Watchdog Faults EPA Over Scott Pruitt’s Security Detail
Heidi Vogt, The Wall Street Journal
Lax oversight allowed Scott Pruitt’s security costs while he was Environmental Protection Agency chief to more than double to $3.5 million in less than a year, the cabinet department’s internal watchdog said in a report Tuesday. The EPA’s inspector general said the agency didn’t justify or adequately monitor the expense of Mr. Pruitt’s detail, which included 19 agents, 10 of them full-time, providing 24-hour protection seven days a week.
Mueller’s Office Will Grill Him About Roger Stone. He Will Respond With Comedy.
Danny Hakim, The New York Times
Randy Credico, a comedian and left-wing political activist, has an appointment on Sept. 7. With Robert S. Mueller III. Before a grand jury. Under oath.
Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel says he won’t run for re-election next year
Bill Ruthhart, The Chicago Tribune
Pugnacious and ever confident, Rahm Emanuel never has been one to back away from a political fight. But on Tuesday, he did just that, abruptly dropping a bid for a third term as Chicago’s mayor to instead write an undetermined “next chapter” of his life.
John Kerry on 2020: “I doubt very much I’ll be running for office again”
Emily Tillett, CBS News
Former Secretary of State John Kerry says that he doubts “very much” that he’ll be eyeing a run for office any time soon as President Trump said he would “be so lucky” to run against Kerry in the 2020 presidential election. “I’ve said again and again it’s hard to get away from it, but I doubt very much I’ll be running for office again,” Kerry said when asked about his intentions for 2020 on “CBS This Morning” on Tuesday.
Mueller Will Accept Some Written Answers From Trump
Maggie Haberman and Michael S. Schmidt, The New York Times
The special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, eased up slightly on his demands to question President Trump in the Russia investigation, a shift that came as the president’s lawyers, who have advised him against sitting for an interview, are fighting his desire to answer investigators’ queries. Mr. Mueller will accept written answers from Mr. Trump on questions about whether his campaign conspired with Russia’s election interference, Mr. Mueller’s office told the president’s lawyers in a letter, two people briefed on it said on Tuesday.
Nafta Talks Restart Under Pressure from Trump and Congress
Josh Wingrove, Bloomberg
Talks to revamp the North American Free Trade Agreement are set to resume as U.S. and Canadian negotiators push to strike a deal amid President Donald Trump’s threats to walk away. Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland is scheduled to meet U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer in Washington Wednesday after a series of back-to-back meetings last week failed to yield an agreement.
Trump to Host U.N. Security Council Meeting on Iran
Farnaz Fassihi, The Wall Street Journal
President Donald Trump will chair a United Nations Security Council debate about Iran during the world body’s annual gathering of international leaders later this month, U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley said. Mr. Trump’s Security Council appearance is scheduled for Sept. 26 when he will be in New York attending the U.N. General Assembly and meeting with world leaders.
FBI Director Christopher Wray becomes the latest target for Trump’s ire
Carol E. Lee et al., NBC News
In recent conversations with confidants, President Donald Trump has added FBI Director Christopher Wray to his list of key members of his administration about whom he has complaints, three people familiar with the discussions tell NBC News. Trump has criticized Wray as another figure in the Justice Department who is not protecting his interests — and is possibly out to undermine his presidency, these people said.
Twitter says Trump not immune from getting kicked off
Nancy Scola and Ashley Gold, Politico
Twitter said Tuesday that not even President Donald Trump is immune from being kicked off the platform if his tweets cross a line with abusive behavior. The social media company’s rules against vitriolic tweets offer leeway for world leaders whose statements are newsworthy, but that “is not a blanket exception for the president or anyone else,” Twitter legal and policy chief Vijaya Gadde told POLITICO in an interview alongside CEO Jack Dorsey.
Kavanaugh hearing gives 2020 Dem hopefuls a chance to break out
Elana Schor, Politico
They’re the most junior Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee. But Kamala Harris and Cory Booker led the way in upending Brett Kavanaugh’s debut — and the GOP was watching with 2020 on its mind.
Liberal groups knock Schumer’s handling of Kavanaugh nomination
Burgess Everett and Elana Schor, Politico
Progressive groups have a blunt assessment of Sen. Chuck Schumer’s work to defeat Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination: “You are failing us.” Thirteen liberal groups have signed on to a letter, delivered Wednesday morning, that pans the minority leader’s strategy of stopping President Donald Trump’s nominee for the Supreme Court.
Schumer tells raucous crowd ‘the sooner the better’ on Trump impeachment, later claims he misheard the question
Gregg Re, Fox News
In an off-the-cuff moment caught on video during a Labor Day parade in Brooklyn Monday, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., told a bystander who asked when President Trump would be impeached, “The sooner the better.” Schumer’s comment appeared to be a sharp break from his own previous rhetoric and that of other party leaders, who have avoided discussing impeachment proceedings for fear of alienating moderate voters ahead of November’s midterm elections.
Southern Republican senators reject Trump’s criticism of Sessions
Gabriel Pogrund, The Washington Post
Southern Republican senators defended Jeff Sessions after an explosive new book by Bob Woodward recounted how President Trump called his attorney general a “dumb Southerner” and mocked his accent. In the forthcoming chronicle of Trump’s White House, “Fear,” Woodward writes that the president privately called Sessions a “traitor,” saying: “This guy is mentally retarded. He’s this dumb Southerner . . . He couldn’t even be a one-person country lawyer down in Alabama.”
House Republicans stalling appropriations ‘minibus’ package
John Bresnahan et al., Politico
Policy fights between House Republicans and nearly everyone else on Capitol Hill are slowing down final action on the first “minibus” package of annual spending bills, throwing in doubt a GOP plan to avoid a government shutdown on Oct. 1. One of the policy disputes is over a provision being pushed by Republicans in the Washington state delegation, including Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse.
Vulnerable Rod Blum Under House Ethics Inquiry
Katherine Tully-McManus, Roll Call
The House Ethics Committee has taken up an inquiry into Iowa Republican Rod Blum. The case was referred from the Office of Congressional Ethics on July 19, and the Ethics Committee will announce a course of action before Dec. 17, according to a release.
A Republican congressman helped a rival collect signatures to get on the ballot. Some of those signatures were fake.
Gregory S. Schneider, The Washington Post
Rep. Scott W. Taylor (R-Va.) sat in the backroom of his campaign office in a strip mall. Mini-blinds closed, a modest “Scott Taylor U.S. Congress” sign taped to the door was all that identified his reelection headquarters. Inside, a couple of workers sat at desks amid stacks of yard signs, but the congressman declined to come out when a reporter showed up.
GOP directs $1.8 million to defend two House seats in deep red Kansas
Lindsay Wise, McClatchy DC
National Republicans are sinking $1.8 million into deep red Kansas to defend two GOP-held congressional seats in the state — a sign of how fiercely competitive the battle to control the U.S. House of Representatives has become. The spending in Kansas is part of more than $62 million in new ad reservations across 11 states by the National Republican Congressional Committee, the campaign arm of the House GOP told The Kansas City Star Tuesday.
Poll: Katie Arrington has 7-point lead over Joe Cunningham, but Trump appeal could be a toss-up
Caitlin Byrd, The Post and Courier
A new poll shows Republican Katie Arrington holds a 7-point lead against Democrat Joe Cunningham in South Carolina’s closely watched 1st Congressional District race. The poll was commissioned by End Citizens United, a campaign finance reform group who has endorsed Cunningham, and was conducted by the Democratic polling firm Public Policy Polling (PPP) from Aug. 30-31.
Former GOP governor of Kansas endorses Democrat Laura Kelly over Kris Kobach
Hunter Woodall, The Kansas City Star
Republicans in Kansas further splintered Tuesday as the last moderate member of the party to hold the governor’s office in Kansas endorsed a Democrat for governor over Kris Kobach, the GOP nominee. In a statement, former Kansas governor Bill Graves said he planned to support Sen. Laura Kelly in the November election.
Rick Pitino: Gov. Matt Bevin has grudge against University of Louisville
Phillip M. Bailey, Louisville Courier Journal
Matt Bevin is a “religious zealot” who led a movement to oust Tom Jurich because the governor was unhappy with the KFC Yum Center deal, according to former men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino. In his new memoir, “Pitino: My Story” — released Tuesday — the Hall of Fame coach portrayed his firing as part of the fallout of an intricate plot to rein in Jurich, the former athletic director.
Google Heads Into Showdown With Congress After Witness Is Rejected
Ben Brody and Mark Bergen, Bloomberg
Alphabet Inc.’s Google posted what it called “testimony” for a congressional hearing on social media companies’ efforts to thwart election meddling in advance of November’s midterm races — only it doesn’t appear anyone will be there to deliver it. The Senate Intelligence Committee has said it rejected Google Chief Legal Officer Kent Walker as a witness because he wasn’t high-level enough to testify at a hearing Wednesday that will include Twitter Inc. Chief Executive Officer Jack Dorsey and Facebook Inc. Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.
Facebook’s internal bias probe to continue despite Kyl’s Senate appointment
David McCabe, Axios
A Facebook spokesperson said its internal investigation into allegations of anti-conservative bias will continue despite its leader, former Sen. Jon Kyl, being appointed to fill the late Sen. John McCain’s seat. Why it matters: President Trump seized on concerns last week about conservative voices being limited by web platforms, despite a lack of hard evidence behind them.
Amazon Founder Jeff Bezos Gives $10 Million to Super PAC in First Major Political Contribution
Reid J. Epstein, The Wall Street Journal
Amazon founder Jeff Bezos and his wife are making their first major foray into politics with a $10 million contribution to a super PAC that aims to elect military veterans to Congress. The contribution introduces Mr. Bezos, who also owns the Washington Post, to a class of political megadonors that includes Las Vegas casino magnate Sheldon Adelson and California billionaire Tom Steyer, who have each poured more than $100 million into elections over the past decade.
Opinions, Editorials and Perspectives
Protecting democracy is an arms race. Here’s how Facebook can help.
Mark Zuckerberg, The Washington Post
When you build services that connect billions of people across countries and cultures, you’re going to see all of the good that humanity can do, and you’re also going to see people try to abuse those services in every way possible. Our responsibility at Facebook is to amplify the good and mitigate the bad.
Andrew Cuomo Is the Democrats’ Best Choice for Governor
The Editorial Board, The New York Times
New York is a big state with small politics. It is home to many of the most ambitious and inventive people in the world, but its governance is stunted by party hacks and special interests, petty rivalries and systemic corruption.
Research Reports and Polling
Jon Kyl Only 6th Former US Senator to Receive Appointment to the Chamber
Dr. Eric Ostermeier, University of Minnesota
News came out of Arizona Tuesday that former Republican U.S. Senator Jon Kyl (1995-2013) will be appointed by Governor Doug Ducey to fill the vacancy caused by the death of John McCain. The selection of Kyl – who is already in the U.S. Senate record books with the shortest legal first and last name in the chamber’s history (six letters) – makes him one of just a few former senators in history to be tapped to return to their old job.
Florida Governor’s Race Too Close To Call, Quinnipiac University Poll Finds; Big Gender And Racial Gaps
The Florida governor’s race is too close to call, with 50 percent of likely voters for Tallahassee Mayor Andrew Gillum, the Democrat, and 47 percent for U.S. Rep. Ron DeSantis, the Republican, according to a Quinnipiac University Poll released today. There are wide gender and racial gaps, as men back DeSantis 52 – 45 percent, while women back Gillum 55 – 42 percent, the independent Quinnipiac (KWIN-uh-pe-ack) University Poll finds.