WASHINGTON

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he’s staying out the senate race in Kansas to replace retiring fellow-Republican, Pat Roberts, but his announcement hasn’t stopped the speculation, reports The Wall Street Journal. He’s had phone calls with at least three Kansas Republicans who are openly considering running for the Senate seat, took a rare summer vacation in Kansas and missed former Sen. Bob Dole’s 96th birthday party in Washington. “The widely held assumption is that he’s preparing a run, because he wants the reputation of a tough man without having to take on all the political risks that position requires,” one senior administration official told the Wichita Eagle in mid-July. “Pompeo has never stopped being a congressman – he’s a congressman serving as a secretary of state.” Pompeo, a former Kansas congressman, has repeatedly downplayed his interest in the seat but has also made a point of maintaining his ties to Kansas. Speculation ramped up after former Kansas secretary of state Kris Kobach launched his own bid in July as Pompeo is widely seen as Republicans’ best shot at hanging on to the seat. “The fear is getting fired like the last guy and having his entire political career ended by tweet,” the official added.

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“I agree with my fellow members of the Washington delegation that, as we have learned about the gravity of the potential threats to our democracy identified in special counsel Mueller’s report, it has become clear that the House should begin proceedings to determine whether the president’s action necessitate impeachment,” Murray said in a statement shared on her website. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., on Sunday supported an impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump, a decision fueled by testimony provided by special counsel Robert Mueller last week. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Friday said the House would decide whether to begin proceedings, “when we have a best strongest possible case” and that such a decision “will be made in a timely fashion.” Murray, the No. 3 Senate Democrat, joins a growing list of Democrats pushing for impeachment, including all seven of Washington’s Democratic House members. Mueller in his testimony before the House Intelligence and Judiciary committees noted the 2000 Justice Department determination that “a sitting president is constitutionally immune from indictment and criminal prosecution.” He also said his team did not reach a determination whether Trump committed a crime.

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Recently leaked documents are raising new concerns surrounding Chinese tech giant Huawei. On Monday, leaked internal documents obtained by the Washington Post revealed Huawei worked with a Chinese-state owned tech firm for at least eight years on a variety of projects centered in North Korea. One of those projects included the development and maintaining of the country’s first commercial 3G wireless network.

The detailed spread sheet was shared by a former Huawei employee, who claimed the information is of public interest. However, the person’s identity has not been released out of fear of retaliation.

If the reports are true it would bring up a new conflict between the U.S. and China as such a move would raise questions of whether Huawei, which has used U.S. technology in its components, violated American export controls to send equipment to North Korea.

People walk past a Huawei retail store in Beijing, Sunday, June 30, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

The documents appear to confirm what U.S. officials have long feared — that Huawei is a national security risk.

“…you’ve seen…our effort to ensure that the networks in which American information flows are trusted, that we understand where that information is going, who’s the end user, and wanting to make sure the information doesn’t end up in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

— Mike Pompeo, U.S. Secretary of State

This latest development comes after the Trump administration agreed in June to lift some sanctions on the company, allowing U.S. companies to sell certain products to the the Chinese tech giant.

According to the Washington Post, Huawei has not directly responded to the report, but a spokesperson said the company does not have business in North Korea.

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A pair of conservative columnists say Democrats have still not been held accountable for their antics during Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings.

In a recent radio interview with Breitbart, senior editor for The Federalist — Mollie Hemingway — put Democrat senators on blast for “willfully abandoning” Senate procedures to attack Kavanaugh. She singled out Senator Kamala Harris and Senator Corey Booker, saying they unfairly lobbed unsubstantiated accusations at the now Supreme Court justice and were never penalized for it.

Hemingway said not punishing politicians for slander during the confirmation hearing has allowed lasting damage to be done to Kavanaugh’s reputation:

“Damaging someone’s reputation is a real harm. We think of crime as being about actual acts of physical violence, but damage to a reputation causes real harm and it needs to be taken seriously, so that these things don’t happen again. Part of it is just about people being aware of what the left does with confirmation battles, but there also needs to be accountability.”

Brett Kavanaugh, listens to a question during the third round of questioning on the third day of his Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing, Thursday, Sept. 6, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

In a separate interview, her counterpart and chief counsel of the Judicial Crisis Network — Carrie Sevarino — doubled down on that stance. She said Democrats willingly peddled misinformation and false allegations to obstruct Kavanaugh’s confirmation.

Hemingway and Sevarino said the conduct of Democrats during the hearing is another example of how the party has fallen prey to the “politics of personal destruction.” The duo are currently on tour promoting their book “Justice on Trial,” which chronicles Kavanaugh’s contentious confirmation process.

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Billionaire Tom Steyer, a former hedge fund manager, wants to “break the corrupt stranglehold that corporations have on our government” and take on President Donald Trump in 2020.

Steyer’s comments came during a Thursday interview on “CBS This Morning.”  Steyer announced his candidacy for the Democratic presidential nomination on Tuesday.

“To me the biggest question facing the United States is not what we should do, but how are we going to break the corrupt stranglehold that corporations have on our government,” Steyer said.

He added: “For the last 10 years, I’ve been trying to push power back to the people of the United States.

Steyer, who will reportedly spend $100 million of his own funds on his campaign, said his candidacy is “not about the money.” He maintained it is aimed at “trying to retake the government.”

“This is about retaking the democracy from the corrupt corporate power that is determining what happens in Washington, D.C.”

Meanwhile, Steyer’s campaign to impeach Trump will continue under new leadership during his presidential bid.

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Amy McGrath, a Marine combat aviator who narrowly lost a House race to an incumbent Republican in Kentucky, has set her sights on an even more formidable target: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

McGrath, whose campaign announcement video in her House race showcased the viral power of social media to raise money and national profile, said Tuesday she will try to defeat one of the most entrenched officials in Washington in McConnell. But she sees him as vulnerable because of his lengthy tenure in Washington, his stance on healthcare, and his taut allegiance to the policies of President Donald Trump.

Her decision to enter the race represents a rare victory for Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York, who has had difficulty persuading top-tier candidates in other states to take on incumbent Republicans with control of the Senate at stake.

The contest also will test the power of incumbency against a call for generational change, along with a measure of whether Trump’s popularity is transferable.

McGrath, 44, will almost certainly be able to raise enough money to mount a serious challenge to McConnell, 77, but she is still a decided underdog in a state that has not elected a Democrat to the Senate since Wendell Ford in 1992.

“I’ve been always somebody who stepped up to the plate when asked, when I felt like my country needed me, and this is one of those times,” McGrath said in an interview.

She is attempting to repeat her viral moment with a new video, one that leans hard on idealism while also attacking McConnell as the embodiment of a dysfunctional Washington.

“I felt like somebody needs to stand up to him,” McGrath said.

McGrath also reprises one element of her first video, pointedly noting that when, as a 13-year-old girl, she wrote to McConnell to make the case that women should be able to fly in combat, the senator never wrote back.

But her attacks on McConnell and his record carry risks because Trump remains highly popular in Kentucky, and McConnell has pushed through much of the president’s agenda and, perhaps more importantly, his nominees to federal courts, including Supreme Court Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.

She said that Kentucky voters are not fans of either political party and they supported Trump in part because of his promise to “drain the swamp” in Washington, lower drug prices, and deliver a more effective alternative to the Affordable Care Act.

“Those things haven’t happened because of guys like Senator McConnell,” she said.

McGrath lost to Rep. Andy Barr by 3 percentage points in the 2018 midterm election, a race that she had been so confident of winning that she was working on her victory speech as the first returns came in.

She ran up comfortable margins in the heavily Democratic Lexington area, but Barr was able to win overwhelmingly in rural areas. Barr also benefited from a campaign appearance by Trump, rare for a House member. Former Vice President Joe Biden went to Kentucky to campaign for McGrath in what proved to be a failed effort to win back onetime Democrats in rural areas.

Trump also is expected to actively support McConnell and to try to muddy McGrath at least as much as Barr did.

In that race, McGrath, a Naval Academy graduate, foreswore negative attack ads against Barr while he and several outside groups supporting him spent millions of dollars labeling her as “too liberal” for Kentucky. McGrath, who must first win the Democratic nomination, would not show similar restraint against McConnell.

Democrats have prepared briefing books of more than 1,000 pages on McConnell, whose long record and ties to Washington interest groups provide ripe openings for attack. But he also can make the case that he has been able to use his power in Washington for the benefit of the state.

McConnell has in Kentucky a fiercely loyal team of political operatives who are known for hard-hitting campaigns that leave his opponents badly bruised.

Schumer worked hard to persuade McGrath to run against McConnell. Several other would-be recruits, including former Georgia House Minority Leader Stacey Abrams, declined his overtures, and others, like former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke, and Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, passed on Senate races to run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

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