Senate Armed Services Chairman John McCain (R-AZ) wants the Senate to reject the nomination of Gina Haspel to lead the CIA, Roll Call reports.
Said McCain: “I believe Gina Haspel is a patriot who loves our country and has devoted her professional life to its service and defense. However, Ms. Haspel’s role in overseeing the use of torture by Americans is disturbing. Her refusal to acknowledge torture’s immorality is disqualifying.”
Writes McCain: “I agreed to receive a copy of what is now referred to as ‘the dossier.’ I reviewed its contents. The allegations were disturbing, but I had no idea which if any were true. I could not independently verify any of it, and so I did what any American who cares about our nation’s security should have done.”
Democrats say Republicans will pay for their tax cuts by taking health care from working people. Trump is about to affirm this campaign message. https://t.co/QQjjv73XwT
— New York Magazine (@NYMag) May 10, 2018
Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-IA) “encouraged Supreme Court justices flirting with retirement to immediately step down, saying he would like to push through a nominee before the midterm elections,” Politico reports.
Said Grassley: “I just hope that if there is going to be a nominee, I hope it’s now or within two or three weeks, because we’ve got to get this done before the election. So my message to any one of the nine Supreme Court justices, if you’re thinking about quitting this year, do it yesterday.”
God damn he sounds desparate. Senator, this is a tell. A move that shows you know you are going to lose the Senate.
It’s nearly unanimous: foreign policy experts think Trump made the wrong choice on Iran https://t.co/T07Qn1O3Y1
— Vox (@voxdotcom) May 9, 2018
“Kirstjen Nielsen, the homeland security secretary, told colleagues she was close to resigning after President Trump berated her on Wednesday in front of the entire cabinet for what he said was her failure to adequately secure the nation’s borders,” the New York Times reports.
“Mr. Trump’s anger toward Ms. Nielsen at the cabinet meeting was part of a lengthy tirade in which the president railed at his entire cabinet about what he said was their lack of progress toward sealing the country’s borders against illegal immigrants, according to one person who was present at the meeting.”
— The New Republic (@newrepublic) May 8, 2018
“Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson has cut a $30 million check to the House GOP-aligned Congressional Leadership Fund, a massive cash infusion that top Republicans hope will alter the party’s electoral outlook six months before Election Day,” Politico reports.
“Adelson’s donation comes at a perilous moment for House Republicans, who are facing growing headwinds as they try to save their majority. With dozens of incumbents being outraised by emboldened Democratic challengers, desperate party officials have been hoping that Adelson — the party’s most prominent benefactor — would give more than he traditionally does, and earlier in the election cycle.”
If companies are making secret payments to Michael Cohen LLCs to curry favor with Trump, a natural question is whether they are also paying secret payments to Trump’s LLCs.
Congressional Republicans could find out easily, but don’t want to know. https://t.co/wyFeX0JApQ
— Matthew Yglesias (@mattyglesias) May 9, 2018
Playbook: “Republican leaders are becoming very concerned about the new immigration discharge petition, which would force a vote on a package of five bills in the coming weeks. The GOP has put off the immigration issue for some time, because of divisions in their ranks. Now they need just eight more Republicans to sign on — and every Democrat — to force the issue immediately.”
“Can House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy and/or Speaker Paul Ryan cut a deal to convince people to not sign on? Can they convince Democrats they’ll get a better deal if they don’t join in? Unlikely. There’s not been an immigration deal in the last two years. Lawmakers see Ryan and McCarthy’s promises as hollow.”
Those singularly focused on collusion may be missing the most troubling aspect of this administration. >>> https://t.co/aXsP7yDXvR
— John Stoehr (@johnastoehr) May 9, 2018
Vice President Mike Pence says it’s time for special counsel Robert Mueller to conclude his probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election, the AP reports. Said Pence: “In the interests of the country, I think it’s time to wrap it up.”
George Will: “Donald Trump, with his feral cunning, knew. The oleaginous Mike Pence, with his talent for toadyism and appetite for obsequiousness, could, Trump knew, become America’s most repulsive public figure. And Pence, who has reached this pinnacle by dethroning his benefactor, is augmenting the public stock of useful knowledge. Because his is the authentic voice of today’s lickspittle Republican Party, he clarifies this year’s elections: Vote Republican to ratify groveling as governing.”
“There will be negligible legislating by the next Congress, so ballots cast this November will be most important as validations or repudiations of the harmonizing voices of Trump, Pence, Arpaio and the like. Trump is what he is, a floundering, inarticulate jumble of gnawing insecurities and not-at-all compensating vanities, which is pathetic. Pence is what he has chosen to be, which is horrifying.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said Europe can no longer count on the U.S. for military protection and must “take its destiny into its own hands,” Bloomberg reports.
Said Merkel: “It’s no longer the case that the United States will simply just protect us. Rather, Europe needs to take its fate into its own hands. That’s the task for the future.”
A new ABC News poll finds the number of adults expressing no religious affiliation has risen from 12% in 2003 to 21% of all adults in 2017. That includes 3% who say they’re atheists, 3% agnostic and 15% who say they have no religion. The largest shifts during this 15-year period include 16-point increases among young adults (age 18 to 29) and political liberals.
A new Economist/YouGov poll finds that 61% of Republicans think President Trump is being framed by the FBI and Justice Department, while just 17% said he is not and 21% said they are not sure. Overall, just 29% said Trump is being set up by the law enforcement agencies, compared to 45% who said he is not being framed and 26% who are not sure.
President Trump tweets: “The highly anticipated meeting between Kim Jong Un and myself will take place in Singapore on June 12th. We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!”
B'lieve this is some help Gina Haspel does not want or need. https://t.co/fSGFJK5LGw
— Ed Kilgore (@ed_kilgore) May 10, 2018
“Milwaukee lawyer Michael Brennan was confirmed for a key federal judgeship, filling the oldest appellate vacancy in the country but deepening a partisan schism in the U.S. Senate over judges,” the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.
“He was confirmed 49-46 with only Republican votes, over the objections of Democrat Tammy Baldwin, Wisconsin’s junior senator.”
“That has typically been enough to sink a nomination in recent years, because senators from both parties have enjoyed an effective veto over the selection of federal judges from their home states, a tradition known as the ‘blue slip.’”
“Baldwin’s GOP colleague from Wisconsin, Ron Johnson, used his blue slip power to block one of Democratic President Barack Obama’s nominees for the same 7th Circuit seat that his party filled Thursday.”
Politico: “In many states, Republicans maximized gains in the House by spreading GOP voters across as many districts as possible. Typically, that left Democrats with around 40 to 45 percent of the vote in those districts, making them difficult under normal circumstances for the minority party to contest.”
“But this election year is anything but normal. Many of the once-secure 55-45 Republican districts are very much in play, even in states that have not had competitive congressional races since 2012, the year new maps were installed. And North Carolina and Ohio — where Democrats chose nominees in primaries on Tuesday — are turning into the prime examples.”
Rudy Giuliani “abruptly resigned from his law firm after weeks of tensions over his public comments,” the New York Times reports.
“Firm partners had chafed over Mr. Giuliani’s public comments about payments that another of Mr. Trump’s lawyers, Michael D. Cohen, made to secure the silence of a pornographic film actress who said she had an affair with Mr. Trump. The president has denied her allegations. In interviews, Mr. Giuliani suggested that such payments were common at his firm.”
Reason: “In the Trump administration, it’s always infrastructure week. But it’s less of a legislative rollout and more of a state of mind. Despite promises dating back to the 2016, the White House admitted yesterday that there won’t be any infrastructure bill this year.”
“Whether you view Trump’s infrastructure plan as a smart way to leverage federal spending, another federal boondoggle, an on-brand political move with cross-partisan potential, or, like me, some mix of the above, the elimination of the bill from this year’s agenda is yet another reminder of how little Republicans have to offer in terms of substantive policy.”
” If anything, the party appears to be giving up on its long-held priorities, and replacing them with vacuous Trumpism. Loyalty to the president has become a substitute for a governing vision.”