No. 1 or 2 issue.”
“President Trump is expected to name Kenneth Cuccinelli, a former attorney general of Virginia and an immigration hard-liner, as his choice to coordinate the administration’s immigration policies,” the New York Times reports.
“The specifics of the role — including the title and the scope of duties — are still being hashed out, according to the official. But Mr. Cuccinelli is expected to be based in the Department of Homeland Security, not in the White House.”
“Former White House Counsel Don McGahn defied a congressional subpoena Tuesday by declining to testify before the House Judiciary Committee at the direction of the White House,” Bloomberg reports.
“The hearing room chair reserved for McGahn sat empty behind microphones, as committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler of New York opened the scheduled hearing.”
Said Nadler: “This conduct is not remotely acceptable. Let me be clear: This committee will hear Mr. McGahn’s testimony, even if we have to go to court to secure it.”
“In the days leading up to Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign, a top Republican opposition research firm was brimming with requests from political reporters angling for dirt,” the Daily Beast reports.
“America Rising, a political action committee that shared details of its internal inquiries with The Daily Beast, said the asks came from a dozen or more reporters and ranged from broad questions to more tailored points of interest. But 10 weeks after O’Rourke’s official launch, those requests are virtually nonexistent.”
Said one staffer: “The requests for oppo on him have completely died off.”
Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) declined to return fire on Monday when a reporter asked his thoughts on President Trump calling him a “loser,” saying simply: “OK,” The Hill reports.
Embattled Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada (R) said he will resign his leadership position in the coming weeks, the Tennessean reports.
“Casada’s announcement comes less than a day after the House GOP caucus approved a resolution with a 45-24 vote stating it had no confidence in his continued leadership… The move comes just weeks after a Tennessean investigation found Casada had exchanged sexually charged text messages with Cade Cothren, his former chief of staff, who admitted to using cocaine while working in the legislature’s office building.”