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Steve Bannon speechless after Roy Moore loss in Alabama

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 06:57:24 AM
Democrat Doug Jones' win in the Alabama Senate special election is a big loss for President Donald Trump and Steve Bannon, who offered no comment when leaving Moore election HQ. Maria Teresa Kumar, Karine Jean-Pierre, and Ron Klain join Lawrence O...

Alabama election a 'double earthquake' for GOP, Trump

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 06:54:59 AM
Ex-George W. Bush official David Frum says Doug Jones' surprise win in Alabama brings two problems for the GOP: One less vote in the Senate, and renewed focus on accusations of sexual misconduct against Pres. Trump. Maria Teresa Kumar also joins...

Kornacki: What Doug Jones needed—and got—in Alabama

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 06:25:42 AM
After a momentous night at MSNBC's Big Board, Steve Kornacki joins Lawrence O'Donnell to explain the three things Democrat Doug Jones needed to pull off a victory over Republican Roy Moore in the Alabama Senate special election – which he got.

USA Today writes scathing editorial on Trump’s Gillibrand tweet

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 06:17:12 AM
The USA Today writes that, "A president who'd all but call a senator a whore is unfit to clean toilets in Obama's presidential library or to shine George W. Bush's shoes."

Tom Perez: Tonight was a victory for decency

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 06:07:17 AM
Tom Perez reacts to Doug Jones's victory.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar: 'The people of Alabama have spoken'

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 05:48:31 AM
Sen. Klobuchar reacts to Doug Jones's win in the Alabama Senate race.

Doug Jones is the first Alabama Democratic Senator elected in 25 years

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 05:32:10 AM
Kornacki details Doug Jones’s path to victory.

Doug Jones is the apparent winner of the Alabama Senate race

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 05:26:58 AM
Doug Jones is the apparent winner of the Alabama special election, giving Democrats another seat in the Senate.

Trump tweets 'congratulations' to Doug Jones

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 04:48:43 AM
After backing Roy Moore in the Alabama Special Senate Election, President Donald Trump tweets congratulations to the apparent winner, Moore's Democratic opponent Doug Jones.

Roy Moore speaks to supporters but fails to concede

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 04:43:21 AM
Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore spoke to supporters after NBC News declared his opponent Democrat Doug Jones the apparent winner in the Alabama Special Senate Election, but did not concede.

Defiant Moore Refuses To Concede Alabama Senate Race

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 05:11:24 AM
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore ain’t done yet. An obstinate Moore refused to concede defeat to Democrat Doug Jones even though he trailed Jones by a not-that-close 49.9 percent to 48.4 percent, insisting there was a possibility of a recount. “Realize that when the vote is this close it is not over. We’ve still got to go by the rules and by this recount provision,” he declared around 10:30 p.m. CT Tuesday evening, more than an hour after the race had been called by the Associated Press and most TV networks – an after Jones had given his victory speech. “We also know that God is always in control. The problem with this campaign is we’ve been painted with an unfavorable and unfaithful light. We’ve been put in a hole, if you will,” he continued. “That’s what we’ve got to do – wait on God and let this process play out. … Let’s go home and sleep on it.” Alabama has a law for an automatic recount if the race’s margin is within 0.5 percent, paid for by the state. If the margin is wider, then a candidate can ask for (and pay for) a recount. But Jones led by more than 21,000 votes — a gaping chasm in the world of recount elections. Moore’s campaign insisted Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill had indicated that a recount could happen, and told reporters to head to his office for an explanation of the rules. Merrill, a staunch conservative who’d stuck by Moore’s campaign, said Moore could get a recount if he paid for it. But he threw cold water on Moore’s plans, telling CNN he “would find it highly unlikely” that Jones won’t be Alabama’s next senator. Alabama Republicans made it clear that Moore is on his own in his quixotic quest. “While we are deeply disappointed in the extremely close U.S. Senate election results, with our candidate Judge Roy Moore, we respect the voting process given to us by our Founding Fathers,” Alabama Republican Party Chair Terry Lathan said in a statement. “Now that this race has ended, may this holiday season of peace, love and hope resonate with everyone, regardless of one’s political affiliation.” Even some of Moore’s closest allies weren’t optimistic. John Eidsmoe, a friend and ally for decades who works for Moore’s Foundation for Moral Law, told TPM that it could be “days” for a final count — but was shocked when TPM told him that Jones trailed by more than 20,000 votes. When asked how confident he was that Moore could win, he said “not very.” Moore, a firebrand social conservative, blew a race few thought a Democrat could win, largely because nine women came forward to accuse him of sexual misconduct. He remained willfully defiant throughout the campaign, denying all accusations. And after a career of obstinate refusal and intransigent fights with everyone who told him no, he looks like he’s going to go down kicking and screaming.

Trump Congratulates Dem Jones On Senate Victory: 'A Win Is A Win'

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 05:17:27 AM
President Donald Trump on Tuesday tweeted his congratulations to Democratic Sen.-elect Doug Jones (D-AL), calling Jones’ victory “hard fought.” Congratulations to Doug Jones on a hard fought victory. The write-in votes played a very big factor, but a win is a win. The people of Alabama are great, and the Republicans will have another shot at this seat in a very short period of time. It never ends! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 13, 2017 Trump had endorsed Republican Roy Moore in the general election, after endorsing interim Sen. Luther Strange (R-AL) in the Republican primary. Both men endorsed by the President lost in deep-red Alabama. Trump campaigned hard against Jones, tweeting frequent attacks against him and in support of his opponent, despite revelations that Moore allegedly initiated sexual contact with a 14-year-old and sexually assaulted a 16-year-old as an assistant district attorney, among other allegations. Trump recorded a robocall for Moore and invited Alabamians to a nearby rally in Pensacola, Florida, among a slew of other appeals, all to no avail.

NRSC Chair Says Jones Should Vote With GOP To 'Truly Represent Alabama'

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 03:52:01 AM
The chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee urged Alabama’s newly elected Democratic senator, Doug Jones, to “do the right thing” and vote with Republicans. “Tonight’s results are clear — the people of Alabama deemed Roy Moore unfit to serve in the U.S. Senate,” Gardner said in a statement.  “I hope Senator-elect Doug Jones will do the right thing and truly represent Alabama by choosing to vote with the Senate Republican Majority.” NRSC Chairman @CoryGardner on Roy Moore’s defeat in Alabama. — Sahil Kapur (@sahilkapur) December 13, 2017 Gardner was one of the strongest Republican voices in the Senate calling for the Republican candidate in the race, Roy Moore, to drop out following several reports that he made inappropriate sexual advances on teenagers as an assistant district attorney, including alleged sexual assault.  Gardner cut off NRSC funding to Moore’s campaign and said he would support the Senate expelling Moore if he were elected.

Boom. Nets and AP Declare Doug Jones Winner

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 03:40:06 AM
There it is. Democrat Doug Jones defeats Roy Moore to become the next Senator from the State of Alabama.

Doug Jones Pulls Ahead As Moore Crowd Grows Nervous In Alabama Senate Race

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 03:24:01 AM
MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Tensions have started to build underneath the sounds of smooth jazz at Roy Moore’s election night party as updated results have Democrat Doug Jones closing in on Moore. Moore was clinging to a narrow lead of 49.5 percent to 49 percent lead — less than 5,000 votes —shortly after 9 p.m. CT on Tuesday — when a jazz saxophonist wrapped up his cover of Carlos Santana’s “Smooth” and a few other gems and was met with nervous silence from the audience. Moore’s lead in the raw vote count had been shrinking all evening. County-by-county results indicated a nail-biter of a race — and the more urban, more Democratic counties had more of the outstanding vote. “We’re hanging on, 81% of the vote, we need some more,” a Moore surrogate who’d been keeping the crowd warm all night said as a once-raucous crowd tittered nervously. “Call it!” someone in the crowd yelled a few minutes later after a family band came onstage to sing “America the Beautiful.” “I want to call it,” he joked back. But the once-excited crowd’s happy chatter had dimmed to a dull murmur. And at 9:15 p.m. CT, the crowd fell silent as Jones pulled ahead, with the sad sounds of “Amazing Grace” playing in the background. Black turnout has been higher than most experts expected — and significantly higher than white turnout in some crucial counties. That’s helped Jones claw his way into a virtual tie. The race appears headed for a photo finish, with even expert prognosticators unclear who will win. For those watching at home, under Alabama law any election narrower than 0.5 percent of the vote triggers an automatic recount. Get your popcorn. If y’all continue to keep the faith,” the Moore surrogate told the crowd, “we’re going to get this thing.”

Okay, This Looks Close to Done

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 03:25:29 AM
My talent on night’s like this isn’t understanding the details returns numbers. It’s closely watching the people who do. But looking at the map right now, it’s hard for me to see how Roy Moore wins this. At this moment it’s 85% reporting and an exact tie. But looking at the counties, virtually all the remaining votes are in big Democratic cities. They have substantial numbers of votes left to count and most of those big cities have big lopsided Doug Jones margins. In a couple they’re closer but still with Jones ahead. I can’t see down into the precinct levels. And I don’t know the area well enough that I’d be able to read their meaning in any case. So it’s possible each of these big cities have just disproportionately reported the most pro-Jones precincts. But at this point, with lots of votes in, that’s pretty hard to figure. Here’s an example. Jefferson County (Birmingham) has Jones up 76% to 22% with 122 of 172 precincts reporting. Remember, precincts don’t all have the same numbers of votes. And at least I don’t know which precincts have reported. But it seems like there must be a lot of Jones votes still to come in. A few big cities have broadly similar patterns. I’m not saying it’s done. We could conceivably just be seeing all the best Jones data early. But that seems hard to figure at this point. Possible. Alabama voting is so racially polarized that different precincts, even close by each other and certainly within the same counties can have markedly different results. But everything would need to fall in his favor. And all the data we see now would have to skew toward the pro-Jones areas. Hard to see why that would be true.

Two Hours In

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 03:27:04 AM
Still a complicated picture. But you’d rather be Jones right now than Moore. The current results have Moore up by a bit more than 1 point with 81% of the precincts reporting. The good news for Jones is that it’s mostly blue territory left to report – mainly the big urban conglomerations. What’s keeping Jones in this race and with a seeming advantage is big turnout in heavily African-American areas. There are lots of internal dynamics to these different counties I don’t understand. But Jones is just 6,000 votes (approx) behind and a lot of votes still to come in which certainly look like they should favor him. A lot of the number crunchers I follow seem more bullish on Jones at this point than I am. I’m not not bullish. I’m just cautious. But it is hard to see Moore beating the trend we’re seeing right now. Here’s a key observation. Very high turnout for an off-year election—66% to 78% of 2016 turnout—in numerous Black Belt counties. Not seeing this in Moore counties. (Key is whether this holds in the big urban counties.) — Taniel (@Taniel) December 13, 2017 Basically very high turnout in those Black Belt counties. It seems likely that African-American turnout in the big cities would mirror that. But we don’t know that yet. As he says, a lot will depend on that.

Where We Are After 90 Minutes

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 02:43:16 AM
We have a complicated picture so far but one that seems more favorable to Doug Jones than to Roy Moore. There is some evidence that traditionally blue parts of the state are over-performing in turnout terms while red areas are underperforming. Just how much that’s the case and whether more returns will muddy that apparent pattern we don’t yet know. If that continues to be the case, it’s good news for Jones. It would also be broadly similar to the nuts and bolts details of the election results in Virginia, where Republican Ed Gillespie got the numbers he needed in red parts of the state but was swamped by much higher turnout than usual in the big blue urban and suburban areas. (There are more details than that, but differential turnout was a big part of the story.) If that holds up, it is not only good news for Jones tonight it also gives us a sense of the contours of the electorate going into next year. If you’re a Jones supporter, I’d say we’re at cautious optimism.


Wednesday December 13th, 2017 02:31:42 AM
As I mentioned below, the NYT has a very sophisticated realtime prediction widget that shifts its prediction as results come in. It had been bouncing around dead even with a mild advantage either way. Then it swung hard in Jones’ favor. I saw a number of people speculate that there had been some sort of reporting error. Here’s a tweet just now from a member of the team that runs it. Folks, our model thinks that the GOP may have a big turnout problem.The three, white, GOP counties have fallen far short of our turnout estimates–including two under 75% of our estimates.That's what the big swing in our estimate is about. — Nate Cohn (@Nate_Cohn) December 13, 2017 I would treat this as a tentative read, subject to change. What it points to is dramatic enough that it could be a reporting error or just a quirk in the prediction model. I am, however, seeing some indications of something we saw in Virginia: both candidates getting solid percentages from their strong regions but with Moore getting slightly weaker turnout. As always we need more data. But for the moment things look better for Jones than for Moore. 9:29 PM: This is starting to come into focus: differential turnout. Moore’s winning the red areas, and often with the percentages you’d expect. And vice versa. But turnout is a bit weaker in the red areas and a bit stronger in the blue areas. Frankly, you can’t say that’s a totally unpredictable outcome with motivated Democratic base and a Republican candidate who has been credibly accused of preying on teenager girls.

Perhaps Some Good Signs

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 02:07:25 AM
8:46 PM: We only have a tiny number of votes reported so far. But even these allow us to compare results in a few places to historical baselines. And they seem encouraging for Doug Jones. I would say that based on these very limited results there are enough good indications to make a Jones’ win plausible. Not saying probable necessarily. But we are not seeing the kind of totals that tell you, “Okay, he’s just not going to be able to do this.” 8:49 PM: It looks like this could be a long night. 8:55 PM: Latest numbers are a bit friendlier to Moore. But still extremely close. Anything could happen, etc. 8:59 PM: One major takeaway so far – and we still have less than 10% of the vote in – is that there aren’t a ton of write-ins, at least not relative to an extremely Republican state in which by many customary standards the GOP nominee would be an unacceptable alternative. 9:03 PM: A standard pattern we’re now seeing play out: earlier reporting is from white rural counties. The more Democratic and African-American cities come in later. But they’re now starting to come in a bit more. 9:05 PM: Takeaway from the early returns is that they’ve swung back and forth. But ‘swung’ only in the sense of indications of an extremely close race which have swung from a sliver of an advantage for one candidate to the other. I have basically no idea what’s going to happen.

Okay, It's a Race

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 01:41:53 AM
So here we are. Only a trickle of results in so far. But we’ve seen enough early data to sense we’ve at least got a genuine race on our hands. TPM’s Cam Joseph is in Montgomery. The TPM team is at its workstations. I’m actually on a train. But as long as this train wifi holds out we’re doing this thing. 8:37 PM: So a few things I’m watching. The New York Times has a little widget that updates its predictions as data comes in. I watch it pretty closely. Right now it’s pointing to a minuscule Jones advantage. I also have a twitter list of people who are serious election night data/number crunchers. Certainly others who aren’t on my list. But these are all people I trust to help me understand the rush of numbers. Here’s the link. 8:40 PM: Only thing I think I’m comfortable saying so far is that Jones is making a very strong run in the state for a Democrat. Of course, the bar is low and the Republican is so bad Republicans considering trying to call off the election only few weeks ago. Still, this is a very, very Republican state.

Networks Say Alabama Race Is Too Early To Call As Polls Close

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 01:12:13 AM
As polls closed in Alabama Tuesday night in the special election to fill Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ Senate seat, NBC News, CNN and Fox News all described the race as “too early to call.” UPDATE: @NBCNews projects Alabama Senate special election as "too early to call" – — NBC News (@NBCNews) December 13, 2017 Polls are closed. The networks don’t make projections solely based on exit poll data. They wait for raw vote totals — Brian Stelter (@brianstelter) December 13, 2017 JUST IN: Alabama Senate election: Too early to project winner as polls close in race between Roy Moore and Doug Jones #AlabamaSenateElection — Fox News (@FoxNews) December 13, 2017

Alabama Polls Close At 7 P.M. CT

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 12:39:31 AM
TPM’s Cameron Joseph is in Montgomery at the Roy Moore election night event. You can follow him on Twitter, and stick around with us through the evening. Anyone’s guess in a very unpredictable race.

Moore Spox Falls Silent When Told Bible Isn't Required For Oaths Of Office

Tuesday December 12th, 2017 11:10:47 PM
A spokesman for Alabama Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore’s campaign on Tuesday appeared dumbfounded when asked whether he knew that there is no legal requirement for elected officials to be sworn in using a Christian bible. “Judge Moore has also said that he doesn’t think a Muslim member of Congress should be allowed to be in Congress. Why? Under what provision of the Constitution?” CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Moore spokesman Ted Crockett. Moore in 2006 said that Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim elected to Congress, should not be sworn in because Moore claimed the Quran was not compatible with the Constitution. “Because you have to swear on the Bible,” Crockett responded. “You have to swear on a Bible to be an elected official in the United States of America. He alleges that a Muslim cannot do that ethically, swearing on the Bible.” “You don’t actually have to swear on a Christian Bible. You can swear on anything, really. I don’t know if you knew that. You can swear on a Jewish Bible,” Tapper said. “The law is not that you have to swear on a Christian Bible.” Crockett fell silent for several seconds. “You don’t know that?” Tapper added. Crockett remained silent for several more seconds, then said, “I know that Donald Trump did it, when we made him President.” “Because he’s Christian and he picked it,” Tapper replied. “That’s what he wanted to swear in on.” Roy Moore campaign spokesman responds with silence when asked if he knew people can be sworn in with a text other than the Christian bible — The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) December 12, 2017

Even Some GOPers Are Wary Of Trump Lawyer's Call For 2nd Special Counsel

Tuesday December 12th, 2017 10:24:21 PM
Senate Judiciary Republicans were not eager to join a Trump attorney’s calls Tuesday that a second special counsel be appointed to investigate potential conflicts at the Justice Department. Judiciary Chairman Chuck Grassley has called for a special counsel to probe the so-called “Uranium One” deal, but beyond that, the support for a second special counsel among senators charged with DOJ oversight was lukewarm at best. Democrats, not surprisingly, blasted the idea as an attempt by President Trump to undermine Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe, which already has resulted in charges against four Trump associates. “It’s an absurd effort to distract and deflect from the special counsel’s investigation. It is patently ridiculous,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, told TPM. The lawyer who is calling for a second special counsel, Jay Sekulow —  a personal attorney for Trump who often spearheads the media spin for the President  — said that his concerns are not rooted in the Mueller team specifically, but rather questions Republicans have raised about the FBI’s and the Justice Department’s conduct before Mueller took over the Russia probe. Sekulow has pointed specifically to reports about Bruce Ohr, a DOJ official whose wife worked for the firm behind the Trump-Russia dossier. Ohr, according to Fox News, met secretly with the founder of the firm and with the ex-spy who assembled the dossier Sekulow was speaking as Trump’s personal attorney, and not for the White House legal team also tasked with dealing with Mueller’s probe. Ty Cobb, the White House attorney focused on Mueller’s probe, told TPM that “there are no plans to replace” Mueller. Lawmakers, including those in the President’s party, had previously signaled that they weren’t interested in dealing with the firestorm that Trump would create if he fired Mueller. The reception to Sekulow’s idea for a second special counsel was only nominally more enthusiastic Tuesday, with lawmakers on the Senate Judiciary Committee suggesting that there are other avenues to investigate the conflicts. “I support investigating the issue, I don’t necessarily believe we need a special counsel,” said Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA), a Judiciary Committee member. “We’ve got a whole bunch of fine lawyers at the Justice Department and a whole bunch of fine agents at the FBI. I am not convinced that we need a special counsel.” Fellow committee member Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who’s retiring in 2018 and has been critical of Trump, answered a terse “no,” when asked by TPM if a second special counsel was necessary. Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) told TPM that he didn’t “have any concerns” looking into the conflict issues raised by Sekulow, “either through an investigation through the current channels, as determined by the Attorney General, or a Special Counsel.” Blumenthal pointed to the department’s inspector general, who is currently probing the DOJ’s handling of 2016-related inquiries, as “the proper way [for Trump] to bring a complaint.” Sekulow, however, pushed back on the idea that the inspector general could handle his concerns. “It’s the nature and the scope of what’s happened here,” Sekulow told TPM, pointing to the reports about Ohr. “It needs more than an inspector general.” He’s found an ally in Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), a Senate Judiciary subcommittee chair and frequent golf partner of Trump’s, who tweeted Friday his own call for a separate special counsel for “Clinton email scandal, Uranium One, role of Fusion GPS, and FBI and DOJ bias during 2016 campaign.” And there’s plenty of pressure outside of the GOP Senate caucus for the Justice Department to set up a counterweight to Mueller, as he charges forward with his own probe. House Judiciary Republicans grilled FBI Director Chris Wray with questions of anti-Trump bias at a hearing last week, with Wray responding by deferring to the inspector general’s probe. House Republicans have also launched an investigation into the Obama-era “Uranium One” deal, after flimsy allegations that Hillary Clinton played an inappropriate role in greenlighting a transaction related to the U.S. uranium supply. Fox News, the Wall Street Journal editorial page, and other conservative outlets have blanketed their coverage with criticism of Mueller, as well as of the broader Justice Department and the FBI. “What they’re trying to do is destroy the [Special Counsel] and the effort that’s going on,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), the top Judiciary Democrat, said. “I’ve listened to certain TV stations, I’ve seen that happening. I’ve seen op-ed pieces written and all of the sudden the most respected Bob Mueller has been castigated, things taken out of proportion.”

Moore Spox: He 'Probably' Still Thinks Homosexual Conduct Should Be Illegal

Tuesday December 12th, 2017 10:21:45 PM
A spokesman for Alabama Republican Senate nominee Roy Moore on Tuesday said that Moore “probably” still thinks gay sex should be illegal. Asked whether Moore thinks Christian theology should be the foundation for U.S. law, Moore’s campaign spokesperson Ted Crockett said on CNN, “This country was founded on the Christian Bible.” “This country has the separation of church and state, and we have laws that are not rooted in the Christian Bible,” CNN’s Jake Tapper replied. “Jake, you don’t understand,” Crockett replied. “I think I understand perfectly,” Tapper replied. “But here’s my question for you, sir, does he think that homosexual conduct should be illegal? It’s a yes or no question.” “Probably,” Crockett said. “He probably thinks homosexual conduct should be illegal. And what would the punishment be for a man having sexual relations with another man or a woman having sexual relations with another woman?” Tapper asked. “It’s just a sin, okay?” Crockett said. Pressed to elaborate further, he said, laughing, “I don’t know. I am not going to make that decision.” Does Roy Moore think that homosexual conduct should be illegal? Roy Moore campaign spokesman: “Probably.” — The Lead CNN (@TheLeadCNN) December 12, 2017

WH: Trump Attacked Gillibrand To Boost Administration's Ethics Pledges

Tuesday December 12th, 2017 09:53:16 PM
White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Tuesday that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) was “controlled by special interests,” “a wholly-owned subsidiary of people that donate to her campaign,” “a puppet of Chuck Schumer” and “somebody that is controlled by people that help donate money to her cause.” “That’s simply all I’m stating,” she said, after defending President Donald Trump’s claim in a tweet that Gillibrand would “do anything” for campaign donations. The tweet, Sanders said, was not only not sexist, but rather was Trump’s attempt to highlight his administration’s commitment to “draining the swamp” and reforming the campaign finance system. “What kind of campaign finance reform does the President want?” NPR’s Mara Liasson asked. Sanders seemed to hesitate. The issue doesn’t come up a lot. “Look, the President has been talking about the need for us to put a stronger ban on lobbyists participating in the government process,” Sanders said. “We have taken a stronger ethics pledge under this administration than previous administrations. I think those are some of the first steps and something that we’re going to continue working on over the next seven years.” But on both points — lobbyist participation in government and the administration’s ethics pledge — the administration’s record is poor. From the arms industry to pharmaceutical companies, Trump has picked up lobbyists and other representatives of private interests to lead and run the federal government, and his administration regularly takes guidance from current lobbyists, donors and industry executives. In one particularly vivid recent example, In These Times’ Kate Arnoff published photos of Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray — Trump donor, coal baron — handing a document to Energy Secretary Rick Perry outlining what closely resembled a proposal the Department of Energy would later put forward: essentially, a plan to subsidize coal and nuclear power plants. And on the administration’s ethics pledge, supposedly “stronger” than previous administrations’? Walter Shaub, who ran the Office of Government Ethics before he resigned in July and was responsible in that role for overseeing such pledges, objected to the claim on Twitter. No. But that’s untrue. The Trump ethics pledge in Executive Order 13770 is narrower and weaker than the one in Executive Order 13490 that it replaced. Also, they appear to have issued unsigned, undated, retroactive waivers to paper over violations of their weaker ethics pledge. — Walter Shaub (@waltshaub) December 12, 2017 The “unsigned, undated, retroactive waivers” he mentions are just that: waivers for a weak ethics pledge issued after the violations in question, rendering the pledges themselves somewhat meaningless. In June, Shaub said of the faulty waivers:“There’s no such thing as a retroactive waiver” and “[i]ssuing a waiver after the fact won’t fix the problem.”

Republicans Duck Questions, Play Down Trump's Attack On Gillibrand

Tuesday December 12th, 2017 09:05:36 PM
Sen. Mike Rounds (R-SD) was at Tuesday morning Bible study—a rare bipartisan activity on Capitol Hill—with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) when her aides interrupted to inform her that President Donald Trump had gone after her on Twitter as a “lightweight” who “would do anything” for campaign donations. Gillibrand and other Democrats immediately denounced the President’s post as a “slur” against her that implied an exchange of sexual favors for money. But Rounds and other Republicans asked about the exchange on Tuesday largely refused to comment, either claiming not to have seen the message or playing it down as unimportant. “I think it’s simply one of those cases where it’s best if we look at what the President does and not pay attention to the tweets,” Rounds told reporters with a shrug. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), one of few Republican women in the Senate, appeared irritated when asked Tuesday about the tweet. “This is what everyone is distracted by,” she said, declining to comment. Several lawmakers, including Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN), claimed he had not seen the President’s tweet. When a reporter offered to read the message to him from his phone, Corker laughed and begged off. “I don’t know if I want you to show it to me. I can’t respond if I don’t know anything about it,” he said. As of Tuesday afternoon, the only Republican to publicly criticize the President for the post—Sen. James Lankford (R-OK), who was also at the morning Bible study meeting—did so in mild terms. “Respectful dialogue and disagreement sets a better example for our children and the world. Our leaders should focus on the issues, not personal attacks,” he wrote in a statement to the Washington Post.  Democrats, meanwhile, did not hold back. “It was a sexist slur that disgraces the office and diminishes the presidency,” Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) told reporters in the basement of the Capitol “It is utterly reprehensible.” Blumenthal says that even after a year of the President’s controversial, insult-laced statements on social media, this morning’s comment on Gillibrand stands out. “It was directed against a sitting United States senator for her focus on issues of sexual harassment and assault, which implied such a derogatory aspersion on her that I think it is really distinct and despicable,” he said.

Sanders Responds to Trump Innuendos

Tuesday December 12th, 2017 08:51:17 PM
Sarah Sanders responds to criticism of Trump sexual innuendo about Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (video after the jump) … Sanders “would do anything” comment about Gillibrand really just about campaign finance reform. — Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) December 12, 2017 Sanders tells reporter April Ryan her mind is “in the gutter” if she thought Gillibrand comment was sexual innuendo. — Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) December 12, 2017

White House: Trump's Eyebrow-Raising Jab At Gillibrand Wasn't 'Sexist At All'

Tuesday December 12th, 2017 08:45:54 PM
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Tuesday said President Donald Trump’s vague remark that Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) “would do anything” for campaign donations was not a “sexist” innuendo “at all.” “I think that the President is very obvious,” Sanders said at her daily briefing. She said Trump’s criticism of Gillibrand was “the same sentiment that the President has expressed many times before when he has exposed the corruption of the entire political system.” “In fact, he’s used similar terminology many times when talking about politicians of both parties, both men and women,” Sanders said. Trump on Tuesday called Gillibrand a “lightweight” and “flunky” of Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who “would do anything” for campaign contributions. Gillibrand, who on Monday called on Trump to resign over allegations of sexual misconduct that numerous women made about him last year, said Trump’s remark was a “sexist smear” that was “intended to silence” her. “This has nothing to do with her being a female?” ABC News’ Cecilia Vega asked Sanders, referring to Gillibrand. “What is he alleging would happen behind closed doors with her?” “He’s not alleging anything. He’s talking about the way that our system functions as it is,” Sanders said. “He’s used that same terminology many times in reference to men. There is no way that this is sexist at all.” Sanders "would do anything" comment about Gillibrand really just about campaign finance reform. — Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) December 12, 2017 “Is Gillibrand owed an apology for the misunderstanding of the President’s tweet this morning?” American Urban Radio Networks’ April Ryan asked Sanders. “Many, including the senator, think that it’s about sexual innuendoes.” “I think only if your mind is in the gutter would you have read it that way,” Sanders replied. “So, no.” Sanders tells reporter April Ryan her mind is "in the gutter" if she thought Gillibrand comment was sexual innuendo. — Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) December 12, 2017

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