Said Huckabee: “Know what makes me sick, Mitt? Not how disingenuous you were to take Donald Trump’s money and then 4 years later jealously trash him and then love him again when you begged to be Secretary of State, but makes me sick that you got the GOP nomination and could have been president.”
“Mueller passed the obstruction question to the Congress and Barr intercepted the pass.”
— Sen. Angus King (I-ME), in an interview on CNN, adding that Barr “embarrassed himself.”
The Mueller report says that Senate Intelligence Chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) “appeared to brief the White House counsel’s office about the targets of the FBI’s Russia investigation in March 2017,” CNN reports.
The report states that FBI Director James Comey briefed the Gang of Eight — the Intelligence Committee and congressional leaders — about the investigation on March 9, 2017.
The week after, the White House counsel’s office was briefed by Burr on the “existence of 4-5 targets.”
“A limited number of members of Congress will get to see a ‘less redacted’ version of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report,” Bloomberg reports.
“The Justice Department plans to give those members of Congress a version of the report that will include information related to charges against Roger Stone, President Donald Trump’s sometime adviser who’s charged with lying to Congress, witness tampering and obstructing justice.”
New Orleans Times-Picayune: “John Neely Kennedy is the junior U.S. senator from Louisiana… Foghorn J. Leghorn is an animated chicken who appeared as a featured character in Looney Tunes…”
“There is practically no way to get the two confused… unless you are just reading what they have said. Then, it gets a little tricky.”
This quiz is much harder than you might think.
New York Times: “Seeking little credit — and getting even less — Mr. McConnell has expedited virtually everything Mr. Trump has asked of him since 2017.”
“But critics say Mr. McConnell’s acquiescence — he even strong-armed Senate rule changes to ease the president’s nominations to confirmation — has only encouraged Mr. Trump to go further out of the mainstream.”
“Mr. McConnell, speaking in his office last week, promoted his collaboration with the White House on nominations and tax reform but pushed back when asked if Mr. Trump’s unpredictable behavior had hijacked his legacy.”
“Senate Republicans are getting tired of being caught off-guard by President Trump on key issues like health care and controversial nominees like Herman Cain, and say there needs to be more consultation from the White House,” The Hill reports.
“Trump’s allies say they often find out about the president’s plans on Twitter or through media reports, making it almost impossible to offer the White House any advice before major decisions are announced.”
Politico: “Last fall’s brutal confirmation fight over Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation led to such bad blood that even old friends weren’t talking.”
“Then came an ugly, 35-day government shutdown, the longest in U.S. history. Just last week, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) triggered the ‘nuclear option’ and weakened the Senate’s vaunted filibuster to steamroll over Democratic resistance to President Trump’s nominees — the third time in six years the majority party has unilaterally changed Senate rules.”
“To top it all off, the Senate has now failed to muster enough votes to pass a simple disaster-aid bill, something that was once routine and is a failure that will affect millions of Americans.”
“The Senate on Thursday voted to confirm David Bernhardt, a former lobbyist for the oil and agribusiness industries, as secretary of the interior. The confirmation of Mr. Bernhardt to his new post coincided with calls from more than a dozen Democrats and government watchdogs for formal investigations into his past conduct,” the New York Times reports.
“Senators voted 56-41, largely along party lines, in favor of Mr. Bernhardt’s confirmation.”
Politico: “In addition to confronting Trump on his purge at the Department of Homeland Security and his threat to deploy auto tariffs and keep existing levies, GOP senators hope they can persuade the president to avoid nominating Ken Cuccinelli or Kris Kobach, another immigration hard-liner, to lead DHS. They also want Trump to drop plans to nominate Herman Cain to the Federal Reserve and are considering whether to challenge Stephen Moore’s nomination to the Fed.”
“It’s an unusual time in Trump’s Washington, with a Senate Republican majority that’s been at odds with the president for months now — and with GOP senators increasingly comfortable in trying to ward off what they see as Trump’s worst impulses. It’s an inflection point, with Senate Republicans weighing how hard to try to contain the president… The tensions between Trump and Senate Republicans have raged continuously for four months, an arc that intersects neatly with when Mick Mulvaney took the reins.”
“Got $15,000? If so, Sen. Mike Crapo’s campaign invites you and a guest to a dinner with Senate banking subcommittee chairmen,” McClatchy reports.
“$10,000 raised or donated gets you one seat. But giving or raising either sum allows access to a good time with Crapo, the Senate Banking Committee chairman, including fishing on the Chesapeake Bay or a fall retreat at the posh Greenbrier Hotel in West Virginia.”
“Attorney General William Barr is likely days away from issuing a redacted version of special counsel Robert Mueller’s findings, but Washington may be a ghost town when he does,” Politico reports.
“The House leaves for the week on Wednesday morning while Democrats hold their annual retreat in Leesburg, Va. Then members will scatter to their districts for a two-week recess, leaving Democrats urgently clamoring for a glimpse of Mueller’s report with a choice: to react from the road or underscore their concern by reconvening early at the Capitol.”
Associated Press: “Mitch McConnell says the Senate will be in the ‘personnel business’ this year. But the majority leader’s focus on confirming President Donald Trump’s nominees is coming at the expense of any big legislative priorities.”
“Nearly 100 days into the new Congress, the drive to confirm is adding more conservatives to the courts and putting more Trump appointees in government offices. But Trump’s promises to replace the Affordable Care Act, invest in infrastructure or cut middle class taxes have been essentially shelved.”
“The result is that the GOP-controlled Senate is on a very different path heading into the 2020 election than is the House, where the Democratic majority is churning out a long list of bills on ethics, gun violence and other topics that, while unlikely to become law, show voters their priorities.”
Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) “is set to call Friday for eliminating the filibuster, publicly endorsing for the first time a drastic change to Senate rules that would allow Democrats to pass sweeping, progressive bills with only a simple majority if they controlled the Senate in the future,” CNN reports.
Former Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) told the Guardian he received a number of threats from supporters of the president before he left office this year.
“Flake described several examples of threatening messages and behaviour made against him and his family that he said were currently being investigated by law enforcement agencies in Arizona and Washington DC.”
Said Flake: “I would have liked to have done one more term in the Senate, that’s probably all. But its been at a heavy cost to my family. The sacrifices they’ve been made to make, what they had to endure.”
“President Trump earlier this year asked Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, to prioritize a confirmation vote for his nominee to be the chief counsel of the Internal Revenue Service, indicating that it was a higher priority than voting on the nomination of William Barr as attorney general,” the New York Times reports.
“But the request by Mr. Trump, made to Mr. McConnell on Feb. 5, raised questions about whether the president had other motivations. For months, the president has seethed over vows by congressional Democrats that they would move to obtain his tax returns from the I.R.S.”
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) “blocked a resolution calling for special counsel Robert Mueller’s report to be released to Congress and the public,” Axios reports.
“This is the 5th time that Republicans — led by Paul and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell — have blocked the resolution, which passed unanimously in the House last month. Paul has argued in favor of an amendment calling for the release of communications between Obama-era intelligence officials that he says could shed light on potential “misuse of power” leading up to the launch of the Trump-Russia investigation.”
New York Times: “For the third time in six years, the majority party in the Senate detonated the so-called nuclear option on Wednesday to unilaterally change years-old rules of the chamber with a simple-majority vote. This time, to work through a backlog of President Trump’s judicial and administration nominations, Republicans cut the time between ending debate and a final confirmation vote on executive-branch nominees and district court judges from 30 hours to two.”
“The change was a provocative step that reignited a bitter partisan fight over presidential nominations that has raged for a decade and spanned presidencies from both parties. Democrats dwelled at length over the blockade that stopped Judge Merrick B. Garland from ascending to the Supreme Court in the final year of Barack Obama’s presidency to angrily question how Republicans could complain about the handling of Mr. Trump’s nominees.”
Washington Post: “Under previous Senate orders, these nominees used to require 30 hours of debate after they had cleared an initial procedural vote. Now, such nominees will receive just two hours of formal debate before a final confirmation roll call.”