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Rep. Mark Kirk (R-10) “fled reporters following an appearance at a luncheon in downtown Chicago” 6/21. He has “dodged reporters for a week after acknowledging he embellished stories about his military service.” He “ran from a pack of reporters” through “a back door through a kitchen prep area and onto a loading dock where a car waited for him” after speaking for about 20 minutes.
“The rapid departure came after Kirk offered his answers on a series of pre-arranged questions dealing with planning and urban growth issues such as public transit to Lake Michigan’s water levels” (Chase, “Clout Street,” Chicago Tribune, 6/21).
Kirk “has been on the defensive and has kept a low profile,” but “seemed to hint at the controversy” when he “recited a list of facts about the tough economy” during his speech before he “ducked out the back door.” Kirk: “Some may wonder if I’ve exaggerated the last points.”
He also “was quick to jab” at Treas. Alexi Giannoulias (D), who has proposed to set up a special fund to “modernize the nation’s infrastructure.” Kirk: “At least the FDIC wouldn’t close that bank.”
Kirk’s camp said he left without answering questions because he had another event to get to (Bellandi, AP, 6/21).
Crain’s Chicago Business’ Hinz says Kirk “literally ran out the hotel door rather than answer questions.” He “bolted” with the “media in hot pursuit” and jumped into the back seat of a black SUV “which instantly peeled out.”
“Frankly, I’m kind of stunned about this. Bad publicity is bad publicity, but there’s a way to not make it worse.” Kirk “can’t hide until” Nov., “he’s going to have to confront those nasty reporters sooner or later.” But “at least give” Kirk “credit for being fleet afoot. He moved so fast that none of the TV crews was able to get film of him.”
Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life…
ABC 7’s Thomas reports that mortgage broker Mike Niecestro (I) “did not file petitions for a position” after vowing to run to the right of Kirk. Niecestro said “that his petition drive fell way short of its goal” because a “certain” GOP “politician” did “not make good on his promise to get” 45K. In fact, “according to Niecestro, the politician known as a ‘flake’ in GOP circles, delivered a goose egg.”
Ret. Marine Randy Stufflebeam (C) did file as part of the Constitution Party slate. But the Tea Party favorite said he filed only 34K signatures, which may fall short of the 25K needed after certification. “So self-described moderate Kirk is likely not to have conservatives on the ballot to take away right wing” votes.
“So it’s not all bad news for Mark Kirk. Despite his credibility issues and recent status as a ‘media fugitive,’ he’s still very much in the running. No pun intended” (“Precinct7,” 6/22).
They Can Do That? … Will It Still Be Green?
Meanwhile, Giannoulias was his “usual affable, if slightly flip, self” at the luncheon speech (6/21). He and Kirk agreed that the six-month drilling moratorium made sense, but disagreed about cap-and-trade. Giannoulias: “We need to put a price on carbon emissions.”
Kirk said that “would hurt business and deter job growth. He advocated building more nuclear power plants instead.” Giannoulias advocated reversing the Chicago River, back to its natural flow, but Kirk disagreed, saying that would “send pollution into the region’s drinking water supply.” Freelance writer LeAlan Jones (G) was also in attendance, and “disagreed with cap and trade, saying it ‘would put an undue burden on industry’” (Pyke, Arlington Heights Daily Herald, 6/21).
VP Biden attended a fundraiser for Giannoulias on 6/21, and he “came with a message: Alexi Giannoulias is going to win.” Biden: “The reports of the demise of the Democratic Party are premature.”
The race “apparently now seems worth the fight” to the WH, who is “suddenly doubling down to try and keep” the seat (Zeleny, New York Times, 6/21). Giannoulias, to Biden: “It would be the honor of my life to come to Washington, DC and be able to help you move this country forward” (Esposito, Chicago Sun-Times, 6/22).
What We're Following See More »
As the Russia investigation heats up, "the role of Marc E. Kasowitz, the president’s longtime New York lawyer, will be significantly reduced. Mr. Trump liked Mr. Kasowitz’s blunt, aggressive style, but he was not a natural fit in the delicate, politically charged criminal investigation. The veteran Washington defense lawyer John Dowd will take the lead in representing Mr. Trump for the Russia inquiry."
President Trump's attorneys are "actively compiling a list of Mueller’s alleged potential conflicts of interest, which they say could serve as a way to stymie his work." They plan to argued that Mueller is going outside the scope of his investigation, in inquiring into Trump's finances. They're also playing small ball, highlighting "donations to Democrats by some of" Mueller's team, and "an allegation that Mueller and Trump National Golf Club in Northern Virginia had a dispute over membership fees when Mueller resigned as a member in 2011." Trump is said to be incensed that Mueller may see his tax returns, and has been asking about his power to pardon his family members.
In addition to ties between Russia and the Trump campaign, Robert Mueller's team is also "examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates, according to a person familiar with the probe. FBI investigators and others are looking at Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development in New York with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow, and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008, the person said. The investigation also has absorbed a money-laundering probe begun by federal prosecutors in New York into Trump’s former campaign chairman Paul Manafort."
Special Counsel Robert Mueller's team is "is examining a broad range of transactions involving Trump’s businesses as well as those of his associates", including "Russian purchases of apartments in Trump buildings, Trump’s involvement in a controversial SoHo development with Russian associates, the 2013 Miss Universe pageant in Moscow and Trump’s sale of a Florida mansion to a Russian oligarch in 2008."
"A Senate bill to gut Obamacare would increase the number of uninsured people by 32 million and double premiums on Obamacare's exchanges by 2026, according to an analysis from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office. The analysis is of a bill that passed Congress in 2015 that would repeal Obamacare's taxes and some of the mandates. Republicans intend to leave Obamacare in place for two years while a replacement is crafted and implemented."