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Afternoon Briefing: The Senate Delivers a Stinging Rebuke to President Trump

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | March 14, 2019 |

By Dustin Rowles | Politics | March 14, 2019 |


As you already know, Beto O’Rourke announced that he was running for President this morning, which was met with, I would say, a mixed reception. Like, Yay! A positive, enthusiastic candidate who can probably help bridge the generational divide! But also, eh, another white-guy centrist? Texans, who witnessed his 2018 campaign up close, still love him. The question is obviously whether he can capture the nation as he did Texas. I mean, I like Beto. But he’s not running against Ted Cruz. He’s running against, like, 27 Democratic candidates, many of whom are amazing. But he might be the answer to those who want to vote for Biden but think he’s too old. I honestly don’t know, but I am keeping my options wide open. Also, I mean …

Trump’s first stab at defining O’Rourke was a little odd.


— The Senate (with the help of the Republicans) have voted to reject Donald Trump’s emergency declaration to build the wall. Trump will obviously veto it, but when it goes through the courts, they’re probably going to give a lot of weight to the fact that Congress didn’t want Trump exercising pursestrings typically left to Congress. Before the vote, Trump did express support for curbing the Emergency Powers Act in the future, which was a shift in position, but it’s probably not a permanent shift, but one designed to elicit fewer Republican defections in the vote today.

A few notes about the vote. A surprising number of Republican Senators (12) voted against Trump, including Marco Rubio. Senator Thom Tillis had pledged to vote against Trump, but apparently, there was pressure on him to change his mind or get primaried, so he did. Ben Sasse, who hates Trump, also voted with him, which is strange. Meanwhile, once-popular Colorado Republican Senator Cory Gardner voted with Trump, and may not be so popular anymore. Good luck in a purplish-blue state in 2020, buddy.

— Meanwhile, the House passed by a vote of 420-0 to make the Mueller report public. It is non-binding, but it will put pressure on AG William Barr to do so. That report may be coming very soon, as Andrew Weissmann, one of the top prosecutors on Mueller’s team, is departing soon. “The departure is the strongest sign yet that Mueller and his team have all but concluded their work,” according to NPR.

— There are a couple of interesting lawsuits heading through the court system now. For instance, students from several colleges and universities have filed a class-action lawsuit against Stanford University, the University of Southern California, UCLA, the University of San Diego, the University of Texas at Austin, Wake Forest University, Yale University and Georgetown University over Operation Varsity Blues. The lawsuit is likely to open up a can of worms in discovery, and we may find out that there’s been a whole lot more cheating going on than what’s already been investigated and reported.

Meanwhile, in Connecticut, the state’s supreme court has given the go-ahead to victims’ relatives in the Sandy Hook Massacre to sue gun makers for the way in which they promoted the AR-15. From the Times:

The lawsuit argued that the AR-15-style Bushmaster used in the 2012 attack had been marketed as a weapon of war, invoking the violence of combat and using slogans like “Consider your man card reissued.”

Such messages reflected, according to the lawsuit, a deliberate effort to appeal to troubled young men like Adam Lanza, the 20-year-old who charged into the elementary school and killed 26 people, including 20 first graders, in a spray of gunfire.

Meanwhile, an appellate court has ruled that the defamation lawsuit against former The Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos can move ahead against Trump. Trump called Zervos a liar after she accused him of sexual misconduct. The appellate court’s ruling relied on Clinton vs. Jones, which states that Presidents can be sued while in office for non-official matters.

— In other potential future legal news, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is lying his ass off in front of Congress today.

Header Image Source: Getty Images