“Two Republicans, one of them former congressman Bob Inglis, have sued the South Carolina Republican Party over its decision to cancel its GOP presidential primary next year,” the Charleston Post & Courier reports.
“Under a deal with federal prosecutors, North Carolina’s former state Republican chairman could testify against other defendants in the state’s largest-ever case of political bribery,” the Charlotte Observer reports.
“Robin Hayes would plead guilty to a single felony count of lying to the FBI under the deal. He’s scheduled to formally enter his guilty plea in federal court Wednesday. The plea agreement calls for Hayes to cooperate with prosecutors. That includes testifying against his co-defendants… Hayes, a former member of Congress, was one of four men indicted last March on multiple charges of conspiracy and bribery.”
Jeff Flake: “In my case, I had not supported the president’s election. One year into his presidency, I knew that I could not support his reelection. While I had hoped that I could still run for reelection to the Senate in 2018 as someone who would help to provide a check on the president’s worst impulses, it soon became apparent that this was not what Republican primary voters in my state were looking for. Whatever reservations they might have had when they voted for Donald Trump, one year into his presidency they wanted a senator who was all in…”
“Our country will have more presidents. But principles, well, we get just one crack at those. For those who want to put America first, it is critically important at this moment in the life of our country that we all, here and now, do just that.”
“Trust me when I say that you can go elsewhere for a job. But you cannot go elsewhere for a soul.”
Peter Wehner: “Month after month, with one outrageous, norm-shattering comment or action giving way to another, Republicans who in the past could never have envisioned being Trump acolytes, have been ground down. Accommodation has kicked in, which is a psychological relief to many of them. For those who view Mr. Trump as a model politician who voices their grievances and fights with a viciousness they have long hoped for from Republicans, the accommodation is not just a relief but a source of delight.”
“As the psychologist I spoke to put it to me, many Republicans ‘are nearly unrecognizable versions of themselves pre-Trump. At this stage it’s less about defending Trump; they are defending their own defense of Trump.'”
“‘At this point,’ this person went on, ‘condemnation of Trump is condemnation of themselves. They’ve let too much go by to try and assert moral high ground now. Calling out another is one thing; calling out yourself is quite another.'”
Rory Cooper: If we Republicans cannot condemn Trump, we’re screwed.
Dan Balz: “Democrats will have to make the case as to why they think the president should be impeached and removed from office and try to persuade the public why that step is necessary, if that is where their work leads. But Republicans cannot hide from this, even if they regard impeachment as unwarranted.”
“Right now, through their collective silence, Republicans are telling the American people they either tolerate or condone the president’s actions. The longer they remain silent, the more they contribute to normalizing behavior by the president that is far beyond past standards.”
The Los Angeles Times reports there’s “no sign that the GOP-controlled Senate, where 67 votes are required to remove the president from office, is about to turn on Trump.”
Said one senior Senate GOP aide: “At this point, Trump could be caught walking out of a Federal Reserve bank with two giant sacks of money in his hands and no Republican would vote to impeach him for grand larceny.”
The aide added: “Our voters want two things from their congressmen: pissing on the media and blindly defending the president. That’s what being a Republican has come to.”
Former North Carolina Republican Party Chairman Robin Hayes has agreed to plead guilty to lying to the FBI and faces a court hearing next week, the Raleigh News & Observer reports.
“Prosecutors accused Hayes of lying to FBl agents in a case that led to indictments not only of Hayes but businessman and political contributor Greg Lindberg. In April a federal grand jury indicted them and two of Lindberg’s associates on conspiracy and bribery charges for their alleged attempts to influence N.C. Insurance Commissioner Mike Causey.”
Cindy McCain, the widow of the late Sen. John McCain, told Politico that the Republican Party is “excluding people for the wrong reasons” and is no longer “the party that my husband and I belonged to.”
The RNC paid over $160,000 to a law firm that is defending former Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski, CNBC reports.
The payment was made a month before his testimony in front of the House Judiciary Committee.
A Washington Post analysis shows that “nearly 40 percent of the 241 Republicans who were in office in January 2017 are gone or leaving because of election losses, retirements including former House speaker Paul Ryan, and some who are simply quitting in disgust.”
“The vast turnover is a reminder of just how much Trump has remade the GOP — and of the purge of those who dare to oppose him.”
The Alaska Republican Party has canceled holding a presidential primary in 2020, the AP reports.
The party’s State Central Committee passed a rule saying a primary “would serve no useful purpose” because Republican Donald Trump is president.
Jonathan Bernstein: “We still have only limited information about the emerging whistleblower scandal. But we do know (from what Rudy Giuliani has bragged about) that the president’s lawyer has pressed another country to investigate a Democratic candidate for alleged corruption. That’s on top of the original Trump campaign’s dozens of contacts with a nation attacking U.S. democracy; several documented instances of the president obstructing the investigation of that attack; violations of the emoluments clauses of the Constitution and regular use of government resources to enrich the president’s businesses; and assertions of invented presidential privileges to prevent congressional oversight.”
“Republicans have been okay with all this, presumably because they’re getting what they want on policy. Or perhaps out of pure partisanship. Or maybe because they’re so deep in the conservative information-feedback loop that they’ve convinced themselves none of it is real. But they should be taking stock now of just how much lawlessness they’re willing to tolerate. At this point, it looks like the whistleblower’s story involves Trump attempting to offer U.S. policy favors to Ukraine in exchange for dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.”
“I’ve said all along that there’s a middle ground where the evidence may justify impeachment and removal of the president, but not demand it. Well, the evidence has long since established that impeachment is justified. Now we’re tiptoeing up to the line where it demands removal. At some point, we may wind up clearly over that line by any reasonable definition. If Republicans choose to stick with Trump then, he’ll correctly conclude that he’s above the law.”
Former Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) told CNN the Republican party was a “cult” and President Trump is a “would-be dictator.”
Said Walsh: “I’ve given up on the Republican Party, the Republican Party is a cult, right. They no longer stand for ideals. The Republican Party right now is all about washing their leaders’ feet every day, that’s what they do.”
Playbook: “Almost no one at the White House or in GOP leadership wants to hear this, but WinRed has a big issue on its hands. Members of Congress are skeptical of them, because they don’t know who is profiting off of it and they can’t get straight answers about what’s going to happen with their data.
“The retort from Republican involved is, trust us, get on board or else you’ll continue to get smoked by your Democratic opponents. That’s probably true, but lawmakers want answers and they aren’t getting them. And until then, there is going to be angst and doubts — no matter how many presentations they get, or veiled threats they hear from the leadership and White House-linked operatives. Of course, there are members who have signed up — more than 100 — and the service is drawing donations. That does not negate the skepticism.”
“Republicans — pushed by Jared Kushner — created WinRed to compete with ActBlue. But ActBlue was a private company that caught fire because it was good. WinRed is being foisted upon lawmakers by the party leadership.”
“House Republicans sparred behind closed doors with Trump-aligned political operatives at a GOP retreat over the new online fundraising platform backed by party leaders and the White House,” Politico reports.
“The creation of WinRed was a top priority for the GOP that has been plagued with implementation problems over the last year. If the initiative isn’t a success, Republicans fear their chances of taking back the House and holding on to the White House in 2020 will be imperiled.”
“Since launching, WinRed has come under fire from critics who have questioned who stands to profit from the donations it gathers.”
“House Republicans were hoping to have their spirits lifted at this year’s annual retreat, which comes following a bruising midterm election and recent wave of GOP retirements. And President Donald Trump did not disappoint,” Politico reports.
“He slammed his 2020 Democratic rivals, complained about energy-saving light bulbs and plastic straws, trumpeted GOP accomplishments, celebrated a recent pair of special election wins and joked that House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy is ‘just like a cow, he’s just smaller.'”
“The rambling, 68-minute speech – which alternated between teleprompter lines and a free-flowing stream of jabs – served as counter-programming to the Democratic debates, which were taking place at the same time halfway across the nation. Trump was even scheduled to speak an hour earlier than he did — a delay that allowed him to start just as Democratic presidential candidates were taking the stage in Houston.”
“And at times, it felt like a campaign rally, with Trump even ending with his signature campaign song: ‘You Can’t Always Get What You Want.'”
Gregory Cheadle, the black man President Trump once described at a rally as “my African American,” is fed up, PBS NewsHour reports.
“After two years of frustration with the president’s rhetoric on race and the lack of diversity in the administration, Cheadle told PBS NewsHour he has decided to leave the Republican party and run for a seat in the U.S. House of Representative as an independent in 2020.”
Politico: “A parade of Republican retirements. Red flags about the economy. President Donald Trump’s approval ratings under water. A nail-biter race in a GOP stronghold.”
“House Republicans are grappling with a string of ominous warning signs from over the past month that could spell doom for the party’s chances of clawing back power in 2020, an unsettling prospect for the GOP conference as it prepares for its annual retreat in Baltimore on Thursday.”