Senate

Cruz Says Franken is ‘Obnoxious’ for Insulting Him

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) called Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) “obnoxious and insulting” for devoting an entire chapter to the Texas GOP senator in Franken’s new book titled Giant of the Senate, according to Politico.

Said Cruz: “Al is trying to sell books and apparently he’s decided that being obnoxious and insulting me is good for causing liberals to buy his books. I wish him all the best.”

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.”

Flynn Gets Two More Subpoenas

“The Senate intelligence committee says it will subpoena two of former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s businesses,” NBC News reports.

“The committee has already subpoenaed Flynn for documents regarding his contacts with Russian officials during the 2016 presidential campaign. Flynn has refused to hand over that information.”

“The committee also sent a letter to Flynn’s attorney Tuesday questioning the legal basis of Flynn’s decision to invoke his Fifth Amendment right over a request for documents rather than testimony.”

Burr Says Flynn Could Be Held In Contempt

Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) “is not ruling out holding Michael Flynn in contempt of Congress as President Trump’s former national security adviser continues to stonewall Congress,” Politico reports.

Burr said his committee has “plenty” of options to respond: “You’ll just have to wait and watch. Contempt is certainly one of the avenues that we could pursue. It does us no good to have people insist on pleading the Fifth if you’re out trying to get information. The only thing I can tell you is immunity is off the table.”

GOP Mulls Narrowing ‘Blue-Slip’ Rule for Judges

“GOP senators are talking about changing an obscure Senate tradition to make it more difficult for Democrats to block certain judges from advancing to a confirmation hearing,” The Hill reports.

“The change to the ‘blue-slip rule’ would involve preventing individual senators from blocking nominees to circuit courts that have jurisdiction over several states.  If the rule change were made, it would make it easier for President Trump to win confirmation for his circuit court picks.”

Senator Collapses During Road Race

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) collapsed during a Washington, D.C., race Wednesday morning and has been taken away by ambulance, the AP reports.

“Tillis, 57, was seen on the ground being administered CPR by bystanders… Tillis at first appeared unconscious but was revived and breathing when taken away by ambulance from the ACLI Capital Challenge 3 Mile Team Race.”

GOP Senators Rebuff Calls for Special Prosecutor

“Democrats who thought the sudden dismissal of FBI Director James Comey would finally jolt Republicans to back a special prosecutor to investigate Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign are going to be sorely disappointed,” Politico reports.

“Even Republicans who’ve criticized the timing behind the abrupt firing aren’t yet willing to trigger a confrontation with the Trump administration by demanding an independent counsel.”

Comey Invited to Testify Before Senate Panel

“Ousted FBI Director James Comey has been invited to testify in a closed session next Tuesday before the Senate Intelligence Committee,” Politico reports.

“The session would provide a first chance for Comey to weigh in on the circumstances of his firing and update senators behind closed doors on the status of the FBI’s investigation into allegations of coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia.”

Democrats Move to Slow Down Senate Business

Washington Post: “Capitol Hill was roiled Wednesday by the aftershocks of President Trump’s firing of FBI Director James B. Comey, as Senate Democrats began the process of slowing committee business and renewed calls for an independent investigation into Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.”

“Democrats invoked an obscure Senate rule that prevents committee hearings from lasting more than two hours after the Senate convenes. The move will cause Wednesday’s committee business — including nomination hearings for three deputies to Attorney General Jeff Sessions — to shut down around lunchtime.”