NEWS: The Biden administration is readying new sanctions on Russia over the Nord Stream 2 pipeline amid bipartisan political pressure.

In classified Hill briefing, Blinken provided little clarity on what the admin will do.

w/ @NatashaBertrand @bjlefebvre…
Cruz is delaying nominees over lack of sanctions.

“I would be thrilled to lift the holds on the State Department nominees today if they would only follow the law and issue an interim report identifying all of the companies subject to mandatory sanctions.”…
“What I would like to see is the administration act expeditiously to stop the remaining section of the pipeline,” Sen. Shaheen (D-N.H.) told me.

But with 90% of it done, the worst outcome would be imposing tough sanctions only to see it finalized anyway.…
Shaheen, who co-authored the NDAA provision that called for mandatory sanctions, told me “it’s not clear yet” whether the administration will act quickly enough to prevent the pipeline from being completed.…

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More from @AndrewDesiderio

11 Mar
New: Biden is under growing pressure from hawkish Republicans to use the 2022 Winter Olympics to punish the Chinese government over its human rights abuses.

But even within the GOP, there’s disagreement over how far to push.

w/ @nahaltoosi…
Some are pushing for an all-out boycott, but most worry it could backfire. A boycott only punishes the athletes, they say, and Biden should instead press IOC to move the games elsewhere.

At this late stage that’d be tough to pull off, @marcorubio told me…
This issue is also gaining traction among possible 2024 candidates.

Haley & Pompeo support a boycott.

Cruz says that’d be a “serious mistake” akin to U.S. boycotting ’80 Olympics.

Rick Scott has been pushing to move the games since 2019.…
Read 4 tweets
2 Mar
New: The White House is openly currying favor with Bob Menendez, the new Foreign Relations chairman who’s often to the right of his caucus on foreign policy & has a history of causing trouble for a Democratic president who crosses him.

w/ @nahaltoosi…
The Obama WH made the mistake of crossing Menendez on Iran and Cuba, and he used his power to make things difficult for Obama on the nuke deal & Cuba reset.

Menendez tells us that Biden is already abandoning the “Obama model,” to his great satisfaction.…
The “Obama model,” as Menendez called it, didn’t value Congress’ role in shaping U.S. foreign policy.

Both Jake Sullivan and Tony Blinken sent us on-the-record statements praising Menendez, showing they’re already working to keep him happy—& in the loop.…
Read 5 tweets
13 Feb
Wow, Ron Johnson picked a fight with Mitt Romney on the Senate floor just now after this witness vote, per pooler @jason_donner

“Ron Johnson turned to Mitt Romney and was upset with him, even pointing at him once. Johnson was visibly upset....”
“... They were going back and forth with Sullivan in the middle of them. I heard Johnson tell Romney ‘Blame you.’ Voices were definitely raised.”
For context: Dan Sullivan sits in between Johnson and Romney on the Senate floor.
Read 4 tweets
12 Feb
Sen. Cassidy (R-La.) asks both sides about the Tuberville-Trump call & Trump’s subsequent tweet.

“The tweet and lack of response suggests that President Trump did not care that Pence was in danger ... does this show that Trump was tolerant of the intimidation of Pence?”
Trump lawyer Michael van der Veen calls Tuberville’s account “hearsay” and blames the House for not investigating.
Raskin counters that the “evidence is in the sole possession of their client,” whom the managers invited to testify last week.
Read 4 tweets
9 Feb
Just left the Senate chamber, where I witnessed senators’ real-time reactions to that presentation. A few notes.

—Sen. Booker put his hands over his eyes when video played of shooting thru House door
—Several senators rubbed their eyes during footage of officer being crushed

—Sen. Manchin shook his head when Trump said “we love you” to the rioters.
Lots of facial expressions were difficult to decipher with masks covering them, but senators were intently watching the screens inside the chamber and reacting as if they were watching it for the first time.
Read 4 tweets
21 Jan
JUST IN: Group of Democratic senators files ethics complaint against Sens. Hawley and Cruz over the Jan. 6 insurrection, asking the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate any potential violations & punishments.…
Group includes Sens. Whitehouse, Wyden, Smith, Blumenthal, Hirono, Kaine, Brown.
The senators write: “When Sens. Ted Cruz & Josh Hawley announced they would object to the counting of state-certified electors on January 6, 2021, they amplified claims of election fraud that had resulted in threats of violence against state & local officials around the country.”
Read 4 tweets

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