Herman Cain is the latest test of Senate Republicans’ loyalty to Trump

Some Republicans are actively opposing his consideration for the Federal Reserve Board, while others are standing by the president.

Several Republicans, too, have voiced their opposition, and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has even gone so far as to urge members of the caucus to reach out to the White House and clue the administration into their concerns before the nomination is official, CNN reports. Yet, while some Republicans have taken issue with Cain’s nomination, others — at least publicly — say they’re plenty open to considering him.

“I think he’s very qualified, he’s a business guy, he’s got experience on the board … out there in Kansas City, so I think he’s a great choice,” said Sen. David Perdue (R-GA), one of Trump’s reliable allies on the Hill who also sits on the Senate Banking Committee, which would oversee Cain’s confirmation hearing.

.. “I think sexual misconduct is wrong,” said Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), while adding, “if it’s a barrier to people being in public office, the president wouldn’t be president.”

.. Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) was among one of the earliest Republicans to come out against Cain, and Romney has said he worries Cain’s presence would make the Fed a more partisan body, given the former executive’s longstanding political support for Trump. Romney argued last week that Cain would likely help Trump fulfill his plans to slash interest rates and harm the independence of the institution guiding America’s monetary policy.

.. Growing blowback against Cain’s nomination has led Senate Republicans to stage a behind-the-scenes effort to prevent his selection from being formalized by the White House, Politico reports.

“It’s hard for me to imagine that he would be confirmed,” said Sen. Kevin Cramer (R-ND).

Still, there are lawmakers within the Republican Party who remain bullish on Cain’s chances. Supporting Cain could also be a means to align themselves more closely with Trump, especially ahead of 2020.

“I think he’d probably be confirmed,” said Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX), who noted that he did not see Republicans as divided on the matter.

But Cornyn, a top Senate Republican who recently pushed back at Trump’s staffing changes at the Department of Homeland Security, added that he’d like to see more consultation from the White House on nominees down the road.

“I don’t think it’s a given that everybody whose name gets floated, without vetting and without consultation, could get confirmed,” he said.

Republican seem less worried about Stephen Moore

Moore, the second person Trump has said he intends to appoint to the Fed, appears to be getting a warmer reception from Senate Republicans, even though he also faces challenges of his own.

Democrats also view Moore, a current fellow at conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, as a baldly political choice — and pointedly wonder whether someone who’s encountered personal finance issues in the past is qualified to help run the US’s central bank

.. As Amanda Sakuma wrote for Vox, Moore was previously held in contempt of court for failing to pay child support and alimony to his ex-wife in the wake of their divorce settlement. He also owes more than $75,000 in taxes to the IRS, which he says he’s been paying back in the aftermath of what he claimed was a paperwork-related mishap, according to the Guardian.

Those issues, however, aren’t necessarily disqualifying for all Senate Republicans; multiple lawmakers mentioned that they were familiar with Moore and spoke positively of his consideration.

“I know Stephen Moore, he’s a smart man, he’s the head of Club for Growth,” said Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL). “We have to do this in regular order, but I think he would probably be a good voice on the Fed. One, he’s got to be nominated first. Second, he’s got to be confirmed.”

“I said, ‘Pay your taxes; pay your support!’” Shelby said, when asked about Moore’s financial problems.

“Stephen is a solid guy, I know Stephen pretty well. I think Stephen has been right about a few things, with regard to the Fed’s treatment of interest rates, especially,” Cramer said. “I want to hear more about the specific issues surrounding some of his financial situations.”

The North Dakota senator added that he did not see Moore’s run-in with the IRS or the divorce settlement being disqualifying for his nomination if he had cleared up both issues.

Some Republicans said they’d be open to vetting both Moore and Cain further as part of the confirmation process, and making a decision after more steps had been taken. The Senate confirmation process is typically used to scrutinize potential concerns about nominees, though these lawmakers could be trying to diplomatically dodge the question of where they actually stand on the latest of Trump’s controversial nominees.

“They’re unconventional picks, and I want to see what the banking committee hearings reveal,” said Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME). “I’m sure there will be many, many questions about both nominees.”

Why you still don’t understand the Green New Deal

Political news coverage tends to focus on strategy over substance, and that’s making it less likely that the public will agree on big policy ideas when we need them the most.

The Green New Deal is an ambitious proposal that outlines how the U.S. might begin transitioning towards a green economy over the next ten years. It includes steps like upgrading our power grid and renovating our transportation infrastructure. But most people watching news coverage likely don’t know what’s in the Green New Deal. And that’s because political news coverage tends to focus on strategy over substance, fixating on a bill’s political ramifications rather than its ability to solve a problem. That approach to news coverage is known as “tactical framing,” and research shows it makes audiences at home more cynical and less informed about big policy debates. The result is a cycle of partisanship, where solutions to big problems like climate change are judged on their political popularity rather than their merit.

Storm Watch: the latest developments in the Stormy Daniels case

She faces formidable opposition from Trump attorney Michael Cohen, who has claimed he personally paid the $130,000 for Daniels’s silence. He obtained a restraining order at the end of February, shortly before Daniels filed her lawsuit in court, and has now filed papers in federal court accusing Daniels of violating the terms of the nondisclosure agreement. The Washington Post reports that Cohen is seeking a total of $20 million in damages — $1 million per alleged violation.

But another one of Cohen’s legal disputes might undercut his efforts. He is pursuing a libel suit against BuzzFeed, and the website is attempting a legal maneuver that might allow Daniels’s records of any relationship with Trump to be made public.

.. Cohen, through Essential Consultants, LLC, the company he set up to pay Daniels last October, will request to move Daniels’s dispute out of the open courts back to private arbitration, reports Bloomberg.

And Cohen’s efforts probably have the support of President Donald Trump. In a separate filing on the president’s behalf, another Trump attorney said he agreed with Cohen’s decision to move the case back to private arbitration.

Michael Avenatti, Daniels’s attorney, responded to Cohen’s suit in a series of tweets, calling it “yet another bullying tactic from the president and Mr. Cohen.”

“They are not attempting to remove this case to federal court in order to increase their changes that the matter will be decided in private arbitration,” he wrote.

.. Meanwhile, Buzzfeed is using a legal maneuver that might give Daniels the chance to tell her story.

The news outlet is embroiled in its own litigation with Cohen, who is suing BuzzFeed for libel over its publication of the Steele dossier, a collection of allegations about Trump’s dealings with Russia, last year. As part of that lawsuit, BuzzFeed has asked Daniels to preserve all documents and records relating to her dealings with Cohen and her 2016 nondisclosure agreement.

.. If BuzzFeed’s gambit is successful, lawyers may have to depose Daniels in that case. And unless a judge intervenes, according to Politico, it’s possible all those details might be made public.
.. Trump’s lawyers are reportedly weighing legaaction against CBS, though it’s unclear that would actually stop the network from airing the interview.

.. Daniels’s mother is a Trump supporter

Daniels’s estranged mother, Sheila Gregory, said in an interview with the Dallas Morning News that she doesn’t want the scandal to hurt the president.

“If Mr. Trump runs four more times, I would vote for him every time,” Gregory said. “I like him. I like the way he handles things. It’s time this country is put back where it belongs — taking care of the people here instead of the people who don’t belong here.”