With real estate mogul Donald Trump (R) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) “battling for the Republican nomination, two powerful factions of their party are now clashing over the question: Which man is more dangerous? Conservative intellectuals have become convinced that … Trump … poses a dire threat to conservatism. … However, the cadre of Republican lobbyists, operatives and elected officials based in Washington is much more unnerved by … Cruz, a go-it-alone, hard-right crusader who campaigns against the political establishment and could curtail their influence and access, building his own Republican machine to essentially replace them.” (New York Times)
“In private, some veteran conservative Republicans have been reaching out to Trump. And Trump himself called … Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell … for a talk late last year. … Perhaps most notably, parts of the establishment are starting to think Trump can win.” (Washington Post)
DEBATE CLUB. “The last Republican debate before the … Iowa caucuses will again feature a prime-time debate for the leading candidates and an undercard forum for the long-shots. In criteria announced by Fox News … on Thursday, the Republican debate in Des Moines on Jan. 28 will also use national, Iowa and New Hampshire polls to determine which candidates are invited to participate. … GOP candidates who poll in either the top six nationally or the top five in Iowa or New Hampshire will be eligible for the prime-time debate. … The network will look at an average of the five most recent national, Iowa and New Hampshire polls when making its determination.” (USA Today)
GAME CHANGER! Former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) could make an endorsement in the GOP race on Jan. 29 in New Hampshire. (Wall Street Journal)
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In a statement, House Majority Leader Paul Ryan said that "there is no question" that Russia interfered in the 2016 Presidential Election, and that it "continues attempts to undermine democracy here and around the world." The statement was released mere hours after President Trump declined to confront President Putin during a bilateral summit in Helsinki. "The president must appreciate that Russia is not our ally," Ryan said.
"The United States on Monday launched five separate trade disputes at the World Trade Organization (WTO) challenging their retaliatory tariffs. U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer said the U.S. is filing cases against China, the European Union, Canada, Mexico and Turkey, after each imposed new tariffs on U.S. exports in response to President Trump slapping steep tariffs on aluminum and steel over national security interests."
"A senior FBI official overseeing a government task force that addresses Russian attempts to meddle in U.S. elections has left the government for a job in the private sector, a departure that comes just months ahead of the 2018 midterm contests. Jeffrey Tricoli had been coleading the FBI foreign influence task force until June, when he left government work for a senior vice president job at Charles Schwab Corp. , the company confirmed."