I'm Gabe Fleisher, reporting live from WUTP World HQ in my bedroom. It’s Thursday, December 6, 2018. 424 days until the 2020 Iowa caucuses. 698 days until Election Day 2020. Have comments, questions, suggestions, or tips? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Bush 41 remembered at state funeral
Via the New York Times:
"The nation bade farewell on Wednesday to George Herbert Walker Bush, the patriarch of one of the most consequential political dynasties of modern times and the president who presided over the end of the Cold War and the beginning of a new era of American dominance in the world.
"As bells tolled and choirs sang and flags flew at half-staff, the nation’s 41st president was remembered as a 'kinder and gentler' leader whose fortitude steered the country through a tumultuous moment in history even as his essential decency stood in contrast to the politics of insults now in vogue.
"'When the history books are written,' former President George W. Bush, his son, said in a eulogy at Washington National Cathedral, 'they will say that George H. W. Bush was a great president of the United States, a diplomat of unmatched skill, a commander in chief of formidable accomplishment and a gentleman who executed the duties of his office with dignity and honor.'
..."President Trump joined all four living former presidents as well as more than 3,000 foreign leaders, lawmakers, Supreme Court justices and other mourners at the service, but given his history of rancor with the Bush family, he had no speaking role. As he took his seat in the front row, Mr. Trump awkwardly shook hands with Barack and Michelle Obama but otherwise did not interact with his presidential peers, recite the Apostles’ Creed or sing the hymns."
--- Watch: Former President George W. Bush gets emotional as he closes his eulogy for his father and predecessor, calling him "a great and noble man, and the best father a son or daughter could have."
Bipartisan Senate resolution introduced to formally blame Saudi crown prince for Khashoggi kiilling
A bipartisan group of senators introduced a resolution Wednesday asserting their conclusion "with a high level of confidence that [Saudi Crown Prince] Mohammed bin Salman was complicit in the murder of Jamal Khashoggi," a Washington Post columnist based in Saudi Arabia.
The filing of the resolution, which was led by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), came one day after many senators emerged from a briefing by CIA Director Gina Haspel convinced that Prince Mohammed had ordered Khashoggi's murder. Yet, the Trump administration has equivocated on placing blame for Khashoggi's death on Saudi Arabia; in a statement last month, the president asserted that the U.S.-Saudi relationship was too important to be compromised and dismissed questions as to whether Mohammed had knowledge of the incident. "Maybe he did and maybe he didn't!" Trump said.
“This resolution — without equivocation — definitively states that the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia was complicit in the murder of Mr. Khashoggi and has been a wrecking ball to the region jeopardizing our national security interests on multiple fronts,” Graham, a top Trump ally, said in a statement. “It will be up to Saudi Arabia as to how to deal with this matter. But it is up to the United States to firmly stand for who we are and what we believe.”
According to CNN, senators from both parties will meet today to try to reach consensus on how to further punish Saudi Arabia for Khashoggi's murder. Options on the table include limiting U.S. involvement in the war in Yemen and suspending arm sales to Saudi Arabia. Senators hope to have a bipartisan deal on the floor as soon as Monday.
The Senate voted 63 to 37 last week to advance a resolution curtailing U.S. support for the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen.
Wisconsin Republicans vote to weaken incoming Democratic governor: The Wisconsin state legislature on Wednesday approved a sweeping bill designed to weaken the incoming Democratic governor and state attorney general and shift more power to the GOP-controlled legislature.
The legislation was passed by a 17-16 vote in the state Senate and by a 56-27 vote in the state Assembly, with one Republican defecting in each chamber. The bill must now be signed by Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who would be curtailing the power of Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers, who defeated him in his re-election bid last month. Democrats are widely expected to challenge the legislation in court.
The bill blocks Evers' ability to ban guns at the Wisconsin Capitol, withdraw from a state lawsuit challenging the Affordable Care Act, and appoint members of the state's economic development board.
Russia investigation: As former national security adviser Michael Flynn's role in the Mueller investigation winds down, federal prosecutors in Virginia continue to probe his lobbying work in Turkey, according to the New York Times. Special counsel Robert Mueller had been handling the case but has referred it to the Virginia prosecutors.
Meanwhile, according to the Associated Press, federal prosecutors in Manhattan are "ramping up their investigation into foreign lobbying" by the Podesta Group and Mercury Public Affairs, two major Washington firms. These investigations also resulted from referrals by special counsel Mueller.
Trump shrugs off the national debt: President Trump has repeatedly shrugged off the $21 trillion national debt when warned about it by advisers, the Daily Beast reports. "Yeah, but I won't be here," the president said to aides after being shown that the debt is likely to spike soon after his second term in office would end, according to the report.
White House schedule
POTUS: At 11:30 a.m., President Trump receives his intelligence briefing.
At 12:30 p.m., he has lunch with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos.
At 4 p.m. and 8 p.m., Trump speaks at two separate White House Hanukkah receptions, marking the fifth night of the Jewish holiday.
VP: Vice President Mike Pence and Second Lady Karen Pence will attend both Hannukah receptions.
Senate: The Senate meets at 9:30 a.m. today.
At 12 p.m., the chamber will vote on confirmation of Bernard L. McNamee to be a member of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). HIs nomination was advanced in a 50-49 vote on Wednesday, along party lines; Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) had been expected to vote in favor of McNamee after supporting him in committee last week, but ended up opposing the nomination on the Senate floor. In a statement, Manchin said he had viewed video of McNamee, "which I had not previously seen, where [he] outright denies the impact that humans are having on our climate."
At 1:45 p.m., the Senate will vote on confirmation of Kathleen Kraninger to be Director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Kraninger, an official at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), was also advanced in a 50-49 vote last week. If confirmed, she would succeed Mick Mulvaney, the OMB director who has been serving concurrently as acting director of the CFPB since November 2017. Kraninger would likely continue Mulvaney's actions rolling back Obama-era regulatory actions at the CFPB, the brainchild of Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) which became a federal agency in 2011 over Republican objections.
--- Related: "How Trump appointed curbed a consumer protection agency loathed by the GOP" (Washington Post)
Also today: the Senate may vote on confirmation of Jonathan Kobes to be a U.S. Circuit Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, and may vote on the two-week continuing resolution to extend government funding through December 21. The current funding deadline is midnight tomorrow; passage of this CR would avert a partial government shutdown.
House: The House meets at 12 p.m. today. The chamber is expected to approve the two-week CR by unanimous consent.
Supreme Court schedule
The justices hear oral arguments in Gamble v. United States today, in which an Alabama man is challenging the "separate sovereigns doctrine," the idea that the federal government and a state government can prosecute him for the same conduct without violating double jeopardy. The man, Terance Gamble, was convicted of both federal and state charges for being a felon in possession of a firearm.
The case could have implications for Robert Mueller's Russia investigation, as many have suggested that if President Trump pardons his associates charged in the federal Mueller probe, they could still be charged for the same crimes in state courts.
*All times Eastern