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"Senate Republicans..are sending fresh signals of discontent, challenging the administration on foreign policy & imploring it to stay out, for now, of talks to avert another shutdown.." #ThursdayThoughts…
2- Excerpts: "..In private, Trump has told aides he wants to take an aggressive posture toward such oversight — including fighting any effort by Congress to obtain his tax returns all the way to the Supreme Court. He has told House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) that if House
3-"Democrats begin investigating his administration, he will not negotiate with her on other issues, according to a White House official and a Democratic aide who heard the comments. Yet at the same time, Trump has sought to strike a friendly tone with Pelosi, telling her that
4-"she is “great” and “terrific” in a phone call this week and promising to work on infrastructure and prescription drug pricing, according to an aide with direct knowledge of the call..Meanwhile, Senate Republicans asserted their independence from Trump on several fronts this
5-"week — a notable shift from a conference that spent much of the past two months marching in lockstep with the president in the standoff over a border wall that resulted in a 35-day partial government shutdown. On Wednesday, some Senate GOP leaders rebutted Trump’s latest
6-"criticism of his own intelligence officials, which the president issued in a tweet. “I would prefer the president would stay off Twitter,” said Sen. John Thune (S.D.), the chamber’s second-ranking Republican. “And, you know, particularly with regard to these important
7-"national security issues where, you know, you’ve got people who are experts and have a background and are professionals.”..Sen. Roy Blunt (Mo.), another top Republican, said, “This is an intel community that the president has largely put in place. And I have confidence in them
8-"And I think he should, too.” Meanwhile, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) introduced this week an amendment to Middle East policy legislation that rebuked Trump’s decision to pull back troops from Syria and Afghanistan. While there have been some long-standing
9-"disagreements between Senate Republicans and the White House on foreign policy, the amendment — coming from the top Republican senator who has worked hand-in-glove with Trump on many shared priorities — was one of the most forceful protests against the president’s foreign
10-"policy.“The United States is engaged in Syria and Afghanistan for a simple reason: Because our enemies are engaged there,” McConnell said Wednesday. “Real dangers to us and to our allies still remain in both these nations. We must continue to confront them.” The amendment
11-"will come to the Senate floor for a vote on Thursday. If it passes, it would be the first clear rebuke of Trump’s foreign policy in the Senate this year. Earlier this month, 11 Republicans sided with Democrats to try stopping the administration from lifting sanctions on
12-"Russian billionaire Oleg Deripaska, an ally of Russian President Vladi­mir Putin. Behind the scenes, administration aides whipped votes fervently to make sure the push failed. “It would have been an embarrassment,” one administration official said. In making his case with GOP
13-"senators, Mnuchin tried to cast Deripaska as a bad actor but someone who had fulfilled the terms of his sanctions. Mnuchin said if the United States didn’t follow through on lifting terms when the sanctions were met, it would be impossible to get others to follow the
14-"requirements. When it comes to domestic policy, Republican senators are also sending some warning shots in Trump’s direction. Twice in his weekly news conference on Tuesday, McConnell underscored the need to reach an agreement on border security that both averts another
15-"shutdown in February and prevents Trump from concluding that he should declare a national emergency. Sen. John Cornyn (R-Tex.), a top McConnell confidant, said he is opposed to the declaration of a national emergency in part because of the precedent it would set and what it
16-"might empower a future Democratic president to do down the line. “I think it would be a mistake,” Cornyn said. “There’d be a race to see who could get to the courthouse first to try to get an injunction. So, that means it would be tied up probably for the next couple years,
17-"sort of like his travel ban.” Two senior GOP aides said Trump and other top officials have continued to float a national emergency declaration to secure money for a border wall — though there is “widespread resistance” to it within the Senate, one of these people said. Some
18-"Republican senators are urging the president to keep his distance from a 17-member committee tasked with coming up with a border security deal and leave it to lawmakers to haggle over the specifics. Republicans on the bipartisan committee were slated to go to the White House
19-"later this week for discussions on averting a shutdown, although that meeting appears to have been called off. “Let us do our work,” said Sen. Mike Rounds (R-S.D.). “Let the committee work through their process. You know, the president’s made his position clear.”
20-"There could be further scrutiny from the GOP-led Senate in the coming weeks and months as they take up confirmations for key Cabinet posts. One particular nominee who is likely to undergo rigorous questioning from Republicans is whoever is selected to replace former defense
21-"secretary Jim Mattis, whose abrupt announcement last month to leave the administration over disagreements with Trump on troop withdrawals and other policy matters alarmed many GOP senators.“Getting someone through the confirmation process would be more challenging now,”
22-"Rounds, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said of Mattis’s successor. “They’re going to ask questions, and they’re going to want good answers about independence and about
23-"whether or not they feel comfortable in sharing good information with the president and how they would respond.” ~WaPo, 1/30/19
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