19 House Races Shift Towards Democrats

Roll Call: “We’ve changed our ratings in 19 races, including adding nine GOP-held seats to the list of competitive races and dropping one Democratic seat… after the Republicans’ best potential candidate declined to run.”

“That means Republicans are now defending 39 seats on the list of competitive races compared to just 14 currently held by Democrats. That disparity isn’t as large as prior to the 2010 elections when Democrats were defending 100 competitive seats and Republicans just nine, but just as it’s possible for the Republicans’ electoral prospects to improve, they could also get much worse.”

$17 Million Spent on Montana Special Election

“Campaign spending in Montana’s U.S. House race is surging in the final days with significant amounts placed on getting out the vote,” the Helena Independent Record reports.

“Campaign spending has surged deep into record territory, with at least $17 million flowing into the race from the campaigns and outside groups hoping to influence the nationally watched contest. Republicans are significantly outspending Democrats, according to donation and expenditure reports filed in the last weeks of the campaign.”

GOP Lawmaker Says DNC Hack May Have Been ‘Inside Job’

Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) told CNN that the attack of the Democratic National Committee servers may have been done by Democratic staffers.

Said Farenthold: “There’s still some question as to whether the intrusion at the DNC server was an insider job, or whether or not it was the Russians.”

When pressed on this claim, Farenthold said there is proof “circulating on the Internet.”

Flynn Gets Hit with House Subpoenas Too

The House of Representatives will join the Senate in slapping subpoenas on Michael Flynn, Politico reports.

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) also said the committee was now receiving responses to requests for information from other witnesses. He declined to name those witnesses but said the committee ‘may be sending out subpoenas in tranches.'”

Axios: “Both the House and the Senate committees’ continued efforts to subpoena Flynn suggest that they’re not giving up on this just yet. And that’s further reflected in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s subpoenas from yesterday that targeted Flynn’s businesses, which they believed couldn’t be protected by the Fifth Amendment.”

Kushner Sought Christie’s Advice on Outside Counsel

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) has told people that Jared Kushner asked him if Trump should hire a lawyer to deal with the ramifications of the Russia investigation, Vanity Fair reports.

“A spokesman for Christie, who was responsible for prosecuting Kushner’s father, denied that the governor talked to Kushner about anything related to seeking outside counsel. An administration source said that the conversation about retaining counsel ‘simply did not happen.’ Both sides confirmed that a phone call between them took place, as the two talk frequently.”

Trump Doesn’t Really Care About His Budget

First Read: “By the way, how do we know the Trump White House didn’t really care much about its budget rollout yesterday? Because the president himself is thousands of miles away from Washington. Per budget expert Stan Collender, since the passage of the 1974 Congressional Budget Act, no president before Trump had been outside the country when the White House released its first budget proposal.”

Why It May Not Matter If Trump Colluded with Russia

Byron York: “Now, rather than focusing on alleged collusion, the thrust of leaks in recent days has been directed almost exclusively toward building a case of obstruction of justice against the president, charging that he actively tried to derail the investigation into his campaign and his associates. More and more, day after day, Trump’s adversaries believe that, when it comes to bringing down the president, it might not matter if collusion occurred or not. A cover-up would be enough to do the job.”

“The Trump-Russia case could become the ultimate illustration of the old Washington saying that it’s not the crime, it’s the cover-up. In this case, there might be no underlying crime at all.”

Trump Administration Leaked U.K. Bomber’s Name

Trump administration officials were criticized for leaking the identity of the Manchester bomber before British police officially named him, The Guardian reports.

“Salman Abedi was identified in media reports that attributed ‘US officials’ as the source even as their British counterparts remained tight-lipped… The disclosures renewed concerns over leaks from Donald Trump’s administration two weeks after the US president revealed classified information, apparently from Israel, to Russia’s foreign minister in a White House meeting. Critics warn that US allies may be less willing to share intelligence in the future.”

Trump’s Budget Has a Huge Math Mistake

Dan Primack: “Budget projections are a specious business by their nature, as no one can accurately predict the nation’s next decade of economic fortunes. Let alone all of the legislative assumptions required, such as the future of healthcare, the specifics of tax reform, etc. Moreover, White House budget requests have a habit of being ignored by Congress. But this double-count is a big unforced error.”

“Trump’s budget anticipates around $2.06 trillion in extra federal revenue over the next decade, based on the aforementioned increase in economic growth. That new money then would be used to offset Trump’s proposed tax cuts, as the Administration previously said that the tax cuts would be revenue-neutral. Unfortunately, that same $2 trillion also is earmarked for closing budget gap. I tried to come up with a household analogy here, but they were all just too ridiculous. Only in D.C. can someone present this sort of math with a straight face.”

One Thing That Won’t Change with New CBO Score

Caitlin Owens: “There’s a lot of uncertainty about how the Congressional Budget Office will estimate the costs of the GOP health care bill the House passed earlier this month. But one thing that’s almost certain: It won’t change its estimate that 14 million people will lose their Medicaid coverage.”

“That’s because the House didn’t change the bill’s Medicaid provisions since CBO analyzed an earlier version of the bill. It makes significant cuts to the program, which will knock millions of people off their coverage. It then pairs these cuts with tax credits for those on the individual market, which fall well short of what very low-income people need to afford insurance, experts say.”

Montana Race ‘Is Closer than it Should Be’

Politico: “It’s a recurring nightmare of a pattern for Republicans around the country, as traditional GOP strongholds prove more difficult and expensive for the party to hold than it ever anticipated when President Donald Trump plucked House members like Ryan Zinke, the former Montana Republican now running the Interior Department, for his Cabinet. Gianforte is still favored to keep the seat red, but a state Trump carried by 20 percentage points last year became a battleground in the past few months.”

For members: Special Election Upset Brewing in Montana?

GOP Worried They’ll Have No Legislative Wins

Jonathan Swan: “Republican leaders are coming to the bleak conclusion they will end summer and begin the fall with ZERO significant legislative accomplishments. Privately, they realize it’s political malpractice to blow at least the the first nine of months of all Republican rule, but also realize there’s little they can do to avoid the dismal outcome.”

“In fact, they see the next four months as MORE troublesome than the first four. They’re facing terrible budget choices and headlines, the painful effort to re-work the healthcare Rubik’s Cube in the House (presuming it makes it out of the Senate), a series of special-election scares (or losses) — all with scandal-mania as the backdrop.”