Senate Republicans move to quietly confirm lying Trump toady Rep. Ratcliffe during pandemic chaos

The rise to power, for ambitious conservatives, has been greatly simplified in the last few years. Attach yourself to crackpot far-right and conspiracy theories; use the fame to propel yourself to a House seat in a noncompetitive, always-Republican district; do your best to attract the attention of Donald Trump, who carefully sifts through the candidates and selects only the most toadying, dishonest, and conspiracy-riddled for new administration positions. If it worked for Mike Pompeo, it'll work for anyone.

While the rest of the nation is distracted by a true national emergency, Senate Republicans are taking the opportunity to quietly schedule hearings for fervent Trump acolyte Rep. John Ratcliffe's confirmation as Trump's new director of national intelligence. Ratcliffe had to bow out of the nomination in scandal the last time Trump attempted it; after the Senate nullification of impeachment charges, however, Senate Republicans seem to be signaling that there's no "scandal" left that they won't pave over to do Trump's bidding.

CNN reports the Senate Intelligence Committee, led by Sen. Richard Burr, intends to hold a confirmation hearing for Ratcliffe next week. Burr has been mired in his own, far worse scandal of late after it was disclosed that he responded to secret government briefings on the likely severity of the upcoming pandemic by dumping his own stock market holdings before the resulting market crash. Burr had opposed Ratcliffe's prior nomination last year, but has now evidently changed his mind.

CNN implies Burr's change of heart might be because he has been under heavy attack from Trump, who views him as disloyal for his unambiguous recognition that yes, the Russian government did indeed act to manipulate the 2016 elections. But it may be that Burr, at least in theory being investigated by the Justice Department for his stock dumping, has come to the same post-impeachment conclusion as every other non-Romney Senate Republican: In for a penny, in for a pound. If we're going to erase Trump's proven extortion attempt against a foreign nation, using the tools of government to brazenly abuse the office in a manner long recognized, unambiguously, as corrupt, it's impossible to argue that merely installing a Trump-loyal sycophant of sketchy record as top intelligence official is an authoritarian-minded bridge too far.

But CNN also implies that the move forward to install Ratcliffe is because the current part-time acting Trump pick, odious hyperpartisan Twitter troll Richard Grenell, is deemed so universally unacceptable that both parties would rather install a rotting tuna in the post than leave him in it. There may be more truth to that one.

Ratcliffe is, in typical Trump adviser fashion, about the last person you would want in the role of director of national intelligence. He has little relevant experience. As a House Republican, he has proven a pathetic and dishonest partisan, aggressively promoting Trump-favoring conspiracy theories like the notion that the intelligence community's probe of 2016 Russian election hacking was actually a Democratic-led plot against Trump. These conspiracies were enough for Senate Republicans to signal Ratcliffe's nomination would be a heavy lift even for them last time around, but it was the discovery that Ratcliffe had "embellished" his resume by a considerable amount that led to his eventual withdrawal from the nomination.

Ratcliffe had claimed terrorism experience, claiming that as U.S. attorney he had "convicted" terrorism-linked individuals—but the federal officials who actually prosecuted the case disputed that, saying they couldn't identify Ratcliffe as having "any" role in that prosecution. Ratcliffe similarly claimed he "arrested over 300 illegal immigrants on a single day" as U.S. attorney—the case he was apparently referring to actually swept up only 39 workers, was widely considered an embarrassment and a failure, and had no apparent involvement by Ratcliffe whatsoever.

That was enough, back in August, to send the seemingly perpetually dishonest Ratcliffe packing. After Trump's renomination, however, it seems that everyone involved, from Ratcliffe to Burr to Trump, have decided that "shame" is no longer something Republicans can have.

The confirmation hearing will be eventful, however, with at least Democratic senators eager to probe Ratcliffe's claims that the investigation into Russian hacking was a Democratic plot against the glorious ascendant Trump. And Republican estimations that Ratcliffe's confirmation can be sneaked through a busy news cycle might instead find that news-starved, entertainment-starved Americans stuck at home might not have anything more pressing to do than watching Richard Burr and other Republicans again humiliate themselves for Donald's benefit.

McCarthy rips Pelosi for stacking new coronavirus committee with pro-impeachment Dems

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., ripped into Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s coronavirus oversight committee, after she announced that members include several high-profile Democrats who have been outspoken advocates of impeaching President Trump in the past.

Pelosi eyes House return in two weeks

Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she wants to bring lawmakers back in two weeks after an extended coronavirus-related recess — her statement coming after House leaders abruptly scrapped plans for an earlier return after warnings from the Capitol physician.

"We're not coming back next week. Our plan is to come back the following week," Pelosi told reporters during her weekly news conference Thursday.

The House was initially scheduled to return Monday, May 4, along with the Senate. But Pelosi and her top lieutenants reversed course earlier this week after bipartisan backlash, delaying the chamber’s return after the Capitol doctor warned them it wouldn’t be safe.

The number of coronavirus cases in the Washington area continues to climb, with local officials predicting the region has yet to reach its peak and D.C. remaining under a stay-at-home order until at least May 15. In addition, House leaders had yet to develop robust guidance for how to resume full operations with hundreds of members and thousands of staffers and support staff in the Capitol complex.

Despite the safety concerns, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) is moving ahead with plans to return on Monday to advance judicial and executive branch nominees.

“We’re 430 members, the decision was made on the strength of our numbers and people coming together,” Pelosi said Thursday when asked about McConnell’s decision.

“Now, what they advised the Senate, I don’t know. They are 100, we’re four times that. … I can’t speak for the Senate, I just know what our responsibility is in the House.”

Still, the House won’t be completely dark next week. A House Appropriations subcommittee has scheduled an in-person hearing with hopes of having the government’s top infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, testify. Pelosi said Thursday some other “smaller” committees might also meet, if members were able to maintain proper social distancing.

And House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), who joined the speaker at her news conference, said his new select coronavirus oversight panel might convene in some capacity next week as well. Pelosi announced Democratic members of the panel on Wednesday.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), who criticized Pelosi’s picks and slammed the effort as “impeachment 2.0”, hinted that Republicans might not participate in the panel, but said he would make a decision by next week.

“I’m not convinced that we even participate in something like this,” McCarthy told reporters on a press call.

House leaders reversed their plans to return next week after hearing from furious members on both sides of the aisle, who were blindsided by the initial announcement on Monday and said they were given no guidance about how to keep themselves or their aides safe while working in the Capitol’s close quarters.

“We had no choice. If the Capitol physician recommends that we not come back, then we have to take that guidance," Pelosi said earlier this week.

Posted in Uncategorized

Donald Trump prepares to move into his 2020 campaign by blaming COVID-19 on China and … Joe Biden

Being impeached has not slowed down Donald Trump’s attempts to weaponize intelligence agencies and foreign policy against political opponents. In fact, receiving a free pass from Senate Republicans in spite of overwhelming evidence of guilt has made it clear to Trump that he really can dragoon the whole mechanism of the federal government into the Trump 2020 campaign. For months, Attorney General William Barr and special Q-spiracy pal John Durham have been jetting around the world, trying to convince foreign governments to help Trump out by backing up conspiracy theories that he can use in his campaign against Joe Biden.

But as Trump prepares to kick the 2020 campaign into high gear, the situation in the world has changed. That’s going to require a whole new level of conspiracy theory. Now Ukraine is tired and China is wired as Donald Trump prepares to connect Joe Biden to the coronavirus.

Trump is preparing to launch his first major ad campaign for the 2020 election. Doing so at a time when the United States has over 1 million cases of COVID-19 and the death toll has just passed 61,000 may seem somewhat … problematic. But as Jared Kushner proved on Wednesday, the Trump White House is fully prepared to point out that there are still 327 million Americans who are not dead. Yet. That somehow makes saddling the U.S. with a third of all cases around the globe a “great success story.”

According to Politico, the first flight of ads will depict Trump as “showing leadership” despite having to fight against those darned Democrats and that enemy of the people, the free press. Undoubtably, these ads will focus on how Nancy Pelosi distracted Trump from preparing to face the novel coronavirus by moving forward with impeachment. It was, in fact, such a distraction, that Trump could barely manage to fill the entire months of January and February with golf and rallies. 

The ads will also focus on just how eager Trump is to bring back the pre-virus economy. That’s a position that might also be a bit of a hard sell considering that the 4.8% shrinkage of the economy that was reported for the first quarter is likely to look like robust growth when the second quarter numbers come in. Donald Trump personally oversaw a disaster that is the biggest national health crisis, the biggest economic crisis, the biggest crisis since World War II, and he blew it—at a cost in lives that won’t be reckoned for months to come and a cost in damage to the economy that may genuinely bring conditions worse than the Great Depression. That is not a tenable position from which to start a campaign. Not even if it comes with a whole new motto.

Clearly what Trump needs is a solution, not one that can cure the virus or bring back jobs, one that allows him to pin the whole thing on someone else. With someone else being Joe Biden.

That’s why the ads won’t just blow the patriotic Trump-ets for more jobs and how-about-that-stock-market. The Republican National Committee has already been engaged in cranking out ads, especially on right-wing outlets, to keep Trump supporters pumped about his bigly leadership in the midst of the crisis. But the angle of those ads is about to change. Coming soon to a television, computer, and phone screen near you: ads that connect Joe Biden with China, along with accusations that China both created the coronavirus and covered up its spread.

Trump has already been laying the groundwork in his daily briefings. He’s repeatedly accused China of hiding information about the origins of the coronavirus and of being responsible for its spread to the rest of the world. Trump has extended these claims to the World Health Organization, cutting off funds to this critical resource in the midst of a pandemic. And over the last week, Trump has made multiple cryptic remarks that “someone a long time ago” made the decisions that caused the COVID-19 epidemic. The introduction of these lines into the daily briefings is absolutely sitting up the next phase of blame-pinning.

As The New York Times reports, the White House is forcing intelligence agencies to dig into Trump’s conspiracy theories in China, just as they did when chasing his claims about Biden and Hillary Clinton across Europe. In particular, Trump has intelligence assets trying to find some connection between a lab in Wuhan, China that tried to prevent the spread of novel viruses, and the release of this virus. It’s part of an escalating campaign to tie what Trump has insisted on calling the “Chinese virus” to the epidemic inside the United States.

The character of that campaign goes beyond just the idea that a virus under study accidentally slipped away from researchers. Almost from the outset, Republicans like Senator Tom Cotton have been pushing the idea that the SARS-CoV-2 virus was created as a bioweapon. In truth, there’s no evidence that the coronavirus came, in any sense, out of a laboratory. Multiple studies have looked at the virus’ genetic structure and found no sign of tinkering. And while much has been made of a letter warning that the Wuhan lab needed more experienced personnel, there is no evidence that it was either studying the novel coronavirus before its release, or had anything to do with that release. That hasn’t stopped Trump from retweeting claims that the virus did come from a lab, or halted the constant stream of White House officials and Republican senators making such claims in social media, on Fox, and on right-wing radio.

But as Trump starts to crank up his campaign, both the White House and right-wing media are warming up to the idea that this weapon had one real target—Donald Trump 2020.  

Trump has already falsely claimed that Hunter Biden “walks out of China with $1.5 billion in a fund … and he’s there for one quick meeting, and he flies in on Air Force Two, I think that’s a horrible thing.” Trump has also called for an investigation into the activity of both Hunter Biden and Joe Biden in China. China has refused. Which will surely be pointed at as evidence that there’s a problem.

Neither Biden actually got billions from China. It’s not clear that either ever got anything from China. But don’t be surprised to see not just ads, but an increasing theme on the right that the coronavirus was weaponized to take down the “Trump economy.” That only the biggest crisis in a century could hope to stop the inevitable reelection of Dear Leader Donald Trump. And that both Hunter Biden and Joe Biden have connections to the people who murdered tens of thousands of Americans.

Distractions are Donald Trump’s specialties. And the biggest disaster in ages, demands the biggest, most damnable lie imaginable.

In the meantime, enjoy the ads that are giving Trump heartburn right now.

Juanita Broaddrick Says Tara Reade’s Joe Biden Assault Allegation Gives Her Déjà Vu: ‘I Believe Her’

Juanita Broaddrick has long claimed that Bill Clinton raped her in 1978, and she now sees similarities with Tara Reade’s allegations against Joe Biden.

Both women accused high profile national Democratic leaders of sexual crimes only to see their stories dismissed for the most part by the mainstream media. According to Broaddrick, this prompted her to contact Reade a few weeks ago.

Broaddrick: ‘This is a very, very believable woman’

“I just told her, any time she needed anything or wanted to talk, to call me and she almost immediately called me,” Broaddrick told Fox News. “I believe her. I spoke with her on the phone, we spoke at length… this is a very, very believable woman.”

RELATED: Alyssa Milano Finally Shows Support For Biden Accuser Tara Reade After Widespread Backlash


Broaddrick plans to stay in touch with Reade and said that they “text every few days.” Broaddrick admits Reade’s story brought back “too many bad memories” about her tragic history.

In 1998, Broaddrick told NBC’s “Dateline” that Bill Clinton had sexually assaulted her in 1978. NBC chose not to air the story until after the Senate acquitted President Clinton during his impeachment trial in February 1999.

Similarly, Reade has blasted CNN and The New York Times for waiting so long to acknowledge and report her claims against Biden.

“The mainstream media is so liberal and they’re going to support anybody that’s running against a Republican. They’re going to be there, regardless of what’s been brought up about that person,” Broaddrick said, pointing to the hypocrisy of the media coverage of Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault which became part of his Supreme Court confirmation hearings in 2018.

The Larry King 1993 Segment Raised the Stakes

“It’s got to get to the point that politics do not play a part in this,” Broaddrick said. “It just depends what side of the aisle they’re on. If they’re against Trump, they’re not going to come out for Tara Reade. And Tara Reade is not a Trump supporter.”

Broaddrick noted the new developments of Reade’s late mother calling in to “Larry King Live” in 1993 and alluding to Biden’s alleged assault against her daughter while working for the then-senator.

“She texted me after the Larry King thing came out and said, ‘Isn’t that great, my momma coming from the beyond,’” Broaddrick said. “My father died when I was 26 or 27, and I’ve always wondered what he would have done had he been alive when I was raped by Bill Clinton… I was his girl, he was so protective over me.”


Broaddrick feels that CNN and other mainstream outlets have only started covering Reade’s claims over the last few days because they now have no choice.

“Just like NBC was finally forced to play my ‘Dateline’ interview,” she said. “They did not want to play that but they waited until after the impeachment to run it.”

Broaddrick also addressed #MeToo originator and activist Alyssa Milano denying Reade’s claims before coming around somewhat recently.

“(Milano) came right out and, immediately, said this was suspicious and felt like Tara Reade was lying. And then she said Tara Reade needs to be heard because she got so much backlash, she said.

RELATED: Hillary Says Kavanaugh Accuser Deserves ‘Benefit Of The Doubt’; Juanita Broaddrick Fires Back

Broaddrick Blasts Hillary Clinton and Her Joe Biden Endorsement

Then Broaddrick turned to Hillary Clinton’s recent endorsement of presumed 2020 Democratic nominee Joe Biden.

“You knew that Hillary would probably come out for Biden, but the way that she did it expounding on his virtues was obscene,” Broaddrick said. “She must want to be the vice presidential nominee, no doubt, and I feel like this is just the road to it.”

Broaddrick joked that a Biden-Clinton ticket could use as its slogan, “Vote for Joe, he’s not as bad as Bill.”

The post Juanita Broaddrick Says Tara Reade’s Joe Biden Assault Allegation Gives Her Déjà Vu: ‘I Believe Her’ appeared first on The Political Insider.

3,300 Volunteers From 52 Nations Sign Up Coronavirus Vaccine Trials

Everyone has felt the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic’s effects across the entire globe.

You’ve witnessed the world’s economy come to a halt, seen 30-plus million Americans unemployed, felt the economy contract by nearly five percent in the first quarter of 2020, and stay-at-home orders being issued to curb the spread preventing hospitals from being overrun.

MORE NEWS: ‘Charmed’ Star Holly Marie Combs Blames Trump For Her Grandpa Dying Of COVID – Calls President A’ Disgrace To Humanity’

The results? The Coronavirus death curve has flattened for the US-based outbreak, even in New York City, which many called ground zero. Many feel that for most of the country, the roadmap to re-opening should occur as soon and as safely as possible.


Of course. The reason? We still don’t have a vaccine. But wait, now we are learning that more than 3,300 people from 52 nations — including at least two Stanford grads have signed up to be vaccinated and deliberately exposed to the new virus. The group 1DaySooner organized the campaign.

via Mercury News

The effort was launched by Josh Morrison of Brooklyn, New York, a Harvard-educated attorney who founded Waitlist Zero, a nonprofit organization that seeks to ease kidney donation. In 2011, he donated a kidney to a stranger, accepting a small risk of death to save a life. A readily available COVID-19 vaccine, he reasoned, could save far more lives.

Traditionally, a vaccine is proven effective after comparison of cases in hundreds or thousands of individuals who randomly receive vaccine or placebo. That process takes a long time, because it must wait for natural infection.

The premise of a “human challenge” study is to infect a smaller number of vaccinated people who are young and healthy, accelerating testing and giving manufacturing a head start. A “challenge” study takes advantage of the low death rate for those infected by SARS-CoV-2 — about 0.03% for 20-29 year olds and 0.085% for 30-39 year olds according to data from China — not negligible but very uncommon for those likely to be eligible to participate.

Such studies put volunteers at potential risk of disease and death. There is no “rescue” therapy to treat them if they get sick. The long-term effects are unknown.  Yet they’re willing to help anyway. [Mercury News]

MORE NEWS: Schiff And Pelosi Launch ‘Impeachment 2.0’


I assume this usually happens when a new vaccine is tested. This is especially heroic when dealing with a hazardous disease.

Who are these 3,000 people? You do know you’re going into a governmental trial, right! Meaning they can put a chip in you or do anything to you! I want to see all these lemmings.

Serious illness and death from Covid-19 in healthy individuals under 60 are rare, but it has happened. It is estimated that it can kill around 0.5% healthy individuals in this bracket.

Potentially sacrificing yourself for the welfare of others is called bravery, and hopefully, nothing wrong happens to these kids.

I tell you what I’ll struggle to listen to the advice of any medical expert in the media ever again after all this. Every possible wild option and scheme has been thrown out there by people who are supposed to be in the same field and had the same training.



The post 3,300 Volunteers From 52 Nations Sign Up Coronavirus Vaccine Trials appeared first on The Political Insider.

Morning Digest: Justin Amash’s presidential bid opens up potentially competitive Michigan House seat

The Daily Kos Elections Morning Digest is compiled by David Nir, Jeff Singer, Stephen Wolf, Carolyn Fiddler, and Matt Booker, with additional contributions from David Jarman, Steve Singiser, Daniel Donner, James Lambert, David Beard, and Arjun Jaikumar.

Leading Off

MI-03: On Tuesday evening, Republican-turned-independent Rep. Justin Amash announced that he was forming an exploratory committee to run for president as a member of the Libertarian Party. Michigan doesn't allow candidates to run for president and for Congress at the same time, and Amash soon confirmed that he was giving up his seat in the Grand Rapids area. Amash, who left the GOP last year, also said that he'd be informing the House clerk that he's now a Libertarian, which would give the party its first-ever member of Congress.

The Libertarian Party is scheduled to award its presidential nomination in late May, so Amash will soon know if he'll be its standard bearer. However, he does have a backup option if delegates reject him: While Michigan's filing deadline for major party candidates is May 8, everyone else has until July 16 to turn in their paperwork.

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For now, though, we have an open seat race in an area that's been friendly to the GOP for a long time. Gerald Ford himself represented Grand Rapids for decades, and the current 3rd District went from 53-46 Romney to 52-42 Trump. However, Democrats may still have an opening if 2020 turns out to be a favorable year. 2018 GOP gubernatorial nominee Bill Schuette took the seat by a very slim 48.6-48.2 margin while he was losing statewide 53-44, while GOP Senate nominee John James carried the district by a modest 51-47 that same year while he was going down 52-46.

Several candidates were already running against Amash, and while the deadline to run in the August primary isn't until next month, it's unlikely the field will expand. Congressional candidates need to turn in 1,200 valid signatures to make the ballot this year, and social distancing makes that task especially difficult. The main GOP candidates are Army veteran and wealthy businessman Peter Meijer and state Rep. Lynn Afendoulis, while attorney Hillary Scholten has the Democratic side to herself.

Amash's decision to leave Congress will mark the end of a 10-year career defined by fights with GOP leaders. Amash first ran for the House in 2010 as a first-term state representative who had already established a reputation for libertarian principles: Notably, Amash was the only state lawmaker to oppose 59 different bills, and he posted explanations for each negative vote on his Facebook page. Amash was one of several Republicans to campaign to succeed retiring Rep. Vern Ehlers, and he earned the support of the anti-tax Club for Growth and local conservative powerplayers Dick and Betsy DeVos. Amash won the primary 40-26, and he had no trouble in November.

Amash brought to D.C. his habit of voting no on any bills that didn't pass his personal purity test, as well as a reputation for being difficult to work with. In late 2012, Amash was one of three GOP House members who were removed from their committees for, as one unnamed member put it, being "the most egregious a—holes" in the caucus. Amash refused to vote for John Boehner in the following year's speakership election, and he opposed him again two years later. Amash had more success with the GOP's emerging tea party wing, though, and he was one of the founding members of the nihilist House Freedom Caucus.

Amash's establishment enemies backed wealthy businessman Brian Ellis in the 2014 primary in what turned into an expensive and nasty race. Ellis attempted to portray Amash as weak on abortion issues and even labeled Amash, who is of Palestinian and Syrian descent, as "Al Qaeda's best friend in Congress," while the Club for Growth spent heavily to defend the incumbent. Amash won 57-43, though, and he was never again seriously threatened.

Amash's final break with the GOP came from his frustration with Donald Trump. Amash was the rare Republican who never fell into line with the administration, and he openly started musing about a third-party or independent presidential bid in March of last year.

Two months later, Amash took to social media and wrote that, after reading the Mueller Report he believed that Trump "has engaged in impeachable conduct." That attracted a typically belligerent response from Trump, and a number of candidates soon entered the GOP primary against Amash as his old allies almost all abandoned him. Amash announced on July 4 that he was leaving the GOP to become an independent, and he voted to impeach Trump at the end of last year.

Election Changes

Please bookmark our statewide 2020 primary calendar and our calendar of key downballot races, both of which we're updating continually as changes are finalized.

California: The Board of Supervisors in Los Angeles County, which is the largest county in the nation, has voted to mail a ballot to every voter for the November general election. The county is home to more than 10 million people and has more than 5.5 million registered voters. While voting by mail is very popular in California, it's been less so in Los Angeles: 45% of L.A. voters cast ballots by mail in 2018, compared to 72% in the rest of the state.

New York: Former presidential candidate Andrew Yang has sued the New York State Board of Elections, asking that New York's June 23 Democratic primary for president be reinstated. Earlier this week, the board canceled the presidential primary (but downballot primaries remain scheduled that day).

Rhode Island: Democratic Secretary of State Nellie Gorbea says every voter will be sent an absentee ballot application for Rhode Island's June 2 presidential primary. The effort does not appear to apply to the state's downballot primaries, which will not take place until Sept. 8.

South Carolina: Republican Gov. Henry McMaster has postponed a number of local elections that were set to take place on May 5 and May 12. New dates have not yet been set.

Texas: A group of Texas voters, supported by the National Redistricting Foundation, have filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging that the state's practice of allowing all voters 65 or older to cast absentee ballots without an excuse while requiring an excuse for anyone younger violates the Constitution. Specifically, the suit charges that the law in question violates the 26th Amendment, which guarantees that the right to vote "shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of age." Six other conservative states have similar provisions in place, all but one of which is also located in the South.

Two other cases on the issue of Texas' excuse requirement are still pending. In one, filed in state court, a judge ruled that all voters can cite the ongoing coronavirus pandemic to request an absentee ballot, though Republicans have said they will appeal. A second similar case in federal court awaits a ruling.

Separately, commissioners in Harris County have allocated $12 million in new election funds, which would allow the county to mail ballots to every voter for the November general election. Harris is home to Houston and is the largest county in the state, with more than 2.3 million registered voters.


CO-Sen: On Tuesday, Denver District Court Judge Christopher Baumann ruled against placing climate activist Diana Bray in on the June Democratic primary ballot. Bray had only turned in just over 2,700 of the necessary 10,500 signatures, and Baumann argued that she had not demonstrated a "significant modicum of support" from the state's voters.

KS-Sen: Rep. Roger Marshall's allies at Keep Kansas Great PAC recently ran a spot against former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach ahead of the August GOP primary, and Advertising Analytics reports that the size of the buy was at least $35,000.

NC-Sen, NC-Gov: SurveyUSA is out with a poll for WRAL-TV that has some good news for Team Blue. Democrat Cal Cunningham posts a small 41-39 lead over GOP Sen. Thom Tillis, while Democratic Gov. Roy Cooper leads Republican Dan Forest by a massive 57-30. This sample also shows Joe Biden leading Donald Trump 50-45.

April polls have consistently shown Cooper, who has received strong marks for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, leading Forest by double digits, but there's less agreement on the state of the Senate race. The conservative Civitas Institute released numbers two weeks ago from the GOP firm Harper Polling that showed Tillis ahead 38-34, while the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling found Cunningham ahead 47-40 around that same time.

Senate: On Tuesday, the DSCC announced its first wave of TV and digital ad reservations for the fall. The Democratic group's initial bookings consists of $30.6 million in four GOP-held Senate seats:

Arizona (Martha McSally): $6.4 Million Iowa (Joni Ernst): $7.3 Million Montana (Steve Daines): $5.2 Million North Carolina (Thom Tillis): $11.7 Million

The DSCC's reservations come weeks after its allies at Senate Majority PAC, as well as the GOP organizations NRSC and Senate Leadership Fund, made their own first wave of bookings.

All four groups made their largest reservations in North Carolina, a race that could very well decide control of the U.S. Senate in 2020. What's more surprising, though, is that all four organizations also booked millions for Iowa, which has long looked like a reach target for Democrats. The state swung hard to the right in 2014 and 2016, and while Democrats did considerably better last cycle, GOP Gov. Kim Reynolds still won a close contest for a full term.

We haven't seen a single poll of the Senate race since December, so we don't have a good sense for how vulnerable incumbent Joni Ernst is. However, this quartet of well-funded groups is at least acting like this race is very much in play.


CA-25: Democrat Christy Smith is out with what Politico describes as her "closing TV spot" ahead of the May 12 special election. The narrator goes after Donald Trump's handling of the coronavirus crisis and argues that Republican Mike Garcia "attacks anyone who doesn't agree with Trump." The commercial then shows a clip of Garcia saying that "everyone should have to figure out how to fend for themselves." The rest of the spot praises Smith's work during the pandemic.

GA-09: State Rep. Matt Gurtler picked up an endorsement this week from the radical anti-tax Club for Growth ahead of the crowded June GOP primary for this safely red seat. Gurtler has spent his two terms in the legislature fighting with party leaders, which makes him an ideal candidate for the Club.

IA-04: State Sen. Randy Feenstra is out with a poll from American Viewpoint that shows him trailing white supremacist Rep. Steve King by a modest 41-34 in the June 2 GOP primary; another 8% opt for another candidate. While Feenstra is down, the memo says that this is a big shift in his favor from late January, when a previously-unreleased poll found King up 53-22. We haven't seen any other surveys of the contest for this rural western Iowa seat all year.

Feenstra is using his huge financial edge over King to air a spot contrasting the two candidates. The narrator declares, "Steve King couldn't protect our farmers, and couldn't defend President Trump from impeachment." He continues, "King lost his congressional committees, can't do his job, can't protect us." The rest of the commercial praises Feenstra as an effective and pro-Trump conservative.  

Election Result Recaps

MD-07: The almost all-mail general election for the final months of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings' term took place on Tuesday, and former Democratic Rep. Kweisi Mfume won 73-27 in a seat that Hillary Clinton carried 76-20. Mfume represented a previous version of this Baltimore-based seat from 1987 until he resigned in 1996 to lead the NAACP. However, former Rep. Rick Nolan still holds the record for the longest gap in congressional service: The Minnesota Democrat retired in 1981 and returned 32 years later in 2013.

Mfume does have one more contest in his near future, but it doesn't look very competitive. The primary for the full two-year term is on June 2, and Mfume faces former state party chair Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, who is Elijah Cummings' widow, state Sen. Jill Carter, and Del. Jay Jalisi. This group faced off in the February special election primary, which ended with Mfume decisively defeating Rockeymoore Cummings 43-17; Carter and Jalisi took 16% and 2%, respectively.

P.S. In a tweet encouraging people to vote on Tuesday, Rockeymoore Cummings wrote, "A lot of people have asked me if you can write my name in. The answer is yes." Only about 1% of voters ended up writing in another candidate's name, though, and it's not clear how many of them selected Rockeymoore Cummings.

Ohio: After an abrupt cancellation, Ohio's primaries, originally scheduled for March 17, took place on Tuesday. The election took place almost entirely by mail, and only voters with disabilities or those who lacked a home address were allowed to vote in person. Ballots will still be accepted through May 8 as long as they were postmarked by Monday, so the margin may shift in some races.

OH-01: Former healthcare executive Kate Schroder defeated retired Air Force pilot Nikki Foster by a decisive 68-32 margin in the Democratic primary to face GOP Rep. Steve Chabot. This seat in the Cincinnati area was heavily gerrymandered to keep Chabot from losing again after he had lost re-election in a bluer previous version of this district in 2008 (Chabot returned two years later). However, Donald Trump only carried the current 1st District by a modest 51-45 margin, and Chabot himself won an expensive re-election campaign 51-47 in 2018.

Chabot's campaign was also thrown into turmoil last summer when the FEC sent a letter asking why the congressman's first-quarter fundraising report was belatedly amended to show $124,000 in receipts that hadn't previously been accounted for. From there, a bizarre series of events unfolded.

First, Chabot's longtime consultant, Jamie Schwartz, allegedly disappeared after he shuttered his firm, called the Fountain Square Group. Then Schwartz's father, Jim Schwartz, told reporters that despite appearing as Chabot's treasurer on his FEC filings for many years, he had in fact never served in that capacity. Chabot's team was certainly bewildered, because it issued a statement saying, "As far as the campaign was aware, James Schwartz, Sr. has been the treasurer since 2011." Evidently there's a whole lot the campaign wasn't aware of.

The elder Schwartz also claimed of his son, "I couldn't tell you where he's at" because "he's doing a lot of running around right now." Well, apparently, he'd run right into the arms of the feds. In December, local news station Fox19 reported that Jamie Schwartz had turned himself in to the U.S. Attorney's office, which, Fox19 said, has been investigating the matter "for a while."

Adding to the weirdness, it turned out that Chabot had paid Schwartz's now-defunct consultancy $57,000 in July and August for "unknown" purposes. Yes, that's literally the word Chabot's third-quarter FEC report used to describe payments to the Fountain Square Group no fewer than five times. (Remember how we were saying the campaign seems to miss quite a bit?)

We still don't know what those payments were for, or what the deal was with the original $124,000 in mystery money that triggered this whole saga. Chabot himself has refused to offer any details, insisting only that he's been the victim of an unspecified "financial crime." There haven't been any public developments since December, but until there's a resolution, this story always has the potential to resurface at exactly the wrong time for Chabot.

OH-03: Democratic Rep. Joyce Beatty won renomination in this safely blue Columbus seat by defeating Morgan Harper, a former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau adviser, 68-32.

Harper, who is 36 and a first-time candidate, had contrasted herself against Beatty, who is 69 and has held elected office for two decades, by calling for generational change. However, while Harper raised a credible amount of money, she was always at a big disadvantage against the well-funded incumbent. Beatty also had considerably more cash left to use than Harper when the race was unexpectedly extended, and the incumbent kept up her spending advantage over the final weeks.

OH State House, Where Are They Now?: Former GOP Rep. Jean Schmidt, who lost renomination in a 2012 upset against now-Rep. Brad Wenstrup, looks to be on-track to return to her old stomping grounds in the Ohio state House.

Schmidt ended Tuesday evening with a 44-42 lead―a margin of 287 votes―in the GOP primary for House District 65, which is based in Clermont County to the east of Cincinnati. There are close to 3,000 absentee ballots left to tally countywide (HD-65 makes up just over 60% of the county), so it may be a little while before we have a resolution. This seat backed Donald Trump 66-29, so the GOP nominee should have little trouble in November.

Schiff And Pelosi Launch ‘Impeachment 2.0’

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced on Wednesday that a group of vicious partisans and political thugs will make up a Dem-led House committee investigation into the president’s response to the coronavirus. The probe will no doubt be timed to coincide with the fall elections. One can almost already hear the press sharpening their hatchets

Fox News reports these cretins and sinecurists will serve on the committee: “House Financial Service Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., House Oversight Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., House Small Business Committee Chairwoman Nydia Velazquez, D-N.Y., and Reps. Bill Foster, D-Ill., Jamie Raskin, D-Md., and Andy Kim, D-N.J.”

Fox News reports these geniuses will serve on another committee Pelosi and Adam Schiff have hatched up to try and cripple the nation’s legitimate virus response: “House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, D-Calif., and Sens. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., also announced their intention to create a 9/11-style commission, set to launch in February 2021 ‘hopefully after the pandemic has been overcome and after the presidential election.’ ” The 2021 date is likely a feint or a promise to keep a knife at the country’s throat if the president is reelected.

Said Pelosi, “We must be sure that the money we put forth goes to those who need it most, in a way that addresses disparities in access to health care and credit. We also owe it to the American people to prevent waste, fraud and abuse and to protect against price-gouging and profiteering.”

She concluded: “As we respond to this unprecedented pandemic, there will be other opportunities for Member participation which have been suggested for inclusion in legislation.”

Oh good, “other opportunities.” And who are the sober objective fact-finders who will populate such “opportunities”?

Members of Congress like Democrat Maxine Waters of California. Here is Waters in 2019, being objective, “impeachment is not good enough for Trump. He needs to be imprisoned & placed in solitary confinement. But for now, impeachment is the imperative.”

The GOP wasted no time in returning fire. A spokesman for House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California struck back hard, “Instead of looking for innovative ways to help the American people, Speaker Pelosi has chosen to pursue ‘impeachment 2.0’ with a partisan and unnecessary oversight committee,” the staffer said to Fox News.

He added: “The roster the Speaker has chosen makes clear that this is not an honest effort at transparency and accountability, but rather another attempt to politically damage the Trump administration. During a time of unprecedented crisis, Congress must come together to speak with one voice – the Speaker’s so-called coronavirus oversight task force is simply another partisan pursuit.”

This piece was written by PoliZette Staff on April 29, 2020. It originally appeared in LifeZette and is used by permission.

Read more at LifeZette:
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The post Schiff And Pelosi Launch ‘Impeachment 2.0’ appeared first on The Political Insider.

Senate readies confirmation hearing for John Ratcliffe as intel chief

The Senate Intelligence Committee is preparing to hold a confirmation hearing as early as next week for President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the nation’s 17 intelligence agencies, two sources familiar with the matter told POLITICO.

Rep. John Ratcliffe (R-Texas), the president’s director of national intelligence nominee, will face senators as Congress deals with the fallout from the coronavirus pandemic, which has kept the Senate largely out of session for more than a month. The Senate is expected to return to Washington on Monday, while the House canceled plans to reconvene next week.

Confirming Ratcliffe as the nation’s top intelligence official would send Richard Grenell, the acting director of national intelligence, back to Berlin for his primary job of U.S. ambassador to Germany. Grenell is a Trump loyalist who took over when Trump forced out Joseph Maguire after the president learned Maguire had authorized congressional briefings on Russia’s attempts to interfere in the 2020 election.

Republican senators were cool to Ratcliffe the first time Trump signaled his intention last July to nominate the firebrand conservative congressman, who initially withdrew from consideration over questions about whether he embellished his résumé.

GOP leaders and rank-and-file senators alike have largely avoided commenting on Ratcliffe’s qualifications to lead the U.S. intelligence apparatus. Several said they simply did not know much about Ratcliffe, but they appeared eager to consider his nomination quickly so that Grenell, who had no experience within the intelligence community, could return to Germany.

Ratcliffe rose to national prominence during the House hearings with former special counsel Robert Mueller and, later, the chamber’s impeachment inquiry, during which he emerged as a vocal defender of the president. Some GOP senators, including members of the intelligence committee, have indicated that they will support Ratcliffe’s nomination.

CNN first reported the committee’s plans. A spokeswoman for Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), the panel’s chairman, did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The details for a possible hearing next week have not been confirmed, as aides consider a format that takes into account the federal coronavirus guidelines on social distancing.

Ratcliffe previously served as U.S. attorney in Texas, and he was first elected to the House in 2014. He serves on the House intelligence and judiciary committees, giving him a prominent stage as House Democrats led myriad investigations targeting the president last year. Democrats have argued that Ratcliffe is too much of a partisan to occupy the chief intelligence post, and they are expected to largely oppose his nomination.

Trump’s first director of national intelligence, Dan Coats, was widely respected on both sides of the political aisle and often broke with the president in public statements, in particular with regard to Russia’s interference in the 2016 election.

The Senate Intelligence Committee has distinguished itself as one of the few functional bipartisan entities on Capitol Hill. Just last week, the panel released a report backing up the intelligence community’s initial assessment of Russia’s attempts to meddle in the 2016 campaign — specifically, that the efforts were aimed at helping put Trump in the White House. That report was voted out of the committee unanimously by the panel’s members, which range from Trump loyalists to progressive insurgents.

Martin Matishak contributed to this report.

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GOP decries ‘impeachment 2.0’ as Pelosi names top Trump critics to coronavirus oversight panel

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday appointed several high-profile Democrats who have been outspoken advocates of impeachment in the past to sit on a new committee overseeing the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic, prompting House Republicans to blast the effort as “impeachment 2.0.”