This week is the time to give thanks. What are folks in politics thankful for this year?
— Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) is thankful for former Sen. Scott Brown‘s (R-MA) indecision. Brown has been publicly flirting with a NH SEN run for months, and other Republicans have been passing on the race left and right. Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds (R) should be thankful for Democrat Rick Weiland, who hasn’t united his party behind his candidacy, despite being the only real candidate. Democrat Alison Lundergan Grimes is thankful for Matt Hoskins and Senate Conservatives Fund for playing the role of chief antagonists to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).
— Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn is thankful that potential Dem rivals Bill Daley and Lisa Madigan passed, effectively granting him renomination. Maine Gov. Paul LePage (R) is thankful that 2010 candidate Eliot Cutler (I) wants to give it another go next year, improving LePage’s chances at winning a 3-way race. The DCCC is thankful for the government shutdown, while the NRSC is thankful for the botched Obamacare rollout. Both committees are fighting uphill battles this cycle to win back majorities in their respective chambers (the DCCC much more so than the NRSC, per Tuesday’s new CNN generic ballot poll), but they both end the year with more potent cases to make against the other side than they started with.
— On the lighter side, members of Congress should be thankful for the wealth of extra-curricular activities D.C. has to offer! Plenty of pols complain that Washington is a horrible place, but Trey Radel and Mike Crapo have demonstrated there’s plenty to do around here besides legislating and fundraising. And Rep. Bruce Braley (D-IA) is thankful that he no longer has to go without towel service at the House gym, now that the government has reopened.
And we are forever thankful for you, our readers, for your support over the years. Have a happy Thanksgiving, and we’ll see you back here on Monday.
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"The U.S. has invested 16 years and more than $70 billion to train Afghan security forces, but the effort has been undermined by poor planning, training and oversight, a government watchdog said in a report Thursday. The 259-page report by the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or Sigar, offered a critical assessment of one of the top goals of the U.S. effort in Afghanistan—to train local forces so they can secure Afghanistan on their own. The report details how unprepared the U.S. was to train local forces when the war began in 2001 and concludes many of the problems that hampered the early days of the war still exist."
In 2009, the Federal Aviation Administration warned that individuals with terrorist ties were licensed to fly or repair planes. Years later, it is still a problem. Researcher Mark Schiffer found several known terrorists have FAA licenses when testing an algorithm on public records. Part of the problem is the FAA does not use photos on licenses and does not completely vet information. But they claim pilot certificates are to show the pilot's training level—not security—and pilots have to have government-issued IDs.
"Presidential son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner has corresponded with other administration officials about White House matters through a private email account set up during the transition last December, part of a larger pattern of Trump administration aides using personal email accounts for government business." His lawyer said Kushner and his colleagues usually forwarded news articles or political commentaries.
"President Trump will meet with major GOP donors for a private dinner on Tuesday in New York as part of a fundraising effort for the Republican National Committee, according to three people briefed on his plans." Trump is expected to talk about the party's agenda on the Hill and the midterm elections.