Sure, a sitting House majority leader losing his primary this year was pretty rare: It has now happened once. But, unbelievably, it’s just as common as two African-American senators serving concurrently, which only happened for the first time during this Congress. Moving on from there, 2014 is shaping up to be a banner year for black politicians running statewide — even though the number of wins will remain low.
— There have been nine African-American senators, according to the Senate Historical Office, and Tim Scott (R-SC) and temporary appointee Mo Cowan (D-MA) were the first pair to ever serve together. Now, Scott and Cory Booker (D-NJ) do. Booker became the fourth popularly elected black senator ever last year, and Scott will become the fifth when he goes on the ballot for the first time.
— Meanwhile, if the polling in Maryland remains steady, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D) would become the fifth African-American governor — and the third one to be elected — in United States history. (That’s out of about 2,400 in history, per National Governors Association records.) Gov. Deval Patrick (D-MA), the lone current black governor, is leaving office after two terms at the end of the year.
— President Obama‘s White House wins were banner moments for the African-American community, but they haven’t yet led to a string of high-level successes for other black politicians, many of whom represent majority-minority constituencies that haven’t served as great statewide launchpads.
Progress is progress, and a few candidates in 2014, plus rising stars like Calfornia Attorney General Kamala Harris, mean that snail’s pace at the statewide level is picking up a bit. But for the black political community, it’s still moving very slowly.
— Scott Bland
CORRECTION: The previous version of this story misstated Cory Booker’s electoral history. He won his seat in a 2013 special election.
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"Former FBI Director Robert Mueller has been cleared by U.S. Department of Justice ethics experts to oversee an investigation into possible collusion between then-candidate Donald Trump's 2016 election campaign and Russia." Some had speculated that the White House would use "an ethics rule limiting government attorneys from investigating people their former law firm represented" to trip up Mueller's appointment. Jared Kushner is a client of Mueller's firm, WilmerHale. "Although Mueller has now been cleared by the Justice Department, the White House may still use his former law firm's connection to Manafort and Kushner to undermine the findings of his investigation, according to two sources close to the White House."
Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr (R-NC) and ranking member Mark Warner (D-VA) will subpoena two businesses owned by former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn. Burr said, "We would like to hear from General Flynn. We'd like to see his documents. We'd like him to tell his story because he publicly said he had a story to tell."
At an open hearing of the House Intelligence Committee, former CIA chief John Brennan said he saw information on Trump-Russia contacts that were worth a further look. "Having been involved in many counterintelligence cases in the past, I know what the Russians do. They try to suborn individuals," Brennan said. "And they try to get individuals, including U.S. persons, to act on their behalf, whether wittingly or unwittingly. And I was worried by a number of the contacts that the Russians had with U.S. persons, and so therefore by the time I left office ... I had unresolved questions in my mind."
"President Trump is moving rapidly toward assembling outside counsel to help him navigate the investigations into his campaign and Russian interference in last year’s election, and in recent days he and his advisers have privately courted several prominent attorneys to join the effort. By Monday, a list of finalists for the legal team had emerged, according to four people briefed on the discussions."
"President Trump asked two of the nation’s top intelligence officials in March to help him push back against an FBI investigation into possible coordination between his campaign and the Russian government, according to current and former officials. Trump made separate appeals to the director of national intelligence, Daniel Coats, and to Adm. Michael S. Rogers, the director of the National Security Agency, urging them to publicly deny the existence of any evidence of collusion during the 2016 election."