January, 2018

Scott Moves Towards Senate Bid In Florida

Politico: “In the clearest sign he’s ready to challenge Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson, Florida Gov. Rick Scott has raised more than $1.1 million for a super PAC he recently revived and stocked it with top consultants from his previous campaigns. Privately, he’s talked up his good polling numbers, according to several supporters who have spoken to Scott recently.”

“A Scott bid would complicate Democratic hopes of winning back the Senate next year — of the 10 Democrats up for reelection in states carried by President Donald Trump, Nelson has been considered one of the most vulnerable.”

Schiff Says Nunes Gave Trump Edited Memo

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) claimed late Wednesday that House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) shared with President Trump an edited version of the Republican-crafted memo alleging abuse of United States surveillance powers by the Justice Department, The Hill reports.

Said Schiff: “Discovered late tonight that Chairman Nunes made material changes to the memo he sent to White House – changes not approved by the Committee. White House therefore reviewing a document the Committee has not approved for release.”

Mueller Zeroes In on Trump Role In Drafting Statement

New York Times: “Aboard Air Force One on a flight home from Europe last July, President Trump and his advisers raced to cobble together a news release about a mysterious meeting at Trump Tower the previous summer between Russians and top Trump campaign officials. Rather than acknowledge the meeting’s intended purpose — to obtain political dirt about Hillary Clinton from the Russian government — the statement instead described the meeting as being about an obscure Russian adoption policy.”

“The statement… has become a focus of the inquiry by Robert Mueller… Prosecutors working for Mr. Mueller in recent months have questioned numerous White House officials about how the release came together — and about how directly Mr. Trump oversaw the process.”

“What is already clear is that, as Mr. Trump’s aides and family members tried over 48 hours to manage one of most consequential crises of the young administration, the situation quickly degenerated into something of a circular firing squad. They protected their own interests, shifted blame and potentially left themselves — and the president — legally vulnerable.”

Zombie Campaigns Never End

Tampa Bay Times: “In their political afterlife, former politicians and their staffers are hoarding unspent campaign donations for years and using them to finance their lifestyle, advance their new careers and pay family members.”

“Their spending makes a mockery of one of the fundamental principles of America’s campaign finance laws: Donations must be spent only on politics, not politicians’ personal lives.”

Times/WTSP reporters analyzed more than 1 million records detailing the spending of former U.S. lawmakers and federal candidates. They found roughly 100 of these zombie campaigns, still spending even though their candidate’s political career had been laid to rest.”

Special Counsel Seeks Delay in Flynn Sentencing

“Attorneys for former national security adviser Michael Flynn and the special counsel’s office told a federal court on Wednesday evening they are not ready to schedule a sentencing hearing for Flynn,” CNN reports.

“The government was set to deliver a status report on Flynn’s case to the court Thursday, but both sides have asked to delay the deadline for that report until May 1.”

Controversial Agent Wrote Draft of Explosive Comey Letter

Newly-obtained emails “show the FBI agent at the center of a Capitol Hill storm played a key role in a controversial FBI decision that upended Hillary Clinton’s campaign just days before the 2016 election: the letter to Congress by then-FBI Director James Comey announcing the bureau was investigating newly discovered Clinton emails,” CNN reports.

“The new revelation about FBI agent Peter Strzok comes as Republicans accuse him of being sympathetic to Clinton while seeking to undermine Donald Trump during the heat of the 2016 campaign season.”

“Strzok, who co-wrote what appears to be the first draft that formed the basis of the letter Comey sent to Congress, also supported reopening the Clinton investigation once the emails were discovered on disgraced former Rep. Anthony Weiner’s laptop.”

Trump Asked Rosenstein If He Was ‘On My Team’

“Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein visited the White House in December seeking President Trump’s help. The top Justice Department official in the Russia investigation wanted Trump’s support in fighting off document demands from House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes,” CNN reports.

“But the President had other priorities ahead of a key appearance by Rosenstein on the Hill… Trump wanted to know where the special counsel’s Russia investigation was heading. And he wanted to know whether Rosenstein was ‘on my team.'”

Republicans Go All In for Trump Ahead of Midterms

Ron Brownstein: “On both of those fronts—reaching swing voters and energizing Democrats—Trump’s personal behavior creates bigger headwinds for the GOP than his specific policies do. Though Trump supporters often say voters already weighed their personal doubts about him when they backed him in 2016, according to Quinnipiac University polls, he has suffered significant declines since Election Day in the share of Americans who say he’s honest, a strong leader, intelligent, shares their values, and cares about people like them.”

“Yet congressional Republicans have responded to these rising doubts by aligning themselves more closely with Trump—the third key 2018 dynamic evident in the State of the Union. It was most visible in congressional Republicans’ repeated standing ovations during his remarks. But even more telling were comments before the speech from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell—who insisted he saw no need for legislation to protect special counsel Robert Mueller—and House Speaker Paul Ryan, who offered support for the release of a highly controversial memo intended to discredit Mueller’s investigation.”

Trump Official Discussed ‘Reversing’ Abortion for Teen

“The Trump administration official in charge of the Office of Refugee Resettlement discussed trying to use a controversial, scientifically unproven method to reverse an undocumented teen’s abortion,” according to documents reviewed by Vice News.

“In the past few years, opponents of abortion have championed the idea of halting a medication abortion midway by using the hormone progesterone… But there is no credible medical evidence that such a procedure works, and the mainstream medical community worries that using it amounts to experimentation on women.”