November, 2017

Trump Pressed Republicans to End Russia Investigation

“President Trump over the summer repeatedly urged senior Senate Republicans, including the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, to end the panel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Trump’s requests were a highly unusual intervention from a president into a legislative inquiry involving his family and close aides.”

GOP Tax Plan Hits Snag In Senate

A Republican plan to automatically trigger tax increases or spending cuts if revenue falls short has been shot down the U.S. Senate’s parliamentarian, the Washington Post reports.

“The tension played out during a tense 62-minute standoff on the Senate floor, as Sens. Bob Corker (R-TN), Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) refused to vote with their colleagues until they had assurances that more changes could be made to the bill.”

Axios: “A trigger was the way Republicans were going to get members worried about the deficit to back the tax bill. Now Republicans need to find hundreds of billions of dollars to make deficit hawks happy or the bill might die — and many Republicans don’t like any other ideas to raise taxes.”

Trump Will Hold Rally Near Alabama Border

“President Trump isn’t going to Alabama to campaign for Roy Moore. But he’s planning to get about as close as you can to the state line,” the Washington Post reports.

“Trump is expected to hold a campaign-style rally in Pensacola, Fla., about 20 miles from the Alabama line, next Friday. The rally is four days ahead of the Dec. 12 special election in Alabama, where Moore faces Democrat Doug Jones.”

Trump Thinks Shutdown Might Be Good for Him

President Trump “has concluded that a government shutdown might be good for him politically and is focusing on his hard-line immigration stance as a way to win back supporters unhappy with his outreach to Democrats this fall,” the Washington Post reports.

“Over the past 10 days, the president has also told advisers that it is important that he is seen as tough on immigration and getting money for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border… He has asked friends about how a shutdown would affect him politically and has told several people he would put the blame on the Democrats.”

“Trump’s mixed messages on a partial government shutdown is hampering the ability of congressional Republicans to negotiate with Democrats, whose support they need to pass spending legislation in coming weeks. Many Republicans said this week that a shutdown is an unwelcome possibility they hope to avoid.”

For members: A Government Shutdown Seems Likely

Pompeo Has Been Preparing for State Department

“Since well before the White House plan to replace Secretary of State Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo became public Thursday, Pompeo had been informally preparing to take over in Foggy Bottom, reaching out to potential candidates for positions and collecting ideas,” the Washington Post reports.

“Pompeo has been calling around to friends and top Republican foreign policy hands and asking them to help him get ready to be America’s top diplomat, if he is ultimately chosen.”

Congress Secretly Paid $100K to Settle Massa Claims

Congress paid close to $100,000 in taxpayer funds to settle sexual harassment claims from at least two young male staffers who worked for disgraced former Rep. Eric Massa (D-NY), ABC News reports.

“The claims were settled after Massa, a Democrat from upstate New York, resigned in 2010 amid a pending ethics investigation into allegations he groped and sexually harassed members of his staff.”

Lindsey Graham, Then and Now

“I think he’s a kook. I think he’s crazy… He’s not fit to be president.”

— Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), about Donald Trump in an interview on Fox News on February 17, 2016.

“What concerns me about the American press is this endless, endless attempt to label the guy some kind of kook not fit to be president.”

— Graham, interviewed on CNN earlier today.

Men Allege Sexual Misconduct by Politician’s Husband

Four men accuse Bryon Hefner, the husband of Massachusetts state Senate President Stan Rosenberg (D), of sexually assaulting and harassing them, the Boston Globe reports.

Here’s one of the stories:

He was a policy advocate who made his living trying to persuade legislators on Beacon Hill to help nonprofit groups. He was exhausted after a working dinner with a group of senators and their spouses on that fall night in 2015. It was very late, and he wanted nothing more than to sleep.

But Bryon Hefner, then the fiance of Senate President Stan Rosenberg, appeared in his doorway. As the advocate recently described it, Hefner took a step forward, grabbed the man’s genitals, and didn’t let go. He recalled Hefner asking him to have some fun with him, telling him Rosenberg wouldn’t mind, that Hefner and the Senate president were a team on Beacon Hill, and that they would take care of him.

The advocate froze. He felt violated, powerless.

Quote of the Day

“If he is elected, there are no grounds under the Constitution to fail to seat him. The Constitution says you can only look at citizenship, whether they are a resident of the state, and if they are the proper age. So we have to seat him.”

— Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), quoted by CNN, on whether the U.S. Senate would refuse to seat Roy Moore (R) if he wins Alabama’s special election.

Diplomats Say Anyone Is Better Than Tillerson

“Mike Pompeo may have a partisan reputation, hawkish instincts and little diplomatic experience, but morale at the State Department is so low that many career diplomats would be glad to see the CIA director replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state,” Politico reports.

“Anything, they say, would be better than this.”

Said one State Department official: “Pompeo should decline to keep on board in any capacity every single member of Tillerson’s senior staff.”