Monday, April 22, 2019
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Reaction to Mueller Report Divides Along Partisan Lines

Erin Schaff/The New York Times WASHINGTON — House Democrats vowed on Friday to pursue the revelations in the special counsel’s report on President Trump but drew little Republican support in a nation still deeply polarized over the investigation that has dogged the White House for two years. “Statements are made about me by certain people in the Crazy Mueller Report, in itself written by 18 Angry Democrat Trump Haters, which are fabricated & totally untrue,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter. Mr. Trump’s lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, challenged the credibility of Mr. McGahn’s account later on Friday. “It can’t be taken at face value,” he said in an interview. “It’s a mystery why Rudy Giuliani feels the need to relitigate incidents the attorney general and deputy attorney general have concluded were not obstruction,” said the lawyer, William A. Burck. “But they are accurately described in the report.” On the campaign trail, Democratic presidential candidates condemned the president’s conduct and called for action against him. Mr. Trump’s critics called it a devastating indictment of a candidate willing to profit from the help of a foreign power and a president who repeatedly sought to disrupt or end the investigation even if he was not charged with violating the law. The subpoena issued on Friday by Representative Jerrold Nadler, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, escalated a fight with Mr. Barr over what material Congress is entitled to see from the investigation even as Democrats continued to pummel the attorney general for effectively serving as the president’s defense lawyer. “The department will continue to work with Congress to accommodate its legitimate requests consistent with the law and long-recognized executive branch interests.” Mr. Barr redacted about 10 percent of the report, blacking out information that would divulge secret grand jury evidence, expose classified intelligence, compromise continuing investigations, or invade the privacy or damage the reputation of “peripheral third parties.” Democratic leaders on Friday rejected Mr. Barr’s offer to show just select leaders a version with only the grand jury material redacted. “The attorney general stands ready to testify before our committee and to have the special counsel do the same.

Donald Trump, Richard Nixon, and Honey Badger Politics

Directionally, the overall policy posture is center-right. The president retains the firm support of most Republican voters. Under the January 1973 Paris peace accords, North Vietnam recognized the continued existence of a non-Communist government in Saigon, while the United States confirmed its own ground force departure. Nixon’s critics have long argued that he had no interest in or expectation of supporting South Vietnam’s continued independence with American ground troops gone. Reports indicate that key outlines of a possible settlement include the withdrawal of U.S. troops, and a promise from the Taliban never to attack the United States. In the year following his re-election, revelations of Richard Nixon’s criminal misconduct over the Watergate affair consumed his presidency. In the end it was stalwart conservatives like Republican Sen. Barry Goldwater, who told the president directly that his impeachment and removal were certain. Congressional Democrats will therefore continue aggressive investigations on a number of matters, including Trump’s tax returns, his inauguration committee, the Trump organization, obstruction of justice, and possible campaign finance violations. Second, U.S. party politics are considerably more polarized than they were in Nixon’s day, and this obviously affects the process in more than one direction. The nature of Donald Trump’s character and personality is furthermore that he will always fight back against such allegations with the ferocity of a wild honey badger.

Trump and impeachment: where Democrats stand after Mueller

Because it matters not just for this president, but for all future presidents. Despite deciding not to run, he has continued to pursue impeachment. He continues to push on. “Let me assure you that whatever the issue and challenge we face, the Congress of the United States will honor its oath of office to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States to protect our democracy,” she told reporters this week. “We believe that the first article – Article I, the legislative branch – has the responsibility of oversight of our democracy, and we will exercise that.” The avenue is not impeachment. “The avenue is not impeachment,” he said this week. The New York representative, who has subpoenaed the unredacted report, has discussed impeachment repeatedly as it would originate with his committee. “The idea is not whether to debate articles of impeachment,” Nadler said. Kamala Harris: “I think that there is definitely a conversation to be had on that subject,” the California senator and presidential hopeful told MSNBC on Thursday, “but first I want to hear from Bob Mueller and really understand what exactly is the evidence that supports the summary that we have been given today.” Cory Booker: Speaking in Nevada on Friday, the New Jersey senator, who is also a member of the judiciary committee and a 2020 hopeful, said it was too soon to discuss impeachment because Congress has not seen the unredacted report and has not had a chance to interview Mueller. April 18, 2019 Beto O’Rourke: The 2020 contender and former Texas representative said he believed voters cared more about policy discussions than impeachment, telling reporters on Thursday: “I don’t know that impeachment and those proceedings in the House and potential trial in the Senate is going to answer those questions for people.” The full text of Robert Mueller's report on Trump and Russia Read more Elijah Cummings: The House oversight committee chairman told MSNBC on Friday the Mueller report revealed actions that were “at least 100 times worse” than those that led to Bill Clinton’s impeachment in 1998.

Connecticut GOP tries to harness toll opposition for fundraising

Lamont, a Democrat, has since said that the only way to raise enough money for overdue transportation improvements is to toll all vehicles on 91, 84, 95 and Route 15. Romano’s letter says Connecticut Republicans need to raise $40,000 over the next 21 days and asks supporters to chip-in $500, $250 or $100. “Acting like arrogant kings and queens in a monarchy, the regal Connecticut Democrats love to tell you what to do and take your money and make it their money,” the letter reads. Lamont senior adviser Colleen Flanagan Johnson said the only transportation funding alternative offered by Republicans, a plan known as Prioritize Progress, would take on long-term debt for the state and runs counter to the “debt diet” plan of the governor. “Instead of exploiting the state’s crumbling infrastructure for campaign contributions, we suggest donations to offset the $65 billion loan the Republicans want to saddle the tax payers with to pay for it." Romano said Democrats are creating a false narrative that they have sworn-off bonding. He pointed out the state, under Lamont’s Democratic predecessor, Dannel P. Malloy, and Democratic majorities in the legislature, has bonded for discretionary projects such as playground splash pads. “Bridges and roads is actually what bonding is supposed to be for.” Drivers with Connecticut-issued E-ZPass transponders would pay an average of 4.4 cents per mile during off-peak travel periods, which DOT officials have said is a 30 percent discount off the 6.3-cent-per-mile price for out-of-state vehicles. "Ned Lamont was elected governor last November and he’s doing his job; maybe the Republicans should focus on creative solutions and not schoolyard taunts.” A number of cities and towns have adopted anti-tolling resolutions that are mostly symbolic in nature, but are intended to put pressure on lawmakers to reject Lamont’s plan. There is another one scheduled for May 18 at the Capitol that’s being organized by NoTollsCT.org, which has said it has collected more than 95,000 signatures as part of a petition drive against tolls.

GOP congressman climbs ‘border’ wall, doesn’t actually make it to Mexico

GOP Rep. Duncan Hunter is facing backlash for pretending to cross the U.S.-Mexico border — something his Democratic opponent says would have violated the terms of the congressman's parole stemming from federal charges of misusing campaign funds. The California lawmaker posted a video on social media on Thursday claiming to be "15 meters" from the U.S.-Mexico border before walking over to a fence he alleged was the only thing separating migrants seeking asylum from entering the U.S. by foot. “It looks pretty tough to cross. Let me see if I can do it,” Hunter said in the video, before hopping over the waist-high fence, which serves as a vehicle barrier. “That’s how easy it is to cross the border here in Yuma, Arizona.” But his suggestion was quickly debunked. Border Patrol officials told The Times of San Diego that the official border is the Colorado River, which is further away from the vehicle barrier Hunter crossed. “Congressman Hunter said on video that he was 15 meters from Mexico, then proceeded to walk over to the border in what appeared to be, by his own admission, crossing into Mexico," he said. Margaret Hunter was released on $10,000 bond. Michael Harrison, a spokesman for Hunter, told The Times of San Diego that the accusation of him violating his parole by leaving the U.S. is a "non-issue typical of someone desperate for a headline as opposed to focusing on the real issue" of border security. “I would encourage others to look and review a map, spend time with the Border Patrol and understand what structures are in place and where they are with regards to the international border,” Harrison added.

Editorial: Politics on public’s dime

State lawmakers resist a proposal to end their use of staffers on political campaigns. --- State legislators have argued for years about public financing of campaigns, but actually, taxpayers were paying for a small army of political operatives all along. Oh, and we still are, because those same legislators blocked a plan to end the practice. The game works like this: Employees of elected officials — such as state legislators — supposedly rack up bunches of compensatory time during the legislative session. Andrew Cuomo proposed to end this wink-and-a-nod system with a measure in his budget to ban employees of elected officials from working on their bosses' campaigns. Which is rather rich, considering Republican legislators have benefited from the comp time loophole as much as Democrats. And it's all the richer because Republicans long blocked proposals to create a system of public financing of campaigns on the argument that taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for politicians to run for election. Public campaign financing benefits all qualifying candidates. The only real argument against barring this gaming of the system is that it would infringe on the employees' First Amendment rights. And to all those legislators who will no doubt ask what they should do about all that comp time, we offer the advice they're so fond themselves of giving: Try running your office a little more like a business.

INSIDE POLITICS: Most in NC want a new political party

Linda Hopkins (in hat), Gerard Falls and Kathleen Henry protest for Democratic congressional candidate Dan McCready outside a 9th District forum for Republican candidates on McPherson Church Road in Fayetteville on Monday, April 8, 2019. The latest Meredith College Poll says 56.7 percent of registered voters surveyed agree with this statement: “The two parties do not do an adequate job of representing Americans and a third party is needed.” More details: 56.3 percent of Democrats, 51.3 percent of Republicans and 67.1 percent of unaffiliated voters agree with that. The survey appears to mirror North Carolina voter registration preferences in that second-largest and fastest-growing group of voters in North Carolina are the unaffiliated voters. Those percentages are 37.3 percent, 30.2 percent and 32 percent. Combined, those three parties total less than 1 percent of all voters. 9th District election bits Three protesters appeared at this past Monday’s candidate forum in Fayetteville for the 9th District Republican primary in support of Democratic candidate Dan McCready. Anglin could have tried to gate-crash, but an advisor told The Fayetteville Observer that Anglin isn’t going impose himself on events if he’s not invited. Instead, on April 10, Anglin sent a letter to the acting Republican Party chairperson demanding access to events and materials just as all the other GOP candidates. In a letter to Bishop, which Rushing copied to Facebook, Rushing said the NRA limits use of its logo to official NRA communications. As of Saturday, the NRA’s Political Victory Fund website says it has made no endorsements in 9th District election.

Mitch McConnell, Never a Grandstander, Learns to Play by Trump’s Rules

Mr. McConnell, of Kentucky, who grumbled in private about Mr. Trump’s decision, managed a laugh. He had spent much of that week urging Mr. Trump, unsuccessfully, to abandon his plan to declare a national emergency at the border with Mexico to secure wall funds that Congress had denied him. 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. “Anyone that deals with the president is part of the Trump message,” said former Senator Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat who was majority leader, when asked about Mr. McConnell during a phone interview on Saturday. Soon after, Mr. McConnell told one fellow Republican senator that Mr. Pence, while well intentioned, could not be entirely relied upon as a negotiator who spoke for the president. Other times, Mr. McConnell sends his message more by what he does not do than what he does. “When Democrats were in the majority, we had a positive legislative agenda that would help the middle class in this country,” said Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, the Democratic leader. “The Senate Republican agenda for the last two years has been to do whatever Donald Trump tweeted that morning.” Mr. McConnell’s approach is rooted in his personal political realities: He cannot afford to have the president, whose support with the party’s base remains solid, turn on him. While Mr. McConnell does not interact with Mr. Mulvaney much, he did reach out to him last year, when Mr. Mulvaney was running the White House budget office, to ask that the president request $400 million for a new Department of Veterans Affairs hospital in Louisville, according to a person with direct knowledge of the conversation. Mr. Mulvaney said yes.

This Week in Politics – April 24, 2019

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) - This is the week congress expects to get some version of the mueller report delivered. The question is, how much will be redacted? Attorney General William Barr said last week he expects to deliver a redacted version of the Mueller Report to Congress this week. Democrats and some Republicans are skeptical of how much will be redacted. President Trump was initially fine with releasing the report, but last week questioned why "radical left democrats" should have the right to examine it. Early voting started Sunday, April 14 in Tampa in the runoff for mayor and three city council seats. Voters can cast a ballot at any one of seven early voting locations in Tampa from 10 a-m to 6 p-m through Saturday, April 20. Election Day for the municipal runoffs is Tuesday, April 23. Lots of work left to do in the final three weeks of the state legislative session. A ban on fracking, restrictions on abortion, school vouchers, efforts to fight human trafficking and of course the budget are all stalled in committees or waiting on one of the two chambers.

GOP lawmakers propose bill to separate Chicago from Illinois

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Legislation proposing the separation of Chicago from Illinois is intended to spark discussion about the overarching influence of the city in state politics, not actually lead to the creation of the 51st state, according to a Central Illinois lawmaker who sponsored the measure. "It's more of a frustration of the policies than the true belief that Chicago and Illinois would be better off as separate states," Davidsmeyer said. "I don't believe that Chicago and the state of Illinois should be separated. Our relationship is mutually beneficial." Chicago needs to recognize how its policies impact rural Illinois, Davidsmeyer added. "The reality is, the city of Chicago is competing with New York City and L.A. and San Francisco, and (downstate is) competing against rural Indiana and rural Missouri," he said. GOP state Rep. Brad Halbrook introduced the proposed measure in February. He co-sponsored a similar proposal last year that failed, and this year's attempt has even less of a chance of succeeding in the Democratic-controlled Legislature. Halbrook said the city of 2.7 million people differs ideologically from the rural population downstate on matters such as abortion and gun rights. "We are trying to drive the discussion to get people at the table to say these are not our values down here."