Term-limited Gov. Sam Brownback’s (R) nomination to an ambassadorship “is returning to the White House because of U.S. Senate Rule 31, which requires that senators agree unanimously to continue considering nominees as a year ends. It wasn’t immediately clear which senator or senators objected to keeping Brownback’s nomination alive. Democrats have questioned his record on gay rights.”
Brownback “faces mounting pressure to clarify whether he or Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer (R) will be in charge when the Kansas Legislature gets back to work in early January — even if that means Brownback’s early resignation.”
“The Legislature reconvenes Jan. 8, and the governor is expected to deliver the State of the State address and a budget proposal soon after.” (Kansas City Star)
The Kansas City Star editorial board called on Brownback to resign.
“Kansas needs new leadership as much as oppressed religious minorities around the world need your passion for their situation. We do wish you the best in that capacity, or in anything else you choose to do. But as a fictional victim of religious persecution in pre-revolutionary Russia — yes, in ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ — asked God to ‘bless and keep the tsar, far away from us,’ we wish you well, too, far from Topeka.” (Kansas City Star)
WEAVING A NARRATIVE. Republican consultant John Weaver, who “does not work for the Greg Orman campaign,” penned an op-ed praising the potential independent candidate.
Weaver: “What’s quickly become clear is that both political parties are threatened by Orman’s candidacy. They rightly view him as a disruptor of the status quo and their attacks demonstrate that they know he can win. And while the people of Kansas would be the winners under a Gov. Orman — a governor who would put the people ahead of partisanship — the political establishment would be the losers, and they don’t want that.” (Kansas City Star)
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"The mercurial veteran GOP political operative, Roger Stone, has acknowledged that he is the unnamed Trump campaign regular who corresponded with an alleged Russian hacker, as described in a new indictment against a dozen Russians returned Friday by a federal grand jury." He told ABC News that he previously admitted to the contact to House investigators. He called the correspondence "benign."
"A dozen Russian intelligence officers have been charged with conspiring" to hack into Democratic organizations, the Hillary Clinton campaign, and state election boards and private companies providing ballot verifying software for the 2016 presidential election, announced Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. The Russians corresponded "with several Americans," Rosenstein said, who clarified that there was "no allegation in this indictment" that the Americans knew they were speaking with Russian hackers.
"President Trump described the European Union as 'a foe' in an interview with CBS News on Sunday, ahead of his meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Finland. "I think we have a lot of foes," Trump said. "I think the European Union is a foe, what they do to us in trade. Now, you wouldn't think of the European Union, but they are a foe."