Former state Rep. Joe Trillo (R) announced on Tuesday that he will leave the party and run for governor as an independent. “Trillo said he believes ‘the best way to fix’ Rhode Island is to get himself on the ballot in November as an option for all voters.”
Trillo: “I feel that my message is more of a populist message. … To win with my message in Rhode Island, I will need Democratic support, a lot of independent support, and Republicans. … Rhode Island will have a choice between insiders and an outsider who is beholden to no special interests but who has the experience and popular vote to change our broken system. … What matters is not which party controls our government, but whether our government is controlled by the people.”
He said if he elected he would reduce taxes, shrink state government by attrition, “protecting teachers from legal abuse from instilling discipline,” enable police, invest in infrastructure.
Trillo distinguished the state Republican Party from “Trump Republicans” who are more “moderate” and “populist” and said he would work to “drain the Rhode Island swamp.” (WPRO)
Trillo’s “past affiliation with Trump leads some Democrats to see his independent run as a benefit for” Gov. Gina Raimondo (D) “in what is expected to be a bruising re-election campaign. The thinking is that Trump is more likely to get support from Republicans and conservative independents, helping to carve up the gubernatorial vote. That’s significant since Raimondo won her first term as governor in 2014 with 40.7 percent of the vote, compared with 36.2 percent for” Cranston Mayor Allan Fung (R) “and a surprising 21.4 percent for independent Robert Healey. Healey has since died. Some Republicans also see Trillo’s move as a benefit for Raimondo.” (RIPR)
THE OTHER REPUBLICAN SEEKING DEMOCRATIC SUPPORT. “Longtime Rhode Island fundraiser Dee Dee Witman has signed on to help … Fung. … Whitman led fundraising for Buddy Cianci’s unsuccessful 2014 [Providence] mayoral campaign, although she’s better known for working with Democrats like Richard Licht, on a 1988 U.S. Senate run, and Joseph R. Paolino Jr., on a gubernatorial campaign in 1990. She was close to Mark Weiner, the influential RI Democrat who died in July 2016.” (RIPR)
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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.