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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "gardner"

Graham: We’ve got 46 U.S. senators right now willing to condemn the House impeachment inquiry as unfair

Westlake Legal Group l-1 Graham: We’ve got 46 U.S. senators right now willing to condemn the House impeachment inquiry as unfair unfair Ukraine The Blog sponsors Senate romney resolution murkowski Lindsey Graham Inquiry impeachment House gardner democrats collins

The number of co-sponsors of Graham’s impeachment resolution as of 6 p.m. ET last night was 44, meaning that nine Senate Republicans were still holding out. But two of those holdouts, Rob Portman and Dan Sullivan, made no sense. They’re each from red states. They’d have nothing to gain and everything to lose by crossing Trump on impeachment matters (especially Sullivan, who’s up for reelection next fall). Sure enough, Graham himself reported soon after on his Twitter feed that both senators had joined his cause. That left just seven holdouts — but all seven *could* potentially be hard for Graham to get. Or at least harder than the average Republican.

Alexander
Collins
Enzi
Gardner
Isakson
Murkowski
Romney

Two anti-Trumpers, two highly vulnerable purple-state senators who are on the ballot next fall, and three retiring senators. Hmmm!

It turns out that the new resolution wasn’t Graham’s first option for attacking the House inquiry. The White House wants him to be more aggressive against Schiff and company and so, per the Dispatch, Graham initially proposed to Senate Republicans that they should send a letter to Pelosi indicating that they were on Trump’s side — not just in his complaints about the procedures Democrats were using but on the merits of the Ukraine matter too. I think Graham, realizing how leery Pelosi is of impeachment, thought that a united front among Senate Republicans on the merits might give her the excuse she’s looking for to drop the inquiry. “Senate Republicans seem to have made up their minds before seeing the evidence,” she might have said. “That’s a dereliction of duty, but there’s nothing I can do about it so let’s move on from impeachment.”

The idea didn’t go over so well in the Republican caucus room, though, because there simply isn’t a united front on the merits of Trump’s defense.

Graham presented the idea of an aggressive letter to Speaker Pelosi, as first reported by The Hill, in which Republican senators would make clear that they would not vote to remove President Trump from office. The proposed letter would have included a defense of the president and a critique of the process run by House Democrats.

Numerous senators voiced concerns about Graham’s proposal. Tom Cotton argued that such a public missive would put vulnerable Republicans up for reelection in 2020 in a difficult spot: sign it, and you’re committing yourself to defend the president; refuse, and you’re making yourself a potential target of Trump’s ire. The former risks alienating conservative skeptics and independents and the latter would infuriate the Trump-friendly GOP base. Graham, whose office did not respond to a request for comment, was reportedly “blindsided” by the negative response from his Senate colleagues.

So, with McConnell’s help, Graham proceeded to Plan B: Forget the merits of the Ukraine matter and focus on process exclusively. Surely the caucus would agree to a resolution criticizing the way Democrats are running the inquiry. That would let all of them earn a little breathing room from the GOP base while they brace themselves for the momentous vote on removal after the president’s trial a month or two from now. And more importantly it would hopefully get TrumpWorld off of Graham’s back. They keep asking him to be a warrior for the president and meanwhile the president keeps making Graham’s job harder by griping about Senate Republicans:

That Graham’s maneuver fell short of satisfying the political bloodlust among Trump’s allies didn’t go unnoticed by his colleagues, many of whom have privately griped in recent days about Trump’s eagerness to air his disapproval of the very people he needs in his corner in the event of an impeachment trial. One top GOP Senate operative said that patience on the Hill is “wearing thin.”

“It’s exhausting and they don’t know what they don’t know in terms of where this is going,” the operative added.

Other aides said that they found the attacks from Trump-allied operatives to be counterproductive.

“It’s an interesting strategy,” a senior Senate GOP aide told The Daily Beast, “to attack Republican senators after they try to defend you.”

I’m surprised that McConnell would get behind Graham’s resolution unless he had commitments in advance from 51 Republicans to support it. If Graham’s resolution fails, it’ll trigger a thunderstorm of media coverage about how Republican solidarity behind Trump might be weaker than everyone thought. Then we’ll have a real sh*tshow between Trump and the Senate GOP. I think Graham *will* end up getting at least five of the seven holdouts in the end, though. After all, unless you’re a stalwart anti-Trumper like Romney, there’s no incentive not to play nice with Trump at this stage of the process. If you’re open to removing him from office later, why turn adversarial so soon? Just vote with Graham, be a team player, and keep your powder dry until the removal vote. Frankly, I don’t think any of the seven except Romney or Murkowski are any real threat to cross the aisle on removal either. Collins and Gardner would be committing political suicide if they did so, and the retirees Alexander, Enzi, and Isakson are loyal Republicans who doubtless move in Republican social circles. Why cast a vote on removal that’ll alienate everyone around them back home when the removal effort won’t remotely approach 67 votes?

The one wrinkle is that if Collins, Gardner, and the retirees have already quietly made up their minds to vote against removal later, then they might choose not to support Graham’s resolution now as a way of tossing Trump’s critics a bone in anticipation of the disappointment to come. They’d all be kidding themselves if they believe anti-Trumpers will care about anything else if they end up opposing removal, but siding with Democrats on Graham’s resolution is one very tiny thing they could all do to signal “bipartisanship.” If they end up refusing to support Graham’s resolution, that’s probably why. It’s not because they’re going to try to oust Trump later, it’s because they aren’t and are looking for conciliatory gestures to pro-removal constituents back home.

Anyway, the complaints about process are a fun sideshow but Republicans “are also keenly aware that there is an expiration date on that approach, given that Democrats soon plan to hold a series of public hearings to lay out their case, raising the possibility that their bind will only deepen as the more information pours out.” That’s why Trump and his inner circle are so peeved at Graham and so dissatisfied with this current stunt. A resolution denouncing Democratic secrecy won’t matter once the proceedings are no longer secret. A Judiciary Committee investigation of Burisma and CrowdStrike led by Graham potentially has much longer legs.

The post Graham: We’ve got 46 U.S. senators right now willing to condemn the House impeachment inquiry as unfair appeared first on Hot Air.

Westlake Legal Group l-1-300x159 Graham: We’ve got 46 U.S. senators right now willing to condemn the House impeachment inquiry as unfair unfair Ukraine The Blog sponsors Senate romney resolution murkowski Lindsey Graham Inquiry impeachment House gardner democrats collins  Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

How close will the Senate get to blocking Trump’s new tariffs on Mexico?

Westlake Legal Group g How close will the Senate get to blocking Trump’s new tariffs on Mexico? The Blog Texas Tariffs Mexico gardner emergency cruz Cory Gardner cornyn Colorado border

Been thinking about that this afternoon after hearing the news that Cory Gardner is a very likely “no” on the tariffs, should they take effect and the Senate ends forced to vote on whether to block them. Gardner voted with Trump in March on his declaration of an emergency at the border, which was his way of placating Trump fans back home in Colorado ahead of next year’s tough reelection campaign. This time, POTUS seems to have gone too far for him. Now he’s trying to placate swing voters who are worried about the economic fallout from the tariffs.

The Colorado Republican distributed a letter to his 100 colleagues on Friday afternoon warning that “current and proposed tariffs would negate all the economic benefits of tax reform” as Trump prepares to slap a new 5 percent tariff on Mexican goods that could increase to as much as 25 percent…

“I am all for fair trade. I am all for securing our border. But I am not for turning our backs on American workers and consumers. Nor can I turn my back on the free market truths that have made America’s economy the strongest in the world,” Gardner wrote in the letter, obtained by POLITICO. His letter cites a Tax Foundation study showing new tariffs disproportionately hit low-income Americans and that it would “wipe out” the economic benefits of the GOP’s 2017 tax cut.

It’s true — the tariffs on China and Mexico would completely erase the savings from the Trump tax cuts for people of modest means. And then some:

Here’s how the math works: middle earners got an average tax cut of $930 for the tax overhaul passed in late 2017, according to the Urban-Brookings Tax Policy Center. The tariffs already in effect cost the average household about $831, according to research from the New York Federal Reserve…

The full force of the Chinese and Mexican tariffs and subsequent retaliation would mean that consumers are facing an additional $3,994 in costs because of tariffs, more than four times the $930 tax cut for middle earners that the Republican Party touts as its signature legislative achievement under Trump.

What makes the Senate vote intriguing is that opposing political pressures are intensifying ahead of it. On the one hand, Trump’s tariff threat seems to be making Mexico more compliant on immigration enforcement and asylum reform, although maybe not as compliant as the White House would like. If Congress blows up the tariffs while Trump is negotiating with Mexico, all of that leverage goes up in smoke. On top of that, the crisis at the border is deepening, with apprehensions last month reaching a 13-year high. Trump has a very good argument that drastic measures must be taken. On the other hand, today’s jobs report was ominous, suggesting that the escalating trade wars are starting to cut into growth. Lay new tariffs on one of America’s biggest trading partners now and the pain will intensify. Which way do Republicans go?

Let’s count votes. Politico has a tally of how every senator voted on Trump’s border emergency decree in March. Assuming everyone who voted no on that will also vote no on the new tariffs, which seems a safe bet, then Trump opponents start with 59 votes. Gardner’s vote would bring them to 60. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn are likely also to vote no this time given the enormous economic impact tariffs on Mexico would have on Texas, so that’s 62. Things get less certain after that, but Politico notes in the Gardner story that Joni Ernst and John Kennedy have each tried persuading Trump to drop the tariffs. (Ernst is up for reelection next year.) If they’re both nays, that’s 64 — perilously close to the two-thirds majority needed for a veto override.

Where do the last three votes come from? Arizona is one of the biggest importers of Mexican goods and it’s no longer as reliably red as it was so Martha McSally seems a safe bet to cross Trump. Ben Sasse took a beating from his fan base of anti-Trump conservatives in March when he voted with POTUS on the border emergency so he may try to atone this time by opposing the tariffs. (He’ll have plenty of cover from other conservatives like Cruz and Rand Paul to do so.) That’s 66. Who’s willing to provide the fateful 67th vote? It could be Chuck Grassley, Ernst’s colleague in Iowa. Grassley dislikes tariffs and has grudgingly tolerated Trump’s trade war but his public comments lately suggest that he’s reaching his limit. Grassley also wouldn’t be as nervous as his younger colleagues about casting a decisive vote against Trump: He’s 85, isn’t on the ballot again until 2022, and won his last election by 25 points. He might be the man who makes a two-thirds supermajority.

I didn’t think they had it in ’em. Really, I still don’t. They’ll fall short somehow.

Still, it’s strange to me that Mexico has been so willing to compromise with the White House to avert the tariffs given the likelihood that the Senate will vote to spare them from a trade war. They must believe that Pelosi’s going to choke in trying to reach a two-thirds majority in her own chamber. Having the Senate embarrass Trump would be a nice consolation prize for AMLO’s government but it doesn’t mean a thing economically if the House can’t get to 290 votes.

Exit question via Marc Thiessen: What if Trump decides to incorporate the tariffs into his current emergency declaration at the border? There are two ways he can go about doing this, notes Thiessen, issuing a new emergency decree that implements the tariffs or amending his existing decree to include them in that one. If he amends that decree, which also address wall funding, then Republicans in Congress who want to vote no on the tariffs will also be voting no on the wall, a step they’ll be more reluctant to take. Will that save Trump from the humiliation of 67 votes?

The post How close will the Senate get to blocking Trump’s new tariffs on Mexico? appeared first on Hot Air.

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Yikes: Fourth Republican senator says he won’t vote for Herman Cain for Fed, sinking nomination

Westlake Legal Group yikes-fourth-republican-senator-says-he-wont-vote-for-herman-cain-for-fed-sinking-nomination Yikes: Fourth Republican senator says he won’t vote for Herman Cain for Fed, sinking nomination Trump The Blog stephen moore Senate romney republican mcconnell Herman Cain gardner cramer

Westlake Legal Group c-1 Yikes: Fourth Republican senator says he won’t vote for Herman Cain for Fed, sinking nomination Trump The Blog stephen moore Senate romney republican mcconnell Herman Cain gardner cramer

It takes an awfully dubious nomination to rile up a bunch as obedient as the Senate GOP to the point where they’re not only willing to bork a Trump pick but to bork him before he’s even been formally nominated.

I did not think they had it in ’em.

Cain’s loss is *probably* Stephen Moore’s gain, though. It’s almost unimaginable that Republicans would embarrass Trump twice by rejecting both of his Fed nominees.

North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer said he wouldn’t back Cain if President Donald Trump nominates him to the Fed and hopes the president will make another choice.

“If I had to vote today, I couldn’t vote for Herman Cain,” said Cramer, a Trump ally. “The allegations that drove him from the presidential race are just so obviously serious. I’m not talking about his position on interest rates or anything like that, but the sexual harassment stuff. Until it’s better explained I couldn’t vote for him.”…

Cramer joins GOP senators Mitt Romney of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Cory Gardner of Colorado in expressing opposition to a Cain nomination, which would leave him with just 49 potential Republican votes. Senate GOP leaders, including Republican Whip John Thune, have already said they don’t anticipate Cain could get a single Democratic to support his confirmation.

Cramer’s opposition is a surprise. Gardner’s made sense because he’s facing a tight race in a Hillary state next fall and already weathered one #MeToo storm in supporting Brett Kavanaugh. He didn’t want to endure another. Murkowkski’s made sense because she’s a centrist and feels invincible in Alaska. If she didn’t feel enough pressure back home to support Kavanaugh, she wasn’t going to feel it over Cain. Romney’s made sense because … he’s Romney. He truly is invincible in his home state and he seems to be honestly worried about Trump’s attempt to place cronies on the Fed board.

But Cramer is the newly elected senator from deep red North Dakota. He won’t face voters again until 2024. He has no reason to get out in front on borking Cain. So why’d he do it? One possibility is that he’s thinking back to his diciest moment from the last campaign and already looking to defuse it ahead of his next run. Remember that?

Representative Kevin Cramer of North Dakota has repeatedly made headlines this year in his race against Senator Heidi Heitkamp because of off-the-cuff comments that range from inflammatory to indelicate. But his latest provocation on sexual misconduct sparked a furious and tearful rejoinder from Ms. Heitkamp on Sunday, one day after she voted to oppose the Supreme Court nomination of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh…

Invoking his wife, daughters, mother and mother-in-law, Mr. Cramer said: “They cannot understand this movement toward victimization. They are pioneers of the prairie. These are tough people whose grandparents were tough and great-grandparents were tough.”

Heidi Heitkamp’s campaign tried to make hay of that, accusing Cramer of believing that victims of sexual assault aren’t “tough” or that they somehow haven’t been truly victimized. That produced a nervous moment for the GOP, until Team Heitkamp gift-wrapped a much bigger #MeToo screw-up of their own that helped Cramer to an easy victory. Maybe Cramer feels genuinely bad about how #MeToo victims might have received his comments or maybe he’s anticipating renewed attacks along Heitkamp’s line next time. Whatever the reason, it’s noteworthy that he made a point of identifying the sexual harassment allegations against Cain as the key to his opposition. Most other Republicans have cited cronyism as their chief concern about him.

There’s another possibility. Mitch McConnell obviously didn’t want Cain’s nomination to move forward, knowing how Democrats would turn it into a circus and expecting that the nomination would fail in the end anyway. One of Cain’s accusers from 2012 is already talking to the media again. It’d be silly to sustain foreseeable political damage to no good end, but the same was true of the shutdown in December and that didn’t stop Trump from moving forward with that. So maybe McConnell decided that a fourth GOP senator needed to speak up right now, before this went any further, to dissuade Trump from proceeding with nominating Cain. Naturally in searching for that senator he’d be looking for someone who’d face no political trouble for opposing the nominee — someone from a very red state, say, where Trumpy populists maybe aren’t as active in primaries as they are elsewhere, and who won’t need to worry about reelection for a long time. And if that person happened to be a very junior senator who’d instinctively think twice about crossing the majority leader, so much the better.

Maybe McConnell knocked on Cramer’s door and said, “Kevin, I need a favor.” How could Cramer say no?

Trump didn’t sound optimistic yesterday when asked about Cain, saying that Cain himself “will make that determination” as to whether to continue with this process. One other thing that occurs to me is that McConnell and other Republicans might have wanted to kill Cain’s chances quickly in order to show Trump that nominees whom he’s plucked from right-wing media will be greeted skeptically. If Cain had sailed through, it’s a cinch that Trump would have eventually tried to put Judge Jeanine on the federal bench or at the DOJ or wherever. McConnell’s trying to draw a line to discourage Trump from political “fan service” for his base, to borrow a term.

The post Yikes: Fourth Republican senator says he won’t vote for Herman Cain for Fed, sinking nomination appeared first on Hot Air.

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