Politico: “A group of 10 senators is sending a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Friday morning asking for the GOP leader to shorten the August recess — or cancel it altogether — if the party does not make significant headway on its priorities in July… The letter comes right after Congress left Thursday and scattered across the country for a July 4 recess.”
Archives for June 2017
President Trump named Hans von Spakovsky, a former member of the Federal Election Commission, to his Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity to investigate instances of voter fraud during the 2016 election, The Hill reports.
Rick Hasen: “I thought it could not get worse with the Pence-Kobach faux election integrity commission with the appointment of Kris Kobach, the Secretary of State of Kansas who has trumped up claims of voter fraud to advance his career and to make it harder for people to register and vote, and former Ohio SOS Ken Blackwell, who once rejected voter registration forms based upon the weight of the sheet of paper.”
“But I was wrong… This appointment is a big middle finger from the President to those who are serious about fixing problems with our elections.”
“Before the 2016 presidential election, a longtime Republican opposition researcher mounted an independent campaign to obtain emails he believed were stolen from Hillary Clinton’s private server, likely by Russian hackers,” the Wall Street Journal reports.
“In conversations with members of his circle and with others he tried to recruit to help him, the GOP operative, Peter W. Smith, implied he was working with retired Lt. Gen. Mike Flynn, at the time a senior adviser to then-candidate Donald Trump.”
“Emails written by Mr. Smith and one of his associates show that his small group considered Mr. Flynn and his consulting company, Flynn Intel Group, to be allies in their quest.”
New York Times: “Hoping to revive their repeal bill, Senate Republicans said on Thursday that they were seriously considering proposals to keep one of the law’s taxes on high-income people while providing more money to combat the opioid epidemic and a new incentive for people to establish tax-free savings accounts for medical expenses. Ms. Collins said Republican leaders and the Trump administration had agreed to $45 billion for an opioid treatment fund.”
“Republicans also said they were considering a proposal that would allow insurers to sell cheaper, less comprehensive health plans if they also offered at least one plan that complied with consumer protection standards like those in the Affordable Care Act.”
“The Trump administration moved aggressively on Thursday to fulfill one of the president’s most contentious campaign promises, banning entry into the United States by refugees from around the world and prohibiting most visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries,” the New York Times reports.
“Freed by the Supreme Court to partly revive President Trump’s travel ban, administration officials said the American border would be shut to those groups unless specific individuals can prove they have close family members living in the United States, or are coming to attend a university or accept a job offer.”
“Vice President Mike Pence’s chief of staff will depart the White House in the coming weeks and will be replaced by a long-serving aide, in the first major staff change of his office,” the New York Times reports.
“Mr. Pence’s chief of staff, Josh Pitcock, will be replaced by Nick Ayers, a veteran political operative from Georgia who has been working with the vice president for three years. Mr. Ayers was the chief political strategist for Mr. Pence, then the governor of Indiana, when President Trump chose the governor as his running mate.”
A new USA Today/Suffolk University poll finds that 42% of of those surveyed when asked how they felt when they think about how things are going in Washington today said there were “alarmed.” Another 33% feel “uneasy.” Just 11% choose the positive “excited.”
“The air of angst is bipartisan. Nine of 10 Democrats feel uneasy or alarmed; so do a majority of Republicans.”
President Trump claims that he doesn’t watch Morning Joe anymore, but here’s the clip that aired shortly before Trump blasted hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski on Twitter.
President Trump “assailed the television host Mika Brzezinski in unusually personal and vulgar terms, the latest of a string of escalating attacks by the president on the national news media,” the New York Times reports.
I heard poorly rated @Morning_Joe speaks badly of me (don’t watch anymore). Then how come low I.Q. Crazy Mika, along with Psycho Joe, came…
to Mar-a-Lago 3 nights in a row around New Year’s Eve, and insisted on joining me. She was bleeding badly from a face-lift. I said no!
“The graphic nature of the president’s suggestion that Ms. Brzezinski had undergone plastic surgery was met with immediate criticism on social media.”
Brian Stelter: “Even by President Trump’s standards, these tweets were shocking.”
NBC News: “Once-unified Democrats are splintering into competing factions over how to best move forward, with progressive lawmakers and activists aligned with Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) telling NBC News Wednesday they see the problems in the GOP as an opportunity to double down on their preferred health care reforms, like single-payer health insurance…”
“On the other hand, several Senate Democrats, including Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-NY) have said they have in mind a variety of modest changes to Obamacare that they’d love to sit down and discuss with Republicans. Schumer even invited President Donald Trump to a bipartisan meeting with all senators.”
First Read: “The difference here with Republicans: It’s Democratic leaders who are up for compromise; it’s rank-and-file progressives who aren’t.”
The following post is from Leah Askarinam, reporter and analyst at Inside Elections with Nathan Gonzales. It was made available to Political Wire members by special permission.
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James Hohmann: “One of the reasons being president is such a hard job is that, on any given day, there is an infinite number of potential external events – totally beyond your control – that can derail your agenda. During Trump’s first five months in power, however, almost every problem he’s faced has been a result of internal factors that were within his control. To the extent that the White House’s desired messaging is not breaking through to the American people, more often than not it’s the president’s fault.”
“Trump has made scores of unforced errors and self-defeating comments since Jan. 20. He’s also showcased his disrespect for women too many times to keep track.”
Jonathan Swan: “There are plenty of doomsayers, but on the inside — both inside the administration and in senior Senate offices — I’m finding a number of officials who’ve been skeptical all along are now quietly predicting it’s going to happen.”
Said an administration source: “I think we’re going to pass this. I really think they’ll bribe off the moderates with opioid money and then actually move policy to shore up Mike Lee and Ted Cruz. … If it was going to fail, McConnell would’ve put it on the floor. He wants people on the record — put up or shut up. He would’ve said: ‘Fuck it, let’s fail now and move onto tax reform.’ … Now he’s going to eat up another two weeks of floor time. He’s not going to waste those weeks unless he thinks he can do this.”
“It’s sad, in a way. We control all three branches and yet we’re not interested or able to do what we’ve pledged.”
— Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), quoted by the Washington Post.
“Congressional investigators now want to interview Keith Schiller, President Trump’s longtime bodyguard-turned-White House aide, as part of their investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential campaign,” sources familiar with the investigation told ABC News.
“It’s the latest indication that the investigations are touching Trump’s inner circle.”
Mike Allen: “Even if the spokespeople were fully looped in, appeared on camera, and shot straight, what would you miss by blowing it off? There are transcripts and this thing called Twitter, where the rare newsy nugget will quickly appear.”
“Truth is, with cable and the internet, the briefings were pretty useless, even pre-Trump. Government officials are paid to make little news, and spin the best take they can. It’s low-grade propaganda at best, and full-blown B.S. at worst.”
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s decision to delay a vote on a GOP health care plan is giving Democrats a big opportunity to seize the July 4 recess to dial up the pressure to kill the bill,” USA Today reports.
“Several outside progressive groups are planning campaigns over the congressional recess to highlight the stories of real Americans who could lose health care – and targeting vulnerable and moderate Republican senators with paid media, phone calls and protests.”