President Trump clashed with Democrat leaders of Congress in a rare televised White House meeting on Tuesday. The topic was Trump’s demand for funding for a border wall, and Dems’ threat to shut down the government over it. Trump told likely House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer that he welcomes a shutdown—he’d be “proud” to shut the government down—if the Democrats obstruct funding for the wall. The truth is that if funding lapses the shutdown would be partial and mostly painless.
—QUOTABLE: “Yes, if we don’t get what we want, one way or the other,” [Trump would be] proud to shut down the government for border security.” -Trump
AFTERWARDS—Nancy Pelosi compared the meeting with Trump to getting peed on by a skunk. In a meeting with other Congressional leaders, she allegedly said “I was trying to be the mom. I can’t explain it to you. It was so wild. It goes to show you: ‘You get into a tickle contest with a skunk, you get tinkle all over you’.”
Top Democrats pressed the Department of Justice ethics czar on Monday to disclose whether he’s advised Matthew Whitaker to recuse himself from the Russia probe. Whitaker, the acting attorney general who took over after President Trump forced Jeff Sessions out last week, is under intense pressure from the Democrats to wash his hands of all things related to Robert Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election. Dems claim that Whitaker’s comments critical of the probe before he started working at the DOJ are disqualifying.
—QUOTABLE: “[W]e request that you immediately notify us in writing regarding whether you, or any other ethics officials at the Justice Department, have advised Mr. Whitaker to recuse from supervision of the special counsel investigation, and the basis for that recommendation.” -Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi in a letter to Lee J. Lofthus, DOJ ethics officer
Democrats are dialing up their push to force acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker to recuse himself from anything to do with the Mueller probe. Whitaker took over after President Trump effectively fired Jeff Sessions last week, but Dems claim his comments critical of special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation disqualify him from having any oversight over the 18-month probe into alleged Russian collusion during the 2016 election. Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and other leading Democrats insisted that past statements as chair of a conservative nonprofit, before his time at the Department of Justice, require Whitaker’s immediate recusal.
—QUOTABLE: “There are serious ethical considerations that require Mr. Whitaker’s immediate recusal from any involvement with the Special Counsel investigation of the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.” -Pelosi, Schumer et al letter
“Comedian” Amy Schumer got arrested while protesting Brett Kavanuagh in Washington DC on Thursday. Video on social media shows a police officer asking her if she wants to get arrested — she answers “yes.” She was holding an “I believe Anita Hill” sign. No word on what the specific charge.
It’s worth noting that Schumer is cousins with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.
Attorneys for both Christine Blasey Ford and Debra Ramirez are questioning whether the FBI is being thorough in their supplemental investigation of Brett Kavanaugh as they claim they see no evidence that the FBI has reached out any of the witnesses they have named.
Attorneys for Ramirez doubt that the FBI is being allowed to conduct the investigation that it needs to. Insinuating that they are being dictated to by the Trump White House.
Sen Mitch McConnell R-KY, says the supplemental report would be finished Wednesday afternoon and that the report will be available for review shortly thereafter.
There is one copy of the report that will only be available to all 100 Senators and a handful of aides that will be delivered one by one to each Senate office, reviewed by the Senator than moved by courier to the next Senator. This is done to prevent leaks to the media.
Sen Chuck Schumer D-NY is demanding 24 hours after the report becomes available to hold the procedural vote the Senate floor.
McConnell has said the vote will take place after cloture either Friday or Saturday. Whether all Senators can review the document, which thought to be relatively short, can be done to meet that timeline is to be determined.
What goes around comes around. Senate Republicans are opening an investigation into Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s handling of the letter from Christine Blasey Ford alleging sexual misconduct against Brett Kavanaugh. Feinstein received the letter over the summer, but did nothing with it until moments before the voting would begin on Kavanaugh’s confirmation. Cotton told “Face The Nation” on Sunday that she should’ve made fellow members of the Senate Judiciary Committee aware of the allegation immediately. He says he wants to get to the bottom of the suspicious timing, adding Senate Dems betrayed Ford’s request to remain anonymous and victimized her by making the letter a last-minute political football.
—QUOTABLE: “Any impact that this entire episode has had, on women’s willingness to come forward and report sexual assault, which I encourage them all to do immediately after it happens, is caused by the Democrats, is caused by Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Schumer not respecting her requests for confidentiality.” -Cotton
Sen. Chuck Grassley, the chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Tuesday the committee had hired a female outside counsel to ask Brett Kavanaugh and his accuser questions at a Thursday hearing. The Supreme Court nominee and accuser Christine Blasey Ford are both scheduled to testify on her allegations that Kavanaugh tried to rape her at a high school house party. Still in the air, however, is whether the allegations of a second accuser will be the subject of any questions at Thursday’s much-hyped hearing. The identity of the lawyer isn’t being revealed, which really upsets Chuck Schumer—but Grassley insists the whole move is to remove politics from the cross examination.
—QUOTABLE: “We have done it because we want to depoliticize the whole process like the Democrats politicized the Anita Hill thing…The whole purpose is to create an environment where it is what Dr. Ford has asked for — it be professional and not be a circus. That’s what we’re up to.” -Grassley