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Fran?ois Fillon drops promise of early cabinet appointments

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PARIS – If everything was missing based on plan, Henri de Castries is finance minister-designate presently.

De Castries helped French conservative presidential candidate Francois Fillon build his platform. Both became friends and Fillon promised in his campaign that in a bid for credibility and transparency, he’d inform voters about?his cabinet nominations 4 months prior to May 7 election. De Castries was considered as the most notable selection for the finance job.

Something happened in order to transparency. First, Fillon broke his electoral promise, with even his own spokespeople acknowledging?it is unlikely he will appoint his prospective cabinet before i write again. Second, even though he did name names, de Castries not looks?such as the favorite to locate the finance portfolio.

The cabinet non-decision shows how tough life could be if you find yourself one of the?favorites to become your next French president.

Soon after he pulled off a primary upset?from the conservative primary, knocking out favorites Alain Juppe and Nicolas Sarkozy, Fillon was crowned the target of attacks from your left as well as far right over his wants to reform France’s healthcare system.

The idea to transfer coverage of so-called “small [health] risks” to personal insurance agencies ran counter on the French tradition of comprehensive, state-financed coverage for many. Fillon has since scrapped the theory, saying it was “misunderstood.” They are now rewriting his health care program, having pledged to keep talks with doctors.

De Castries, former boss of insurance giant AXA,?was?accused of to be the architect from the doomed health-related?proposal. Bigger denied it, and Fillon campaign aides say he has not been involved with that part of the candidate’s platform – focusing instead on fiscal and macroeconomic policies.

    But the criticism has stuck.

    De Castries’ timing is poor. He announced they was officially backing Fillon?in an an interview?with Le Figaro the other day, as his prospects of becoming finance minister dimmed.

    “I think he has realized by now that they will not get Bercy,” said a Fillon associate, making use of the name from the?finance ministry building inside east of Paris.

    Another reason Fillon got cold feet, the aide said, can it be dawned on him that de Castries wouldn’t be the most beneficial person to shield another plank of his platform: repeal in the much-criticized wealth tax, a Socialist sacred cow that no recent conservative government has dared touch.

    After 27 years at AXA – a final 16?the fact that were at the top of the corporation – de Castries is located a personalized fortune estimated at around 40 million.

    It’s “hard to picture a finance minister asking parliament to vote a measure that can save him 500,000 12 months,” said the Fillon aide.

    De Castries has now set his sights to the foreign ministry, another source in the Fillon campaign said. But there is another snag: Bruno Le Maire, an old agriculture and European affairs minister, is eyeing that job.

    Le Maire ran against Fillon in the conservative primary and was badly defeated while in the first round. He threw his?support behind Fillon and is the main foreign policy spokesman for that campaign.

    There are bigger?the reason why Fillon isn’t rushing to appoint his cabinet upfront.

    His original promise would have been to appoint a scaled-down?cabinet of?15 ministers: Nearly half of them could well be as well as nearly half could come from civil society – i.e. will have no?prior experience of politics.

    “Now he’s realize that appointing a cabinet could make him 15 friends, but enemies among all the latest hopefuls who aren’t chosen,” said an MP from Fillon’s?conservative Les Republicains party.

    The other reason Fillon is reviewing his campaign promise would it be will make him look arrogant, taking victory as a given even as the political fight is intensifying regarding the top three candidates – Fillon, far-right leader Marine Le Pen, and Socialist-turned-independent Emmanuel Macron.

    “Never sell the bear’s skin before you’ve shot him,” the conservative MP said, employing an old French proverb.

    As for de Castries, who declined the chairmanship of banking giant HSBC to his potential new job, “he will just have to recognize that politics is often as tough your global as business,” the MP added.

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    Black caucus chairman pushes to censure Trump over ‘shithole’ remark

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    Congressional Black Caucus Chairman Cedric Richmond on Thursday introduced a solution to censure President Donald Trump over what he contends would be the president\’s racist rhetoric referring to El Salvador, Haiti and African nations as \”shithole countries.\”

    The resolution – who has much more than 130 co-sponsors, including House Democratic leaders – calls over the House to publicly state its support for any nations Trump disparaged, censure and condemn the president for his statements, and demand he retract his comments and apologize.

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    At a news conference announcing the resolution alongside House Judiciary Committee ranking member Jerry Nadler (D-N.Y.) as well as other Democrats, Richmond (D-La.) said Trump\’s controversial comments \”should have not been made\” and \”were factually inaccurate.\”

    Richmond conceded, however, the resolution isn\’t \”privileged,\” meaning House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) might need to say yes to carry it in order with the chamber to keep a vote. It\’s almost certain Ryan will not likely do this.

    \”If he doesn\’t, we then will be at other ways to just make a vote on there,\” Richmond told reporters. \”But the facts from the matter is definitely the speaker should bring it up. In the event that he doesn\’t, establishing is enabling and recurring to allow obama to perpetuate this hateful rhetoric, as well as at certain point – whether you agree or disagree – I believe this is the speaker\’s obligation to safeguard the dignity of the property.\”

    If Ryan will not allow a vote, Richmond said he among others would hunt for "creative" strategies to force one.

    Like most Republican leaders, Ryan hasn\’t said much for the president\’s reported comments, though he did acknowledge the other day that they are \”very unfortunate\” and \”unhelpful.\” For Richmond, however, that wasn\’t enough.

    \”It\’s unfortunate when I miss my bus. Or it\’s unfortunate in the event the airlines lose my luggage,\” he was quoted saying. \”But when the president of america decides to Africa, Haiti and El Salvador which he used, which isn\’t unfortunate. That is wrong. That\’s disgusting. That is definitely hurtful. There are a variety of words because of it, but unfortunate\’s undertake and don\’t.\”

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    Ryan's 2017 fundraising haul: $44 million

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    House Speaker Paul Ryan raised more than $44 million in 2017, an off-year record to get a House leader – a financial haul Republicans hope will shore up vulnerable GOP members in what\’s shaping up to often be a tough midterm cycle for Republicans.

    In a final quarter, Ryan raised $4.8 million, his political operation will announce Thursday – down from $6.7 million during the third quarter.

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    The infusion of greenbacks is a follower of Republicans passed a tax reform law last December, which GOP members said would drive support among voters and donors. But also in 2018, Republicans must defend its 24-seat majority spanning a broad battlefield, while President Donald Trump\’s approval ratings stay in the bottom 40s and Democrats hold a broad bring success the generic ballot. Nearly 24 retirements, including California Reps. Ed Royce and Darrell Issa latest research by, will force Republicans to invest more heavily to protect these open seats.

    In 2017, Ryan transferred $32 million to the National Republican Campaign Committee, which announced a unique record-breaking off-year total with $85 million raised in the last year. Ryan also transferred $1.7 million on to GOP members, as well as hosting 49 fundraisers for members.

    "This eye-popping number is usually a testament to Speaker Ryan, House Republicans, as well as the agenda them to led your strugle on in 2017," said Kevin Seifert, executive director of Team Ryan, the speaker\’s fundraising committee.

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    Bannon won't testify again on Russia Thursday

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    Former White House adviser Steve Bannon declined House Russia investigators\’ request to go back for a second interview Thursday, telling lawmakers through his lawyer their own obtain him to go back just 2 days after his first appearance was "unreasonable."

    "The Committee\’s subpoena provides require Mr. Bannon\’s appearance for that second deposition [Thursday] at 2pm. That may be plainly insufficient time for me to undertake precisely what the Committee has asked," Bannon\’s attorney William Burck wrote within a Wednesday letter to store intelligence committee leaders obtained by POLITICO.

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    Instead, Burck told committee leaders that the former senior aide to President Donald Trump would return after reaching an accommodation when using the White House to make sure his testimony doesn\’t violate executive privilege.

    On Tuesday, Bannon-citing instructions from your Trump administration-refused to reply Republican and Democrats\’ questions on his amount of the White House, the post-election transition team and in some cases about his conversations with the president after he was fired from his post in August. His stonewalling infuriated persons in both parties, who subpoenaed him immediately. But despite the subpoena, Bannon declined to reply to their questions.

    Burck\’s letter told the committee\’s top Russia investigators, Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Texas) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), that Bannon remains ready to answer the committee\’s questions-but after striking an understanding together with the White House while on an acceptable scope of questioning.

    "There isn\’t any conceivable solution to talk to the White House Mr. Bannon\’s time using the transition and also the White House, obtain their thoughts about the knowledge he previously provide, communicate those views back to the Committee, relay the Committee\’s views time for the White House, and then negotiate or facilitate a binding agreement amongst the Committee along with the White House from the time allotted by the Committee\’s subpoena," Burck wrote.

    Committee members at the moment are weighing calling hold Bannon in contempt of Congress for avoiding their questions. They\’ve noted that White House lawyers haven\’t formally invoked executive privilege-they just have suggested that Bannon\’s testimony might implicate it.

    White House officials have argued that it is customary for Congress to coordinate the scope of the questions with current and former officials to stop violating privileged information.

    But GOP and Democratic lawmakers have questioned this argument, suggesting they see no reasonable interpretation of executive privilege that might preclude Bannon from discussing his time over the transition team, that is before Trump was president.

    Burck indicated that the committee didn\’t have use of White House and transition documents that has to be relevant precursors to the questions for Bannon and suggested lawmakers and Bannon would require time for them to produce them and review them before Bannon\’s next interview.

    "There are lots of lawyers over the Committee plus the Staff, and i also could well be surprised as long as they believed it becomes anything in addition to unprofessional even unethical should be expected to depose a witness that has did not have possibility for review relevant documents," he said.

    Burck also indicated a potential disconnect between committee staff and lawmakers. He revealed that he had informed the employees of the committee, chaired by Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the White House "may not permit Mr. Bannon to discuss his in time the transition and the White House unless an accommodation was agreed between your Committee plus the White House."

    "Staff raised no objection to the telltale restrictions in any of such conversations," he said. "The main objection came yesterday within the Members who appear not to have been informed by Staff about our prior conversations."

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