So President Donald Trump calls Vladimir Putin. And, according to the White House, Trump congratulates Putin and says he wants to get together soon … but doesn’t mention election meddling or the poison attack in the United Kingdom.
“We don’t get to dictate how other countries operate,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, when asked if the US government believes Putin’s election was “free and fair.”
This is unusual White House behavior, by any modern standard. (It was all going on at the same moment that the bipartisan members of the Senate Intelligence Committee were outlining ways to block Russia’s future meddling in midterm elections that have already begun.)
This is not just a matter of Trump refusing to criticize Putin. The now freshly re-elected Russian president gets to use Trump’s public kindnesses to further his agenda – an agenda that has been demonstrated to include doing further harm to the American political system.
Maybe there’s a Trumpian method behind the buddy-buddy act. But these are some off public maneuvers taking place even as Americans are beginning to vote in 2018.
The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks
If the outskirts of Chicago are any indication, change may be slow to come to the Democratic Party.
Or at least a lot slower than expected given the energy and enthusiasm on the left.
Despite a well-funded and well-orchestrated primary challenge to a very conservative sitting Democrat, progressives, who arguably had their best shot at taking down incumbent centrist Democrat this year, fell short.
Marie Newman, the progressive running against the longtime incumbent Rep Dan Lipinski, was unable to secure her party’s nomination in Illinois’ 3rd Congressional District, despite backing from a number of major Democratic and women’s organizations and Sen. Bernie Sanders I-Vermont.
Grassroots groups tried to chin up and remind supporters and reporters that taking on the Democratic Party machine in Illinois and Democratic House Leader Nancy Pelosi who stayed with her man, Lipinski, is really, really hard.
But still, the fact that this pro-life Democrat who voted against the Affordable Care Act was able to keep his seat in the era of Trump, when the far left feels so motivated and itching for a fight, may leave some strategists and organizers rethinking their game plan going into next year.
Many progressives believe that going too far left isn’t a real issue, that voters want something to come out to support. Maybe perhaps some of those Democratic voters aren’t ready to go full-resistance.
In fact, maybe in some areas, the more measured, moderate and familiar option is preferable.
Similarly in the race for the statehouse, Democratic voters elected to give a billionaire and establishment politician, with some baggage in the state, to the chance to take on the sitting Republican governor.
Sensible or risky? Time will tell.
The TIP with Stephanie Ebbs
Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is reportedly working on a new policy that could potentially limit what science can be used to make policy decisions.
E&E News first reported that Pruitt told the Heritage Foundation last week he’ll will likely propose a new policy similar to a bill backed by House Science Committee Republicans last year that proposed green lighting the crafting of rules based in scientific studies as long as the study makes its raw data public.
Critics worry the move is a way to go after the endangerment findings that forms the basis of many of the Obama administration’s climate policies. The 2009 finding says that greenhouse gases are a threat to public health and thus created the legal justification to regulate emissions.
Representatives of science advocacy groups like the Union of Concerned Scientists were vocal about the possible change on Tuesday.
The EPA stands by the move.
“Administrator Pruitt believes that Americans deserve transparency, with regard to the science and data that’s underpinning regulatory decisions being made by this Agency,” EPA spokesperson Liz Bowman told ABC News in a statement
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW TODAY
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“You know, Madam Secretary, I think we understand where your priorities are. They are not with the young people of this country.” – Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-Conn., said Tuesday after Education Secretary Betsy DeVos told lawmakers she didn’t know if she would have time to meet with survivors of the Parkland High School shooting Friday in Washington D.C. for the March for Our Lives rally.
NEED TO READ
Incumbents, money triumph in several contentious Illinois primaries. Money was the big winner in a marque Illinois primary race Tuesday night as two multi-millionaires faced off in the governor’s race. (Emily Goodin, John Verhovek and Molly Nagle) https://abcn.ws/2GQirlC
Judge denies Trump bid to get sexual accuser Summer Zervos’ defamation suit tosses: ‘No one is above the law.’ A Manhattan Supreme Court judge Tuesday denied President Trump’s attempt to dismiss a defamation lawsuit filed by a former reality show contestant who accused him of sexual misconduct.(Aaron Katersky) https://abcn.ws/2udtq6n
Senate Intel releases election security recommendations. As President Donald Trump Tuesday was congratulating Russian President Vladimir Putin on his election victory, on Capitol Hill lawmakers were sounding the alarm about Russia’s meddling in the 2016 U.S. election and the need to take urgent action to prevent it from happening again. (Mary Bruce and Trish Turner) https://abcn.ws/2GMKSkp
Trump says he congratulated Putin in call. President Trump said Tuesday that he spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin to congratulate him on his recent election victory and said that the two would likely get together in the not too distant future to discuss what he called “the arms race,” Ukraine, Syria, and North Korea. (Jordyn Phelps) https://abcn.ws/2G75shB
Congress heading toward government shutdown as spending talks drag on. With Congress heading toward another government shutdown, House Speaker Paul Ryan says he is “hoping today” that negotiators will finalize an agreement Tuesday, and said congressional leaders are not yet discussing a continuing resolution as a backup plan. (John Parkinson) https://abcn.ws/2FOx8si
Cambridge Analytica ex-employee agrees to interview with House Democrats. Democrats on the House Intelligence Committee will soon have the opportunity to question the former employee who helped reveal that a political data firm with ties to Donald Trump’s campaign used data collected from millions of Facebook profiles without permission to help its political messaging efforts during the 2016 presidential election. (Benjamin Siegel) https://abcn.ws/2pulAjC
Congressman believes his school security bill could have prevented Maryland high school shooting. Texas Republican Rep. Roger Williams believes his new school security bill could have prevented Tuesday’s high school shooting in Great Mills, Maryland. (John Parkinson) https://abcn.ws/2prHO54
Primary contests abound in key Pennsylvania House races. A plethora of candidates filed to run for House seats in Pennsylvania, setting up intra-party contests in some key races that could help determine control of the lower chamber of Congress — including primary challenges for Democrat Conor Lamb and Republican Rick Saccone. (Emily Goodin) https://abcn.ws/2DHPCoC
School safety commission to meet ‘very soon,’ DeVos says. President Donald Trump’s newly-announced federal commission on school safety will meet “very soon,” within the “next few weeks,” Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Tuesday. (Erin Dooley) https://abcn.ws/2FY06SH
Carson contends he and his wife complained about $31,000 furniture cost. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson spoke publicly for the first time Tuesday about the controversy over his agency’s decision to order a $31,000 dining set for his office, contending he and his wife complained to staff about the price. (Stephanie Ebbs) https://abcn.ws/2u35nqE
The Washington Post reports Conservative strategist Stephen K. Bannon oversaw Cambridge Analytica’s collection of Facebook data, according to former employee. https://wapo.st/2pun6lg