GOP in disarray
May 17, 2019

The immigration blueprint President Trump unveiled Thursday "appears destined for the congressional dustbin, with no clear strategy from the White House to turn it into law and essentially no support from Democrats who control half of Capitol Hill," The Washington Post notes. But White House and GOP officials say that doesn't matter, the Post reports, because the plan is "primarily to showcase the kind of immigration that Trump and Republicans can support ahead of next year's elections."

Jared Kushner, the president's son-in-law and senior adviser, spent months on the plan, "meeting privately with business groups, religious leaders, and conservatives to find common ground among Republicans on an issue that has long divided the party," The Associated Press says. "Kushner set out to create a proposal that Republicans might be able to rally around, his mission to give the president and his party a clear platform heading into the 2020 elections." So far, the Republican unity has proved elusive.

Conservative immigration hardliners complained that overall immigration levels stay the same — Ann Coulter called the plan a "rube-bait campaign document." More moderate Republicans facing tough re-election fights next year were similarly dismissive. The House and Senate GOP leaders declined to endorse it.

Even inside the White House, aides celebrated Kushner's "close hold" on the project, one senior White House official told the Post, because that means "no one else gets blamed for this." To be fair, there is no "plan," The Toronto Star's Daniel Dale told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Thursday night. "All reporters at the White House received from the White House was four pages of, like, elementary school graphics outlining some basics of what may be to come." Peter Weber

Editor's Note: This article contained a quote critical of Trump's policy incorrectly attributed to Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.); it was his opponent, Mike Johnston, who said the proposal would accomplish nothing but "build Trump’s wall and keep families apart." We apologize for the error.

May 10, 2019

The decision by the Republican-led Senate Intelligence Committee to subpoena Donald Trump Jr. has ignited a GOP civil war. Allies of the Trumps and several Republican senators — specifically, those up for re-election in 2020 or close to President Trump — are attacking the committee chairman, Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), and pressuring others to do the same, The New York Times and The Washington Post report. The effort has borne some fruit.

Burr's committee, which has been discreetly investigating Russian election interference and how to prevent it for two years, issued the subpoena more than a week ago, after Trump Jr. refused to voluntarily come in for a second interview, the Post reports. But its existence wasn't public until Wednesday, a day after Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) gave a speech in which he declared "case closed" on the Russia investigation, and it caught the White House off guard.

The "extraordinary pressure campaign" by Trump's allies "is forcing the party's senators to choose between their loyalty to the Intelligence Committee and to the president's family as it attempts to quash any remaining investigations of the president," the Times reports. And if Trump Jr. defies the subpoena, Burr and McConnell will have to decide whether to allow votes to hold him in contempt. Trump Jr. is "said to be 'exasperated' by the subpoena," the Post reports, and several of his confidantes tell the Times he's "unlikely to appear in person" and might "invoke his Fifth Amendment rights in a written response."

The Senate Intelligence Committee is reportedly interested in asking Trump Jr. follow-up questions about the Trump Tower Moscow deal and the Trump Tower meeting he set up to get "dirt" on Hillary Clinton from the Russians. But despite the apparently coordinated outrage from Team Trump, "the subpoena appears to have been essentially routine," the Times reports. "As it completes its work, the committee is calling back key witnesses who spoke to staff members so senators can question them directly." Peter Weber

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