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WH Trying to Make Nice With GOP Lawmakers Trampled by Trump

President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence have privately reached out to GOP lawmakers in an effort to make peace after several public spates, CNN reports.

Since bashing Sen. Lisa Murkowski for not supporting one of the iterations to repeal and replace Obamacare, Trump invited the Alaska Republican to a private lunch. Though not able to attend, the gesture was “very kind,” Murkowski told CNN.

The White House publicly rebuked Sen. Bob Corker for his taking Trump to task over Charlottesville comments, but the Tennessee Republican and the president have since had a “constructive” private meeting, CNN reported.

Pence, too, reached out to Corker and others, including oft-targets of the president’s in Arizona, Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake.

“I think it’s like a thunderstorm,” Sen. John Cornyn told CNN of his party’s relationship with Trump. “After a while it clears up, the sun comes out and everything is OK.”

The make-nice moments come at a critical time for the administration and congressional Republicans.

Senate Republicans are trying to pass last-ditch healthcare legislation before a Sept. 30 deadline with tax reform — or at least, tax cuts — also on the front-burner.

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Chelsea Clinton Slams Moore Over 'Reds and Yellows' Remark

Chelsea Clinton, the daughter of former Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, responded to comments from Roy Moore, a Republican candidate for the Alabama Senate.

Moore, one of two Republican candidates vying in a runoff for the Alabama Senate position vacated by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, appeared to describe Native Americans and Asians as “reds and yellows” in a campaign speech Sunday, according to The Hill.

“Now we have blacks and white fighting, reds and yellows fighting, Democrats and Republicans fighting, men and women fighting. What’s going to unite us? What’s going to bring us back together? A president? A Congress? No. It’s going to be God,” Moore said in the Sunday speech.

Clinton responded with a reference to her daughter Charlotte.

Moore’s campaign told the Hill that the candidate’s remarks were taken out of context. “Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight. Jesus loves the little children of the world,” the Moore campaign said in a statement, making an apparent reference to the religious song “Jesus Loves the Little Children.”

Moore is leading Sen. Luther Strange in polling a week ahead of the runoff vote, according to JMC Analytics.

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Gutierrez on Kelly Attack: 'I Could Have Been More Careful'

Rep. Luis Gutierrez, D-Ill., said Monday that he “could have been more careful” when he said White House Chief of Staff John Kelly is “a hypocrite” who “has no honor.”

“General Kelly is a hypocrite who is a disgrace to the uniform he used to wear. He has no honor and should be drummed out of the White House along with the white supremacists and those enabling the president’s actions by ‘just following orders,'” the congressman said in a statement after Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, according to The Hill.

On Monday, Gutierrez told CNN host Alisyn Camerota, when asked if he “regrets” what he said, “I could have been more careful with the use of my words, and there are times that you need to re-evaluate.

“Having said that, I saw him as head of Homeland Security deport grandmothers who had been for 15 years reporting dutifully to Homeland Security with their American citizen grandchildren. Heartless actions, and increasing deportations against people who presented no threat.”

The Illinois Democrat added that Kelly, while running the Department of Homeland Security, said, “I’m the one that is stopping the Dreamers from getting deported. I care about them; I’m defending them, I’m protecting them,” adding, “And it was a pretty heartless thing to do.”

Gutierrez said, “So yes, you can always be more careful, and I will probably be talking more about that in the future.”

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Stavridis Recommends Naval Blockade to Put Pressure on NKorea

A naval blockade of North Korea, while a controversial option, may be what’s needed to force stop the country’s increasing aggressions before it’s too late, retired Adm. James Stavridis said on Monday.

Stavridis also told MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” program that he believes the rest of the world is starting to pay more attention to what President Donald Trump’s administration has planned for North Korea and less about his “goofy” tweets, after the president taunted North Korean leader Kim Jong Un by nicknaming him “Rocket Man” in a tweet Sunday.

Stavridis, a former NATO Europe commander, who is now the dean of the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University and serves as an MSNBC military consultant, said a naval blockade would be a “middle position” between a military strike and doing nothing.

However, it would be controversial because there would be the potential for confrontation with Chinese and Russian ships, he said, but he added that most merchant ships in the world are flagged to countries friendly with the United States.

The United States could bring in allies such as Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and Singapore, said Stavridis, and he is “quite confident” NATO members would participate.

“We need to get this conversation off the United States versus North Korea and make it the world versus North Korea, and a maritime operation would be the way to do that,” he commented.

“We have the logistic capability to do this,” said Stavridis. “It would cut off the economic component, other than the Chinese border, which we would have to continue to deal with China on. I think it’s time to do something as opposed to kind of waving our hands at the problem.”

He also said that he believes using cyber warfare could help alleviate the situation.

“You could use it selectively in ways that would undermine the confidence in North Korea’s ability to launch the missiles,” said Stavridis. “Part of what he’s doing is salesmanship. He wants to be able to sell that technology abroad. I think there are real advantages to cyber, alongside the missile defense and alongside a maritime option.”

Stavridis said he does believe that China is leaning more toward cooperation.

“At the end of the day, they don’t want to unify the Korean Peninsula,” said Stavridis. “They don’t want war, refugees, and to break the global economy. I feel the dial moving, but it’s certainly not as dramatic as of yesterday.”

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Rep. Trent Franks Defends Trump Policy on North Korea

Rep. Trent Franks defended the Trump administration’s policy towards North Korea, telling CNN’s “New Day” on Monday that Pyongyang’s defiance of the U.S. since the president’s “fire and fury” speech is not a failure of Donald Trump, but reflects mistakes made by previous Democratic presidents.

When asked where is the success of Trump’s deterrence from his belligerent talk, because since those remarks, North Korea has fired at least two missiles over Japan for the first time in many years and tested perhaps its most powerful nuclear device ever, the Arizona Republican said “This is a kind of a brinksmanship situation.”

Franks, who is a member of the House Armed Services Committee, said “The reality is that North Korea has been paying attention,” because previously Pyongyang made deals with former Presidents Bill Clinton on the nuclear front and Barack Obama on their missile capability in which they “gained tremendous compensation without having to dismantle their capability. And then they watched the Iran nuclear deal and, in that case, there was incredible compensation given.”

The congressman stressed based on those experiences, “North Korea is hoping to somehow bluff their way into greater compensation,” although “that, right now, they don’t want to fight the United States, but that capability exists.”

Franks insisted that “Our imperative objective must be to dismantle the North Korean capability. We have to do that, and I think that this president may be the one to do it. It’s unfortunate that we find ourselves in this situation as we do right now. It represents a failed policy in the past.”

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Cuomo Endorses de Blasio for NY Mayor

New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has endorsed his frequent rival and fellow Democrat Bill de Blasio for a second term as mayor of New York City.

Cuomo voiced his support for de Blasio on Monday during an interview on WNYC. He called de Blasio “the better person to serve” the city.

De Blasio faces Republican state Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis (mal-ee-oh-TAH’-kihs) of Staten Island in the November election.

Cuomo had declined to make an endorsement during the five-way Democratic primary. He and de Blasio have feuded repeatedly, with Cuomo’s administration second-guessing the mayor and de Blasio complaining of Cuomo’s retaliation against his political opponents.

On Monday, however, Cuomo said simply that as a Democrat, he will support the Democratic primary victor.

© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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Schumer Asks Feds to Watch for Gas Price Gouging

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., called on federal officials to find out why gas prices are still high following two destructive hurricanes, The Hill reported.

Schumer asked the Federal Trade Commission to determine whether gasoline price gouging is responsible for the high prices following hurricanes Harvey and Irma, according to the website.

Harvey slammed an oil production and refining center in the Gulf of Mexico and was responsible for an immediate spike in prices.

“Gas prices should come back down to earth just as fast as they went up, but right now, my worry is they will not fall as fast as they should,” Schumer said. “That is why I am asking the FTC to launch a ‘gouge watch’ with oil producers, transporters and refiners alike.”

Schumer said he wants to make certain “big oil” isn’t taking advantage of motorists at the pump in the aftermath of the storms, The New York Post reported.

“The only thing that makes a devastating natural disaster worse is the idea that big oil could be making a buck off of the mess and hosing consumers, even after the storm has passed us by and the recovery has begun.”

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RNC Chair McDaniel: 'I Don't See' Kid Rock Running for Senate

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna Romney McDaniel on Monday said she doubts musician Bob Ritchie — aka Kid Rock — will run for Senate.

McDaniel said on WMAL Radio that “I don’t see” Ritchie taking on Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow in Michigan’s midterms in 2018.

“I don’t see him running for Senate,” McDaniel told WMAL’s “Mornings on the Mall” hosts. “I think I’d be one of the people he’d reach out to, he hasn’t done that. I like that he’s talking about it.”

McDaniel said she went to Kid Rock’s concert in Detroit last Friday where he gave “a big speech about running for Senate.”

“He’s very popular in Michigan. … I think it’d be fascinating. He’d be an interesting candidate, but I’m neutral as party chair. That’s my job,” McDaniel said.

It’s a position shared by legendary rocker Ted Nugent, who last month told Newsmax TV that “Kid Rock ain’t running for squat.”

“My friend Bob Ritchie never thought, never hinted, never mentioned, never gave any consideration whatsoever to running for public office,” Nugent told Newsmax TV. “Some goofball in the Michigan GOP just pulled it out of their ass and said, ‘What about Kid Rock?'”

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Dems Urge CBO to Conduct Full Analysis of Obamacare Repeal

Democratic leaders are calling on the Congressional Budget Office to compile a complete analysis of how insurance coverage would be hurt by the newest Republican bill to repeal Obamacare.

“Before votes are taken . . . the public needs a full understanding of the impact this legislation would have on hard-working families,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wrote in an open letter to CBO Director Keith Hall on Monday.

They specifically request, “how many people will lose health insurance under the Graham-Cassidy bill . . . how much will premiums and out-of-pocket health costs increase, particularly for older Americans,” among other questions.

“Thus far, every version of Republicans’ effort to repeal and replace the [Affordable Care Act] has meant higher health costs, millions of hard-working Americans pushed off coverage, and key protections gutted with devastating consequences for those with pre-existing conditions.

“A comprehensive CBO analysis is essential before Republicans force a hasty, dangerous vote on what is an extreme and destructive repeal bill,” they wrote. “Members of Congress and the American people need to know the full consequences of Graham-Cassidy before any vote,” they conclude.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., requested the CBO analyze the bill, but the Senate can vote on it before the full report becomes available.

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House Dems Asking FCC to Look Into Sputnik as Propaganda

Three House Democrats are asking the Federal Communications Commission to investigate whether a Russian state-sponsored radio news outlet’s broadcasts are Kremlin propaganda in violation of its broadcast license.

Reps. Anna Eshoo of California, Frank Pallone Jr. of New Jersey, and Mike Doyle of Pennsylvania sent a letter Monday to FCC Chairman Ajit Pai seeking a probe in the wake of a report by The New York Times Magazine alleging Sputnik radio was trying to influence the 2016 presidential election “by spreading false news reports attempting to undermine U.S. democracy.”

“In Washington, D.C., listeners need only tune their radios to 105.5 FM to hear the Russian government’s effort to influence U.S. policy,” the lawmakers wrote. “Disturbingly, this means the Kremlin’s propaganda messages are being broadcast over a license granted by the FCC.”

Sputnik’s radio show only started in the Washington, D.C., market in July 2017.

“If Sputnik is in fact being used as a tool by the Russian government to undermine the United States and our free and fair electoral process, the station airing Sputnik is directly violating the public interest standard of the Communications Act,” the lawmakers wrote.

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