Democrats Confident They Can Block Trump’s Agenda

“Democrats believe they have set the stage to block President Trump’s legislative priorities for years to come by winning major concessions in a spending bill to keep the government open,” the Washington Post reports.

“Democrats’ lopsided victory on the five-month deal, which is likely to be approved this week, means it will be very difficult — if not impossible — for the GOP to exert its will in future budget negotiations, including when it comes to Trump’s 2018 budget blueprint.”

Politico: Congress claws back power from Trump.

Cruz Builds a War Chest

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) “is sitting on a war chest of more than $5 million as he prepares for potentially stiff challenges in both a Republican primary and in the general election,” Politico reports.

“The Texas Republican raised about $1.738 million in the first three months of this year across his Senate reelection campaign, his political action committee and the Ted Cruz Victory Committee. He now has $5.2 million across those three committees, and $4.8 million of that is in his Senate reelection account.”

The Death of the Senate

“President Trump’s first Supreme Court nomination has the potential to do more than reshape the nation’s judicial branch for years to come. It could end the Senate’s long history as the world’s greatest deliberative body,” the Washington Post reports.

“Liberal and conservative activists are girding for a fight that, under current rules, gives Democrats the power to block any court nomination. But in this week’s environment, with Democrats delaying Cabinet nominations and both sides calling each other names largely unheard of in the history of the Senate’s genteel discourse, Republicans could take steps to eliminate that power.”

“If such a showdown occurs, it would be about more than ending Senate tradition of allowing an entrenched minority to stymie legislation and nominees through the filibuster. It would be about forever changing the nature of the Senate, which the founders set up with the express goal to slow down and cool off the hasty and heated impulses more common in the House.”

It’s Won’t Get Any Better

Eliot Cohen: “Precisely because the problem is one of temperament and character, it will not get better. It will get worse, as power intoxicates Trump and those around him. It will probably end in calamity — substantial domestic protest and violence, a breakdown of international economic relationships, the collapse of major alliances, or perhaps one or more new wars (even with China) on top of the ones we already have. It will not be surprising in the slightest if his term ends not in four or in eight years, but sooner, with impeachment or removal under the 25th Amendment.”

Trump Seems to be Tightening the Circle Around Him

New Yorker: “In the first week of the Trump Presidency, influence has run through a very select group of advisers—maybe as many as half a dozen, maybe as few as two. The President’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, and Bannon have consolidated their influence.”

“The President’s isolation runs deeper than that. As the confusion around the immigration ban made clear, the vast government he oversees has little input on his actions… His campaign made clear that he was not interested in the findings of scientists, social scientists, or the American government. Trump’s transition has alienated him from the American public.”

For members: The Man Behind Trump’s Gold Curtains

Reports Suggested Trump Has Deep Ties To Russia

BuzzFeed: “The dossier, which is a collection of memos written over a period of months, includes specific, unverified and potentially unverifiable allegations of contact between Trump aides and Russian operatives, and graphic claims of sexual acts documented by the Russians. CNN reported Tuesday that a two-page synopsis of the report was given to President Barack Obama and Trump.”

“Now BuzzFeed News is publishing the full document so that Americans can make up their own minds about allegations about the president-elect that have circulated at the highest levels of the US government.”

Washington Post: “The officials said that U.S. intelligence agencies have not corroborated those allegations, but believed that the sources involved in the reporting were credible enough to warrant inclusion of their claims in the highly classified report on Russian interference in the presidential campaign.”

Pelosi Accuses Republicans of ‘Power Grab’

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi accused Republicans of attempting a “power grab” to snuff out free speech on the House floor with their controversial new rules package, Politico reports.

“Democrats say the proposed fines, a response to their gun control sit-in over the summer, is an unprecedented breach of decorum. And some experts have questioned the constitutionality of such a move, which House members are expected to approve as part of a broader rules package in early January.”

Mook Says Clinton Failed to Attract Young Voters

Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook acknowledged that the Clinton campaign lost the election because “younger voters, perhaps assuming that Clinton was going to win, migrated to third-party candidates in the final days of the race,” according to the Washington Post.

He noted that the campaign needed to win upwards of 60% of young voters but it was able to garner something “in the high 50s at the end of the day. That’s why we lost.”

DNC Told FBI Its Headquarters Were Bugged

Mother Jones: “In an episode reminiscent of Watergate, the Democratic Party recently informed the FBI that it had collected evidence suggesting its Washington headquarters had been bugged, according to two Democratic National Committee officials, who asked not to be named.”

“In September, according to these sources, the DNC hired a firm to conduct an electronic sweep of its offices. After Russian hackers had penetrated its email system and those of other Democratic targets, DNC officials believed it was prudent to scrutinize their offices. This examination found nothing unusual.”

“The second sweep, according to the Democratic officials, found a radio signal near the chairman’s office that indicated there might be a listening device outside the office.”

Clinton’s Lead Safer As Undecided Voters Shrink

Harry Enten: “Gary Johnson averaged just 7 percentage points in 11 polls released on Thursday, continuing a string of bad results for the Libertarian Party nominee. At the same time, the number of undecided voters appears to be falling. Those two trends are combining to remove some of the uncertainty in our forecasts — historically, the number of undecided and third-party voters has been strongly correlated with both polling volatility and polling error. The share of voters not supporting the major-party candidates remains higher than it was at this point in the 2012 campaign, for example, but the more it shrinks, the safer Hillary Clinton’s lead becomes.”

Even Trump’s Charity Is a Scam

A Washington Post editorial:

“Mr. Trump has cultivated the persona of a generous man, repeatedly claiming on television he would donate to charity “out of my wallet” and accepting honors from groups he appeared to support. In fact, an exhaustive investigation by Post reporter David A. Fahrenthold shows that Mr. Trump retooled his foundation about a decade ago to act as an intermediary for other people’s charitable giving, a racket from which Mr. Trump gained in reputation and from which he may even have occasionally profited.”

“Mr. Trump does not appear to have given his own money to the Trump Foundation since 2008, and by then Trump funds had become a tiny slice of the organization’s revenue. Since then, the available records suggest, a charitable group that bears the billionaire’s name has been funded by others. That has not stopped Mr. Trump from claiming credit for doling out other people’s cash.”