“As the election year kicks into high gear, Republicans have grown increasingly frustrated with” President Trump’s “ongoing flirtation with” Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D).
After Rep. Kevin Cramer (R) “learned last year that Heitkamp would be accompanying the president on Air Force One to North Dakota, he complained bitterly to the White House. … Heitkamp, Cramer predicted at the time, would try to use it to her political advantage. (A Cramer adviser, Pat Finken, denied that the congressman had complained about the senator riding on Air Force One.)”
“Cramer shrugged off Heitkamp’s attendance at the bill signing” last week “and said there would soon be ‘clarity’ on who Trump supports in the race. Yet the congressman declined to predict whether the president would go after Heitkamp aggressively, as Trump has done with other Democratic incumbents. … Trump has asked Cramer whether he likes Heitkamp, and when the congressman responds yes, the president seems to be ‘relieved,’ Cramer said.”
Cramer: “Politically, North Dakota’s a pretty nice state. So I don’t know that turning it on her is necessarily politically helpful to me. … They may just be concerned that she’s a woman and maybe that has an impact. I just don’t know.”
“Her office keeps a running list of the dozen-plus meetings Heitkamp has had with Trump and his top advisers since the 2016 election. And the senator is fond of noting that she forged close ties with Trump’s former top economist, Gary Cohn. … Heitkamp predicted that Trump would attack her eventually.”
Heitkamp: “I don’t think anyone can match his Trump credentials.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell opted not to intervene when he learned Heitkamp was invited to attend a bill signing at the White House last week. (Politico)
NOT A “GOOD” IDEA. The state Democratic Party pointed out that Cramer on Tuesday praised former Secretary of State candidate Will Gardner (R) “as ‘a very good man,’ who handled exposure of the criminal history ‘in a gentlemanly way.’”
“When Gardner was a 29-year-old married father of two, he caught prowling outside freshman women’s dorms in the middle of January at the North Dakota State University—where he served as an employee—with his pants unzipped, shirt undone and belt left on the front see of his car.” (release)
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"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."