November, 2017

Why Rex Tillerson Is Done

Jonathan Swan: “Here’s why Tillerson is on the way out: Trump can’t stand him and has contradicted him on many major policy issues — from North Korea, to Iran, to Qatar, to Saudi Arabia.”

“He has no allies in the White House, few if any in the State Department beyond his innermost circle and he’s managed to alienate even his tiny number of supporters on Capitol Hill.”

“His natural constituency would’ve been Democrats and moderates who view him and General Mattis as restraints on the president, but he lost that crowd because of what he’s done to the State Department — a bungled reorganization and a failure to appoint people to top jobs.”

Wall Street Journal: Trump declines to quash speculation about Tillerson’s outster.

The GOP Tax Bill Could Reshape American Life

New York Times: “The tax plan has been marketed by President Trump and Republican leaders as a straightforward if enormous rebate for the masses, a $1.5 trillion package of cuts to spur hiring and economic growth. But as the bill has been rushed through Congress with scant debate, its far broader ramifications have come into focus, revealing a catchall legislative creation that could reshape major areas of American life, from education to health care.”

“The result is a behemoth piece of legislation that could widen American economic inequality while diminishing the power of local communities to marshal relief for vulnerable people — especially in high-tax states like California and New York, which, not coincidentally, tend to vote Democratic.”

Barton Won’t Run Again

Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX), whose private life came under national scrutiny after sexual images he shared in an extramarital relationship were made public, told the Dallas Morning News that he won’t seek re-election.

Said Barton: “I’ve been listening to a lot of people the last week in Texas… There are enough people who lost faith in me that it’s time to step aside and let there be a new voice for the 6th district in Washington, so I am not going to run for re-election.”

McCain Will Support GOP Tax Plan

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) said that he will support the Republican tax plan, The Hill reports.

Said McCain: “After careful thought and consideration, I have decided to support the Senate tax reform bill. I believe this legislation, though far from perfect, would enhance American competitiveness, boost the economy, and provide long overdue tax relief for middle class families.”

Woman Says Franken Tried to Kiss Her Onstage

A former elected official in New England who has requested anonymity tells Jezebel that Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) attempted to give her a “wet, open-mouthed kiss” onstage at an event in 2006, shortly before he ran for Senate.

The woman says the encounter left her “stunned and incredulous.”

Said the woman: “I reached out my hand to shake his. He took it and leaned toward me with his mouth open. I turned my head away from him and he landed a wet, open-mouthed kiss awkwardly on my cheek.”

Trump Plans to Oust Tillerson as Secretary of State

“The White House has developed a plan to force out Secretary of State Rex W. Tillerson, whose relationship with President Trump has been strained, and replace him with Mike Pompeo, the C.I.A. director, within the next several weeks,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Pompeo would be replaced at the C.I.A. by Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), who has been a key ally of the president on national security matters, according to the White House plan. Mr. Cotton has signaled that he would accept the job if offered, said the officials, who insisted on anonymity to discuss sensitive deliberations before decisions are announced.”

Race for House Control Is a Toss Up

Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball: “Put it all together, and the battle for control of the House looks something like a coin flip, with Democrats having a very real chance to net the 24 seats they need to win a majority. In fact, the big-picture indicators might suggest the Democrats should be favored to win the House. But we’re not willing to go that far, at least at the moment, for a few reasons.”

“The first is a usual but important caveat: The election is more than 11 months away and there’s time for things to change, even though one can just as easily imagine things getting worse for the GOP as opposed to better.”

Trump Falsely Claims He Wouldn’t Benefit from Tax Plan

While pitching the tax overhaul in Missouri, President Trump said he won’t benefit from the plan. But NBC News points out the president’s assertion just isn’t true.

“In fact, Trump and his family could save more than $1 billion under the House tax plan that passed two weeks ago, according to an NBC News analysis. And under the Senate plan, the wealthiest Americans, like Trump, would get nearly 62 percent of all of its benefits by 2027, while two-thirds of middle-class Americans would face a tax increase, according to the Tax Policy Center, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington.”

Durbin Will Block Funding Without Dreamer Protections

Sen. Richard Durbin (D-IL) said he is encouraging his colleagues to join him in blocking spending legislation if the legal status of “dreamers” isn’t resolved, the Washington Post reports.

“Durbin has repeatedly said in recent months that Congress needs to resolve the status of dreamers by the end of the year, but he is now the highest-ranking Democratic senator to raise the specter of a government shutdown sparked by an impasse over immigration… Durbin’s position is shared by at least four members of his caucus — Sens. Kamala Harris (D-CA), Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Cory Booker (D-NJ) and Bernie Sanders (I-VT).”

For members: A Government Shutdown Seems Likely

The Case for Normalizing Impeachment

Ezra Klein: “We have grown too afraid of the consequences of impeachment and too complacent about the consequences of leaving an unfit president in office. If the worst happens, and Trump’s presidency results in calamity, we will have no excuse to make, no answer to give. This is an emergency. We should break the glass.”

“Impeachment is not a power we should take lightly; nor is it one we should treat as too explosive to use. There will be presidents who are neither criminals nor mental incompetents but who are wrong for the role, who pose a danger to the country and the world. It is a principle that sounds radical until you say it, at which point it sounds obvious: Being extremely bad at the job of president of the United States should be enough to get you fired.”