Being Speaker of the House has a way of wearing a leader thin and killing what little joy is left in statecraft. There’s a long line of former politicians whose last job was Speaker after which they never sought public office again. And, if rumors are correct, Paul Ryan may be added to that list.
Being Speaker of the House has a way of wearing a leader thin and killing what little joy is left in statecraft.
There’s a long line of former politicians whose last job was Speaker after which they never sought public office again.
And, if rumors are correct, Paul Ryan may be added to that list.
According to those close to Ryan, he’s ‘made it known’ that he won’t seek Speaker again after his next term.
And that has led to all sorts of questions about whether he simply misses his family or that he may have a longer-term plan to run for governor of Wisconsin as a rung for a presidential bid.
At 47, he’s one of the youngest Speakers in history and would still be one of the youngest presidential candidates even if he waited until 2024.
Regardless, congressional approval ratings are doing him no favors and could be a good reason to get out sooner.
Here’s more from Fox News…
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s political future returned to the speculation spotlight Thursday amid reports that he’s eyeing an exit from Congress after the 2018 midterms.
Politico Magazine published a lengthy article, detailing how Ryan has “made it known” to confidants this will be his final term as speaker. On the cusp of a major legislative victory – passage of a tax overhaul – Ryan would, the thinking goes, spend 2018 trying to tackle entitlement reform, while fundraising in an all-out campaign to keep the House majority.
Then he could return to Wisconsin, leaving it all on the field.
Ryan and his aides were quick to dismiss the chatter publicly.
“No,” Ryan replied, chuckling when asked at the end of a Thursday press conference if he’s quitting soon.
“This is pure speculation. As the speaker himself said today, he’s not going anywhere any time soon,” spokeswoman AshLee Strong said in a statement.
Despite the popular perception that the Trump administration is under siege and losing its battle against the left both internally and externally, the real war for the future of the country has been for quite some time over control of the courts.
And in this respect, Trump’s juggernaut strategy is undeniable.
The obvious iconic victory in the appointment and confirmation of Justice Gorsuch to the Supreme Court given, Trump has continued that long train of victories in the lower courts with confirmation of multiple conservative judges to circuit courts.
This week brings yet another after the Senate confirmed Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett to the Fifth Circuit Court.
Willett is a young, brilliant legal mind along the lines of Gorsuch with a storied career that may destine him, too, for the SCOTUS.
Here’s more from Redstate…
The Senate voted today to confirm Texas Supreme Court Justice Don Willett to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, a move cheered by conservative activists and legal scholars.
Willett’s nomination was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee last week on a 11-9 party line vote, and today’s final confirmation vote followed a similar partisan breakdown, at 50-47.
Democrats lack the numbers to block any of President Donald Trump’s judges since former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid changed the rules in 2013 to allow judicial nominees to be approved by a simple majority vote, rather than the 60 votes that were required previously.
That didn’t stop them from attempting to turn Willett’s confirmation hearings into a circus, with Senators Al Franken (D-MN) and Patrick Leahy (D-VT) engaging in especially theatrical faux outrage about tweets Willett had posted.
Rod Rosenstein’s testimony before the House Judiciary Committee this week was far from impressive.
But then again, how could it have been anything but a stop-gap at best given the weight of evidence in favor of collusion between the DOJ and the Obama administration?
The most engaging interaction, as you might expect, came between Rosenstein and Congressman Trey Gowdy, who has built a reputation for tongue-lashing inquiries.
Gowdy laid out the long list of conflicts of interest that have come to light from the very special prosecution that was established for the express purpose of operating above the suspicion of conflict of interest.
His essential question to Rosenstein was this: how do you explain that obvious contradiction?
Rosenstein’s response? The FBI pointed it out and took action when it was discovered.
But isn’t that beside the point? Inquiring minds want to know: how did it happen in the first place?
Here’s more from Redstate…
While the political press was fixated on the smoldering aftermath of Mitch McConnell’s chicanery in Alabama and the smoking ruin of Roy Moore’s political career, other fun stuff was going on. In particular, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was on Capitol Hill testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on Robert Mueller’s investigation.
Gowdy opens this way:
There are a lot of issues I’d like to ask you about, Mr. Deputy Attorney General. We had the terrorist incident in New York this week. We have 702 reauthorization that is pending in Congress. Gun violence. The opioid epidemic. Criminal justice reform. But when I go home to South Carolina this weekend, trust me when I tell you that no one is going to ask me about any of those issues. They’re going to ask me what in the hell is going on with the Department of Justice and the FBI.
And then he launches:
The reason we have special counsel is because of a conflict of interest…We don’t like conflicts of interest because it undermines people’s confidence in both the process and the result…There was either a real or preceived conflict of interest that would either impact the result or people’s confidence in the process…And then, lo and behold, those that are supposed to make sure there are no conflicts of interest seem to have a bit of their own.
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was grilled for several hours by members of the House Judiciary Committee yesterday on the ongoing Mueller investigation.
And a major portion of that grilling was consumed by questions about the nature and timing of the DOJ’s demotion of infamous agent Peter Strzok for his biased anti-Trump texts with his mistress.
And what was revealed is much more damning than previously thought.
In particular was a single text that suggested Obama agents at the DOJ had discussed a strategy to ensure Donald Trump wouldn’t win the presidential election.
Rest assured House members won’t let that go unaddressed.
This is a can of worms begging to be opened.
Get your fishing poles ready.
Here’s more from Redstate…
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein spent several hours this morning in front of the House Judiciary Committee in an oversight hearing to answer questions related to Russia’s suspected interference in the 2016 election.
The issue of FBI agent Peter Strzok and the text messages he sent to his mistress, FBI agent Lisa Page, was a focus for GOP members as they attempted to get Rosenstein to answer if Strzok’s overt bias — as evidenced by his own texts — influenced his role as an investigator into supposed collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government operatives.
But taken together, GOP members had a broader, implied, and more singular question: Were the Obama FBI and Department of Justice actively attempting to ensure that Donald Trump was never elected president?
There’s little doubt, based on Strzok’s own texts, that he had a clear bias against Donald Trump (less clear is if he also had a deep affection for Hillary Clinton). This is problematic enough from a public perception angle, as Patterico wrote earlier today. His overt bias was disturbing to his boss as well; he was removed from the investigation into Russian collusion once Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who had tapped him for his investigation team, was alerted to the text exchanges.
The most damning text exchange, one that was mentioned at least 3 times during the hearing, between Strzok and Page was sent in August 2016, and seems to indicate a desire on the part of Strzok to ensure that Trump never saw the Oval Office:
Text-from Peter Strzok to Lisa Page (Andy is Andrew McCabe): “I want to believe the path u threw out 4 consideration in Andy’s office-that there’s no way he gets elected-but I’m afraid we can’t take that risk.It’s like an insurance policy in unlikely event u die be4 you’re 40”
— Bret Baier (@BretBaier) December 13, 2017
Minnesota has always been a tad eclectic when it comes to politics (no offense to our loyal readers in Minnesota).
But rest assured, voters have made it clear they’re done with the antics of former funny-man Al Franken.
The question that begs an answer is whether they’re willing to tolerate his replacement.
Today Gov. Mark Dayton appointed his Lt. Gov. Tina Smith to fill the vacated seat in the Senate after Franken’s disgraced ouster.
The problem is Smith is a former VP for Planned Parenthood of Minnesota.
With the organization currently under investigation by the DOJ and with defunding measures running through several states (and possibly Congress), Smith may be illegitimate before she even takes a seat in her literal seat.
Here’s more from Restate…
Minnesota is exchanging a serial sexual assaulter for a woman who used to help head one of the largest abortionists in the world.
Democratic Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton has announced that replacing Al Franken will be Tina Smith, the state’s Lieutenant Governor and former VP of Planned Parenthood in Minnesota, according to Reuters.
Dayton appointment Wednesday morning, and Smith, 59, will run in a special election for the seat next year.
Reactions have already begun to come in, specifically from that of the pro-life crowd.
“Gov. Mark Dayton’s appointment of Tina Smith to represent Minnesota in the U.S. Senate is overwhelmingly disappointing to the state’s pro-life majority. An abortion industry insider, Ms. Smith is a former vice president of Planned Parenthood in Minnesota, the state’s leading performer of abortion. The choice of Ms. Smith is particularly egregious to Minnesota’s pro-life citizens, who will have no representation in the Senate,” he told LifeNews.
He added: “Most Minnesotans are pro-life. They support greater protection for unborn human beings. Minnesotans need someone who will fight for justice for the most vulnerable among us, the unborn.”
As expected, Democrats and their media lapdogs are celebrating the loss of Roy Moore as an iconic failure for President Trump to push his candidate across the line.
And now the story being woven is that it’s the official turning of the tide ahead of next year’s election.
But wait, Roy Moore has yet to concede and could call for a recount.
The problem is Alabama’s state law only provides for an automatic recount if the margin of victory is within a half point.
Jones’ victory, however, was a full point and a half over Moore after all precincts reported in.
Unless there was serious voter fraud — which has a long history on the Democrat side — it’s highly unlikely the election will be overturned.
This puts the GOP majority in the Senate at a slim two-vote margin, which is an effective tie in the case of a liberal Republican like Sen. Susan Collins voting with Democrats.
The GOP agenda is now officially on death-watch.
Here’s more from the Hill…
Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore (R) refused to concede the special election Tuesday night after multiple media outlets called the race in favor of his Democratic opponent, Doug Jones.
“At this point, we do not have a final decision on the outcome tonight,” Moore’s campaign chairman, Bill Armistead, told supporters.
“When the vote is this close, it is not over,” Moore said.
Alabama state law requires an automatic recount when election results are within 0.5 percentage points.
With 100 percent of precincts reporting, Jones holds 49.9 percent of the vote, compared to Moore’s 48.4 percent, a 1.5-point gap, according to The New York Times.
Shortly after Moore’s speech, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) was asked by CNN’s Jake Tapper if he expected “anything other than Mr. Jones being the next senator from the state of Alabama.”
“I would find that highly unlikely to occur, Jake,” Merrill replied.
It’s official. Roy Moore has lost his bid for U.S. Senate after Doug Jones pulled ahead in the final hours of the night as votes came in from the urban areas of Alabama.
Talking heads will be gushing over the results with all sorts of insight as to how the harassment scandal was the nail in his coffin coupled with Democrat turnout efforts in the black areas of the state.
But one thing will be undeniable: had Moore’s campaign handled the initial response to the accusations better and had Donald Trump not played hokey pokey with his endorsement, things might have turned out entirely the other way.
Rest assured Democrats will be crowing about this victory for weeks on end.
Here’s more from Redstate…
The race has been called by the Decision Desk and the AP.
With nearly 100% of precincts reporting, we can now report that Judge Roy Moore has lost in his campaign for Senate in Alabama. Democrat Doug Jones will be filling the seat left vacant by Republican Jeff Sessions, who went on to join the Trump administration.
Moore, of course, faced serious allegations of sexual misconduct in the final weeks of his campaign, and what’s more, he did a poor job of handling those accusations. From bad interviews to contradictory statements to generally making it clear that even if they were true it wouldn’t be a big deal, Moore and his campaign didn’t make the sale.
Jones was the worst possible person that the Democrats could have put up against Moore in Alabama. That he won in Alabama of all places is very bad news for the GOP. The pro-abortion extremist could not be more out of step with voters in Alabama. His win was not only a rejection of Moore, but a repudiation of the power of Steve Bannon.
We knew it was coming, of course; it was only a matter of time.
You see, the dozen or so Democrats who called for the resignation of Al Franken weren’t uber-pious folks demanding accountability.
They were simply hacks needing an excuse for when it became time to demand the same of President Trump.
And now you have it.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has become the first of the Franken-phobes to call for Trump’s resignation after claims of harassment from several women.
What’s interesting is the timing since we heard virtually nothing from these women during the presidential campaign, which one might have thought would be the most strategic move from the Hillary camp.
It seems the #metoo effort has gone off the rails. It’s also telling that Gillibrand has made rumblings of a 2020 bid.
Here’s more from Redstate…
If you’re a Republican, you see the move as cynical. If you’re in the resistance movement, you may be thinking, “It’s about time!” If you’re somebody looking at the political tea leaves you’re thinking, “This is why she called on Franken to resign,” or “She’s running for president in 2020.”
Whatever you think, New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand became the first Senator (and likely not the last) to call on President Trump to resign over allegations of sexual assault. Megyn Kelly interviewed three women who accused Trump of assaulting them, and it’s likely not the last we have heard from the women who accused Trump last year during the presidential campaign:
Here is what she said according to CNN:
Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand of New York told CNN on Monday that President Donald Trump should resign over allegations of sexual assault.
“President Trump has committed assault, according to these women, and those are very credible allegations of misconduct and criminal activity, and he should be fully investigated and he should resign,” Gillibrand told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an exclusive interview.
“These allegations are credible; they are numerous, ” said Gillibrand, a leading voice in Congress for combating sexual assault in the military. “I’ve heard these women’s testimony, and many of them are heartbreaking.”
If he does not “immediately resign,” she said, Congress “should have appropriate investigations of his behavior and hold him accountable.”
The dominoes in what we’re calling Muellergate continue to fall this week.
Recall last week that top DOJ official Bruce G. Ohr was demoted last year after it was discovered he had met with the authors of the infamous Russia dossier.
In the days since that report, Fox News has discovered that his wife, Ellie Ohr, was an employee of Fusion GPS.
Yes, that Fusion GPS, the company hired by the DNC and Hillary to run the traps on the dossier and to feed anti-Trump stories to the media.
What’s even more significant is that Ellie Ohr has a long history of writing about Russia and, equally, that Fusion has always been a small firm of less than a dozen employees.
So it stands to reason to speculate that the wife of a senior Justice attorney was contributing to the political dossier on a president-elect whom the department coincidentally began investigating based on the very claims made in that dossier.
The rabbit hole only gets deeper.
Here’s more from Redstate…
Last week it was revealed that a senior Department of Justice official had been demoted because after the 2016 election, he’d met with the author of the Trump dossier.
According to congressional sources, Simpson and Ohr met sometime around Thanksgiving last year, when President-elect Trump was in the process of selecting his cabinet, and discussed over coffee the anti-Trump dossier, the Russia investigation and what Simpson considered the distressing development of Trump’s victory.
Ohr was associate deputy attorney general at the time which means his boss was Sally Yates. You don’t have to have a suspicious mind to wonder if there was some kind of linkage between this commiseration session and the Russia probe that was beginning to metastasize.
Now there is an interesting twist to the story via Fox News’ James Rosen…this would be the same James Rosen the Obama administration put under surveillance and had labeled as an unindicted co-conspirator in a leak investigation.
A senior Justice Department official demoted last week for concealing his meetings with the men behind the anti-Trump “dossier” had even closer ties to Fusion GPS, the firm responsible for the incendiary document, than have been disclosed, Fox News has confirmed: The official’s wife worked for Fusion GPS during the 2016 election.
Contacted by Fox News, investigators for the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) confirmed that Nellie H. Ohr, wife of the demoted official, Bruce G. Ohr, worked for the opposition research firm last year. The precise nature of Mrs. Ohr’s duties – including whether she worked on the dossier – remains unclear but a review of her published works available online reveals Mrs. Ohr has written extensively on Russia-related subjects. HPSCI staff confirmed to Fox News that she was paid by Fusion GPS through the summer and fall of 2016.
With the Russia collusion story going nowhere (and debunked by inside media personnel) and with the DOJ/FBI reeling from serious credibility issues, CNN is clearly scraping the barrel for relevant anti-Trump stories.
Their answer? That President Trump likes to drink lots of Diet Coke is apparently a headline story.
The problem is their news producers must have been so enamored by the gushing story that they didn’t bother to notice all the other networks covering the bombing in Manhattan.
While images of an arrested bomber were streaming across screens all over America, CNN was in the midst of debating how many Diet Cokes are too many for Trump.
We have absolutely no idea why the network’s reputation is in the toilet. It’s a mystery.
Here’s more from Fox News…
An attempted terrorist attack caused massive chaos during Monday morning’s rush hour in New York City, but some CNN viewers could be in the dark because the network spent an inordinate amount of time covering an anti-Trump story about the president’s soda consumption while details of the chaotic situation unfolded.
At 8:45 a.m. ET a law enforcement official told reporters, including the Associated Press, that a man had a pipe bomb strapped to him when it went off on a New York City subway platform. That was roughly the same time that CNN was in the middle of a segment that featured the chyron, “NYT Report: Trump drinks a dozen diet cokes per day,” while a large graphic promoting Tuesday’s Election Night in Alabama took up a significant portion of the screen.
Viewers quickly took notice. Media crisis guru Yossi Gestetner tweeted, “More than an hour after the pipe-bomb story broke, CNN was busy with Trump’s diet Coke,” while another viewer asked, “Why are you talking about this!”