“Senate Democrats narrowly won … on Wednesday … in a 52-47 vote to overturn a decision last December by the Federal Communications Commission to dismantle Obama-era rules that prevented broadband providers like Verizon and Comcast from blocking or speeding up streams and downloads of web content in exchange for extra fees. The commission’s repeal of net neutrality is set to take effect in a few weeks.” (New York Times)
Every Senate Democrat voted in favor of overturning the decision. (Hotline reporting)
HASPEL. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) “is not among those who will back” Gina Haspel’s CIA director nomination. “Last week, Brown told reporters he had concerns about her background.” (cleveland.com)
“The Senate Intelligence Committee moved Wednesday to recommend … Haspel … setting up a floor vote that her opponents say will signal to the world whether the United States condemns or condones torture.” (Washington Post)
TREND-SPOTTING. “As Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s probe hits the one-year mark Thursday, Republicans in midterm elections have started to see an opportunity to use the Trump controversy to their advantage – by appealing to voters tired of the never-ending investigation.” (Fox News)
So far, four Republican members in the House have lost statewide bids, including for Senate in Indiana and West Virginia. Reps. Jim Renacci (R-OH) and Lou Barletta (R-PA) both won, with the help of President Trump’s endorsement. Reps. Kevin Cramer (R-ND) and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) are expected to win their respective primaries while Rep. Martha McSally (R-AZ) faces an inter party fight.
“For Republican primary voters, candidates who are trying to move on from the U.S. House have two major obstacles to overcome: Not only are they part of what President Trump derides as the ‘swamp,’ but they’re also not getting enough done to support his agenda. The best way to overcome these twin objections seems to be a nod from the president himself. ” (Washington Post)
It’s a different story for Democrats, including for governors races. Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) won his Senate primary in Texas, while Reps. Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) and Jacky Rosen (D-NV) face little opposition for their respective nominations. (Hotline reporting)
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Eleven days before the presidential inauguration last year, a billionaire Russian businessman with ties to the Kremlin visited Trump Tower in Manhattan to meet with Donald J. Trump’s personal lawyer and fixer, Michael D. Cohen, according to video footage and another person who attended the meeting. In Mr. Cohen’s office on the 26th floor, he and the oligarch, Viktor Vekselberg, discussed a mutual desire to strengthen Russia’s relations with the United States under President Trump, according to Andrew Intrater, an American businessman who attended the meeting and invests money for Mr. Vekselberg."
"The Justice Department asked its internal watchdog to examine if there was any impropriety in the counterintelligence investigation of President Donald Trump’s 2016 campaign, after the president demanded Sunday that the department investigate the motives behind the inquiry. Earlier Sunday, in one of a series of tweets targeting the probe into whether Trump associates colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign, Mr. Trump wrote: 'I hereby demand, and will do so officially tomorrow, that the Department of Justice look into whether or not the FBI/DOJ infiltrated or surveilled the Trump Campaign for Political Purposes - and if any such demands or requests were made by people within the Obama Administration!'"