We are on genuinely untrodden territory with a faction of House Republicans working to discredit federal law enforcement and intelligence agencies because they are investigating the President and finding damning information about him and his 2016 campaign. As you’ve likely heard, Rep. Devin Nunes, Chairman of the House intel committee had his staff write this “memo” which allegedly presents evidence of intelligence and law enforcement wrongdoing during the 2016 presidential campaign – basically “deep state” plotting against candidate Donald Trump.
Pennsylvania’s Supreme Court has ruled that the state’s Republican-drawn congressional map “clearly, plainly, and palpably” violates the state’s constitution, and must be redrawn.
Assuming the ruling stands, the most important effect will be political: it almost certainly will increase the number of seats Democrats win in November, boosting the party’s chances of winning control of Congress.
Let me share a little background on news that the FBI is now examining whether Russians funneled millions of dollars to the NRA in 2016 to support Donald Trump. It seems highly likely that that is actually the Mueller probe, not just “the FBI”. But the sourcing of the original report seems to have made it impossible to prove that connection. It is difficult to overstate how much smoke there has been about this going back a year. If there was proof we’d know about it. But even very specific dollar amounts – $30 million – were being floated around even prior to Trump’s inauguration.
The Senate has adjourned for the night, pushing off the planned vote from 1 a.m. ET Monday until later in the day tomorrow. No deal has been announced, but the tone of Senate leaders tonight was muted, as if they were making space for a deal to come together. The deal, to be clear, still seems to be centered on resuming funding until Feb. 8, so not a long-term deal. Our latest report from the Hill.
Our politics begin to make sense when you realize that the GOP is two parties: Party A, a rightist, ethno-nationalist party similar to rightist parties in Europe and Party B, a center-right pro-business party that is distinct from but controlled by Party A. The Democrats, meanwhile, are a coalition of progressive and center-left factions.
A year ago, as most of the media struggled to make sense of the reality of the Trump presidency and the Russia probe moved from the fringes of political discussion to the center, Michael Wolff’s was a conspicuous discordant voice – and quite intentionally so. Among his media colleagues, Wolff is quite well-known and not terribly well-liked. This appears to be as he likes it. He’s a canny journalist and a masterful self-promoter. He’s written a number of successful books and never seems to have a shortage of outlets ready to run his columns. About this time a year ago, Wolff was sidling up to Trump’s inner circle and crapping on basically every other journalist covering Trump. They wanted opposition, resistance, to say ‘this isn’t normal’ till they were blue in the face, he claimed. He wanted the story. He was a real journalist, not an activist.
What was ‘the story’? That Trump had achieved the impossible, bent the political nation to his will. That was the story and Michael Wolff was going to get it.
The House came back this morning briefly and will reconvene at noon ET, when the Senate expected back, too, but the schedule beyond that is not clear today. This could be a long day of waiting around, similar to yesterday afternoon, but without the forcing mechanism of a midnight deadline for the shutdown. We’ll be around this weekend, so keep checking in for the latest.
The key vote just went down to defeat. The government is shutting down. In theory, there’s still 90 minutes to go before that happens. But there’s no plan for any other attempt to happen before midnight. We have a government shutdown.