When Nancy Pelosi announced she would try to hold on to the top leadership spot among House Democrats despite their crushing losses in the midterm elections, Michael Steele said, “My breath is taken away.” Her deep unpopularity would only help the opposing party. What Steele failed to acknowledge is that many Republican leaders feel the same way about him.Jim Rutenberg and Jeff Zeleny
- Barbour’s Complaints Are the ‘Tip of the Iceberg’ Erick Erickson at Red State reports. “I’m told by several people close to multiple 2012 contenders and also some present elected officials that Republican committeemen began receiving phone calls at the end of last week making the case that it is time for a change at the RNC.” A potential presidential conender emailed Erickson, saying, “Whoever the nominee is [in 2012] will control the RNC, but until that point someone needs to be there who everyone has confidence in. That person is not there now.”
- No Single Strong Candidate to Replace Him, Chris Cillizza explains at The Fix that even Steele’s “most ardent opponents acknowledge that he is held in higher regard by the 168 RNC members than he is by the general GOP political class. … Estimates of Steele’s strength within the committee vary but there is a general consensus that he has between 50 to 60 solid votes. He would need 85 votes to win.” Potential challengers include “former Republican National Committee chairman Mike Duncan, who lost his bid for a second term to Steele in 2009, Connecticut Republican Party Chairman Chris Healy, California committeeman Ron Nehring,former Nevada governor Robert List,” and perhaps former Minnesota Sen. Norm Coleman.
- Because the Best Guy Has the Worst Name, the Daily Caller’s Jon Ward reports. Ward talked to Katon Dawson, who was Steele’s biggest challenger in 2009 and who’s called for Steele to be fired. Dawson said, “They’re not going to coalesce behind one person because that one person has not shown up yet. … That one person has just got the wrong last name and it’s Bush. The one person is Jeb Bush.”
- Let’s Not Forget Tuesday’s Victories, BooMan urges at Booman Tribune. “I’m not saying that Michael Steele isn’t a clown and a gaffe-machine, but he did just preside over a huge election night victory for the Republican Party. Sure, he had Citizen’s United and American Crossroads doing all the heavy lifting, but can’t a brother catch a break? There were even two African-Americans elected to Congress as Republicans in the Deep South. Doesn’t that count for something?”
- Secret Weapon: Sarah Palin, Paul West reports at The Balitmore Sun. Many RNC members think Palin will back Steele for a second term, given that Palin appeared with Steele during his “Fire Pelosi” bus tour, and Steele defended Palin from anonymous Republicans who said she shouldn’t run for president. Palin would be a valuable asset, but if “Mama Grizzly embraces Steele as her kind of outside-the-Beltway, anti-establishment Republican, the anti-Steele forces are likely to portray it as payback for generous financial help Palin got from the RNC earlier this year. About $250,000 from the party treasury was used to pay her legal bills dating from the 2008 campaign. The story got relatively little attention, but a Palin endorsement in the chairman’s race could give it wider currency.”
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Special counsel Robert Mueller "is now demanding documents from the department overseeing his investigation." A source tells ABC News that "Mueller's investigators are keen to obtain emails related to the firing of FBI Director James Comey and the earlier decision of Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself from the entire matter."
"President Donald Trump would not insist on including repeal of an Obama-era health insurance mandate in a bill intended to enact the biggest overhaul of the tax code since the 1980s, a senior White House aide said on Sunday. The version of tax legislation put forward by Senate Republican leaders would remove a requirement in former President Barack Obama’s signature healthcare law that taxes Americans who decline to buy health insurance."
"Members of Congress with histories of mistreating women should be extremely nervous. Major outlets, including CNN, are dedicating substantial newsroom resources to investigating sexual harassment allegations against numerous lawmakers. A Republican source told me he's gotten calls from well-known D.C. reporters who are gathering stories about sleazy members."
"Christopher Steele, the former British intelligence officer who wrote the explosive dossier alleging ties between Donald Trump and Russia," says in a new book by The Guardian's Luke Harding that "Trump's land and hotel deals with Russians needed to be examined. ... Steele did not go into further detail, Harding said, but seemed to be referring to a 2008 home sale to the Russian oligarch Dmitry Rybolovlev. Richard Dearlove, who headed the UK foreign-intelligence unit MI6 between 1999 and 2004, said in April that Trump borrowed money from Russia for his business during the 2008 financial crisis."