Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX), “a Democrat and ex-punk rocker who pulled a stunning upset to win his House seat six years ago, plans to declare his candidacy on Friday for the Senate seat held by Ted Cruz,” the Houston Chronicle reports.
Archives for March 2017
“Bill Baroni, the former deputy executive director of the Port Authority who became caught up in the bizarre scheme of political retribution that became known as Bridgegate, was sentenced Wednesday to 24 months in prison,” the Newark Star Ledger reports.
Said Baroni: “I regret, more than anything, that I allowed myself to get caught up in this.”
“Bridget Anne Kelly, a former top aide to the governor whose “time for some traffic problems” email became a focal point of the Bridgegate investigation, was sentenced to 18 months in prison.”
A new Monmouth poll finds 81% of the public believes President Trump has a worse relationship with the media than past presidents had. Just 4% say his relationship is better and 12% say it is about the same.
Trump is also trusted less than three television news sources that received the highest and lowest credibility ratings in a recent Morning Consult poll.
“Only 28% of Americans are more likely trust Trump as an information source compared to ABC news while most (53%) say they would tend to trust ABC more, with 15% saying they would trust both sides equally. When pitted against MSNBC, 33% trust Trump more while 47% trust the liberal leaning cable channel more, with 15% trusting both about equally. When pitted against Fox News, only 17% trust Trump more while 37% trust the politically conservative news outlet more, with 36% trusting both about equally.”
Associated Press: “The president likes to make good-natured digs at Priebus in public remarks, joking about his ‘crazy name’ and telling a meeting of auto industry executives that his chief of staff might end up running a car company someday.”
“For laughs, Trump will sometimes recount a tense exchange with Priebus at one of the campaign’s lowest moments: the release of a video in which Trump is heard making predatory comments about women. During an emergency campaign meeting, Priebus told Trump he should either drop out of the race or risk dragging down Republican candidates across the country.”
Josh Kraushaar: “Democrats now have a realistic shot at retaking the House in 2018. Each of the past three midterm elections have swung wildly against the party in power—reflective of the longstanding dissatisfaction of voters towards political leadership, no matter who’s in charge. Trump’s job approval rating is hovering around 40 percent, a toxic level for the dozens of Republicans running for reelection in swing districts. Republicans would be foolish to assume that President Obama’s coalition of millennials and nonwhite voters—many of whom stayed home in past midterm elections—remains disengaged given their aversion to Trump.”
“Politically speaking, the health care bill couldn’t have been more damaging for Republicans. In a disciplined Congress, safe-seat Republicans would be more willing to take risky votes so those in competitive seats could maintain some independence from the party. But this time, hard-line conservatives in the Freedom Caucus declared their unstinting opposition early on, forcing some vulnerable Republicans to go on record in support of the unpopular legislation—which didn’t even come to a vote. Adding insult to injury, Trump bragged on Twitter that the health care exchanges would collapse as a result of his inaction—the worst possible message to send to anyone who viewed Trump as a can-do executive.”
“The end result is the worst of all worlds: a party that can’t get things done, a president with declining job-approval numbers, swing-district members flushed out, and the base disillusioned.”
Stuart Rothenberg says “the last two months have only confirmed my earlier assessment that the House will see a real fight for control next year.”
“The House of Representatives voted to repeal rules preventing internet service providers from selling their customers’ web browsing and app usage data without explicit consent,” Gizmodo reports.
“The Senate passed the same bill last week, which means the only obstacle that remains is a signature from President Trump—and the White House has already signaled he will do so.”
President Trump’s company “is actively seeking to open a second Washington hotel as part of a planned nationwide expansion, potentially creating another venue where he stands to benefit financially from customers doing business in the nation’s capital,” the Washington Post reports.
Speaker Paul Ryan said there was “a better way to eliminate federal spending on Planned Parenthood than attaching it to a must-pass measure next month to keep the government open,” Morning Consult reports.
“Rather than include a ‘defund Planned Parenthood’ provision on the upcoming bill to fund the federal government, the Wisconsin Republican said Republicans still plan to use their budget reconciliation framework to overhaul health care to stop federal money from flowing to the women’s health service provider.”
Said Ryan: “We think reconciliation is the tool because that gets it in law. That’s the way to go.”
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Playbook: “The White House Counsel’s office is interviewing lawyers in their late 30s and early 40s for federal judgeships, sources familiar with the matter told us. It is a departure from the Obama administration, which mostly stuck to older, experienced legal professionals for judgeships. Republican presidents historically pick younger lawyers for judgeships compared to Democratic presidents. Placing younger candidates on the bench would ensure Trump’s influence on the federal court system for decades.”
“One veteran Republican lawyer familiar with the White House counsel’s efforts said that more younger people than usual are being considered for these jobs. Some are not ‘seasoned litigators,’ but they are ‘very well qualified.’ Another Republican legal-world source said the interview pool has included conservative law professors and U.S. attorneys in their late 30s. The White House declined to comment.”
The U.K. officially began the process of exiting from the European Union, “starting on an unprecedented path to reshape its relationship with its closest allies in some of the most complex negotiations the country has ever undertaken,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
New York Times: “With this step, Mrs. May enters what William Hague, a former foreign secretary, called ‘the most complex divorce ever in history,’ with limited leverage, having made clear that establishing control of immigration takes priority over membership in the European Union’s single market or customs union.”
Washington Post: “The talks will encompass a dizzying array of subjects, including trade terms, immigration rules, financial regulations and, of course, money. Britain joined the group that became the European Union in 1973, so decades of ties, pacts and arrangements are part of the complicated unraveling. For both sides, the stakes are enormous.”
Nate Cohn: “Start with the money. Mr. Ossoff, a 30-year-old first-time candidate, has benefited from timing. He was basically the only Democrat seeking federal office at a moment when Democratic energy was surging and when progressives were looking to ‘do something.'”
“Mr. Ossoff probably would not have raised nearly as much money if he’d been competing for attention with 434 other races. His fund-raising tally is better than that of 96 percent of the congressional challengers who raised more than $100,000 in 2016, and there’s still time for him to move up the list.”
“Instead, it’s the Republicans who are struggling to coalesce. They have 11 candidates on the ballot, with none emerging as the obvious favorite, although former Georgia Secretary of State Karen Handel, the businessman Bob Gray and state senator Judson Hill are considered among the strongest contenders. Whoever advances to a runoff (assuming anyone does) will have only two months to coalesce support and raise funds with the benefit of party unity.”
First Read: “It most likely will go to a June 20 runoff if no one gets more than 50% of the vote on April 18, but there is a chance that Ossoff… could get close to that percentage.”
Ryan Lizza: “Last Monday morning, shortly before the start of the hearing, a senior White House official told me, ‘You’ll see the setting of the predicate. That’s the thing to watch today.’ He suggested that I read a piece in The Hill about incidental collection. The article posited that if ‘Trump or his advisors were speaking directly to foreign individuals who were the target of U.S. spying during the election campaign, and the intelligence agencies recorded Trump by accident, it’s plausible that those communications would have been collected and shared amongst intelligence agencies.'”
“The White House clearly indicated to me that it knew Nunes would highlight this issue. ‘It’s backdoor surveillance where it’s not just incidental, it’s systematic,’ the White House official said. ‘Watch Nunes today.'”
Jonathan Swan: “With the credibility of his Russia investigation under question — even from Republicans — Nunes needs to prove he hasn’t colluded with the Trump administration. Lizza’s reporting surely doesn’t help.”
Politico: “McConnell’s attempt to buck up his GOP ranks, relayed by three sources in attendance, underscores the high stakes of the Gorsuch battle as the Senate barrels toward a likely nuclear showdown next week: His confirmation is, to put it mildly, a can’t-lose for Republicans.”
“That was true after Senate Republicans waged a yearlong blockade of Merrick Garland that positioned the GOP to pick someone else now. But the spectacular collapse of the Obamacare repeal effort last week makes Gorsuch all the more urgent for President Donald Trump and reeling Hill Republicans.”
Politico: “The Trump-Schumer relationship was supposed to have been one of Washington’s most intriguing this year. Instead, they’ve had virtually no relationship at all, with zero one-on-one meetings or even private conversations on the phone since Trump took the oath of office.”
“After Trump’s spectacular failure to advance health care legislation last week among his fellow Republicans, the president has suggested that he’s open to rekindling his relationship with congressional Democrats. But lawmakers and strategists wonder whether Trump missed his best shot at a productive relationship, particularly with Schumer, as freshly emboldened Democrats push to define Trump as a failed president.”
A new CBS News poll finds President Trump’s overall job approval is at 40%, underpinned by continuing strong support from Republicans who don’t appear to blame him for the failed health care bill.
“Republicans surveyed pointed to an unpopular bill — or the Democrats — as the reason the Republican health care effort to repeal and replace Obamacare failed in Congress, not the president’s approach to meeting one his hallmark campaign promises.”
“Jared Kushner has been a power player able to avoid much of the harsh scrutiny that comes with working in the White House. But this week he’s found that even the president’s son-in-law takes his turn in the spotlight,” the AP reports.
“In a matter of days, Kushner, a senior Trump adviser, drew headlines for leaving Washington for a ski vacation while a signature campaign promise fell apart. The White House then confirmed he had volunteered to be interviewed before the Senate intelligence committee about meetings with Russian officials. At the same time, the White House announced he’ll helm a new task force that some in the West Wing have suggested carries little real influence.”
David Ignatius: “Kushner is apprenticing for the role of Trump’s Henry Kissinger. He’s the secret emissary, the evaluator of talent, the whisperer of confidential advice. He’s the only person in this White House who Trump can’t fire, really. All these qualities strike me as beneficial, so long as Kushner uses them to make Trump a better president who learns how to compromise and govern.”
For members: How Many Roles Does Jared Kushner Have?
“Democrats are on a torrid fundraising pace in the first months of the Donald Trump era, powered by enraged small donors who are plowing millions of dollars worth of online contributions into campaign and committee treasuries,” Politico reports.
“A Politico analysis of new federal disclosures suggests many Democratic Senate incumbents — particularly those who have been most outspoken in their resistance to Trump — are on a trajectory to raise more money online than ever before in a non-election year. That could help level the fundraising playing field at a time when Republicans are poised to reap the financial rewards of holding all the levers of power in Washington.”