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Don McGahn to step down, Emmet Flood floated as new White House Counsel

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Don McGahn to step down Emmet Flood floated as new White House Counsel

Don McGahn’s tenure as White House Counsel has been tumultuous to say the least. He has been at the heart of everything in the administration’s legal sphere, which is a lot. From Robert Mueller to Jeff Sessions to inheriting challenges with the likes of Paul Manafort, McGahn has been extremely busy.

Now, it appears he is leaving soon.

White House counsel Don McGahn set to depart sometime this fall

https://www.axios.com/don-mcgahn-white-house-counsel-departure-emmet-flood-b4aeedcd-ac15-4502-995a-1e972ffa530e.htmlTop White House officials and sources close to White House counsel Don McGahn tell Axios that McGahn will step down this fall — after Brett Kavanaugh is confirmed to the Supreme Court, or after the midterms. The president later confirmed Axios’ reporting in a tweet.

The big picture: This potentially puts a successor in charge of fielding a blizzard of requests or subpoenas for documents and testimony if Democrats win control of the House in the midterms. And if the White House winds up fighting special counsel Robert Mueller, an epic constitutional fight could lie ahead.

Emmet Flood’s name is the natural choice and fits with the times. If there are challenges for the administration that turn into impeachment talks, Flood has experience as a Bill Clinton administration alumnus. If it doesn’t go that far, he’s still a solid choice as someone respected by both sides of the political fence.

Regardless of who replaces McGahn, this is a big story. It won’t get the same attention as bigger names in Trump’s world, but it’s significant. Even Chris Cillizza, whose opinion I rarely respect, came to the right conclusion on McGahn’s impending departure:

Yes, Don McGahn leaving the White House is a very big deal

https://www.cnn.com/2018/08/29/politics/don-mcgahn-donald-trump-mueller/index.htmlIf McGahn’s departure had nothing to do with the ongoing legal and political swirl created by the Mueller probe, he could have easily delayed his departure into the private sector for a few more months — maybe lasting until after the Mueller report was released. He isn’t. That’s telling.

Make no mistake: None of this is “going according to plan” for the Trump administration. McGahn’s departure takes an already difficult situation for this White House and this President and makes it that much tougher. No spin can change that basic fact.

Yes, there will be spin. But there is no way to paint this as good news for the President. McGahn was pressing all the legal levers for the President. Rudy Giuliani is just a public relations lawyer. That means someone else will have to be shown all the skeletons during an extremely important time in this presidency.

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Democrats

In threat to Pelosi, 16 Dems say they’ll back new leadership

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In threat to Pelosi 16 Dems say theyll back new leadership

WASHINGTON (AP) — Sixteen Democrats who’ve opposed Nancy Pelosi’s quest to become speaker released a letter Monday saying they will vote for “new leadership” when the House picks its leaders in January, underscoring a significant threat to her effort to lead her party’s House majority in the next Congress.

The letter’s release suggests that rather than spending the next six weeks focusing on a fresh agenda to present to Americans, House Democrats could be consumed with a bitter and attention-grabbing internal leadership fight.

The battle pits the party’s largely liberal and diverse membership backing Pelosi, D-Calif., against a small group of mostly moderate male lawmakers. Of the 16 Democrats who signed the letter — which stops short of explicitly saying they will vote for an opposing candidate for speaker — all but two are men: Reps. Kathleen Rice of New York and California’s Linda Sanchez.

“We promised to change the status quo, and we intend to deliver on that promise,” the authors wrote, referring to campaign pledges by a number of Democratic candidates. “Therefore, we are committed to voting for new leadership in both our Caucus meeting and on the House Floor.”

Pelosi has activated an aggressive campaign for the job involving House colleagues, prominent outside Democrats and party-aligned interest groups. Her office distributed endorsements Monday from nine House Democrats who are military veterans and UnidosUS, a Hispanic civil rights organization.

Known as a precise vote counter with a keen sense of her caucus’ leanings, Pelosi is aided by the lack of a declared opponent and many weeks during which she can dangle choice committee assignments, rules changes and other goodies to help attract support.

“Leader Pelosi remains confident in her support among Members and Members-elect,” spokesman Drew Hammill said in a written statement. He said 94 percent of House Democrats declined to sign the letter, though Pelosi opponents said they expect others who didn’t sign to vote against her.

Though the mavericks’ numbers represent a handful of the 232 House Democrats elected, plus five races still undecided, they could still garner enough opposition to thwart her.

Pelosi seems certain to have enough support to become her party’s nominee for speaker when House Democrats vote by secret ballot on Nov. 28. She will need only a majority of Democrats in that contest.

But when the full House elects its new leaders Jan. 3, the speaker will need a majority 218 votes, assuming that no one votes “present” or misses the vote and Republicans oppose her en masse, as seems likely. At 232 seats, Pelosi could afford to lose just 14 Democrats and still become speaker.

The rebels’ letter to their Democratic colleagues praises Pelosi, 78, as “a historic figure” who helped win major victories. Pelosi was speaker from 2007 through 2010 when Democrats held the majority and has been the party’s leader since 2003.

“We also recognize that in this recent election, Democrats ran and won on a message of change,” they wrote. “Our majority came on the backs of candidates who said that they would support new leadership because voters in hard-won districts, and across the country, want to see real change in Washington.”

Pelosi’s critics say the party’s long-serving top leaders must make room for younger members. They say years of Republican ads portraying her as an out-of-touch liberal have made it hard for moderate Democrats to win in swing districts.

Pelosi allies counter that the party just won House control with their biggest gain of seats since the 1974 post-Watergate election. Many bristle at dumping her at a time when President Donald Trump and the #MeToo movement have helped attract female candidates and voters to the party.

Rep. Steny Hoyer of Maryland has been No. 2 House Democrat since 2003 and South Carolina’s Jim Clyburn has been No. 3 since 2007. Both are in their late 70s and are running, unopposed so far, for those posts again.

Of the letter’s signees, five are incoming House freshmen or hope to be. Two of them — Anthony Brindisi of New York and Ben McAdams of Utah — are in races in which The Associated Press has yet to call a winner.

Pelosi critics assert there are more Democrats who’ve not signed the letter who are prepared to vote against Pelosi. That includes Rep. Marcia Fudge of Ohio, who’s said she’s considering running for speaker.

Trump has tweeted his respect for Pelosi and offered to round up GOP votes to help elect her speaker. Pelosi’s office has said she will win with Democratic votes, and it seems a stretch to expect Republicans to help elect her speaker — a vote that could open them up to primary challenges in 2020.

Others signing were incumbents Jim Cooper of Tennessee; Bill Foster of Illinois; Brian Higgins of New York; Stephen Lynch and Seth Moulton of Massachusetts; Ed Perlmutter of Colorado; Tim Ryan of Ohio; Kurt Schrader of Oregon and Filemon Vela of Texas. Incoming freshmen were Joe Cunningham of South Carolina, Max Rose from New York and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey.

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Guns and Crime

Suspect dead, 4 critical after hospital shooting

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Suspect dead 4 critical after hospital shootinga

CHICAGO (AP) — The Latest on a shooting at a Chicago hospital (all times local):

5 p.m.

Police say the suspected gunman is dead and four people are in critical condition following a shooting at a Chicago hospital.

Chicago police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says a police officer and at least one hospital employee are among those hospitalized in critical condition following the Monday afternoon shooting at Mercy Hospital.

Guglielmi says the gunman was killed, but it’s unclear if he took his own life or was killed by police.

The department issued a statement earlier on Twitter saying there were “reports of multiple victims” after shots were fired near the hospital on the city’s South Side. Police are asking people to avoid the area.

A spokesman for Mayor Rahm Emanuel says the mayor and Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson are monitoring the situation.

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4:15 p.m.

Chicago police say an officer has been shot during an active-shooting incident at a hospital on the city’s South Side.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says the officer is in critical condition. He says one “possible offender” has also been shot, and that officers are now searching the hospital.

The department issued a statement on Twitter saying there were “reports of multiple victims” after shots were fired Monday afternoon near Mercy Hospital. Police are asking people to avoid the area. No other details were immediately released.

A message left for hospital officials wasn’t immediately returned.

Television footage shows several people, including some wearing white coats, walking through a parking lot with their arms up.

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4 p.m.

Chicago police say officers are searching a hospital after a reported shooting and that one “possible offender” has been shot.

The department issued a statement on Twitter saying there are “reports of multiple victims” after shots were fired Monday afternoon near Mercy Hospital on the city’s South Side.

Police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi says officers are searching the hospital. He says at least one “possible offender is shot,” but no details were immediately released. Police are asking people to avoid the area.

A message left for hospital officials wasn’t immediately returned.

Television footage shows several people, including some wearing white coats, walking through a parking lot with their arms up.

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3:50 p.m.

Chicago police say they are responding to a shooting near a Chicago hospital with “reports of multiple victims.”

A department spokesman issued a statement on Twitter saying officers are responding after shots were fired near Mercy Hospital on the city’s South Side. The department says there are “reports of multiple victims.”

The police department says it didn’t immediately have more details. A message left for hospital officials wasn’t immediately returned.

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Guns and Crime

Legislators tell Allen West: Next version of First Step Act will cut loopholes

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Legislators tell Allen West Next version of First Step Act will cut loopholes

Last week, a handful of conservatives, including Lt. Col. Allen West and Conservative Review’s Daniel Horowitz, went after the bipartisan First Step Act, a criminal justice reform bill that has the backing of the President and many conservative lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Our complaint: why would the GOP support a bill that releases violent criminals and illegal immigrants?

According to legislative proponents of the bill, protections and benefits for both of these groups of felons have been eliminated in the next version of the bill that will reach the Senate floor. They reached out to West over the weekend to let them know they heard the concerns and are addressing them.

First Step Act: Response and Reassurances

https://i0.wp.com/theoldschoolpatriot.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/prison-553836_640.jpg?w=200&ssl=1The First Step Act is supported by many conservatives and law enforcement groups, including the Fraternal Order of Police, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, and the National District Attorneys Association. There are other proposals offered by those on the far left under the same banner of “criminal justice reform” that would release people from prison without regard to the danger they pose, including illegal immigrants and serious violent offenders. We must remember that there are some folks who are, well, as the ol’ folks would say, “just bad.” Additionally, some left-wing professors even propose abolishing all prisons partly based on their notion that the system is racist in nature. Hmm, I tend to believe that skin color or race has nothing to do with a person deciding to break the law. I just do not want us to go down the path of having criminals believe that there are no consequences, ramifications, for their actions and behaviors.

The legislators echoed our concerns and said the version that is currently available doesn’t reflect the changes that cut the loopholes. They say it will be impossible for these two groups – serious violent offenders and criminal illegal immigrants – to get the benefits of the bill. Many felons will be released early. Future felons will be given lighter sentences. That makes sense for many, but by no means should anyone in either of the two most dangerous groups receive sentence reductions, according to the letter to West.

My Take

Call me cynical, but lately I’ve changed my general rules regarding promises of politicians. It used to echo President Reagan’s stance on nuclear disarmament: “Trust but verify.” I now have to go with a more adversarial stance on political promises: “Show me proof, then we’ll talk.”

When the legislation is made available to the public, many will take a close look at it. I’ll personally be checking to see if there are any loopholes that would put violent offenders or criminal illegal immigrants back on the street sooner. If so, it’s a no-go for me.

 

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