Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell “still has a slate of brutal GOP primaries looming in the first half of this year that could jeopardize his party’s hold on the Senate—even with [Steve] Bannon out of the picture, assuming that his breakup with President Donald Trump and the wealthy Mercer family lasts. Still, McConnell’s team believes—probably with good reason—that their job in 2018 is now significantly easier without Bannon to marshal insurgent forces against incumbent Republican senators and cost the party crucial Senate seats.”
McConnell allies “say the party can focus on selling a still-unpopular tax law to the American public and picking up Senate seats in states President Donald Trump won in 2016.”
But several contested primaries still loom, in states such as Indiana, Wisconsin, Nevada, and West Virginia. (Politico)
INFRASTRUCTURE FORM. DSCC Chairman Chris Van Hollen “says his party will gauge support for potential infrastructure investments based on a specific GOP plan, expected this month.” Van Hollen added that “federal efforts to shore up crumbling roads, bridges and other shared infrastructure needs must primarily benefit states rather than private investors and corporate interests.” (The Hill)
MONEY MATTERS. Susie Tompkins Buell, a major Democratic donor, “says she is reconsidering her support for the women in the U.S. Senate who called for” former Sen. Al Franken’s (D-MN) resignation. “Buell described the push for Franken’s departure as ‘unfair,’ ‘cavalier,’ and somewhat politically motivated — ‘a stampede,’ ‘like a rampage,’ she said, speaking in stark terms about senators she has backed for years, naming” Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) “in particular.”
“Since 1991, Buell has contributed to nearly every one of the 17 Democratic women currently serving in the Capitol’s upper chamber, according to campaign filings. She has given the most to Gillibrand and her PAC, Off the Sidelines, a group dedicated to supporting other female candidates.” (Buzzfeed)
What We're Following See More »
"Two days after President Trump’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Russian officials offered a string of assertions about what the two leaders had achieved. 'Important verbal agreements' were reached at the Helsinki meeting, Russia’s ambassador to the United States, Anatoly Antonov, told reporters in Moscow Wednesday, including preservation of the New Start and INF agreements," and cooperation in Syria.
"Two weeks before his inauguration, Donald J. Trump was shown highly classified intelligence indicating that President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia had personally ordered complex cyberattacks to sway the 2016 American election. The evidence included texts and emails from Russian military officers and information gleaned from a top-secret source close to Mr. Putin, who had described to the C.I.A. how the Kremlin decided to execute its campaign of hacking and disinformation. Mr. Trump sounded grudgingly convinced, according to several people who attended the intelligence briefing. But ever since, Mr. Trump has tried to cloud the very clear findings that he received on Jan. 6, 2017, which his own intelligence leaders have unanimously endorsed."