Mitch McConnell

McConnell Takes Hard Line on Sex Scandals

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “has a well-documented history of showing little tolerance for sex scandals that he fears could tarnish the image of the Senate and his party,” the New York Times reports.

“He was a major force behind the effort to push out Larry E. Craig, the Idaho Republican arrested at the Minneapolis airport in 2007 in an undercover sex sting. And he was the chairman of the ethics committee when Senator Bob Packwood, the powerful Oregon Republican, resigned in 1995 under threat of expulsion after he was accused of sexual harassment.”

McConnell Allies Declare War on Steve Bannon

“Allies of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared open warfare on Wednesday against Stephen Bannon, the former White House chief strategist and leader of an insurrection aimed at defeating mainstream GOP candidates in next year’s midterm elections,” the Washington Post reports.

“More than a year ahead of the 2018 congressional contests, a super PAC aligned with McConnell (R-KY) revealed plans to attack Bannon personally as it works to protect incumbents facing uphill primary fights. The effort reflects the growing concern of Republican lawmakers over the rise of anti-establishment forces and comes amid escalating frustration over President Trump’s conduct, which has prompted a handful of lawmakers to publicly criticize the president.”

McConnell Plans Longer Work Weeks for Senate

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “is preparing to hold the chamber in session for more rigorous workweeks, including Fridays and possibly even weekends,” Politico reports.

“The Senate GOP discussed a more aggressive schedule at Tuesday’s party lunch and the majority of the conference agreed.”

“The Senate has come under criticisms from conservatives for its light workweeks, typically spanning from Monday evening to early Thursday afternoon. But without buy-in from his members, it’s been difficult to hold the chamber in open longer without facing the possibility of attendance problems and failed votes.”

Trump Claims He’s Closer to McConnell Than Ever

President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “held a surprise press conference following their lunch meeting at the White House Monday,” Axios reports.

Said Trump: “McConnell and I have been friends for a long time. We’re probably now, despite what you read, closer than ever before.”

However, earlier the New York Times reports Trump “offered support to Stephen Bannon, his former White House adviser, who has declared political war against members of the Republican establishment, including several senators like McConnell.”

Bannon Pledges War on McConnell

Stephen Bannon taunted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and vowed to challenge any Senate Republican who doesn’t publicly condemn attacks on President Trump, Politico reports.

Said Bannon: “Yeah, Mitch, the donors are not happy. They’ve all left you. We’ve cut your oxygen off… Nobody can run and hide on this one. These folks are coming for you.”

“Referencing Shakespeare, Bannon compared McConnell to Julius Caesar, adding that lawmakers are wondering who will emerge as Brutus, the character who reluctantly joins in on the assassination of Caesar for the benefit of Rome.”

“Bannon also predicted Trump would win in a landslide in 2020, securing 400 electoral votes.”

McConnell Moves to Speed Approval of Judges

Fred Barnes: “No longer will ‘blue slips’ be allowed to deny a nominee a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing and vote on confirmation. In the past, senators have sometimes barred a nominee from their state by refusing to return their slip to the committee, thus preventing a hearing and confirmation.”

“The majority — that is, Republicans — will treat a blue slip ‘as simply notification of how you’re going to vote, not as an opportunity to blackball,’ McConnell told me. The use of blue slips, he noted, is not a Senate rule and has ‘been honored in the breach over the years.’ Now it won’t be honored at all.”

Said McConnell: “Regardless of what tactics are used by Democrats, the judges are going to be confirmed.”

Rick Hasen: “This is a serious escalation in the judicial wars.”

McConnell Dismisses Any Talk of Gun Control

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) “shut down all talk of legislative remedies to gun violence” after the Las Vegas massacre, mirroring the remarks by Speaker Paul Ryan,” Politico reports.

He declared this is simply not the time to be talking about legislation targeting firearms.

Said McConnell: “The investigation has not even been completed. I think it’s premature to be discussing legislative solutions, if there are any.”

Mitch McConnell Is No Master of the Senate

Politico: “If any believers in the Myth remain after the brutal week McConnell just endured, which capped off an unbelievably brutal eight months, they should take this challenge: Name one major legislative accomplishment to McConnell’s credit over the more than 30 years he has been in the Senate. (Last minute deals don’t count.)”

“You can’t do it: Unlike former Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (my former boss) and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, McConnell has never authored a single piece of major legislation that became law, nor has he successfully shepherded a single major bill to passage as leader. Reid, Pelosi and former President Barack Obama were all party to the last-minute deals, but they all have a trove of historic accomplishments to show for their leadership: insuring millions of Americans through the Affordable Care Act, reforming the post-crash financial system with Dodd-Frank and ending the Iraq war, for starters. McConnell has nothing.”

“His failure to log even a single major achievement is without precedent in recent American history.”

McConnell Lost In About Every Way Possible Yesterday

Washington Post: “The Kentucky Republican had to abandon, again, an effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act amid an uprising from the more moderate wing of the GOP caucus. Then he learned that one of his most influential Republican chairman would not run for reelection next year, setting up a potentially divisive race to succeed the senator.”

“Finally, before 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, McConnell suffered the final indignity: His preferred candidate in Alabama, Sen. Luther Strange (R), lost the GOP nomination in embarrassing fashion to a conservative insurgent who vowed that his victory would send a message that McConnell and his allies should ‘run scared for a while.'”

Mike Allen: “The Republican establishment is so weak that even when it has Trump on its side, as it did in Alabama, is can’t beat the Trumpers.”

Politico: “For Mitch McConnell, Tuesday was about as bad as it could get.”

Team Trump Prepares the Shiv for Mitch McConnell

“The Trump White House is gearing up to lay blame for a series of likely failures this week squarely at the feet of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY),” the Daily Beast reports.

“On Tuesday, Republican primary voters in Alabama are poised to reject Trump and McConnell’s preferred pick for the seat, Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL). The next day, a Republican-authored last-ditch attempt to repeal and replace Obamacare is almost certain to go down to defeat after , if it comes to a vote at all.”

“The dual setbacks could have profound ramifications throughout the party, forcing it to reckon with a Republican electorate deeply upset with its inability to move an agenda and its own inability to get that agenda moved. The rush to assign responsibility for that failure is taking place before it even occurs.”

McConnell Lays It All on the Line

Politico: “He’s been battered by President Trump and had his vaunted legislative acumen called into question. Now, Mitch McConnell has a chance to put his cruel summer behind him. Over the next week, the Senate majority leader will try one last time to rescind the Democratic health care law. At the same time, he’s put his political reputation on the line in Alabama, where his chosen candidate, incumbent Sen. Luther Strange, faces off against anti-establishment Roy Moore in a special Senate election on Tuesday.”

“The typically cautious McConnell is taking huge gambles in both cases, and will emerge as a hero or goat within the GOP depending on how it all turns out. … McConnell will need everything to break his way to come out on top. Moore is leading in the polls and McConnell currently lacks the votes to repeal Obamacare.”

McConnell Says Democrats’ Glee Was Premature

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) told the New York Times that he thinks Democrats “were a tad premature in exuberantly celebrating the surprise spending deal they struck last week with President Trump.”

Said McConnell: “Let’s put it this way. The deal is not quite as good as my counterpart thought it was.”

“The reason? Mr. McConnell said that he insisted the newly passed legislation preserve Treasury’s ability to apply ‘extraordinary measures’ and shift money within government accounts to pay off debt and extend federal borrowing power. That will delay the need for another increase in the debt limit well beyond the December deadline that Democrats have been trumpeting as their big moment of leverage.”

McConnell Doubts Trump Can Save Presidency

“The relationship between President Trump and Sen. Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, has disintegrated to the point that they have not spoken to each other in weeks, and Mr. McConnell has privately expressed uncertainty that Mr. Trump will be able to salvage his administration after a series of summer crises,” the New York Times reports.

“What was once an uneasy governing alliance has curdled into a feud of mutual resentment and sometimes outright hostility… Angry phone calls and private badmouthing have devolved into open conflict, with the president threatening to oppose Republican senators who cross him, and Mr. McConnell mobilizing to their defense.”

“The rupture between Mr. Trump and Mr. McConnell comes at a highly perilous moment for Republicans, who face a number of urgent deadlines when they return to Washington next month. Congress must approve new spending measures and raise the statutory limit on government borrowing within weeks of reconvening, and Republicans are hoping to push through an elaborate rewrite of the federal tax code. There is scant room for legislative error on any front.”