May 17, 2017


Exhausted Republicans Are Getting Fed Up With The Chaos Coming From The White House : There's been widespread frustration with the lack of information coming from the White House, and several Republicans are making the political calculation that defending the president before they have all the facts may not be the best idea. (Tarini Parti, Alexis Levinson, Adrian Carrasquillo, 5/16/17, BuzzFeed)

Virginia Rep. Barbara Comstock, who represents a swing district in the Washington, DC, suburbs and is considered among the most vulnerable House Republicans in 2018, went as far as anybody in a statement, following the Washington Post report about Trump discussing classified information with the Russian foreign minister and ambassador in the Oval Office.

"Once again we are faced with inexplicable stories coming from the White House that are highly troubling," she said. "We need to have immediate classified briefings on what occurred at this meeting so that Congress can at least know as much as Russian leaders and know the impact on our national security, our allies, and our men and women protecting our country." [...]

"Sharing classified info to one of our enemies is a threat to our national security, troops on the ground & relationships w/ trusted allies," tweeted Illinois Rep. Adam Kinzinger.

And Wisconsin GOP Rep. Mike Gallagher, a former intelligence officer, in tweets called for the House and Senate Intelligence Committees to get a transcript of the meeting. "While POTUS possesses the authority to disclose classified, even top secret, information, there's a separate question of whether he should," he said.

As members were still reeling from the potential classified disclosures, another crisis was already brewing. On Tuesday evening the New York Times reported that fired FBI director James Comey had created a detailed memo of his interactions with Trump and said the president asked him to drop the investigation into former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Several Republicans declined to comment on the matter, saying they had not had enough time to fully acquaint themselves with the facts of a story that had been published just an hour before.

Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz tweeted that his committee "is going to get the Comey memo, if it exists. I need to see it sooner rather than later. I have my subpoena pen ready."

He has no constituency on the Hill.

GOP fears Trump will take the Republican Party down with him (Al Weaver, David M. Drucker, May 17, 2017, Daily Caller)

Republicans have grown accustomed to Trump's tumult, tending to downplay it because the president has weathered past challenges that might have sunk conventional politicians. But this is different, lawmakers and GOP strategists conceded Tuesday, in interviews with the Washington Examiner.

"You have this White House that is lurching from crisis to crisis, the image is of disarray - they can't get their hands around the basic day-to-day agenda, and define the progress they have made" Republican pollster David Winston said. "One of the things that the president has is the bully pulpit; the bully pulpit lets you drive the agenda and these crises haven't let the White House effectively get there."

"This is concerning and alarming," Rep. Charlie Dent, R-Pa., said flatly. "We're going to have to confront these issues as a Congress."

Republicans see red flags because foreign policy and national security are at the center of the crises that have engulfed Trump over the past seven days.

Concerns about Trump's fitness to serve as commander-in-chief has been a weak spot with independents and GOP voters outside of his loyal base. These voters form the backbone of the coalition that elected the president and Republican majorities in the House and Senate in November.

They had long ago resigned themselves to the constant tweeting and other uncomfortable aspects of Trump's unusual style.

But a belief that he is not competent to conduct foreign policy as fallout especially from his sharing classified intelligence with the Russians, could sunder the party's electoral coalition heading into 2018. [...]

"The last couple weeks have left a mark," a GOP consultant said, requesting anonymity in order to speak candidly. "The risks of going down the present path include diminished enthusiasm in the base, low fundraising and candidate recruitment problems in down ballot races."

Posted by at May 17, 2017 6:23 AM