Thirteen House Republicans bucked their party on the tax reform vote on Thursday: Reps. Dana Rohrabacher (CA-48), Darrell Issa (CA-49), Leonard Lance (NJ-07), Rodney Frelinghuysen (NJ-11), Lee Zeldin (NY-01), Peter King (NY-02), Dan Donovan (NY-11), John Faso (NY-19), Elise Stefanik (NY-21), Frank LoBiondo (NJ-02), Chris Smith (NJ-04), Tom McClintock (CA-04), and Walter Jones (NC-03). (GovTrack) Most hail from California, New Jersey and New York, the states that benefit most from the SALT deduction scrapped in the new plan.
CLF Executive Director Corry Bliss “said in an interview that Republicans who vote against the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on Thursday should not assume they would have the group’s support going into a grueling midterm election year. ‘CLF will never spend a dollar attacking a Republican,’” Bliss said. “’But CLF is going to raise and spend $100 million to protect the Republican majority. CLF, like any organization, will allocate resources to friends and family first.’” (Washington Post)
RATINGS CHANGE. The Cook Political Report changed ratings in seven House districts on Friday. From House editor Dave Wasserman: “If it wasn’t already clear, last Tuesday’s election results confirmed a political atmosphere that would seriously endanger the House GOP’s majority in 2018. In Virginia, turnout was up 20 percent over 2013 in localities won by Hillary Clinton, compared to 13 percent in localities carried by President Trump.”
FL-26 moved from “Lean Republican” to “Toss Up”
IL-06 moved from “Lean Republican to “Toss Up”
MN-08 moved from “Lean Democratic” to “Toss Up”
NJ-11 moved from “Lean Republican” to “Toss Up”
TX-07 moved from “Lean Republican” to “Toss Up”
UT-04 moved from “Likely Republican” to “Lean Republican”
WI-06 moved from “Solid Republican” to “Likely Republican”
And Wasserman reports that ahead of Sunday’s PA-18 special nomination conventions that party insiders said “top contenders include former federal prosecutor Conor Lamb, a 33-year old Marine veteran whose uncle is Pittsburgh’s city controller, and Westmoreland County Commissioner Gina Cerilli, a pro-life, pro-gun Democrat who was Miss Pennsylvania in 2010. Either profile could potentially give Democrats a favorable contrast against Saccone, who is 59.” (Cook Political Report)
FRANKEN. The NRCC “has called on eight Democrats running for House seats around the country to return campaign donations that they received from Sen. Al Franken” (D-MN) after Franken was accused of sexual harassment. The candidates, to whom Franken has given $1,500 each, include state Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi (D), running in NY-22; ironworker Randy Bryce (D) in WI-01; state Rep. Abby Finkenauer (D) in IA-01; Air Force veteran Chrissy Houlahan (D) in PA-06; Rep. Ruben Kihuen (D-NV 04); former Navy helicopter pilot Mikie Sherrill (D), NJ-11; former Defense Department official Elissa Slotkin (D) in MI-08; and Rep. Betty McCollum (D-MN 04), to whom Franken gave $5,000. (Axios)Bryce has already announced he will give Franken’s donation to him to local Wisconsin charities, and Finkenauer is also not keeping her donation, but did not indicate what she would do with it. (AP/Des Moines Register) Meanwhile, 2016 nominee Angie Craig (D), running in Minnesota’s 2nd District, has announced that she will “donate $15,000 in campaign contributions from Franken to a charitable organization.” (AP)
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The indictment, filed in the District of Columbia, alleges that the interference began "in or around 2014," when the defendants began tracking and studying U.S. social media sites. They "created and controlled numerous Twitter accounts" and "purchased computer servers located inside the United States" to mask their identities, some of which were stolen. The interference was coordinated by election interference "specialists," and focused on the Black Lives Matter movement, immigration, and other divisive issues. "By early to mid-2016" the groups began supporting the campaign of "then-candidate Donald Trump," including by communicating with "unwitting individuals associated with the Trump Campaign..."
"Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is finalizing a plea deal with special counsel Robert Mueller's office, indicating he's poised to cooperate in the investigation, according to sources familiar with the case. Gates has already spoken to Mueller's team about his case and has been in plea negotiations for about a month. He's had what criminal lawyers call a 'Queen for a Day' interview, in which a defendant answers any questions from the prosecutors' team, including about his own case and other potential criminal activity he witnessed."
"The Senate on Thursday rejected immigration legislation crafted by centrists in both parties after President Trump threatened to veto the bill if it made it to his desk. In a 54-45 vote, the Senate failed to advance the legislation from eight Republican, seven Democratic and one Independent senators. It needed 60 votes to overcome a procedural hurdle. "
"The House Intelligence Committee has scheduled a Thursday meeting to hear testimony from Steve Bannon—but it's an open question whether President Donald Trump's former chief strategist will even show up. The White House sent a letter to Capitol Hill late Wednesday laying out its explanation for why Trump's transition period falls under its authority to assert executive privilege, a move intended to shield Bannon from answering questions about that time period." Both Republicans and Democrats on the committee dispute the White House's theory, and have floated charging Bannon with contempt should he refuse to appear.