March 1, 2019

3-1-2019 Political Nuggets….

Washington Brief

  • House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) accused the White House of blocking his committee’s demands for documents and witnesses relating to the White House’s security clearance process and said this was the administration’s last chance to comply before his panel would issue subpoenas. Concerns about the granting of a top-secret clearance to Jared Kushner, White House senior adviser and President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, also prompted Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) to introduce legislation he’s named the J.A.R.E.D. Security Clearance Act, which would require Congress to be notified if the president’s relatives or business associates obtain security clearances against the advice of intelligence officials. (Politico)
  • The parents of Otto Warmbier, the American college student who died after being detained in North Korea for 17 months, responded to Trump’s defense of Kim Jong Un, saying the North Korean leader is to blame for their son’s death. Trump said at a news conference following his Vietnam summit that Kim felt “very badly” about Warmbier’s death in 2017, and that he believed Kim’s account that he was not responsible. (The Washington Post)
  • Vice President Mike Pence said in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference that the choice in the next election is “between freedom and socialism,” pressing the White House’s case that Democrats are rallying behind the policies of socialism. Pence took aim at “Medicare for all” and the Green New Deal policies being pushed by some Democrats ahead of the 2020 election, joining an effort by the president and his allies to stoke enthusiasm among the Republican base. (The Associated Press)
  • President Donald Trump ordered then-White House chief of staff John Kelly to grant his son-in-law and senior adviser Jared Kushner a top-secret security clearance last year, overruling concerns by White House counsel Don McGahn and the intelligence community, according to sources. Trump had said in an interview that he had no role in his son-in-law receiving his clearance, but that account is disputed by a memo written by Kelly at the time that said he had been “ordered” to grant one to Kushner. ( The New York Times)
  • Democratic chairmen of key investigative House panels said they’re planning to seek interviews with a number of close Trump associates after testimony by his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen. House Oversight and Reform Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) said his panel will try and speak with a number of the names mentioned in Cohen’s testimonywhich included members of the Trump family and Trump Organization employees, and House Intelligence Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said his committee will hold a March 14 hearing with Felix Sater, the Russian-born former business associate of the president who worked to build a Trump Tower in Moscow. CNN)
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee said he is running for president, becoming the first governor to join the 2020 Democratic field. The 68-year-old begins his campaign less-known than many of the other candidates, but is betting that a focus on the environment can elevate him as some progressives push for a “Green New Deal.” (Politico)

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