“Nearly two-dozen senators from both parties want to offer legislation next week that would protect almost 700,000 undocumented immigrants from deportation, but they’re stuck on whether their measure should protect the parents of these immigrants from deportation too.
“Most Democrats want to preserve the so-called ‘chain migration’ system that lets newly documented immigrants line family members up to attain legal status. Many conservative lawmakers counter this system has to end or at least be substantially scaled back.”
“Lawmakers have been meeting almost daily. … They’ve even delighted over the use of a ‘talking stick’ to curb interruptions during heated debates. Leaving one such meeting Thursday afternoon, senators routinely cited ‘progress.’
“But so far, no amount of sweets or gimmicks have helped lawmakers overcome major divides.”(McClatchy)
BIDEN. Former Vice President Joe Biden “criticized the White House Thursday for allowing a top aide to President Trump to stay on despite apparent knowledge of his alleged history of domestic abuse. That aide, White House staff secretary Rob Porter, resigned Wednesday after the allegations became public.
“‘I can’t explain it. It’s long past due that he left,’” Biden said. … “‘I’m having enormous difficulty understanding how this White House functions,’ Biden added, calling the administration ‘controlled chaos.’” (NBC)
CUOMO. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) “launched a ‘tax fairness campaign’ Thursday encouraging residents to urge federal lawmakers to repeal a provision in the new federal tax law that caps state and local deductions at $10,000. In a speech … Cuomo characterized the legislation, signed into law late last year by … Trump, as politically motivated.”
“‘This is a transfer of wealth from one area of the country to another,’ Cuomo told a crowd of seniors and labor leaders. ‘It’s not fair. That’s exactly what this is. You’re taking from the Democratic states and you’re giving it to the Republican states. And that’s politics on a level this nation has never played before.’” (Newsday)
MOULTON. Rep. Seth Moulton (D-MA) said “he wants a ‘new generation of Democrats’ to stand bravely up against ‘the party establishment’ of Democrats, who he describes as those who would rather talk poorly about Republicans than talk positively about their own visions.
“‘The party establishment has gotten us into a terrible position right now,’ he said. ‘We don’t control anything in Washington… . The thing about veterans, they know how to challenge the establishment. They’re not afraid to take on the people in control. They’re not afraid to put people over politics or over their political party,’ he said.” (Boston Globe)
WYOMING. Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro (D) is scheduled to headline Wyoming Democrats’ “Nellie Tayloe Ross Dinner and Auction on Saturday, February 24th at the Plains Hotel in Cheyenne, Wyoming.” (release)
HARASSMENT. California Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia (D), “whose high-profile advocacy of the #MeToo movement earned her national media notice, is herself the subject of a state legislative investigation in the wake of a report that she sexually harassed and groped a former legislative staffer.
“In December, when Time magazine announced that ‘Silence Breakers’ who spoke out against sexual harassment were its Persons of the Year, Garcia’s face was prominently included in the art accompanying the cover story.”
“But Daniel Fierro of Cerritos” said that in 2014, “as a 25-year-old staffer to Assemblyman Ian Calderon, he was groped by Garcia, a powerful Democratic lawmaker who chairs the Legislative Women’s Caucus and the Natural Resources Committee.”
“The accusations against Garcia come at the close of months of high-profile activism on the issue of sexual harassment by the assemblywoman, who became one of Sacramento’s leading voices on #MeToo issue.” (Politico)
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"Saudi Arabia said Saturday that Jamal Khashoggi, the dissident Saudi journalist who disappeared more than two weeks ago, had died after an argument and fistfight with unidentified men inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul. Eighteen men have been arrested and are being investigated in the case, Saudi state-run media reported without identifying any of them. State media also reported that Maj. Gen. Ahmed al-Assiri, the deputy director of Saudi intelligence, and other high-ranking intelligence officials had been dismissed."
"Special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is scrutinizing how a collection of activists and pundits intersected with WikiLeaks, the website that U.S. officials say was the primary conduit for publishing materials stolen by Russia, according to people familiar with the matter. Mr. Mueller’s team has recently questioned witnesses about the activities of longtime Trump confidante Roger Stone, including his contacts with WikiLeaks, and has obtained telephone records, according to the people familiar with the matter."
"Special Counsel Robert Mueller is expected to issue findings on core aspects of his Russia probe soon after the November midterm elections ... Specifically, Mueller is close to rendering judgment on two of the most explosive aspects of his inquiry: whether there were clear incidents of collusion between Russia and Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, and whether the president took any actions that constitute obstruction of justice." Mueller has faced pressure to wrap up the investigation from Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, said an official, who would receive the results of the investigation and have "some discretion in deciding what is relayed to Congress and what is publicly released," if he remains at his post.
"The Justice Department on Friday charged a Russian woman for her alleged role in a conspiracy to interfere with the 2018 U.S. election, marking the first criminal case prosecutors have brought against a foreign national for interfering in the upcoming midterms. Elena Khusyaynova, 44, was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States. Prosecutors said she managed the finances of 'Project Lakhta,' a foreign influence operation they said was designed 'to sow discord in the U.S. political system' by pushing arguments and misinformation online about a host of divisive political issues, including immigration, the Confederate flag, gun control and the National Football League national-anthem protests."