Let’s, for a moment, look past tonight’s Nebraska Senate primary. Regardless of whether anti-establishment favorite Ben Sasse (R) wins or loses, the conservative groups at his side (Senate Conservatives Fund and Club for Growth, among others) have an important month ahead of them. And by the looks of things, things aren’t poised to break in their favor.
— The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the Club had pulled out of its fight against Rep. Mike Simpson (R-ID 02), whose primary against attorney Bryan Smith (R) occurs next week. The Idaho race was arguably the main House showdown within the Republican Party this year, and the incumbent looks poised to win a T.K.O. before anyone starts counting ballots.
— Things look worse for conservative challengers in Kentucky, where a Matt Bevin (R) victory over Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) would, at this point, register as one of the biggest political shockers in years. Remember when Bevin was the raison d’etre of some conservative activists and the Senate Conservatives Fund? (Notably, the Club never endorsed him.)
— That leaves conservatives rallying around state Senator Chris McDaniel (R) in Mississippi, in his matchup against Sen. Thad Cochran (R). Expect an almost fervent amount of attention on that race between now and the June 3 primary — the operatives plotting against the incumbent know he might be the only chance they have left to knock off a current officeholder. Cochran is still viewed as the favorite and is up in the polls, but conservatives consider it still very winnable.
Regardless of tonight’s results or the outcome of the Mississippi contest, expect some soul-searching among the leaders of the “conservative establishment” after this month’s slate of races. There’s a growing recognition that 2014 is going to be a lot different than the tea party-infused years of 2010 and 2012.
— Alex Roarty
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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."