Senate

Warren Addresses Claims of Native American Heritage

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) “made a surprise appearance at the National Congress of American Indians Wednesday morning, forcefully responding to President Trump’s derisively calling her ‘Pocahontas’ and addressing her claims of Native American heritage more directly — and far more expansively — than she ever has before,” the Boston Globe reports.

“She did not apologize for her claims that her mother’s family had Cherokee blood… But she also planned to tell the gathered tribal leaders from around the country that she understood the distinction of being a member of a tribe, and that while it was part of her heritage, she was not a tribal member.”

Sasse Quits Using Twitter

Sen. Ben Sasse (R-NE) “is known as one of the more prolific Twitter users in Congress, often writing his own tweets himself to chime in on policy issues, crack jokes, and in some cases, rebuke President Donald Trump. But over Christmas weekend last year, Sasse stopped tweeting and has not picked up the phone since,” Business Insider reports.

Sasse sees his sabbatical from Twitter as a healthy decision too, because “there’s just a ton of data about the way social media is designed to create dopamine hits for teenage kids.”

Quote of the Day

“We don’t live in a dictatorship or a monarchy. I swore an oath—in the military and in the Senate—to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, not to mindlessly cater to the whims of Cadet Bone Spurs and clap when he demands I clap.”

— Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), on Twitter, in response to President Trump’s suggestion that not applauding at the State of the Union was treasonous.

Romney Already Being Considered for Leadership

“Mitt Romney hasn’t even officially announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate, yet Republican leadership is already seeing stars,” The Atlantic reports.

“According to a Republican donor with direct knowledge, Senate GOP leaders have expressed an early interest in having Romney succeed Colorado Senator Cory Gardner as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee.”

Senate Takes Rare Step In Confirming Judicial Nominee

“For the first time in nearly 30 years, the Senate has confirmed a judicial nominee without a seal of approval from a home state senator,” the AP reports.

“The 56-42 vote Tuesday to confirm David Stras of Minnesota demonstrates anew Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s resolve in getting President Trump’s judicial nominees confirmed.”

Thune Urges House GOP to Listen to FBI Warnings

Sen. John Thune (R-SD) urged House Republicans “to slow their push to release a secret staff-written memo said to accuse the F.B.I. and Justice Department of abusing their authorities to obtain a warrant to spy on a former Trump campaign associate,” the New York Times reports.

Said Thune: “They need to pay careful attention to what our folks who protect us have to say about what this, you know, how this bears on our national security.”

“Thune also called for a Democratic memo rebutting the Republican document to be shown to the public at the same time.”

McConnell Sees No Need to Protect Mueller

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said he sees no need to act to protect special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia investigation, Bloomberg reports.

Said McConnell: “My understanding is there’s no effort under way to undermine or remove the special counsel. Therefore I don’t see any need to bring up legislation to protect someone who appears to need no protection.”

“McConnell declined to say what Republicans would do if Trump sought to fire Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein or Mueller.”

Sanders Backs Out of Interview

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) backed out of an interview with Seven Days after the newspaper refused to accept conditions his staff attempted to set.

A spokesman for Sanders said the senator was not interested in answering questions about “political gossip” nor about the senator’s family.

Sanders’ wife, Jane O’Meara Sanders, has been under scrutiny by federal prosecutors over her role leading the now-defunct Burlington college. His stepdaughter, Carina Driscoll, is running for mayor of Burlington.

Warner Says Investigation Has New Information

Sen. Mark Warner (D-VA) told Politico that Congress late last year received “extraordinarily important new documents” in its investigation of President Trump and his campaign’s possible collusion with the 2016 Russian election hacking, opening up significant new lines of inquiry in the Senate Intelligence Committee’s probe of the president.

Warner says “end-of-the-year document dumps” produced “very significant” revelations that “opened a lot of new questions” that Senate investigators are now looking into, meaning the inquiry into Trump and the Russia hacking—already nearly a year old—will not be finished for months longer.