Will Scott Brown run in New Hampshire after all? For months, most Granite State and D.C. Republicans have considered the former lawmaker more interested in attention than an actual Senate campaign. But Brown’s deluge of campaign-style visits, accompanied by a raft of stories about his intentions, have convinced many he’s now serious about running. Still, he’s not in yet, and there are a host of reasons to think he never will be.
— Despite his visits, Brown hasn’t personally courted GOP leaders and conservative activists, an important step for any candidate considering a bid for statewide office (much less in a place where voters expect future presidents to bend hand-on-knee asking for their vote). Many party leaders, in fact, say they don’t think Brown even has a formal group of advisers, in Massachusetts or New Hampshire. Brown’s contemplating a campaign, but he appears to be doing entirely inside his own head.
— He won’t necessarily receive a free pass in a primary. Yes, Republicans are excited that they might finally have found a credible candidate to take on incumbent Jeanne Shaheen, and, yes, the primary field is so far barren of any other top-tier contenders. But the Bay State Republican’s record begs for sort of conservative challenge all too common in GOP politics: Among other things, he has supported abortion rights, a ban on assault weapons and opposed Paul Ryan’s budget and the Bush-era tax cuts. Does Brown, currently earning a comfortable living in the private sector, have the stomach to beat back conservative criticism?
— And then there’s the matter of the general election. New Hampshire is a swing state, especially in a midterm election, but Shaheen is a relatively popular incumbent staring down an overt carpetbagger. Even with Obamacare’s struggles, Brown would start as an underdog.
Most agree he can wait until late winter to decide on a campaign. By that time, hopefully he remembers which state he’s running in.
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"American spies collected information last summer revealing that senior Russian intelligence and political officials were discussing how to exert influence over Donald J. Trump through his advisers." The conversations centered around Paul Manafort, who was campaign chairman at the time, and Michael Flynn, former national security adviser and then a close campaign surrogate. Both men have been tied heavily with Russia and Flynn is currently at the center of the FBI investigation into possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.
"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."