Just two of the 14 House members who sought Senate seats this cycle are favored to win with less than a week to go. Reps. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois are the only members holding significant leads, while Florida Rep. Ron DeSantis is the only failed Senate candidate poised for reelection to his House seat.
Reps. Joe Heck of Nevada and Todd Young of Indiana, are deadlocked in competitive Senate races that are central to determining who holds the majority, while Florida Rep. Patrick Murphy trails Sen. Marco Rubio by a few points. Arizona Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick challenged Sen. John McCain after her House district was reshaped, but McCain holds a solid lead.
In California and Louisiana, both of which hold unusual top-two primaries, three House members are running behind statewide-elected officials from their own party. Public polling shows a difficult path for either of Reps. Charles Boustany or John Fleming to advance to Louisiana’s Dec. 10 runoff. Republican state Treasurer John Kennedy leads the pack and could face an easy race against either of two leading Democrats. Meanwhile California Rep. Loretta Sanchez, who advanced from a June primary with Democratic state Attorney General Kamala Harris, trails her President Obama-endorsed opponent by double digits.
Reps. Marlin Stutzman of Indiana, Alan Grayson of Florida, and Donna Edwards of Maryland lost primaries earlier this year to fellow members of Congress. Florida Rep. David Jolly, like DeSantis, returned to his House race after Rubio announced his plans to seek reelection. But Jolly’s seat was redistricted to add a significant number of Democrats, making him the underdog against former Gov. Charlie Crist.
If Rubio wins, all three senators who ran for president, including Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, who is also up for reelection this year, will remain in the Senate. Should Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine become vice president, the special election a year from now could be between a Republican congressman and a former House Democrat appointed to the Senate in January.
— Andrea Drusch
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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."