Senate

First step in a jail break [UPDATED]

Featured image The House has passed the “Formerly Incarcerated Reenter Society Transformed Safely Transitioning Every Person Act.” Why the ridiculous name? Because it spells out FIRST STEP. FIRST STEP is an appropriate name. As we will see, this legislation is intended to be the first step towards a jail break. A combination of Democrats and libertarians, aided by Sen. Charles Grassley who is neither, has been trying for several years to reduce »

A sore loser seeks to help reelect Joe Manchin

Featured image Hillary Clinton has a lock on the sore loser of the century award. But dishonorable mention goes to Don Blankenship. Recently, Blankenship, a convicted criminal, finished third in the West Virginia Republican Senate primary. Today, he announced that he will run as a third party candidate on the Constitution Party ticket. If Blankenship really cared about the Constitution, or about conservatism, he wouldn’t launch a quixotic campaign the only possible »

Grounds for optimism on the confirmation front? I’m not convinced

Featured image Some of us have been clamoring for Mitch McConnell to take special measures to break the logjam on Senate confirmation of Trump nominees for the judiciary and key sub-cabinet positions. One such measure would be to limit the number of hours nominees can be debated on the Senate floor, as the Senate agreed to do when Obama nominees were waiting their turn. Another would be to have the Senate work »

And now, the Trump Tower transcripts

Featured image This morning the Senate Judiciary Committee released 2500 pages of hearing transcripts and related material on the infamous Trump Tower meeting of the Trump braintrust with Natalia Veselnitskaya in June 2016. The material is all accessible online here. I haven’t read the documents. Based on the first-take news accounts, however, I’m going to go out on a limb and say I infer there is nothing in them to refute President »

Gina Haspel will be confirmed

Featured image Gina Haspel, President Trump’s nominee to head the CIA appears to have enough votes to be confirmed. The support of Senate Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Mark Warner, announced today, should ensure that Haspel has the votes she needs. In fact, soon after Warner’s announcement, Sens. Heidi Heitkamp and Bill Nelson said they are on board to confirm Haspel. A couple of guys named Joe — Manchin and Donnelly — had »

Senator Grassley requests

Featured image The Senate has taken a remarkably laid back approach to getting the story peddled by James Comey et al. straight. On February 15, 2017, for example the Senate Judiciary Committee requested a copy of the transcript of the widely reported call between Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn and the Russian ambassador and the FBI report summarizing the intercepted calls. The Justice Department declined to provide any of that information, and instead »

Dana Milbank rages against Tom Cotton

Featured image In the first few years after 9/11 it seemed very likely that al Qaeda would attack the U.S. homeland again and almost certain it was plotting to do so. Indeed, at a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing yesterday (about which more below), one Senator recalled credible reports that al Qaeda was planning to attack the U.S. with a dirty (nuclear) bomb. Our government needed to know what al Qaeda was plotting. »

Confirm Jeff Clark

Featured image For conservatives, the rolling back of oppressive, costly, and unnecessary federal regulations is probably the signature achievement of the Trump administration so far. This rolling back, if it continues and if it survives challenge, will deliver a major blow to the administrative state and provide the equivalent of a large national tax cut. EPA is the federal agency at the center of the rollback. Indeed, most of the “tax cut” »

Morrisey leading in West Virginia; Blankenship third [UPDATED: Morrisey wins]

Featured image With more than 60 percent of West Virginia’s precincts reporting, Patrick Morrisey, the state’s Attorney General, holds the lead in the Republican Senate primary. He’s at 36 percent. Rep. Evan Jenkins is in second place with 28 percent. Don Blankenship, whom we criticized here, is in third place. His share of the vote is just under 20 percent. There were reports that Blankenship was surging in the polls. I don’t »

Say no to Don Blankenship in West Virginia

Featured image West Virginia holds its primary tomorrow. Republicans will select a candidate to run against the very vulnerable Sen. Joe Manchin. I wrote about the race and the debate among the three major candidates here. I favor Patrick Morrisey, the state’s Attorney General. He’s the most reliably conservative of the three main candidates, in my view. That’s not why I’m writing this post, though. I’m writing to encourage our West Virginia »

West Virginia free-for-all

Featured image West Virginia has quickly become Bright Red. President Trump may be more popular there than in any other state. West Virginia still has one Democratic Senator, Joe Manchin. However, he is up for reelection this year and considered quite vulnerable. Three main Republicans are vying for the right to take on Manchin. They are Rep. Evan Jenkins, Attorney General Patrick Morrisey, and former coal executive Don Blankenship. Each has at »

Caputo’s complaint

Featured image According to CNN and other news reports, former Trump campaign aide Michael Caputo made the statement below to the Senate Intelligence Committee at the conclusion of his testimony yesterday. I’ve been looking for the full text of the statement today and finally found it via Twitter posted at the Daily Mail. CNN obtained this illuminating response from Rachel Cohen, a spokesman for Senator Warner: “As we have said many, many »

10 questions for Richard Painter

Featured image Richard Painter is the University of Minnesota Law School professor who has made a name for himself on the left-wing cable channels denouncing President Trump. He presented himself as a Republican and former Bush (43) administration ethics expert. Lately he disclosed that he was considering a run for the Senate, but that he was mulling over his political identity. Yesterday he announced his candidacy as a Democratic candidate contesting the »

Paging Richard Painter

Featured image MSNBC fave Professor Richard Painter made it official yesterday. He announced that he will seek the DFL nomination for the Senate seat held by the appointed incumbent, Tina Smith. It’s the seat formerly held by Al Franken. I’m beginning to think a comic element might inhere in the seat. I would love to interview Professor Painter on his candidacy. What does he offer Democrats that Tina Smith doesn’t? Even I »

How to counter Democratic obstruction of Trump nominees

Featured image Senate Democrats are holding up President Trump’s nominees to a degree never witnessed before in my lifetime, and probably not in all of American history. In the first two years of the last six presidencies combined, going all the way back to President Carter, the Senate subjected nominees to a total of only 24 cloture votes. So far, less than half way through President Trump’s second year, there have been »

Chai update: Sen. Lee is steadfast in his opposition

Featured image Sen. Mike Lee has been holding out against the renomination of Chai Feldblum for another term as EEOC Commissioner. Feldblum is the architect of the Obama administration’s LGBT policy and an enemy of religious freedom in virtually all cases where it stands in the way of gay “dignity,” as she sees it. I have heard that this week, Senate leadership is making another push to confirm Feldblum, along with two »

Not high on Heitkamp

Featured image I had the opportunity to meet and chat with North Dakota Rep. Kevin Cramer at a fundraiser this past Friday morning in Minneapolis. Rep. Cramer serves in Congress as North Dakota’s at-large representative. With President Trump’s support and at his urging, he is running against Democratic incumbent Senator Heidi Heitkamp in the election this November. Not having heard Rep. Cramer speak before, I was extremely impressed. He is personable. He »