Politico:“The House Judiciary Committee announced on Monday that it received responses from a ‘large number’ of the 81 individuals and entities who were asked to provide documents as part of the panel’s wide-ranging investigation into obstruction of justice allegations against President Trump — but the committee was mum on details about who complied.”
“Stung by obscene and pointed criticism, Representative Devin Nunes, a Republican from California, has sued Twitter and three users for defamation, claiming the users smeared him and the platform allowed it to happen because of a political agenda,” the New York Times reports.
“The complaint, filed in Virginia on Monday, seeks $250 million in damages. In making his case, Mr. Nunes, a loyal ally of President Trump and the former chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, repeated several common Republican complaints that Twitter has repeatedly denied: that it censors Republicans, “shadow bans” their accounts and actively helps their opponents.”
A new Siena poll in New York finds Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with 31% favorability and 44% unfavorability with voters across the state while another 26% did not have an opinion.
A new Gallup poll finds that while half of U.S. adults were unfamiliar with or had no opinion of Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) in September “after her seismic primary win over the summer, that figure has shrunk to 29% today.”
“But the increased visibility has not improved her overall standing with Americans. Whereas the public had mixed views of Ocasio-Cortez in September, her image now tilts slightly negative, with 31% viewing her favorably and 41% unfavorably.”
John Harwood: “President Trump can veto a resolution blocking his border emergency declaration. If it clears the Republican-led Senate on Thursday, Democrats lack the votes to override him.”
“But the episode shows again what the 2018 midterm elections brought the GOP: constant pressure.”
“Democratic control of the House won’t produce much legislation in a divided Washington. But it has already produced a fundamental shift in political leverage.”
Molly Ball: “Conventional wisdom in Washington tends to treat impeachment as a fringe crusade, on a par with campaigns by antifluoridation activists or UFO enthusiasts, and views Pelosi as right to resist this momentum. Many believe it would be a political disaster for Democrats, galvanizing Trump’s base and alienating moderates. Republicans have taken to goading their opponents to try it, while White House officials say they relish the prospect of the Democratic Party tearing itself apart over the issue.”
“But Pelosi is actually playing a deeper game. Her aides note that she’s never ruled impeachment out. All she’s done, they say, is set a standard: increased popular support and some degree of GOP backing. Behind the scenes, she and her team are working to see that standard is met.”
Said one senior Pelosi aide: “The easy thing to do would be to start down the path of impeachment. That’s a trap. Now that we have the gavel and can expose all of this wrongdoing, I think you will start to see a shift in public opinion and movement of Republicans.”
Politico: “Sometime after special counsel Robert Mueller privately submits his final report on 2016 Russian election interference to the Justice Department, House Democrats plan to summon him to Capitol Hill to testify on his findings before the television cameras.”
“Expectations will be sky high that the Sphinx-like Russia investigator might reveal incriminating — possibly even impeachable — new evidence about President Trump. Those expectations would be wrong.”
“In throwing cold water on the idea of impeachment, Speaker Nancy Pelosi in some ways was simply offering a cleareyed assessment of the state of politics today in the nation’s hyperpolarized capital: There are not enough votes to convict and remove President Trump from office,” the New York Times reports.
“And yet in declaring that impeachment therefore is ‘just not worth it,’ Ms. Pelosi may also be setting a far-reaching new standard with implications long after Mr. Trump leaves office. By her reasoning, accusations of conspiracy, obstruction of justice, campaign finance violations and other offenses — even if proved — do not rise to a level requiring action by the House of Representatives.”
“All of which raise fundamental questions: If Mr. Trump has done what he is accused of doing, and that would not qualify as high crimes and misdemeanors, then what would?”
The Hill: GOP seizes on Pelosi’s position on impeachment.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has reclaimed office space her predecessor, Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) awarded to Vice President Pence, NPR reports.
“Republicans gave Pence, a former House member, a first-floor bonus office in the U.S. Capitol shortly after President Trump was inaugurated in 2017. The vice president rarely used the space, but it was a symbolic gesture of the warm relationship Pence enjoyed with Ryan and the House GOP.”
“In letters sent to around 30 constituents on Monday, Rep. Denver Riggleman (R-VA) incorrectly claimed he voted last month to block President Trump’s declaration of emergency,” TPM reports.
“In fact, Riggleman joined the vast majority of his House Republican colleagues in supporting Trump’s declaration, which the President used to secure more border wall money than Congress authorized.”
“This allows Pelosi to be the punching bag on the impeachment issue. Members are getting questions about removing Trump from office every single day, and they are backed up by activists who are pushing this as well. And, for now, Pelosi has taken a position, and that’s helpful for Democrats. Pelosi isn’t foreclosing the possibility of impeaching Trump if special counsel Robert Mueller drops a bomb. But this is a way to tamp down talk for the moment.”
Fox News host Jeanine Pirro suggested that Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) supports Sharia law in defiance of the U.S. Constitution because she wears a hijab, Politico reports.
Said Pirro: “She’s not getting this anti-Israel sentiment doctrine from the Democrat Party. So if it’s not rooted in the party, where is she getting it from? Think about it. Omar wears a hijab, which according to the Quran 33:59 tells women to cover so they won’t get molested.”
She added: “Is her adherence to this Islamic doctrine indicative of her adherence to Sharia law, which in itself is antithetical to the United States Constitution?”
Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) told CNN that he’s been “disenchanted” enough to consider leaving the House Freedom Caucus over the conservative group’s unflinching support of President Trump.
Said Amash: “From the time the president was elected, I was urging them to remain independent and to be willing to push back against the President where they thought he was wrong. They’ve decided to stick with the president time and again, even where they disagree with him privately.”
“Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) is pulling out all the stops to make sure not a single Republican senator backs the campaign finance and ethics reform bill that House Democrats are set to pass on Friday,” The Hill reports.
“McConnell, a longtime opponent of campaign finance reform who battled the late Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) over the issue, made clear in December that the House proposal would never see floor time in the Senate.”
“He’s continued to pummel the legislation, sending a stern warning to any GOP colleague who may be thinking about supporting it.”
“This city is waiting with bated breath for special counsel Robert Mueller’s report on his investigation into the Trump operation’s ties to Russia and possible obstruction of justice by the president and his allies, which is widely expected to land soon,” NBC News reports.
“But even without those findings in hand, House Democrats effectively launched the impeachment process this week.”
“The Mueller report won’t be the beginning of the end of the investigation into Trump. Instead, it will be the end of the beginning of a political and legal nightmare that promises to subsume an ever greater portion of his presidency and could, conceivably, lead to his impeachment.”
“With the fallout over Rep. Ilhan Omar’s controversial comments paralyzing House Democrats, Speaker Nancy Pelosi found herself on the floor Wednesday afternoon asking some of her closest allies what exactly she should do,” Politico reports.
“For 20 minutes, Pelosi huddled with senior members of the Congressional Black Caucus — House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn of South Carolina and Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, and Karen Bass and Barbara Lee of California — to try to determine what kind of resolution the CBC would back that rejected Omar’s remarks about Israel without unfairly singling her out. It’s a balance that Pelosi and her deputies initially failed to reach when a draft resolution began circulating Monday night.”
“And it’s a surprising scenario for the veteran Democratic leader, who has long prided herself on an intrinsic understanding of her caucus but who now finds herself struggling to clean up the latest political mess created by a high-profile member of the freshman class.”
“Michael Cohen was supposed to report to prison Wednesday to begin serving a three-year sentence for tax crimes, tax evasion and lying to Congress. Instead, President Trump’s former lawyer will be on Capitol Hill talking about the crimes he is now accusing Trump of committing,” CNN reports.
“Cohen, who is now slated to begin his prison term May 6, is back on Capitol Hill on Wednesday for his fourth appearance in the last eight days, concluding his closed-door testimony before the House Intelligence Committee that began last week.”
Washington Post: “The letter from an attorney for Michael Caputo, who worked for Trump during part of the 2016 campaign, represents the first skirmish in what is likely to be broad resistance from Trump aides and associates to new inquiries issued this week by the Judiciary Committee.”
“Caputo told The Washington Post that he has already begun talking with four other Trump associates who received requests from the committee this week to begin a joint strategy of resisting requests for testimony.”