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Brexit debate: Sound, fury far more of nothing

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LONDON – It took a battle during the courts for MPs to acquire their say on Brexit. When it finally came, it hardly mattered.

The U.K. parliament’s great Brexit debate, the opening scene in the operation?authorizing Prime Minister Theresa May to commence Britain’s divorce in the EU, began Tuesday and was best summarized through the Conservative MP Julian Lewis. A?20-year veteran of House of Commons debates, Lewis?rose?to increase his words of wisdom to a long catalog of weighty orations by parliament’s big beasts, from both Europhile and Euroskeptic wings of the home.

He stood, drew breath and proclaimed: “In my opinion, the people decided and I am planning to vote accordingly.” And?your, he sat down.

The debate was?closest thing to a formality that British parliamentary democracy can conjure.

There was an abundance of sound and fury, because the fundamental divisions between those who wanted the U.K. to go away countries in europe and people who would not,?were played out again. But, ultimately, as Lewis said, people have spoken plus its politically unimaginable for either present in big parties to appear to never listen – in order that it signified nothing.

Nevertheless, there was clearly a chance for Ken Clarke, the first kind Tory Chancellor plus a veteran of your defeated European cause, to earn a powerful speech that served to remind May and her ministers of ways different things was – and exactly how wrong things still might go.

For the existing warriors on the Euroskeptic cause it had been on a daily basis of triumph.

Britain’s role within the European had “restored to all of us our national self-confidence” and given the country “a political role on earth,” Clarke lamented. British trade prospects outside look under appealing, he added.

    “Nice men like President Trump and President Erdo?an are impatient to abandon their normal protectionism and present us access,” he archly proclaimed.?”Let me ‘t be too cynical – Little doubt, somewhere a hatter is holding a tea party which has a dormouse while in the teapot.”

    He has not been much gentler by himself party, invoking the inflammatory?name of Conservative right-winger Enoch Powell, who famously attacked government immigration policy along with his “Rivers of blood” speech in 1968, musing that even he?will be amazed at just how the Tories became so “Euroskeptic and rather mildly anti-immigrant” for the reason that EU referendum.

    Clarke said he previously vote – together with “conscience content” – against Article 50, on the principle that “every MP should vote upon an issue with this importance reported by their opinion of the best national interest.”

    No doubt recalling that inside the referendum a projected 480 MPs backed remaining in the EU versus 159 who backed Leave, Clarke ended darkly: “I hope that the consciences of other people of parliament will remain equally content.”

    For the earlier warriors with the Euroskeptic cause, though, it had been daily of triumph. Former cabinet minister John Redwood took Brexit to?Arthurian heights because he called on MPs to vote for Article 50 to revive the “once and future sovereign parliament within the Uk.”

    As he waxed too many lyrical, his fellow Tory, Alberto Costa, seated adjacent to him, rose no fewer than half a dozen times to interject, narrowly avoiding a swipe from Redwood’s gesticulating right arm.

    “Mr. Costa, I say to you gently that you simply remember fondly the merits of keeping a safe, secure distance,” Speaker John Bercow advised helpfully.

    Jacob Rees-Mogg, famous for his devotion for all things historic, reckoned that referendum day, 23 June 2016, would rank alongside the battles of Agincourt and Waterloo in “the annals of British history.”

    The forthcoming negotiations, Nick Clegg predicted, will?quickly get “nasty and acrimonious.”

    Far more somber in tone was Labour’s Brexit spokesman Keir Starmer. In case the debate revealed anything, it absolutely was the extraordinary challenge his party has faced in forming a coherent solution to Brexit. The vast majority of its MPs C and two-thirds from the voters nationwide C backed Remain. Most of their constituencies, for the reason that New Statesman stated, had majorities for Leave.

    “We have before us a short and relatively simple bill, but also for the Labour party, this is the extremely hard bill,” Starmer began, prompting hoots of derision through the Tory benches.

    Difficult indeed. The party has already seen two frontbenchers resign rather than stick to the party whip and elect Article 50 and, evening, another – Clive Lewis, tipped as being a future leader – said yet not choose Article 50 for the bill’s third reading in the near future if Labour’s amendments may not be accepted, a posture which could cost him his job if Corbyn decides to impose?another three-line whip and only Article 50 before next week’s vote.

    Labour was not a common party drawn in different?directions through the competing claims of principle and the people’s will. Including the staunchly pro-EU Liberal Democrats faced what for him or her is really a significant rebellion, with 2 of their nine MPs defying leader Tim Farron by indicating they’ll abstain on Wednesday’s second reading vote, and not vote against Article 50.

    Not that – as Julian Lewis so adroitly explained during the briefest speech throughout – each of it matters. The federal government is rightly confident that Article 50 will pass comfortably. But then, when the former Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, a former MEP, grimly foresaw, the best task begins. The forthcoming negotiations, he predicted, will?quickly get “nasty and acrimonious.”

    “I have a great sense of foreboding,” he stated, to harrumphing from Euroskeptics C and thoughtful silence from those less certain of where the unstoppable juggernaut that may be Brexit will lead.

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    McConnell dances on Bannon's grave

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    \”Taking that counter-argument out of your game here clears the highway for just a very clear-eyed political technique of the season,\” said Scott Jennings, a Republican political strategist and former McConnell aide. \”Bannon will have dramatically complicated that.\”

    Jennings and various McConnell allies the party can consentrate on selling a still-unpopular tax law for the American public and picking up Senate seats in states President Donald Trump won in 2016. Towards the extent Bannon is blasting McConnell with his fantastic cohorts as corporate globalist sellouts, he\’ll be doing so as a much-diminished political force.

    The elation inside McConnell\’s camp weren\’t able to you have to be apparent. When McConnell assembled his leadership team on Wednesday for a new-year huddle, he focused first not on a looming government shutdown as well as recently-passed government tax bill – he celebrated Bannon\’s self-destruction.

    The president had released your firm stand out hours earlier disavowing Bannon, stating his former aide had "not only lost his job, he lost his mind" while he was fired. McConnell gleefully told his colleagues they had spoken together with the president moments earlier and told him: \”I couldn\’t have stated it better myself.\”

    But it\’s unclear how much of an aspect Bannon would\’ve gone through the nation\’s most acceptable Senate races, anyway. Several Republican vs. Republican battles will rage on without him.

    In just four months, a pair of Indiana GOP congressmen will settle their months-long clash inside a May 8 primary. A newly wide-open Republican field inside Ohio Senate race will be dependant in a few hours. Along with fierce primaries loom in Wisconsin, Nevada, West Virginia and elsewhere.

    Bannon\’s fall may deprive primary challengers of some oxygen and money. Nevertheless it doesn\’t change a main environment during which any tie to Washington or McConnell is usually poisonous.

    \”The Republican Congress has replaced Obama because bogeyman for conservative GOP primary voters," Senate Leadership Fund President Steven Law wrote after Moore beat then-Sen. Luther Strange in Alabama\’s Republican primary.

    Still, Josh Holmes, a highly regarded McConnell political lieutenant who\’s spent most of the autumn and winter on the warpath against Bannon, said the president\’s decision to toss Bannon aside will freshly unity the party\’s efforts.

    \”It repairs a divide that existed only owing to Steve Bannon,\” he was quoted saying. \”The party has largely been united – House, Senate, administration – and features been executing quite well since Bannon\’s departure from your White House. One exception fot it has long been Bannon\’s activities on the outside of.\”

    A Bannon spokesman didn\’t reply to a request comment.

    The majority leader will expend the weekend with the president and Republican congressional leaders at Camp David. He\’ll almost certainly stress for the group value of party unity, an idea inimical to Bannon\’s project to remake the GOP in their populist-nationalist image.

    McConnell, depending on two sources knowledgeable about his plans, will lie down his look at just what it normally takes for Republicans to reach the 2011 treacherous political atmosphere. Namely, a relentless look at selling tax reform because engine behind the booming economy.

    The hope of McConnell along with his allies at Senate Leadership Fund along with the National Republican Senatorial Committee is that often tax reform, along with the confirmation of conservative judges, can continue a restive GOP base from tossing two incumbents facing strong primary challenges. In Nevada, Sen. Dean Heller began airing ads in November. In Mississippi, Sen. Roger Wicker started airing spots right in front of Christmas. Both men face actual or expected Republican challengers.

    \”It\’s been a large year in Washington,\” Wicker says in the ad, since he sits with his wife before a Christmas tree. \”We\’ve delivered pro-growth tax cuts, confirmed conservative judges – probably the most throughout history – and slashed billions in job-killing regulations.\”

    Heller expires against businessman and perennial candidate Danny Tarkanian, who have won multiple GOP House primaries this decade. Wicker is likely to face state Sen. Chris McDaniel, who narrowly lost to Sen. Thad Cochran in 2014. Mainstream Republicans take both challengers seriously, and Bannon was set to back both Tarkanian and McDaniel.

    They\’ll now sure enough have to carry out without Bannon\’s expansive media presence and whatever funding he would\’ve gotten to generate from donors.

    But simply how much Bannon mattered in both races isn\’t certain. As they was hoping to build a political group, its funding sources and staffing were in the air. While Bannon had wants to run primary opponents against every GOP senator up for reelection except Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, the Breitbart chief was can not recruit challengers practically in most states.

    And as the limited public polling available shows Tarkanian giving Heller a race, Wicker provides a substantial lead over McDaniel.

    Former state Sen. Kelli Ward, a Bannon-backed candidate in Arizona, did play a role in chasing Sen. Jeff Flake into retirement. But she will be likely going to face establishment-backed Rep. Martha McSally from a GOP primary, and downplayed Bannon\’s role in their own campaign inside a statement.

    "Steve Bannon is of countless high-profile endorsements Dr. Ward has," Ward spokesman Zachery Henry said soon. "The daily parlor intrigue in Washington, D.C., does not even attempt to strengthen the lives from the hardworking people today of the country."

    But other GOP primaries have had little related to Bannon. In Indiana, Reps. Todd Rokita and Luke Messer, along with businessman Mike Braun, were attacking another since the summer. Bannon hadn\’t endorsed any candidate. In Ohio, where Republican Rep. Jim Renacci might enter into the Senate race following Treasurer Josh Mandel\’s decision Friday to decrease out, Bannon never endorsed Mandel or self-funding businessman Mike Gibbons.

    In Wisconsin, Bannon had backed businessman and veteran Kevin Nicholson over state Sen. Leah Vukmir, who may be beloved by grass-roots Republicans within the state. But Nicholson\’s primary backers are Club for Growth and Illinois businessman Richard Uihlein, with the exceptional cash supply won\’t suffer as a consequence of Bannon\’s downfall.

    A similar story is unfolding in Tennessee. While Bannon was supporting Rep. Marsha Blackburn, her backing from Club for Growth means she isn\’t dependent upon him for support. She raised $2 million from the fourth quarter, her campaign said today, compared ith former Rep. Stephen Fincher\’s $1.45 million.

    The only guaranteed loser from Bannon\’s blowup is Bannon himself.

    \”Steve Bannon\’s Fifteen minutes ought to be a case study as to what goes wrong with people once they put themselves through the causes they\’re saying to dedicate yourself to,\” Holmes said.

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    Cummings hospitalized as wife suspends campaign for governor

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    Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) is currently hospitalized after a task to drain an infection, three sources told POLITICO, the most up-to-date setback inside of a string of medical issues which have plagued the longtime lawmaker since a year ago.

    Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, a Democratic policy consultant, suspended her gubernatorial bid in Maryland on Friday, shortly before news surfaced that her husband is at the hospital.

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    Soon after POLITICO first reported his hospitalization, Cummings\’ office released an argument saying his health problems were associated with a bacterial infection in the knee.

    "Doctors drained the infection in the minor procedure today. He\’s resting comfortably and expects the full recovery," his office said Friday.

    Cummings was hospitalized and sidelined for a lot of months not too long ago due to heart issues.

    In a press release announcing wants to suspend her campaign, Rockeymoore Cummings cited personal issues but wouldn\’t elaborate.

    \”Making an attractive and direct contribution towards state of Maryland also to our nation was my greatest motivating factor for getting into the public arena. Unfortunately, caused by personal considerations, We\’re suspending my bid for governor of Maryland,\” she said within an email to supporters.

    Multiple sources said Rockeymoore Cummings\’ decision to leave out the race was linked to her husband\’s health concerns. Democratic aides said Cummings was moving slowly ahead of the Christmas break.

    Cummings, 66, was hospitalized last May after what his office described back then as a \”minimally invasive\” heart valve replacement. He was scheduled to revisit work after that but ended up missing many months a result of a post-op infection that kept him clear of Capitol Hill until September.

    Upon his return, Cummings was noticeably slimmer and said he\’d have got to sustain a stricter diet and acquire more sleep. But he brushed aside any notion that he or she wasn\’t competent to fully perform his job.

    Cummings has represented his hometown Baltimore inside your home since 1996. He or she is well-liked and revered among all parties, even while he\’s sparred with Republicans over contentious issues for the reason that top Democrat over the House Oversight Committee.

    Rockeymoore Cummings was one among nine Democrats vying to unseat Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. She was endorsed by EMILY\’s List after she jumped within the race in October. But Rep. Cummings was the gubernatorial candidate\’s biggest single surrogate both publicly plus regards to fundraising. The congressman was listed as being a headliner a great upcoming fundraiser for Rockeymoore Cummings on Sunday.

    Despite the support with the prominent Democratic congressman, Rockeymoore Cummings wasn\’t the irrefutable front-runner however. At the beginning of polling of your Democratic primary, she trailed candidates including former NAACP President Ben Jealous and Prince George\’s County Executive Rushern Baker.

    Despite a considerable primary as well as general Democratic lean of Maryland, Democrats aren\’t as optimistic about unseating Hogan as they are about beating incumbent Republicans in states like Illinois, Boise state broncos, or Maine. That\’s largely because Hogan is popular: An October poll by Morning Consult listed him for the reason that governor while using the second-highest approval near your vicinity, behind only Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker.

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    GOP senators recommend FBI probe of Trump 'dossier' author Steele

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    Two Republican senators have recommended which the FBI pursue a criminal investigation against Christopher Steele – this writer of the disputed Trump-Russia dossier – for the purpose they described as evidence that they made false statements to federal investigators.

    "I cannot take lightly generating a referral for criminal investigation. But, because would with any credible proof a criminal offense unearthed while in our investigations, I\’m obliged to secure that information along on the Justice Department for appropriate review,\” Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley said in the joint statement with Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.).

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    The senators did not provide public evidence to substantiate their request, nevertheless they noted they sent a "classified memorandum" to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein and FBI Director Christopher Wray containing the foundation within their request.

    The request isn\’t going to measure the validity of your Steele dossier, nor can it constitute a criminal allegation. "The referral is made for further investigation only," according to the statement.

    Even so, Democrats quickly responded in anger.

    "I wasn\’t consulted concerning this referral nor were all of my Democratic colleagues," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), the highest Democrat on Grassley\’s committee. "I do believe this referral is unfortunate since it\’s clearly another effort to deflect attention from what medicine committee\’s main concern: determining whether there is collusion regarding the Trump campaign and Russia to steer the election and whether there were subsequent obstruction of justice."

    One congressional aide, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the choice by Grassley and Graham to mention Steele towards Justice Department raises an obvious anomaly.

    "These are speaking about DOJ a justice based upon documents DOJ gave them and according to witness testimony into the DOJ," the aide said.

    Steele, an old British intelligence officer, was commissioned in 2016 by research firm Fusion GPS to research President Donald Trump\’s ties to Russia. The dossier he produced, which Trump has derided as fiction, describes a lot of illicit connections between Trump, his business and also the Kremlin.

    Republicans have persistently questioned how the FBI handled the dossier after receiving it in the 2016 campaign, including whether or not it formed the foundation of your surveillance warrant against a Trump campaign associate and whether the FBI independently verified any kind of Steele\’s information.

    Republicans in addition sounded the alarm over reports that Fusion was paid by the Clinton campaign for Steele\’s research, suggesting that Steele\’s work was the merchandise of your partisan smear effort.

    The two senators claim in their letter to obtain seen proof "potential violations" by Steele on the law prohibiting false statements to government officials. These potential violations, they assert, occurred "regarding his distribution of information contained in the dossier."

    Their letter was copied to Sen. Dianne Feinstein, the highest Democrat to the Judiciary Committee, and Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Mark Warner (D-Va.), the most notable lawmakers for the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Reps. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the top part lawmakers on the House Intelligence ommittee.

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