Donald Trump

Pence PAC donates to six TN U.S. Reps — including Black, Blackburn and Duncan

Politico has a list of Vice President Mike Pence’s “first round of political contributions” through a political action committee he has established —  including donations of $5,400 each to six Tennessee members of the U.S. House – Reps. Marsha Blackburn, Diane Black, John J. “Jimmy” Duncan Jr., Scott DesJarlais, Chuck Fleischmann and Phil Roe.

Blackburn is running for the Senate instead of reelection to the House, but money donated to her House campaign can be switched into the Senate race. Black is running for governor and, under applicable rules, she cannot shift money from her congressional campaign account into her run for a state office.

Duncan, of course, is retiring and not running for reelection in the 2nd Congressional District.

The only Tennessee Republican congressman not on the list is freshman Rep. David Kustoff of the 8th Congressional District.

Continue reading

Haslam: Virginia election is ‘a wake up call’ for GOP governors

Excerpt from a New York Times report datelined Austin, Texas:

For nearly a decade, meetings of the Republican Governors Association were buoyant, even giddy, affairs, as the party — lifted by enormous political donations and a backlash against the Obama administration — achieved overwhelming control of state governments.

But a sense of foreboding hung over the group’s gathering in Austin this past week, as President Trump’s unpopularity and Republicans’ unexpectedly drastic losses in elections earlier this month in Virginia, New Jersey, and suburbs from Philadelphia to Seattle raised the specter of a political reckoning in 2018.

“I do think Virginia was a wake-up call,” said Governor Bill Haslam of Tennessee, who took over here as chairman of the governors association. “There’s a pretty strong message there. When Republicans lose white married women, that’s a strong message.”

Continue reading

Corker reported critical of Secretary of State Tillerson

From a Politico article:

Sen. Bob Corker, having already turned on the president, has a new target for his frustration: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The Tennessee Republican and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman has voiced concerns about Tillerson’s management of the State Department and his still-fuzzy plans to restructure it. At a Senate hearing earlier this week, Corker agreed with several criticisms of Tillerson and his team expressed by Democrats, adding that lawmakers need to be “much more focused on holding them accountable.”

Continue reading

Cohen gets support from five fellow Democrats for Trump impeachment effort

Rep. Steve Cohen (D-Tenn.) says that five other Democrats have signed on to his resolution to introduce five articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, reports Politico.

The Democrats charge that Trump obstructed justice when he fired FBI Director James Comey; that he has violated the Constitution’s emoluments clause by continuing to frequent and profit from his businesses; and that he has undermined the federal judiciary and freedom of the press.

“We’re calling upon the House to begin impeachment hearings,” Cohen said. “It’s not a call for a vote. It’s a call for hearings.”

Continue reading

Corker holds hearing on use of nuclear weapons

Just a month after he warned that President Trump may be setting the nation on the path to World War III, Sen. Bob Corker will preside Tuesday over a hearing that will examine the president’s authority to launch a nuclear strike, reports Michael Collins.

Continue reading

Harwell: Serving as House speaker while running for governor ‘will work out well’

Citing a comment by Gov. Bill Haslam that he found serving as mayor of Knoxville a distraction when he ran for governor in 2010, the Kingsport Times News asked House Speaker Beth Harwell whether her legislative leadership role would be a distraction while she runs for governor.

“I don’t think so. We’re not in session right now. Actually this would be a good opportunity to talk about the state’s issues. I think the difference was the governor was a local official trying to get about the state. I’m a state official involved in state politics.”

Continue reading

State Sen. Overbey confirmed as U.S. attorney for East Tennessee

The full U.S. Senate confirmed the nomination of state Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville, as U.S. Attorney for East Tennessee late Thursday.

Continue reading

Corker condemns Trump ‘pressuring’ of Justice Department, FBI

Press release from U.S. Sen. Bob Corker

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) today (Friday) released the following statement on the importance of an independent justice system after reports that President Donald J. Trump refused to rule out firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions if the Department of Justice does not investigate what the president wishes.

“Like me, most Americans hope that our justice system is independent and free of political interference,” said Corker. “President Trump’s pressuring of the Justice Department and FBI to pursue cases against his adversaries and calling for punishment before trials take place are totally inappropriate and not only undermine our justice system but erode the American people’s confidence in our institutions.”

Some background from Michael Collins’ report on the news release:

Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday that he is “disappointed” with the Justice Department and won’t rule out firing Sessions, if Sessions won’t investigate Democrats.

“Honestly, they should be looking at the Democrats,” Trump said before departing the White House on a 12-day trip to Asia.

Trump wants the Justice Department and FBI to investigate Hillary Clinton’s campaign, in response to a newly published book excerpt from former acting Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile. The excerpt says the Clinton campaign was improperly running the party during the 2016 primaries.

Jim Tracy becomes third TN senator to get new job through Trump administration requiring resignation from legislature

State Senate Speaker Pro Tempore Jim Tracy of Shelbyville has been named Tennessee state director of rural development by U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, an appointment that will require the Republican lawmaker to step down from his Senate District 14 seat that covers Bedford, Lincoln, Marshall and Moore counties, along with part  of Rutherford County.

Perdue filled state director rural development positions in all 50 states with Trump administration appointees in an announcement Friday. He also named state directors of USDA’s Farm Services Agency, a position held in Tennessee during the Obama administration by former Democratic state Rep. Gene Davidson of Adams. The FSA Tennessee post now goes to Dennis Beavers, apparently the same Dennis Beavers who headed the Trump campaign in Alabama last year and who is identified in some media reports as a native of McMinn County, Tennessee.

Continue reading

National poll indicates Corker now more popular among Democrats than Republicans

Democrats are now prone to have a more favorable opinion of Tennessee’s Bob Corker than Republicans, according to an Economist/YouGov poll. Two other Republican U.S. senators who have clashed with President Donald Trump – John McCain and Jeff Flake, both of Arizona – are in a similar situation in the poll of 1,500 persons nationwide Oct. 29-31.

Corker had a 37 percent approval rating among Democrats, but just 15 percent approval among Republicans surveyed. At the same time, 45 percent of polled Republicans had an unfavorable view of Corker but only 22 percent of Democrats.

The Tennessean’s totals – Democrats, Republicans and independents combined – came out 23 percent favorable, 32 percent unfavorable.

There were a lot of “don’t know” responses on Corker and Flake. McCain, a former presidential nominee much better known nationally, was viewed favorably by 64 percent of Democrats and 21 percent of Republicans; unfavorably by 63 percent of Republicans and 27 percent of Democrats.