Congressmen Behaving Badly

Apr 28, 2014 9:11am

By MICHAEL FALCONE (@michaelpfalcone)

NOTABLES

  • REP. MICHAEL GRIMM SURRENDERS FOLLOWING INDICTMENT: New York Congressman Michael Grimm surrendered to federal authorities today after being indicted on campaign finance violations, ABC’s AARON KATERSKY reports. Grimm, a Republican from New York City’s borough of Staten Island, had gained notoriety when he was caught on tape after the State of the Union speech earlier this year threatening to throw a reporter off the Capitol’s balcony and said he would “break you in half, like a boy.” Grimm was indicted on charges of fraud, obstruction and perjury. A spokesman for the congressman said today, “We are disappointed by the government’s decision, but hardly surprised. From the beginning, the government has pursued a politically driven vendetta against Congressman Grimm and not an independent search for the truth. Congressman Grimm asserts his innocence of any wrongdoing.”  http://abcn.ws/1nyAzD6
  • NO SUGGESTION GRIMM WILL RESIGN: “When the dust settles, he will be vindicated. Until then, he will continue to serve his constituents with the same dedication and tenacity that has characterized his lifetime of public service as a Member of Congress, Marine Corps combat veteran, and decorated FBI Special Agent,” the statement from Grimm’s spokesman said. And, as ABC’s RICK KLEIN notes, the GOP may be stuck with him in New York: It would take extraordinary measures to get him off the ballot at this point. http://abcn.ws/1nyAzD6
  • VANCE MCALLISTER WATCH: Rep. Vance McAllister, R-La., could return to the Capitol today for the first time since video leaked showing him engaged in some heavy kissing with a congressional staffer, notes ABC’s JOHN PARKINSON.

 

REPORTER’S NOTEBOOK: HERE’S WHAT GLOBETROTTING ON AIR FORCE ONE IS REALLY LIKE. Suffocating heat, 60 pounds of gear and an all-out 300-yard sprint in a suit. It’s just another day at the office for television producers, camera crews and journalists traveling inside the security bubble with the American president on his week-long trip to four Asian nations. ABC News accompanied President Obama inside the presidential “press pool” from Tokyo to Seoul and all stops along the way — a 14-hour day that included a ride on Air Force One and a CH-46 Sea Knight chopper; 11 photo ops; one press conference; nine sprints; and a few competitive scuffles with members of the host countries’ press corps. Here’s ABC’s DEVIN DWYER’s insider’s glimpse of what globetrotting with Obama is really like (spoiler alert: it’s not nearly as glamorous as you might think): http://abcn.ws/1tQPRol

 

BUZZ

OBAMA IMPOSES NEW SANCTIONS ON RUSSIA: President Obama said his administration will today impose a new round of sanctions on Russia, targeting an “expanded list of individuals and companies,” with particular focus on some high-tech defense exports, ABC’s DEVIN DWYER reports. The president, speaking during a joint press conference in Manila with President Benigno Aquino, said the sanctions will “remain targeted,” applied in coordination with European allies, though will not hit Russian President Vladimir Putin directly. The “goal is not to go after Putin personally, the goal is to change his calculus,” Obama said, “and encourage him to walk the walk and not just talk the talk when it comes to diplomatically resolving the crisis in Ukraine.” http://abcn.ws/1itaVri

NOTED: OBAMA REGRETS NOT SPENDING MORE TIME WITH MOM. How do you achieve your dreams?  Where do you find the most happiness? And what are your biggest regrets? For more than an hour yesterday, young Southeast Asians peppered President Obama with questions that demanded his self-reflection and personal analysis. And the famously professional Obama delivered on both, talking about life, legacy and family in at times deeply personal terms, during a town hall meeting at the University of Malaya, notes ABC’s DEVIN DWYER. “I regret not having spent more time with my mother,” Obama candidly told the students when asked about his life regrets. “Because she died early — she got cancer right around when she was my age, actually, she was just a year older than I am now — she died.  It happened very fast, in about six months.” Ann Dunham died from ovarian cancer in 1995 just 22 days shy of her 53rd birthday. http://abcn.ws/1jX4Y7A

ELIZABETH WARREN HOPES HILLARY CLINTON MAKES 2016 RUN — BUT DECLINES TO ENDORSE HER. While Massachusetts Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren said she hopes former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton makes a run for the White House in 2016, she declined to explicitly endorse Clinton’s candidacy Sunday on “This Week,” according to ABC’s BEN BELL. “You know, all of the women – Democratic women, I should say, of the Senate – urged Hillary Clinton to run, and I hope she does,” Warren responded when asked by ABC’s GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS if Clinton was her candidate in 2016. “Hillary is terrific,” she said when asked again if she would endorse her in the event Clinton makes a run for the Democratic nomination. Stephanopoulos also asked Warren about her past as a registered Republican in the 1990s and why she left the party. “I was originally an independent. I was with the GOP for a while because I really thought that it was a party that was principled in its conservative approach to economics and to markets and I feel like the GOP party just left that,” Warren said. WATCH (with set-up piece from ABC’s JEFF ZELENY): http://abcn.ws/1mPC67N

ANALYSIS — ABC’s RICK KLEIN: Call it extreme caution, or call it clever marketing. Just don’t call it an accident. Sen. Elizabeth Warren had many, many chances to make her support for Hillary Clinton in 2016 explicit, a move that would end the buzz around her own candidacy once and for all. She didn’t take them. Her non-responses to George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” yesterday – “I hope she does” run, and “Hillary is terrific” – were practiced refrains calculated to not quite go the distance. It’s ready for Hillary, but not yet behind Hillary, not quite. It keeps Warren’s name just enough in the ’16 mix to sell some additional books, perhaps. But parsed answers along those lines will keep those selling the Democratic Party’s “Warren wing” holding out hope for Warren, if not someone else to fill the slot down the line.

DHS HEAD: CHANGES TO IMMIGRATION ENFORCEMENT POTENTIALLY COMING ‘PRETTY SOON’. ABC News’ PIERRE THOMAS, MIKE LEVINE, JACK DATE, AND JACK CLOHERTY report: The Obama administration will announce “pretty soon” how it plans to remodel enforcement of the nation’s immigration laws and potentially “realign” deportation policies, Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson told ABC News in an exclusive interview. This comes a month after President Obama asked Johnson to “conduct a review of practices” to ensure “we are carrying out these policies in the most humane way possible,” as a White House spokesman put it at the time. In an interview with ABC News’ Pierre Thomas for “This Week,” Johnson said the enforcement of immigration laws “needs to comport with American values.” “One of those American values is respect for human dignity … [and] one of those American values is respect for the sanctity of the family unit,” Johnson told ABC News’ Pierre Thomas. http://abcn.ws/1mPuP7M

 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

HERE’S ONE PLACE HILLARY CLINTON WILL SPEAK FOR FREE. Hillary Clinton delivered the keynote remarks at the United Methodist Women Conference in Louisville, Ky., this weekend, where she spoke about the significant role that the Methodist church has had in her life, while calling on women to follow the gospel of the church and challenge themselves and others to “get things done” in their communities, notes ABC’s LIZ KREUTZ. The event was of personal importance to Clinton, a longtime Methodist, who told the nearly 7,000 attendees that being at the conference felt like a sort of “homecoming.” The former secretary of state who usually charges a high price these days for speaking engagements, did this one on her own dime. According to the United Methodist Women President Yvette Richards, who introduced Clinton as a “daughter of the Methodist Church,” Clinton waived her speaking fee for the organization and paid all her own travel expenses. http://abcn.ws/1ioEYW8

 

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

MEET THE ‘KEYSTONE KILLER’: HOW COWBOYS AND INDIANS COULD JOIN TO DEFEAT OIL PIPELINE. An alliance of cowboys and Indians, complete with an encampment of tepees and a horseback protest, have taken to the nation’s capital to stand in opposition to the proposed Keystone oil pipeline. In this episode of “Top Line,” ABC’s RICK KLEIN visits the tepee encampment that has become a week-long fixture on the National Mall in D.C. to talk to prominent Nebraska anti-Keystone pipeline activist Jane Kleeb, who is leading the effort and has been dubbed the “Keystone Killer” by Rolling Stone Magazine. “Farmers and ranchers have joined tribal communities as well as in first nations in Canada in order to say we don’t want this pipeline risking our property rights and our water,” said Bold Nebraska executive director Jane Kleeb. “Tribes want to pass down the water and land to future lands just like our farmers and ranchers do, and the Keystone XL risks all of that.” WATCH: http://yhoo.it/1rwIQot

 

IN THE NOTE’S INBOX

RICK SANTORUM’S NEW BOOK HITS STORE SHELVES: ‘BLUE COLLAR CONSERVATIVES’. Former presidential candidate and erstwhile Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum argues in a new book out today that “it’s time the GOP stopped ignoring blue collar Americans.” In the book, ”Blue Collar Conservatives: Recommitting to an America That Works,” (Regnery Publishing) Santorum applauds and defends hard-working Americans, outlining a plan to harness their strengths and get our nation back on the path to prosperity. “The American Dream is about a country of prosperous communities, strong families, a decent life today, and a realistic hope for a better tomorrow.  Blue collar conservatives understand that, and it’s time Republicans let them know that we do, too,” Santorum said in a statement from his publisher. “Republicans need to remember the old adage that ‘people don’t care what you know until they know that you care.’”

 

WHO’S TWEETING?

@MuhammadLila: List of Russian companies on new US sanctions list is here http://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20140428.aspx …

@ZeltDC: .@SenatorShaheen call your office. @NHGOP requests FEC investigation into your coordination w/ SuperPACs #nhpolitics http://nhgop.org/news/nhgop-requests-fec-investigation-of-shaheen-s-shady-super-pac-coordination-scheme …

@mviser: Of 178 high-profile votes during the three years they served together, Brown and Shaheen agreed 48% of the time. http://www.bostonglobe.com/news/politics/2014/04/27/scott-brown-jeanne-shaheen-rarely-interacted-during-three-years-senate-together/b1zV1hw8ELea2oUggVgLfM/story.html …

@politicalwire: Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-LA) emphasizes the importance of her Senate seniority in a very effective new ad. http://politicalwire.com/archives/2014/04/28/landrieu_runs_on_seniority.html …

@PhilipRucker: Hillary Clinton is in DC today to keynote 25th anniv dinner for HIPPY, early childhood program she brought to Ark as fist lady.

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