Udall, Heinrich calling for investigations in wake of Flynn resignation

Both U.S. Senators from New Mexico are calling for investigations into Donald Trump’s administration—for two separate scandals, both involving national security. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall signed onto a letter with ten other Democratic U.S. senators asking for an investigation into communications between Michael Flynn, the retired lieutenant general who was recently Trump’s national security advisor, and those with ties to Russian government officials. The letter sent to Attorney General Jeff Sessions said an investigation is needed “to determine what General Flynn did, who knew about it, and when.”

Udall also previously called for an investigation into the influence of the Russian government on the election. U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, who is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, called for an investigation into the handling of classified information. “We’ve seen a pattern of carelessness and lack of accountability from this administration that puts our national security and America’s standing in the world at risk,” Heinrich said.

Udall questions security at Mar-a-Lago after weekend incident

President Donald Trump’s actions after North Korea launched a ballistic missile caught the attention of U.S. Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island. This weekend, a member at Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club post a photo on Facebook of the president and Prime Minister Shinzō Abe looking at documents in a club dining terrace shortly after North Korea launched a ballistic missile. Staffers held up cell camera lights to help the two world leaders read the documents. A number of experts noted this is “a really bad idea,” as a reporter at The Verge wrote Monday.

Udall reads Coretta Scott King letter, after Senate blocked Warren from doing so (Updated)

Hours after Massachusetts U.S. Sen. Elizabeth Warren was reprimanded for challenging the integrity of a fellow Senator by reading a letter from Coretta Scott King, the widow of Martin Luther King, Jr., New Mexico U.S. Sen. Tom Udall read the letter on the Senate floor without question. Later on Wednesday, new Mexico’s other U.S. Senator read part of the Coretta Scott King letter and criticized the Senate for their actions on Warren. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i715XvBCkio&feature=youtu.be

Tuesday night, Warren tried to read the letter before her senate colleagues. King’s letter  criticized Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions when he unsuccessfully sought a judgeship in the 1980s. In the letter, Coretta Scott King said she opposed his confirmation to a federal judgeship.

Immigrants, advocates keep heat on

Hundreds of people packed into the rotunda of the Capitol on Monday in an intensifying show of alarm over President Donald Trump’s clamp down on illegal immigration and his vow to build a wall between the United States and Mexico. The demonstration reflected growing concern nationally among immigration and civil rights advocates as Trump’s flurry of executive orders in his first weeks in office have escalated to include banning refugees from seven predominantly Muslim countries from entering the United States, an effort temporarily halted last week by a federal court. The demonstrators included immigrants here legally and illegally and scores of supporters who gathered to listen to politicians and faith leaders rail against the president’s policies. Children stood near the speaker’s lectern holding a broad banner that read, “No ban. No wall.

Martinez wants Congress to repeal methane rule

Gov. Susana Martinez is urging Congress to repeal a federal rule that seeks to stop the waste of methane from oil and gas producers. Martinez sent a letter to U.S. Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., outlining her opposition to the rule, which was put in place by the Bureau of Land Management during the Barack Obama administration. Martinez argued that it would mean less royalties to state and federal governments. “Rather than allowing this misguided rule to move forward, I urge you to repeal the rule and work with the Department of Interior to address the infrastructure challenges currently causing venting and flaring events to occur,” Martinez wrote. “Insufficient pipeline capacity and gas processing capacity make it difficult for producers to capture and sell as much of their product as possible.”

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Udall, Heinrich skeptical of Trump’s SCOTUS pick

New Mexico’s senators, both Democrats, reacted to President Donald Trump’s nomination of Neil Gorsuch to the U.S. Supreme Court. U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich expressed concern over the refusal of Senate Republicans to hold hearings for Merrick Garland, the nominee of former President Barack Obama. Because of that,  the U.S. Supreme Court has been one justice short for nearly a full year, after Justice Antonin Scalia died on Feb. 13, 2016. “After ignoring Judge Garland’s nomination for purely partisan reasons, Senate Republicans are already talking about changing the Senate rules to confirm Trump’s nominee if Democrats don’t simply defer,” Heinrich wrote in a statement.

Heinrich slams Trump refugee order when speaking to Legislature

As customs officials detained travelers and protesters flowed into airports around the country, U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich took to Twitter to register his opposition to President Donald Trump’s ban on refugees. “I will not stand aside as the values that created the greatest nation on earth are trampled,” New Mexico’s junior senator wrote Saturday night, adding the tag “#NoBanNoWall.” The response to Heinrich from some on social media users was swift: Tweets are cheap. Do something. In a speech Monday to the New Mexico Legislature, Heinrich responded in harsher terms to the president’s order.

NM AG, Senators denounce Trump ‘Muslim ban’ order

New Mexico Attorney General Hector Balderas joined 15 other attorneys general from around the country to condemn the executive order by President Donald Trump banning travel from certain Muslim-majority countries that caused confusion and outrage this weekend. Balderas was part of the joint statement, which included the top legal officers in New York, California, Pennsylvania and more. Other elected officials condemned the executive order. U.S. Sen. Tom Udall called the order “un-American” in a Facebook post Saturday. “Turning our backs on desperate refugees and essentially imposing a ban on Muslim immigration projects weakness, not strength,” Udall said in a statement Sunday.

EPA freeze worries conservationists, some elected officials

It was a tumultuous week for federal employees. On Monday, President Donald Trump announced a hiring freeze across the government. The administration also suspended social media posts from at least five agencies, including the National Park Service and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. On top of that, news trickled out that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was freezing all new grants and contracts. While hiring freezes aren’t uncommon, the EPA’s stay appears to be unusual, if not unprecedented.

How New Mexico’s U.S. Senators voted on Trump’s nominees

The U.S. Senate is working its way through President Donald Trump’s nominees for key positions. Republicans have generally been supportive of Trump’s nominees, with

a few  exceptions. Democrats have largely picked their battles over nominations, allowing some to sail through, while delaying others. NM Political Report will continue to track the floor votes by Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich on each of the nominees. When either of the Senators said before a vote, either in a statement or in a news story, that they would support or oppose a nominee, NM Political Report will indicate that.