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April 11, 2021

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) didn't have much to say when CBS News' Margaret Brennan asked her about her colleague and leading critic, Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.), aside from the fact that the allegations against him are "sickening."

Gaetz is the subject of multiple investigations from the Justice Department and the House Ethics Committee centered around whether he violated sex trafficking laws and, separately, whether he had a sexual relationship with a 17-year-old girl and paid for her to travel out of state with him. Some lawmakers, including Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.), have called for Gaetz to resign, but Cheney wasn't tipping her hand on that front, telling Brennan that she wouldn't comment any further since the investigations are ongoing.

Gaetz has been one of the ringleaders in the push to oust Cheney from her GOP leadership role and even from Congress altogether after she voted to impeach former President Donald Trump earlier this year. Tim O'Donnell

April 11, 2021

Former House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) had no problem going after Rep. Jim Jordan (R-Ohio) and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) in an interview that aired Sunday on CBS.

He singled Jordan out as a leading "political terrorist" in Congress. "I just never saw a guy spend more time tearing things apart and never building anything," Boehner told CBS's John Dickerson. As for Cruz, Boehner said he doesn't like to "beat anybody up, that's not really my style ... except that jerk." Cruz, he said, was a perfect example of a lawmaker stuck in a cycle of making "a lot of noise" and raising a lot of money.

Boehner is back in the news because he wrote a book chock full of takes just like that, arguing that U.S. politics, but especially the Republican Party, is caught in the grips of reactionaries like Jordan and Cruz.

One person Boehner held back on a bit in the interview, however, was former President Donald Trump. While he suggested Cruz and Jordan were at the forefront of the movement he attacks in his book, he called Trump a "product" of the political discourse and refused to say whether he considered Trump a political terrorist. "He has a little different style than I do," Boehner said, though Dickerson pointed out Boehner was much harsher on Trump in his book. Dickerson asked Boehner if he was just trying to avoid a "headache," to which Boehner replied, with a smile, "I'm not in office anymore. I don't have to answer all the questions that I used to have answer." Watch the full interview below. Tim O'Donnell

April 4, 2021

The Minneapolis community is "on edge" about the result of the murder trial of Derek Chauvin, the ex-Minneapolis police officer who knelt on George Floyd's neck for several minutes during an arrest before Floyd died last May, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said Sunday on CNN.

Omar explained to State of the Union host Jake Tapper that "we have seen justice not delivered in our community for many years." She added that it's been particularly "horrendous to watch the defense put George Floyd on trial" and noted "the one part that has stayed with me is the fact that everyone ... who took the witness stand, said they felt helpless. That is a feeling that we know really well here in Minneapolis when it comes to police abuse."

Despite her concerns, Omar did say "there is a lot of confidence in [Minnesota] Attorney General Keith Ellison and the prosecutors in this case." Read more at The Guardian and Axios. Tim O'Donnell

April 4, 2021

Cecilia Rouse, the Chair of the Council of Economic Advisers, appeared to dismiss the idea that President Biden is urging private companies to use their economic power to take political positions, namely in response to Georgia's controversial new voting law.

In an interview that aired on Sunday's edition of Face the Nation, CBS News' Margaret Brennan pointed out that a day after Biden, who strongly opposes the Georgia law, said he would like to see the 2021 Major League Baseball All-Star Game move out of Atlanta, the league did just that. Rouse, though, said companies that have spoken out against the state law "have a right to vote with their feet and express their dissatisfaction."

In terms of the fallout from MLB's decision, Rouse acknowledged there "will undoubtedly be a cost" borne in part by workers in Atlanta, but noted the league will move the game to another city, benefiting a different group of workers. "That is exactly the message [MLB] was trying to send," Rouse said. Tim O'Donnell

April 4, 2021

On Sunday, Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos that he thinks President Biden's infrastructure plan would be a layup for the White House if it was scaled back.

"I've reached out to the White House a couple of times now and said, 'You've got an easy bipartisan win here if you keep this package narrowly focused on infrastructure,'" he said. "And then the other 70 or so percent of the package that doesn't have much to do with infrastructure, if you want to force that in a partisan way, you could still do that. Why would you pass up the opportunity here to focus on roads, bridges ... broadband, all of which wouldn't be 40 percent of this package."

But while Republicans, who are already prepared to reject the bill in its current form, want a streamlined version, progressive Democrats, though generally supportive of the framework, don't think Biden has gone far enough yet. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.), for example, said Sunday that he believes another $30 billion would be needed to "fully address" America's affordable housing crisis.

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) added that "we're probably going to want to put more" money into addressing climate change, and he specifically mentioned health care and making college more affordable as two other areas where "a lot of work has to be done." Tim O'Donnell

March 28, 2021

Julia Letlow, the Republican congresswoman-elect from Louisiana's 5th district, told CBS News' Margaret Brennan on Sunday that she is a "huge proponent" of the COVID-19 vaccines available to Americans, and she wants to "encourage anybody out there who's eligible to go ahead" and get their shot.

Many politicians on both sides of the aisle are urging their constituents to get vaccinated, of course, but Letlow's advocacy is particularly personal. Her future seat was initially won by her late husband, Luke Letlow, who died of COVID-19 complications last year at the age of 41. When Brennan pointed out polling shows there's still significant vaccine hesitancy among Republican voters younger than 65, Letlow said "that's why I want to be an advocate and a voice for everyone. Look at my family, use my story." Tim O'Donnell

March 28, 2021

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday dismissed Democrats' chances of passing legislation that would ban assault weapons in the United States, telling Fox News' Chris Wallace "it won't get 50 votes, much less 60."

He then told Wallace he owns an AR-15, explaining that if a natural disaster occurred in South Carolina and the police couldn't protect his neighborhood, his house would be "the last one the gang will come to" because he could defend himself with the weapon.

That prompted some quick online criticism. Talking Points Memo's Josh Marshall called Graham's comments "survivalist [fan fiction]" that "tells you a lot [about] the trouble this country is in." Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson said the remarks were "straight NRA propaganda," while Bloomberg's Francis Wilkinson blasted Graham for imagining going into survival mode during a disaster rather than providing his constituents with "leadership, guidance, or assistance." Tim O'Donnell

March 28, 2021

Of all the doctors CNN's chief medical correspondent Sanjay Gupta interviewed for the network's upcoming documentary COVID War: The Pandemic Doctors Speak Out, which will air Sunday at 9 p.m. ET, Dr. Deborah Birx, the former White House coronavirus response coordinator, was "perhaps the most" introspective, he said.

In one of the clips CNN shared ahead of the airing, Birx said she believes the majority of coronavirus deaths after the initial surge in the United States could have been prevented. In another excerpt, discussed by Gupta and Dana Bash on Sunday's edition of State of the Union, Birx is seen telling Gupta that she knew she was "being watched" during her time in the Trump administration, noting that everyone "was waiting for me to make a misstep." She revealed that an interview she did with Bash over the summer, in which she warned about the severity of the virus, even in seemingly isolated regions of the U.S., particularly angered former President Donald Trump and his team.

"I got called by the president," Birx said, adding that the conversation was "very uncomfortable, very direct, and very difficult to hear." Gupta then asked Birx if she was "threatened," to which she replied only by reiterating that "it was a very uncomfortable conversation." Tim O'Donnell

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