If any news story was able to penetrate the hive mind of the political-media class last week, beyond the freaking out over Miley Cyrus’s Video Music Awards performance (along with, you know, the freaking out over the possibility of an attack on Syria), it was word that Washington might be getting another shot at hosting the Olympics, in 2024. On Tuesday, Bob Sweeney, head of the Greater Washington Sports Alliance, announced the launch of D.C. 2024, a nonprofit aimed at exploring a bid for the Summer Games. The dream to bring the Olympics to Washington is still many years and many billions of dollars away from becoming a reality. But it did inspire something almost as rare as an Olympic event: an actually kind of funny D.C.-centric Twitter hashtag. Some of our favorites from #dcolympicevents: single tracking (@techn0cratic); tweeting while walking (@johnson); kicking the can (@peteschroeder); punting on legislation (@danielstrauss4); running of the interns (@asmith83); and softball with Chris Matthews (@ryanbeckwith.) But, as with all good things here, the quality and popularity of the hashtag were inversely proportional. By Wednesday, one-liners about red tape and procedural hurdles were clogging the Twitter stream.
Outside groups are spending money earlier than ever, but missing from all the action: cash-flush American Crossroads, the GOP granddaddy of super PACs. Crossroads notably stayed out of the special Senate election in Massachusetts, believing the race was unwinnable. It didn’t want to touch Mark Sanford in South Carolina’s special House election in the 1st District. But the group also isn’t spending money to soften vulnerable Dem incumbents such as Mark Pryor or Mary Landrieu; at this point in 2011, it had already attacked Claire McCaskill. (Its roster of McConnell alums ensures involvement in Kentucky.) More important, donations to American Crossroads are down significantly in the off-year. Through the first six months of 2013, it raised $1.86 million. During the same period in 2011, it raised $3.93 million. After Crossroads lost 11 of 13 Senate races it spent money on in 2012, big donors are less willing to pony up. The other reason: its renewed focus on persuading Republicans to support immigration reform. That shift from politics to policy came up short, failing to convince its targets despite the ad blitz. Crossroads helped fashion the current campaign finance world, and it’ll play a pivotal role in 2014. But with more money from upstarts being spent earlier, it risks being left behind.
Scott Bland and Josh Kraushaar
Air Marshal President Obama is expected to nominate Janet McCabe, a deputy administrator at the Environmental Protection Agency’s clean-air office, to head that division, according to sources familiar with his thinking. The position would put McCabe at the heart of the president’s historic, and controversial, global-warming agenda. She would be charged with crafting massive new pollution regulations affecting coal-fired power plants — rules that could eventually freeze the nation’s coal industry but also position the U.S. as a global leader on climate change. She will step into the shoes of her boss, Gina McCarthy, who was confirmed last month as EPA’s chief. While McCarthy will be the public face of the new climate-change regulations, McCabe will act as her right-hand woman, taking on the burden of drafting and legally bulletproofing the rules, as well as working with all the stakeholders they’ll affect — states, electric utilities, consumers, and environmental advocates. It’s likely that McCabe could face a tough confirmation process. Senate Republicans held up McCarthy’s confirmation for more than 100 days.
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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."