President Donald Trump promised to drain the swamp, but to one of his most controversial political allies, that morass has widened — to now encompass the Republican Party. Appearing on Fox News’ “Hannity” show in October, former White House strategist Steve Bannon called the GOP a “globalist clique.” Bannon, who is executive chair of the far-right Breitbart News Network, promised to use his media platform and funding connections to challenge every Republican incumbent (apart from Texas Sen. Ted Cruz) with his own “coalition” of candidates for the 2018 midterm elections. “We are declaring war on the Republican establishment that does not back the agenda that Donald Trump ran on,” Bannon said, adding that it would be a long-term effort to first replace Republican incumbents, and then Democrats. That has put some Western Republicans in Bannon’s crosshairs, as senators from Utah to Arizona have been either tepid in their support, or outright critical of Trump. Here’s a list of potential targets:
Sen. Jeff Flake, Arizona
Flake has been one of Trump’s most outspoken Republican critics from the get-go.
One of New Mexico’s U.S. Senators introduced legislation that would make sure those convicted of domestic violence offenses in the military cannot own a firearm. U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich, a Democrat, worked with U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, a Republican, on sponsoring the legislation. Both men described the bill as one that can pass with bipartisan support and will have a real-world impact. They introduced the bill in response to the fact that the man who killed over two dozen men, women and children in a Sutherland Springs, Texas church was convicted of assault against his wife and step-child and discharged for bad conduct while a member of the U.S. Air Force. The alleged murderer was still able to buy guns despite a federal ban preventing those convicted of domestic violence from buying firearms.
But there is no specification in the Uniform Code of Military Justice for domestic assault, Flake said, only for assault. Because of this, the military has not been reporting convictions of what would be classified as domestic assault in non-military courts to a federal database of domestic abusers meant to prevent them from owning weapons.
Betting that thin is in — and might be the only way forward — Senate Republicans are eyeing a “skinny repeal” that rolls back an unpopular portion of the federal health law. But experts warn that the idea has been tried before, and with little success. Senators are reportedly considering a narrow bill that would eliminate the Affordable Care Act’s “individual mandate,” which assesses a tax on Americans who don’t have insurance, along with penalties for employers with 50 or more workers who fail to offer health coverage. Details aren’t clear, but it appears that — at least initially — the rest of the 2010 health law would remain, including the rule that says insurers must cover people with preexisting medical problems.
In remarks on the Senate floor Wednesday, Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said that “we just heard from the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office that under such a plan … 16 million Americans would lose their health insurance, and millions more would pay a 20 percent increase in their premiums.” A bipartisan group of 10 governors – including Ohio’s John Kasich and Nevada’s Brian Sandoval – signed a letter echoing these concerns and urging the Senate to reject it. But earlier in the day, some Republicans saw this concept as a means to advance the debate.